11.202 | Fall 2010 | Graduate

Planning Economics


Course Meeting Times

Lectures: 2 sessions / week, 1.5 hours / session


11.203 Microeconomics is a prerequisite for this course.

Course Description

Planning Economics will apply microeconomic theory to issues that markets don’t always handle well and so are not usually covered in a standard microeconomics course. Issues for this year include global warming, how you value a national park, the economics and politics of New York City development, how cities form and why people are willing to pay more to live in, say, the Boston Metro area, than they would pay to live in rural North Dakota, and how to evaluate costs and benefits that occur at different points in time.


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.


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.


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

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.


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


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

Course Info

As Taught In
Fall 2010
Learning Resource Types
Problem Sets with Solutions
Exams with Solutions