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

INSTRUCTOR: Riccardo Manghi
EMAIL: [email protected]
HOURS: TTH 1:30 PM 2:45 PM
PREREQUISITES: Prerequisite: MA 100 or MA 101; Recommended: EN 105

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.
Microeconomics focuses on the analysis of economic phenomena from the perspective of “single agents”, that is consumers and firms. We will study how consumers and producers together determine the prices and quantities of goods available on 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 outcome and performance 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, the theory of consumer choice, market equilibrium, the concept of efficiency, taxation, and the issue of market failures and government’s 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.

You will learn how to use and apply economic tools analytically and rigorously. You will learn how to analyze an economic issue with analytical precision. Emphasis will be placed on the fundamental tools of demand and supply. These tools 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) 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.



There will be three exams: midterm 1, midterm 2, and the final exam. I will ask very few multiple-choice questions and mostly open-ended and numerical problems (including questions in which you have to prove formally specific simple claims). I may ask theory questions as well to give you a strong incentive to study and understand the material in the book.

  Midterm 1 will carry the weight of 25%, midterm 2 will carry the weight of 35%, and the final exam will carry the weight of 40%. Each exam will be out of 100 points (i.e., each exam is worth 100 points). Thus, the maximum attainable score in this course is 100. The actual score you obtain (which is a number) will be the weighted average of the points earned on each exam (midterm 1, midterm 2, and the final exam).

The end-of-course letter grade (i.e., A, A-, B+, B, B-, C+, C, C- etc.) will then be determined according to the grading scale below. See the numerical example below that further illustrates my grading policy.


Grading scale:
93-100: A
90-92.99:   A-
86-89.99:   B+
83-85.99:   B
80-82.99:   B-
75-79.99:   C+
70-74.99:   C
65-69.99:   C-
60-64.99:   D+
55-59.99:   D
50-54.99:   D-
Below 50:  F

Example: Suppose you obtain 40 points (out of 100) on midterm 1, 70 points (out of 100) on midterm 2, and 90 points (out of 100) on the final exam. Then, your score is equal to: 40×0.25 +70×0.35 +90×0.40=70.5. Hence, according to the above grading scale you will get C.



EXTRA-CREDIT TESTS/QUIZZES: To incentivate students’ participation and engagement be advised that I may give the opportunity to gain extra credits by solving practice problems at the blackboard during classes.


Midterm 1 25
Midterm 2 35
Final 40

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.
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.
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.
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.
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.

You cannot make-up a major exam (midterm or final) without the permission of the Dean’s Office. The Dean’s Office will grant such permission only when the absence was caused by a serious impediment, such as a documented illness, hospitalization or death in the immediate family (in which you must attend the funeral) or other situations of similar gravity. Absences due to other meaningful conflicts, such as job interviews, family celebrations, travel difficulties, student misunderstandings or personal convenience, will not be excused. Students who will be absent from a major exam must notify the Dean’s Office prior to that exam. Absences from class due to the observance of a religious holiday will normally be excused. Individual students who will have to miss class to observe a religious holiday should notify the instructor by the end of the Add/Drop period to make prior arrangements for making up any work that will be missed. The final exam period runs until ____________
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.




Reading Assignment

Exams dates and topics covered (see below)



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

Chapters 3 and 5 in the book. Lecture notes and slides.




Supply, demand, and government policies.


Chapter 8 in the book. Lecture notes and slides




Consumers, producers, and the efficiency of markets.

Chapter 7 in the book. Lecture notes and slides




Externalities and market failure.


Chapter 11 in the book. Lecture notes and slides.




Public goods and common resources. Production technology and the costs of production.


Chapters 10 and 6 in the book. Slides.



Firms in competitive markets.

Chapter 6 and slides.