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COURSE NAME: "Principles of Microeconomics "
SEMESTER & YEAR: Fall 2018

INSTRUCTOR: Francesco Ruscitti
EMAIL: [email protected]
HOURS: MW 4:30-5:45 PM
PREREQUISITES: Prerequisite: MA 100 or MA 101; Recommended: EN 105
OFFICE HOURS: After class and by appointment. To make an appointment, just approach me in class or send me an email ahead of time.

This course introduces the students to the basic principles of microeconomics and the study of the behavior of individual agents, such as consumers and producers. The first part of the course reviews the determinants of supply and demand, the characteristics of market equilibrium, the concept of social welfare, and the consequences of price controls, taxation, and externalities on social welfare. The second part of the course deals with market theory, with a review of cost concepts and market structures: competition, monopoly, oligopoly, and imperfect competition.

Note: This is a preliminary draft of the syllabus. I will post (and hand out in class) the official version of the syllabus (including all of my policies) that will be much more detailed than this.

Note: Proficiency with graphical analysis, algebra, and analytical/abstract reasoning is recommended and almost indispensable.

Microeconomics focuses on the analysis of economic phenomena from the perspective of “single agents”, consumers and firms. It will be explained how consumers and producers together determine the prices and quantities of goods available in the marketplace.  We will investigate the underlying incentives of consumers to buy output and of firms to produce commodities and services. The course will cover the basic concepts and tools needed to undertake the analysis of those issues that arise from scarcity of resources. In addition, the functioning of competitive markets will be analyzed. We will assess how well the markets perform in allocating goods and services among people, and scarce resources among competing uses. We will be dealing with such topics as the determinants of demand and supply, market equilibrium, the concept of efficiency, and the issue of market failures and government intervention and regulation. Moreover, time permitting we will study the cost structure and production technology of the firm, and the firm`s behavior on the marketplace.


The purpose of this course is to provide a basic understanding of Microeconomics, the entire Economics discipline is based upon. This course will equip students with a basic economic knowledge valuable for any career students may elect to pursue. In addition, the goal of this course is that students develop basic knowledge and, above all, analytical skills. Students will learn how to use and apply economic tools analytically and rigorously. In particular, the fundamental tools of demand and supply. They will be employed not only to understand current economic outcomes, but also to predict future economic effects of current shocks to the economy.

Referring to the learning outcomes (LOS) for the major in Economics and Finance (that are posted on the JCU website), upon successful completion of this course students will:

LOS 1: Develop a solid understanding of and knowledge base in microeconomics.

LOS 2: Develop critical-thinking skills and learn to apply microeconomic analysis to understand economic events and everyday problems.

LOS 6: Master solid communication skills that enable them to formulate a well-organized argument and communicate effectively in written and graphical form about specific economic and financial issues.

Book TitleAuthorPublisherISBN numberLibrary Call NumberComments
Microeconomics (3rd revised edition, 2014).N. Gregory Mankiw and Mark P. TaylorCengage LearningISBN: 1408081989; ISBN 13: 9781408081983  

Midterm exam 1The exam will be worth 100 points. It will cover all the material taught up until the class before the exam day. Multiple-choice questions and also open-ended questions. Regardless of the format, the nature of the questions will be analytical. 18%
Midterm exam 2The exam will be worth 100 points. It will cover all the material taught from Midterm exam 1 onward. Multiple-choice questions and also open-ended questions. Regardless of the format, the nature of the questions will be analytical. 34%
Final examThe exam will be worth 100 points. It will be cumulative, that is it will be about all the material covered throughout the course. Multiple-choice questions and also open-ended questions (students are expected to carry out formal analysis). 48%

AWork of this quality directly addresses the question or problem raised and provides a coherent argument, displaying an extensive knowledge of relevant information or content. This type of work demonstrates analytical skills, and the ability to critically evaluate concepts and theory and has an element of novelty and originality. There is clear evidence of a significant amount of reading beyond that required for the course. 93-100:A 90-92.99:A-
BThis is a competent level of performance and directly addresses the question or problem raised. There is a demonstration of some analytical skills and ability to critically evaluate theory and concepts and relate them to practice. Discussions reflect the student’s own arguments and are not simply a repetition of standard lecture and reference material. The work does not suffer from any major errors or omissions and provides evidence of reading beyond the required assignments. 86-89.99:B+ 83-85.99:B 80-82.99:B-
CThis is an acceptable level of performance and provides answers that are clear but limited, reflecting the information offered in the lectures and reference readings. 75-79.99:C+ 70-74.99:C 65-69.99:C-
DThis level of performances demonstrates that the student lacks a coherent grasp of the material. Important information is omitted and irrelevant points included. In effect, the student has barely done enough to persuade the instructor that s/he should not fail. 60-64.99:D+ 55-59.99:D 50-54.99:D-
FThis work fails to show any knowledge or understanding of the subject matter. Most of the material in the answer is irrelevant. Below 50:F


Microeconomics is inherently a theoretical subject that can prove challenging (fairly abstract and analytical models will be presented in class). If you miss classes, you will get lost and that would undermine your performance. Trust me on this. Hence, attendance is STRONGLY ENCOURAGED and very beneficial.

EXAMS AND POLICY ON ABSENCES: Ahead of the beginning of the semester, I will post on MyJCU and hand out the official version of the syllabus (very detailed) with the exact exam dates and all of the policies. There are NO make-up for missed exams. If you miss a midterm exam for a compelling reason (e.g., you are sick), I want you to notify me ahead of time (if possible) and I will surely ask you to provide me with a formal justification for your absence. You have to prove your claim about the cause of your absence. If I deem the justification is formal and merits consideration, then I would let you take a make-up exam.

As stated in the university catalog, any student who commits an act of academic dishonesty will receive a failing grade on the work in which the dishonesty occurred. In addition, acts of academic dishonesty, irrespective of the weight of the assignment, may result in the student receiving a failing grade in the course. Instances of academic dishonesty will be reported to the Dean of Academic Affairs. A student who is reported twice for academic dishonesty is subject to summary dismissal from the University. In such a case, the Academic Council will then make a recommendation to the President, who will make the final decision.
John Cabot University does not discriminate on the basis of disability or handicap. Students with approved accommodations must inform their professors at the beginning of the term. Please see the website for the complete policy.



(Please note that the list and schedule of the topics covered is tentative and might be subject to change. More details will be provided in class.)




Reading Assignment

Exam Dates and topics covered (TBA)

Weeks 1 and 2


The market forces of supply and demand. Theory of consumer choice.

Relevant chapter in the book.


Week 3


Supply, demand, and government policies


Relevant chapter in the book


Weeks 3-6


Consumers, producers, and the efficiency of markets

Relevant chapter in the book


Weeks 6 and 7


 The costs of taxation. Externalities.


Relevant chapters in the book


Weeks 7, 8, and 9


Public goods and common resources. The costs of production.


Relevant chapters in the book


Week 10

Firms in competitive markets.

Relevant chapter in the book


Weeks 11



Relevant chapter in the book


Weeks 12, 13 and 14

Oligopoly and basic introduction to Game Theory.

Relevant chapter in the book