How would an expert (economist) study the material in this course?

The material in this course is divided into a dozen topics that we will study.  For each topic, the objectives to be learned include content and skills.

Content probably includes definitions of concepts in economics, major theories or models, and institutional facts or findings.

  • Examples of definitions include, what is opportunity cost? What is a budget deficit? What is monetary policy?
  • Examples of major theories include the theories of supply and demand.
  • Examples of institutional facts and findings include,

·         U.S. monetary policy is conducted by the Federal Reserve (an institutional fact), or

·         U.S. monetary policy from 2001 until 2004 was generally expansionary (an institutional finding).

Relevant skills include the ability to correctly apply the concepts and institutional facts,

  • For example, the ability to answer the question, what is the opportunity cost of partying the night before your midterm exam?

The highest order skill would be the ability to apply economic theories or models to derive insights about some issue or problem.

  • For example, what do the theories of supply and demand predict would be the impact on the price of oil of growth in the middle classes in India and China? What does the income-expenditure model of the macro economy predict would be the outcome of reducing the size of the U.S. budget deficit?

If you want to study for this course the way an economist would, for each of the twelve topics, you should work out your own answers to the following questions:

What are the major concepts defined in this topic?  Why do you believe they are major rather than minor concepts?  Can you define them in your own words?  Can you apply each to a situation different from that presented in the book or in class?

What are the major theories or models introduced in this chapter?  Can you apply each to an issue or problem different from that presented in the book or in class?  In other words, can you take a specific theory and use it to analyze a given situation?

What are the major institutional facts or findings presented in this chapter?  Why do you believe they are major rather than minor facts or findings?  Can you apply each to a situation different from that presented in the the book or in class?