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The course addresses the need for choice implied by the scarcity of resources. The fact of scarcity necessitates that individuals, firms, and societies choose among alternative uses – or allocations – of its limited resources. At the same time, the various choices made by different economic agents must be mutually consistent. For example, the expansion of one sector accompanied by that sector's increased use of labor and capital is only possible if accompanied by a net contraction in other industries. Markets are a mechanism to achieve such reconciliation. In this first part of the class we seek to understand how economists model the choice process of individual consumers and firms, and how markets work to coordinate these choices. We also examine how well markets perform this function using the economist's criterion of market efficiency.

Reading Assignments

The reading is primarily from: Amazon logo Parkin, Michael. Microeconomics. 6th ed. Sydney: Addison-Wesley Publishing, 2004. ISBN: 0321226577. Some selected additional readings are found in the course packet provided by the Sloan Fellows Program.


Students will be graded as follows:

Homework Assignment 1 30%
Homework Assignment 2 30%
Final Exam 40%