

JOHN CABOT UNIVERSITY
COURSE CODE: "EC 301"
COURSE NAME: "Intermediate Microeconomics"
SEMESTER & YEAR:
Fall 2020

SYLLABUS
INSTRUCTOR:
Francesco Ruscitti
EMAIL: [email protected]
HOURS:
MW 3:054:25 PM
TOTAL NO. OF CONTACT HOURS:
45
CREDITS:
PREREQUISITES:
Prerequisites: EC 201, EC 202, MA 198
OFFICE HOURS:
After class and by appointment. To make an appointment, just approach me in class or send me an email ahead of time.


COURSE DESCRIPTION:
This course delves deeper into the foundations of microeconomic theory, and analyzes the subject from a theoretical rather than practical point of view. Students will become familiar with the tools used by microeconomists in the analysis of consumer and producer behavior. The first part of the course reviews consumer theory and discusses budget constraints, preferences, choice, demand, consumer’s surplus, equilibrium, externalities, and public goods. The second part of the course reviews producer theory: technology, profit maximization, cost minimization, cost curves, firm and industry supply, and monopoly.

SUMMARY OF COURSE CONTENT:
Note: Calculus (collegelevel calculus) and Principles of Microeconomics are both prerequisites for this course. Hence, knowledge of collegelevel calculus and of basic microeconomics is necessary and will be assumed. It is your responsibility to make sure that you meet the prerequisites for this course. It is important that you be proficient with calculus and basic microeconomics.
Note: This is a preliminary draft of the syllabus. When the semester starts, I will post and hand out in class the official version of the syllabus (including all of my policies and the dates of the exams) that will be much more detailed than this draft.
Note: One of the graded assignments in this course will be based on a seminal paper in economics that you have to study and understand. Be advised that comprehension of the paper requires constant effort, mentoring and guidance. Thus, if you are not willing or committed to working hard and attending every lecture I am afraid that you should not take this course.
This course covers
mainstream Microeconomic Theory at an intermediate level with the aid of
analytical tools (algebra, calculus and graphs) and abstract models. Time
permitting, we will study the theory of consumer choice, asset markets, choice
under uncertainty with applications to portfoliochoice with risky assets, the
functioning of markets with incomplete information. Time permitting, we will
examine recent developments in economic analysis, such as asymmetric
information (and its implications in terms of market outcomes and efficiency), principalagent models and optimal contracts.

LEARNING OUTCOMES:
First and foremost, this course aims at fostering students’ ability to
think and reason in a rigorous and analytical fashion. The objective is that students learn to apply basic tools of microeconomic analysis in a rigorous fashion.The
purpose of this course is to provide a fairly indepth knowledge of
Microeconomics. Students will be exposed to more advanced topics (relative to
EC 201), and to the current frontiers of Microeconomics examined at an
intermediate level. Note that this course serves as a baseline and
buildingblock for more advanced studies in Economics and in any fields of Social
Sciences.
Referring to the learning outcomes (LOS) of the Economics and Finance major (that are posted online), upon successful completion of this course students
will:
LOS 1: Build a solid understanding of and knowledge base in microeconomics.
LOS 2: Develop criticalthinking skills and learn to apply microeconomic analysis to understand economic events and everyday problems.
LOS 5: Develop adequate training in mathematical methods to develop problemsolving skills, perform proofs and prepare for further graduate studies in the areas of economics and finance.
LOS 6: Master solid communication skills that enable them to formulate a wellorganized argument and communicate effectively in written and graphical form about specific economic and financial issues.

TEXTBOOK:
Book Title  Author  Publisher  ISBN number  Library Call Number  Comments  Format  Local Bookstore  Online Purchase 
Intermediate Microeconomics. A Modern Approach (International student edition, 8th edition)  Hal R. Varian  WW Norton & Company  ISBN: 9780393934243      

REQUIRED RESERVED READING:
RECOMMENDED RESERVED READING:

