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University of Vermont

Department of Economics
Course Outline



Summer 2016






Economics 11
[Principles of Macroeconomics]


R. Sicotte


Old Mill 336




Via email and Blackboard message



This course is an introduction to macroeconomics. This course will introduce students to the
functioning of the economy, with special focus on the topics of economic growth,
unemployment, inflation, the business cycle, the banking system, monetary policy and fiscal
policy. We will cover basic concepts such as gross domestic product, institutions such as the
Federal Reserve System and different approaches to macroeconomic policy. A goal is also for
students to understand some of the current ideas among economists about some of the particular
challenges facing the US economy today, like slower productivity growth, and rising income
Required Textbook:
The textbook is Tyler Cowen and Alex Tabarrok, Modern Principles: Macroeconomics, 2nd
edition, Worth Publishing. The third edition is also acceptable. There is an e-book option.
I will post additional readings on Blackboard. In addition, I will post powerpoint lecture slides,
plus video files that contain my explanation of some of the key concepts, and demonstration of
how to solve problems.

Grade Determination:
Your grade will depend on five homework assignments (5% each), three discussion board
assignments (5% each), one midterm exam (25% each) and a final exam (35%). The final exam
is cumulative, but questions will be disproportionately from topics covered after the second
midterm exam.
All work will be conducted on Blackboard. A homework assignment will be due at the beginning
of each week, starting week two. The homework will consist of multiple choice and short answer
Beginning week two, I will post a short reading based on material that we cover from the text
that week, along with discussion questions. Students will be required to post their answers to
these questions. There are four of these assignments in all; the lowest score is dropped.
Work is marked on a numerical (percentage) basis. The course grade is then calculated using the
weights indicated above. The grading scale is as follows:
A: 93-100.
B+: 87-89.
C+: 77-79.
D+: 67-69.

A-: 90-92.
B: 83-86.
C: 73-76.
D: 63-66.

B-: 80-82.
C-: 70-72.
D-: 60-62.

F: Below 60.

A passing grade on any particular component of the course is not required for a student to pass
the course as a whole.
Students seeking reappraisal of a piece of graded work should discuss their work with the
instructor within two weeks of the work being returned to the class.

Course Outline:
May 23-27:
Topics: An introduction to economics, key ideas in economics, gross domestic product, and
economic growth.
Readings: Cowen and Tabarrok, chapters 1, 6 and 7.
May 31-June 3:
Topics: Modeling economic growth, savings and investment. The interaction between finance
and growth.
Readings: Cowen and Tabarrok, chapters 8 and 9.
Assignments due: Homework #1 due May 31 covering chapters 1, and 6-7. First discussion
board assignment posting due by June 2.
June 6-7:
Topic: Personal finance and the stock market.
Reading: Cowen and Tabarrok, chapter 10.
Assignment due: Homework #2 due June 7 covering chapters 8-10.
June 8:
Midterm Exam June 8 covering chapters 1 and 6-10.
June 9-10:
Topic: Unemployment and the labor market
Reading: Cowen and Tabarrok, chapter 11.
June 13-17:
Topics: Inflation, Models of Business Cycles.
Readings: Cowen and Tabarrok, chapters 12-14.
Assignments due: Homework #3 due June 15 covering chapters 11-12. Discussion board posting
#2 due by June 17.
June 20-24:
Topics: The Federal Reserve and Monetary Policy.
Readings: Cowen and Tabarrok, chapters 15-16.
Assignments due: Homework #4 due June 20 covering chapter 13-14. Discussion board posting
#3 due by June 24.

June 27-June 30:

Topic: The Federal Budget and Fiscal Policy.
Reading: Cowen and Tabarrok, chapters 17-18.
Assignments due: Homework #5 due June 27 covering chapters 15-16.
Extra credit discussion board posting possible.
July 1: Final exam.