Syllabus

Course Meeting Times

Lectures: 2 sessions / week, 1.5 hours / session

Prerequisite

There is no prerequisite for this course.

Course Description

Microeconomics will ground you in - surprise - basic microeconomics-how markets function, how to think about allocating scarce resources among competing uses, what profit maximizing behavior means in industries with different numbers of competitors, how technology and trade reshapes the opportunities people face, and so on. We will apply economic ideas to understand current economic problems, including the housing bubble, the current unemployment situation (particularly for high school gradutes), how Google makes its money and why healthcare costs are rising so fast.

Note

At MIT in the Fall of 2010, 11.203 and 11.202 were taught in a single semester. 11.203 was taught as a module in the first half of the semester, and 11.202 a module in the second half. Students were able to be exempted from 11.203 by taking a test. On OpenCourseWare, we are treating them as separate courses.

Format

There are three components to this course: lecture, recitation, and math review. Teaching assistants will conduct weekly one-hour section meetings to discuss course material in more depth. While attendance at lecture and section is optional, it is a good idea to attend both at least through the first midterm so you know how you are doing. There will also be supplementary math review section each week for students who are having trouble with the mathematics used in the course. The math review section will help students who remain nervous about mathematics and graphs so they can get off to a strong start.

Grading

The following are based on students who take the full semester course (both 11.203 and 11.202).

ACTIVITIES PERCENTAGES
Graded weekly problem sets 10%
Midterm 1 20%
Midterm 2 30%
Final exam 40%

Study Groups

You may want to form a study group to discuss problem sets, etc. If you do homework in a study group, you should work the problems on your own before your study group meets to be clear on what you do and do not understand. Otherwise, you may think you understand an idea because you can follow another group member's logic. Following another person's logic is different than understanding an idea yourself, a distinction that becomes obvious when you take an exam.

Textbook

Amazon logo Nicholson, Walter, and Christopher Snyder. Intermediate Microeconomics and Its Application. 11th or 10th ed. South-Western College Publishers, 2009. ISBN: 9780324599107.

Or

Amazon logo Nicholson, Walter, Christopher Snyder, Peter Luke, and Michael Wood. Intermediate Microeconomics. Cengage Learning, 2008. ISBN: 9781844806294.