GRADING POLICY
ASSESSMENT METHODS:
Assignment  Guidelines  Weight 
Midterm exam 1  The exam will be worth 100 points. It will cover all the material taught up until the class before the exam day. Multiplechoice questions and also openended questions whereby students are asked to carry out formal analysis and prove formal claims. Regardless of the format, the questions will be analytical in nature.  20% 
Midterm exam 2  The exam will be worth 100 points. It will cover all the material taught from Midterm exam 1 onward. Multiplechoice questions and also openended questions whereby students are asked to carry out formal analysis and prove formal claims. Regardless of the format, the questions will be analytical in nature. Students might be required to study a seminal economics paper assigned by the instructor. Therefore, a couple of questions could be about the paper and students should be prepared to write a formal abstract summarizing the paper's main insights and results.  35% 
Final exam  The exam will be worth 100 points. It will be cumulative (i.e., comprehensive), that is it will be about all the material covered throughout the course. Multiplechoice questions and also openended questions whereby students are asked to carry out formal analysis and prove formal claims. Regardless of the format, the questions will be analytical in nature. Students might be required to study a seminal economics paper assigned by the instructor. Therefore, a couple of questions could be about the paper and students should be prepared to write a formal abstract summarizing the paper's main insights and results.  45% 
ASSESSMENT CRITERIA:
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.
93100: A
9092.99: 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 studentâ€™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.
8689.99: B+
8385.99: B
8082.99: 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.
7579.99: C+
7074.99: C
6569.99: 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.
6064.99: D+
5559.99: D
5054.99: 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
ATTENDANCE REQUIREMENTS:
Intermediate Microeconomics is a theoretical subject that can prove challenging. There is quite big of a difference between Principles of Microeconomics and Intermediate Microeconomics. Moreover, I tend to deviate from the textbook’s treatment of the subject matter and I also do problems and proofs in class that I might put on the exams. Importantly, during my inclass lectures I explain fundamental tools and concepts that are crucial to understanding the paper you will be tested about. Therefore, taking notes in class is necessary. Attendance is basically indispensable. If you miss my lectures, you get really lost and that would severely undermine your performance. So, you need to stay on top of your business and I warmly encourage you to attend every single lecture. If you are not committed to attending all lectures and working hard, I am afraid this is not the right course for you.
EXAMS AND POLICIES ON ABSENCES: At the beginning of the semester, I will post and hand out the official version of the syllabus (very detailed) with the exact exams dates and all of my policies. There are NO makeup for missed exams. If you miss a midterm exam due to 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 makeup exam.


ACADEMIC HONESTY
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.

STUDENTS WITH LEARNING OR OTHER DISABILITIES
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.


SCHEDULE


TOPICS AND TENTATIVE SCHEDULE
The list and schedule of the topics covered is tentative and might be subject to change. Moreover, it is possible that we will not have time to study some of the topics mentioned below. Details will be provided in class.



Weeks

Topics

Reading assignment

Exams dates and topics covered (TBA)


MATHEMATICAL PRELIMINARIES



Weeks 1 and 2

Selected topics about constrained optimization (Lagrange multipliers, the envelope theorem and the KuhnTucker theorem).

Notes taken in class (based on the Professor’s inclass lectures). You need to attend!



THEORY OF CONSUMER CHOICE



Weeks 2, 3, 4

Budget constraint, preferences, utility, and choice (only selected topics).

Chapters 2, 3, 4, 5. Lecture notes and PowerPoint slides



CHOICE UNDER UNCERTAINTY



Weeks 5 and 6

Uncertainty and risk aversion (only selected topics).

Chapters 12. Lecture notes and PowerPoint slides



ASYMMETRIC INFORMATION



Weeks 7 and 8

Moral hazard and incentive contracting (only selected topics)

Chapter 37 (38 in the 9^{th} edition). For the most part, notes taken in class (based on the Professor’s inclass lectures). You need to attend!

.


TECHNOLOGY



Weeks 8, 9, 10

Production technology (only selected topics)

Chapter 18 (19 in the 9^{th} edition). PowerPoint slides



PROFIT MAXIMIZATION



Weeks 10 and 11

Profit maximization (only selected topics)

Chapter 19 (20 in the 9^{th} edition). PowerPoint slides



EXCHANGE



Weeks 12, 13 and 14

Exchange, the Edgeworth box, competitive markets, equilibrium, Pareto optimality, and the fundamental theorems of welfare economics (only selected topics)

Chapter 31 (32 in the 9^{th} edition). PowerPoint slides



EXTERNALITIES




Externalities and market failure (only selected topics)

Chapter 34 (35 in the 9^{th} edition). PowerPoint slides



FACTOR MARKETS



Week 14

Market structure and demand for production inputs (only selected topics)

Chapter 26 (27 in the 9^{th} edition). PowerPoint slides




