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ECONOMICS E-1010

FALL 2015
W 5:30-7:30PM, in 1 Story Street, Room 306
Section: TH 5:15-6:15 PM, Sever 210

HARVARD EXTENSION SCHOOL


ROBERT NEUGEBOREN
neugebor@fas.harvard.edu

TA: RAJIV SHANKAR


rshankar@fas.harvard.edu

MICROECONOMIC THEORY
https://canvas.harvard.edu/courses/4317/
DESCRIPTION
Economics E-1010 presents the basic analytical tools of microeconomics. We will start by
considering the behavior of individual consumers and construct a theoretical model of consumer
optimization under constraint. Next, we will look at how firms make and coordinate their
decisions under varying market structures, including perfect competition and monopoly, and
consider the welfare implications. Then we will look at strategic behavior in imperfectly
competitive markets, making use of concepts from game theory such as Nash equilibrium.
Finally, we will take up additional topics including decision under uncertainty, bargaining theory,
externalities, and public goods.
Econ E-1010 is taught at the intermediate level and is appropriate for students who have already
completed a first-year principles course in microeconomics. Mathematical preparation at the
level of college algebra is a prerequisite, and familiarity with first-year calculus will be of help.
Students will learn the key tools and principles economists apply to understand a wide range of
phenomena, using graphical representations, some math, and plain logic to present the important
ideas and solve basic microeconomic problems.
REQUIREMENTS
10%
20%
30%
40%

Sections
Problem Sets
Midterm Exam
Final Exam

Includes weekly attendance and participation.


4 problem sets due every 2-3 weeks.
2-hour exam, October 21.
2-hour exam, December 16.

TEXTBOOKS
There are several good textbooks on intermediate microeconomics. Either of the following is
recommended for this course (purchase only one, any recent edition):
Besanko & Braeutigam, Microeconomics (Wiley).
Pindyck & Rubinfeld Microeconomics (Prentice Hall).
An alternative text that is also very good but more mathematical is Varian, Intermediate
Microeconomics (Norton). Students are expected to read the assigned chapters before the
corresponding class session. Consider the text to be a reference only; your main focus should be
on the material presented in lecture and section, and available on PowerPoint slides and the
lecture and section videos. You will not be responsible on problem sets or on exams for
material in any textbook that we have not covered in class.


COURSE POLICIES
Academic Honesty
Harvard takes matters of academic honesty very seriously. While you are encouraged to
discuss assignments with your classmates and others, you must acknowledge any help you
receive, and you must make sure any written material you submit is your own work. Use of
old course materials, including exams and problem sets from previous terms and online sources,
is strictly prohibited.
You should consult the Harvard Extension School website
http://www.extension.harvard.edu/exams-grades-policies/student-responsibilities (especially the
section entitled Academic Integrity) to familiarize yourself with the possible serious
consequences of academic dishonesty.
Attendance
Students are expected to be active and engaged participants. All students registered for
undergraduate or graduate credit must attend all classes or participate online as a distance student,
answer all problem sets, take all exams, and complete all coursework on time. Since this is a
hybrid-distance course, you may attend weekly lectures and sections on campus, or you may
watch the weekly videos off-campus. Section attendance is mandatory: if you cannot attend
section in person, there will be a weekly question based on section material that must be
answered to receive credit for attending that weeks section. In addition, sections will be
especially helpful in preparing for problem sets and reviewing for exams. The quality of your
section experience depends heavily on the involvement of other students. As such, fostering a
supportive, cooperative environment will be essential. Part of your section grade will be based on
your contribution to the learning environment in the classroom.
Exams
For students living in the six-state New England area:
All students living in the six-state New England area must attend the exams in person. Be sure
to arrange your schedule to allow for these dates.
For distance students who live outside the six-state New England area:
Students in this category can take exams near where they live or work. Arrangements for all
exams are made in accordance with the procedures outlined at:
www.extension.harvard.edu/resources-policies/exams-grades-transcripts/exams-online-courses.
Please note that most distance students find it quite easy to arrange to take their exams where it is
convenient for them. Hence, you should not let this bit of logistics deter you in any way from
taking this or any other distance class.

IMPORTANT:

It is your responsibility to plan your travel around exam dates. In particular, the date of the
Final Exam is determined by the Registrar and cannot be changed, except by a formal appeal
process through the Extension Schools Office of Academic Services.

No makeup Midterm Exam will be given.


Problem Sets
Problem sets must be submitted via a Dropbox on the course website, which automatically close
at midnight on the assigned date. No problem sets will be accepted by any other means: email,
fax, mail, etc. Please make sure that you understand how the system works well before the
deadline, so that you dont miss it for any reason. Late problem sets will not be accepted.
MATH HELP
ECON E-1010 is taught at the intermediate level and the lectures, sections, problem sets, and
exams will utilize a significant amount of college algebra. Because this level of math is a
prerequisite for the course, we will not have time to review college algebra in class. Students
who want to brush up are suggested to try the Khan Academy (www.khanacademy.org), which
provides free online tutorials covering a range of topics in mathematics. Tutorials are also
available on topics in calculus (we use partial derivatives), and links are provided on the course
website. There will be a Mathematics Review in the first section.
WEBSITE AND TECHNICAL SUPPORT
The course website is a very useful place for you to visit. All official course announcements
(e.g., deadlines, class cancellations, etc.) will appear on the homepage, and all lecture slides,
lecture and section videos, and assignments will also be posted there. In addition, all problems
sets must be submitted via a Dropbox on the website. There is also a discussion section and links
to other useful online resources.
Technical Help
For students experiencing difficulties accessing or viewing the course website or videos, technical
online support is available at dce-distance-ed@harvard.edu, or you can call (617) 495-4024
Mondays through Fridays, 9 am to 5 pm; (617) 495-5485 evenings and weekends. More
information is available on the course website.
Textbook Support
Other helpful resources may be found on the publishers websites at
http://www.prenhall.com/pindyck or http://www.wiley.com/besanko including practice problems,
electronic readings, as well as other useful material.


ECONOMICS E-1010

FALL 2015

WEEKLY LECTURE SCHEDULE


Assigned weekly readings to be read before each lecture.
Pindyck & Rubinfeld
UNIT I

THEORY OF THE CONSUMER


9/2

Introduction: What is Microeconomics?

1-2

1-2

9/9

Theory of the Consumer

3-4

9/16

Individual and Market Demand

UNIT II

THEORY OF THE FIRM

9/23

Theory of the Firm

6-7

9/30

Profit Maximization

10/7

Perfect Competition

8-9

9-10, 16

10-11

11-12

12

13

UNIT III

MARKET STRUCTURES & COMPETITIVE STRATEGY

10/14

Monopoly and Market Power

10/21

MIDTERM EXAM

10/28

Duopoly

11/4

Strategic Behavior

UNIT IV

Besanko

13

14

SPECIAL TOPICS

11/11

Decision under Uncertainty

15

11/18

Bargaining

17

15-16

12/2

Externalities and Public Goods

16, 18

17

12/9

Review

12/16

FINAL EXAM