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COURSE NAME: "Principles of Microeconomics"
SEMESTER & YEAR: Fall 2023

INSTRUCTOR: Francesco Ruscitti
EMAIL: [email protected]
HOURS: MW 4:30 PM 5:45 PM
PREREQUISITES: Prerequisite: MA 100 or MA 101; Recommended: EN 105
OFFICE HOURS: By appointment. To schedule an appointment please send me an email ahead of time or approach me in class.

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 just a preliminary draft of the syllabus. At the start of the semester I will post the official syllabus (spelling out all of my policies, examination dates etc.) that will be much more detailed than the present draft.

Note: Be advised that the approach to the subject matter is basic yet theoretical and abstract (I will be using formal models). Hence, you may struggle if you do not feel comfortable with abstract thinking, elementary algebra, geometric analysis and abstract models.

 Note: the textbook for this course is a must. Please start looking for it now in order to get it in a timely fashion.

 Microeconomics focuses on the analysis of economic phenomena from the perspective of consumers and firms. The course will focus on price and quantity determination in the marketplace. We will examine how customers and producers with opposite interests jointly contribute to the definition of the equilibrium, and we will provide some valuations on the efficiency of the allocation among people. Moreover, we will discuss about market failures and the possibility of government interventions. Finally, we will study firms’ behavior by analyzing their cost structure and production technology, and by comparing different market structures (perfect competition, monopoly, and oligopoly). 

Students will learn how to use and apply economic tools analytically. 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. Students will learn how to analyze an economic issue rigorously and with analytical precision.

Referring to the learning outcomes (LOS) of the major in Economics and Finance (that are posted on the JCU website), upon successful completion of this course, you 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 you to formulate a well-organized argument and communicate effectively in written and graphical form about specific economic and financial issues.
Book TitleAuthorPublisherISBN numberLibrary Call NumberCommentsFormatLocal BookstoreOnline Purchase
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 a week before the exam day. Multiple-choice questions and also open-ended questions. Regardless of the format, the questions will be analytical in nature.20%
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 questions will be analytical in nature.30%
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. Regardless of the format, the questions will be analytical in nature.50%

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 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 highly competent level of performance and directly addresses the question or problem raised.There is a demonstration of some ability to critically evaluatetheory and concepts and relate them to practice. Discussions reflect the student’s own arguments and are not simply a repetition of standard lecture andreference 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 issues raised in the question. Most of the material in the answer is irrelevant. Below 50:F

Microeconomics is an abstract and theoretical subject that can prove challenging. 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 put on the exams. Therefore, taking notes in class is necessary. Attendance is basically indispensable. If you miss my lectures, you get lost and that would severely undermine your performance. Hence, regular attendance is STRONGLY ENCOURAGEDLater on I will post  a much more detailed syllabus with the exact exam dates. 

POLICY ON MISSED EXAMS: There are no make-up for missed midterm exams. If you happen to 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 would surely ask you to provide me with a formal justification  (e.g., a doctor’s note). You would have to prove your claim about the cause of your inability to take the exam. If I deem the justification is formal, valid and merits consideration, then I would let you take a make-up exam. Note: there is no make-up for the final 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.


Weeks                         Topics     Reading   
               Exams Dates and topics covered (TBA)





Weeks 1, 2 and 3

       Theory of consumer choice and the market forces of supply and demand

     Relevant chapters in the textbook






Week 4

        Supply, demand, and government policies 

     Relevant chapters in the textbook










Weeks 4-6

       Consumers, producers, and the efficiency of  markets

     Relevant chapters in the textbook


Week 6

       The costs of taxation

     Relevant chapters in the textbook










Week 7


   Relevant chapters in the textbook


Week 7

      Public goods and common resources

   Relevant chapters in the textbook


 Week 8

      The costs of production

   Relevant chapters in the textbook






Week 9

      The costs of production

   Relevant chapters in the textbook


Week 10

      Firms in competitive markets

   Relevant chapters in the textbook






Week 11


   Relevant chapters in the textbook






Weeks 12-13-14

      Oligopoly and basic introduction to Game Theory

   Relevant chapters in the textbook









   Final exam (comprehensive, that is cumulative.): see the  final exam schedule for date, time and classroom.