This is a core course in introductory microeconomic theory, introducing students to the fundamental principles of how to think like an economist. By the end of the course, students should be able to combine abstract concepts with formal analytical tools in order to understand how consumers and producers make optimal choices, and how these choices affect real market outcomes. We will cover both the benefits that free markets provide to society and their limitations in dealing with certain problems. Students who adequately complete this three-week course will be well prepared to study economics at the university level, as well as to take the Advanced Placement (AP) examination in microeconomics.
The course covers three main topics: how product markets work, how government policies affect markets, and how firms make decisions about production. First, students will learn how product markets work by studying the core concepts of economics: scarcity of resources, opportunity cost, comparative advantage and trade, property rights, and marginal analysis. Students will study how consumers and producers interact in the marketplace. They will learn how demand and supply jointly determine market prices in equilibrium, how price changes affect consumer or producer behavior, and how markets affect consumer utility and produce value for society.
Second, the course will cover how government policies affect markets. Students will study how price controls, such as the minimum wage and rent control, and taxes impact supply and demand. They will learn how to estimate the government revenue raised by taxes, and the costs these fees place on society. The course will also explain the positive effects of government in remedying various market failures.
Third, the course will explain how firms make decisions about production. It will introduce the concepts of diminishing returns, economies of scale, and profit maximization. Students will learn how firms make decisions in the short, and long-run, and how to measure profits and quantities of goods produced. We will also cover different types of producers, such as those operating as monopolies, oligopolies, or in perfectly competitive markets, and discuss how firms’ decisions and actions differ across these market types.
Students should be fluent in the concepts of microeconomics by the end of this course. They should be able to combine abstract concepts with formal analytical tools, in order to understand how consumers and producers make choices, and how those choices affect market outcomes. They will learn both the benefits that free markets provide to society, and their limitations in dealing with certain problems. Students will also become familiar with most of the concepts included on the AP exam in microeconomics.
Prerequisites: No prior knowledge or experience with economics is necessary. However, knowledge of mathematics at the Algebra II level is required.
Brown’s Pre-College Program in the liberal arts and sciences, offering over 200 non-credit courses, one- to four-weeks long, taught on Brown’s campus. For students completing grades 9-12 by June 2019.Visit Program Page Learn How to Apply