This is a core course in introductory microeconomic theory. Microeconomics as a field studies how individuals and firms make consumption and production decisions, respectively, and how these decisions determine the allocation of scarce resources in a market. As such, it provides a formal framework to study policy-relevant questions like: Does a subsidy unambiguously increase the profit of a struggling firm? Or even questions like: Should a pizza restaurant start a price war with its competitor down the block? How does a price change in coffee alter the demand for breakfast muffins?
One of the two main goals of the course is to introduce students to the core concepts of microeconomics. Students will learn the fundamentals of how economists model consumer and producer decision making starting with basic concepts such as consumer utility, income and substitution effect, demand, diminishing marginal returns, profit maximization, and supply. Then the course will show how the two sides of the market, consumers and producers, interact with each other by introducing the concept of equilibrium.
A second goal of the course is to provide students with analytical tools. These tools will allow students to analyze the equilibrium and make statements about its efficiency. Students will also be able to derive what happens to the market equilibrium when the market structure changes, when the government interferes in the market through subsidies, taxes, and price floors, or when the market faces problems such as externalities and free-riding in the presence of public goods.
At the end of the course, students should be able to understand the fundamental concepts and evaluate them using 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 problems. Students who successfully complete this three-week course will be prepared to study Economics at the university level, as well as to take the Advanced Placement (AP) examination 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