BARNARD COLLEGE Introduction to Economic Reasoning Núria Quella-Isla

Introduction to Economic Reasoning
Núria Quella-Isla
Course No.:
ECON 1003y
Spring 2016
Class Times:
T & TH 1:10-2:25pm
Diana Center LL 103
Office Hours:
T & TH 2:30-4:00pm
LeFrak Center 250, Barnard Hall
Teaching Assistant:
Effie Korkou
T.A. Office Hours:
M Hour TBA
This course is an introduction to how economists think about the world. It is recommended for
both students who are considering a major in economics and students that wish to take a single
semester of economics for their own edification. The course is roughly divided into two sections:
Microeconomics and Macroeconomics. Microeconomics is the study of consumers (buyers of
goods and services), producers (sellers of goods and services), their decisions and the interactions
among them. Microeconomics is where we study questions such as whether or not to raise the
price of a good or how (and why) we regulate pollution emissions. Macroeconomics is the study of
a country’s economy as a whole. How big is the economy? Is it growing? How fast are prices
increasing? Why don’t more people have jobs? We will also learn about policies the federal level
authorities adopt to influence the economy. It is in the Macroeconomics block that you will begin
to better understand a lot of what you hear/read in the news.
After completing this course, students should be able to:
1) Think critically about economic debates by using multiple kinds of texts, evidence and
conceptual approaches.
2) Apply economic reasoning to understand the causal determinants of economic phenomena,
empirical regularities, and policy proposals.
3) Demonstrate knowledge of important models, their assumptions, and influence on economic
policy and ideas.
4) Demonstrate understanding of institutions, organizations and markets in their roles of
coordinating economic activity.
5) Use concepts or methods from at least one disciplinary approach other than economics to
analyze an economic, political or other social problem
Students cannot get credit for ECON BC1003 if they have taken the Columbia introductory course
ECON W1105.
***** Please note this is an electronic free classroom. Hence, no cell phones, no smart phones,
tablets, computers, etc. unless you have spoken with me personally. *****
Our reference textbook will be:
Essentials of Economics, by Paul Krugman, Robin Wells, and Kathryn Graddy, Worth
Publishers, 2014. ISBN-13: 9781429278508.
Check the following URL for information on the textbook and available student resources:
Note that we will not have time to cover absolutely everything in the textbook in class. You are,
however, responsible for reading every chapter completely. The textbook will be available at the
bookstore and several volumes will be placed on reserve at the library.
Class slides for every lecture will be posted in Courseworks at the beginning of the semester.
Assignments, additional readings and any other ancillary materials will also be available in
Courseworks prior to every class. Make sure you are up to date with materials and announcements.
Your performance in this course will be best if you read the corresponding lecture materials before
or immediately after the lecture. Take your own notes during class to complement class slides.
Above all, do not fall behind. Material builds on itself and it will become increasingly difficult to
keep up if you are not current.
Your course grade will be composed as a weighted average of the following:
Two midterm exams (non-cumulative) = 25% each;
Final exam (non-cumulative) = 25%;
Six homework sets = 25% in total.
Grades will only be curved at the end of the semester, for the total course grade. Your lowest
homework grade will be dropped. Missing homework will be graded as zero and will count toward
your grade.
Exams are scheduled during class time and the designated final exam slot. A strict policy of no
make-up exams will be enforced. If you miss a midterm, you will take it together with the final.
See the “Course Outline” section below and check and for all projected exam dates
and holidays. Plan accordingly.
Your TA, Effie Korkou, will hold weekly office hours. Effie will be responsible for all matters
related to your assignments. Please email her, not me, with any and all issues regarding
assignments (how or where to hand them in, grading, etc.).
Barnard College expects students to maintain standards of personal integrity that are in harmony
with the educational goals of the institution. All exams and assignments in this class are to be
completed in accordance with the Barnard Honor Code. Columbia students commit themselves to
this Honor Code upon registering for a Barnard course. The code says, in part:
“We consider it dishonest to ask for, give, or receive help in examinations or quizzes, to use any
papers or books not authorized by the instructor in examinations, or to present oral work or
written work that is not entirely our own, unless otherwise approved by the instructor. We consider
it dishonest to remove without authorization, alter, or deface library and other academic
Please read the whole syllabus and familiarize yourself with its content. You are the only person
that can make sure you are informed and up to date.
If you miss a lecture, you are responsible for the material covered in your absence as well as for
handing in assignments by their due date. You are responsible for having a working e-mail inbox
AND for checking it regularly (at least once per lecture) for messages and/or class announcements.
Likewise, check the Courseworks page and its content regularly.
Come to every class on time, stay for the entire class unless you have to leave. In that case, please
let me know in advance and sit near the door so the disturbance you will generate when you exit is
During class, please turn your cell phone off or put it away. I do not chat, text or check my
messages during class. I expect you are able to do the same.
When you come for office hours, please send an e-mail in advance making an appointment and
summarize in a couple of sentences the subject of your consultation, question, etc. This helps us
efficiently manage attendance to office hours and make sure we can dedicate enough time to all. If
you have another class during Effie’s or my office hours, please send us an e-mail to make an
appointment for some other, mutually convenient time.
Disabled students who need test or classroom accommodations must be registered in advance with
the Office of Disability Services (ODS) in 105 Hewitt.
This course schedule is tentative and may be subject to changes according to class dynamics.
Jan. 19
Jan. 21
Textbook Chapter/Content
Course overview
1. First Principles
2. Economic Models: Trade-offs and Trade
Jan. 26
2. Economic Models: Trade-offs and Trade
Jan. 28
3. Supply and Demand I
Feb. 2
3. Supply and Demand II
Feb. 4
4. Price Controls and Quotas I
Homework 1 due
Feb. 9
4. Price Controls and Quotas II
Homework 2 posted
Feb. 11
5. Elasticity (we will not do Taxation) I
Feb. 16
5. Elasticity (we will not do Taxation) II
Homework 1 posted
Homework 2 due
Feb. 18
Feb. 23
Midterm 1
Feb. 25
6. Behind the Supply Curve: Inputs and Costs I
March 1
6. Behind the Supply Curve: Inputs and Costs II
March 3
6. Behind the Supply Curve: Inputs and Costs III
March 8
7. Perfect Competition & Supply Curve I
March 10
7. Perfect Competition & Supply Curve II
Homework 3 posted
Homework 3 due
March 15
Spring Break
March 17
Spring Break
March 22
March 24
March 29
8. Monopoly (briefly also Oligopoly, and
Monopolistic Competition) I
8. Monopoly (briefly also Oligopoly, and
Monopolistic Competition) II
9. Externalities and Public Goods
Homework 4 posted
Homework 4 due
March 31
April 5
Textbook Chapter/Content
Midterm 2
April 7
April 12
10. Macroeconomics: The Big Picture
Homework 5 posted
11. GDP and the CPI: Tracking the
Macroeconomy I
April 14
April 19
11. GDP and the CPI: Tracking the
Macroeconomy II
11. GDP and the CPI: Tracking the
Macroeconomy III
April 21
12. Unemployment and Inflation
April 26
13. Economic Growth
Homework 5 due
Homework 6 posted
Homework 6 due
April 28
May 6 to 12 - Final Examination Week
Final Exam tentatively projected for Tuesday May 10th, 1:10-4:00pm