Economics 501B: Microeconomics
Fall 2017
Meets Tuesdays and Thursdays, 9:30 - 10:45, in McClelland 401KK

  Lecture Notes     Exercises     Exams     Readings     Books for Checkout     Edgeworth Box Applet


Professor: Mark Walker.
    Office hours: Tuesdays and Thursdays 1:00 to 1:45, in McClelland 401NN,
      or send me an email to arrange a time to meet:

Teaching Assistant: Wenhao Wu

Lecture Notes and Textbooks:There is no specific textbook for the course; the lecture notes cover the content of the course and essentially serve as the textbook. The notes are available at the Lecture Notes page of this website. Several actual textbooks are useful resources:

Books Available for Checkout: All six of the books above, and several others you might find useful, are available for checkout from the Department's Barr Library. Checkout information is available here.

Course Outline:

1. Market equilibrium.
      Focus on prices and quantities, and on individual behavior as the foundation for models of interaction among economic agents. Single market ("partial") equilibrium and "general" equilibrium. Pure exchange model and Edgeworth box. Definition of equilibrium; the implicit role of time; price-taking behavior. Comparative statics and the Implicit Function Theorem. Existence of market equilibrium.

2. Economic Welfare.
      Aggregation of individuals' preferences. Pareto improvements, Pareto ordering, Pareto efficiency. Characterization by marginal conditions. The two duality theorems of demand theory. The two "classical welfare theorems". Social welfare function. Arrow's Theorem (if time permits).

3. Market equilibrium and welfare with production.
      Fisher's separation theorem: Robinson, Wilson, and Mizuno. The "adding-up" problem: surplus and profit. Returns-to-scale phenomena. Marginal conditions with production. Intertemporal GE model.

4. Recontracting equilibrium (the core).
      Recontracting (unilateral improvements by subgroups). The Pareto frontier. Market equilibrium and the core. The importance of the "size" of the economy. The replication model of large economies. The Core Equivalence Theorem. The continuum model of large economies.

5. Uncertainty, time, and incomplete markets.
      Modeling uncertainty and information. Securities, forward and spot markets, and Arrow-Debreu equilibrium. Incomplete markets, temporary equilibrium, and rational expectations.

6. Non-price-taking behavior ("Imperfect Competition").
      Monopoly, market power, and price-setting behavior. Strategic equilibrium in oligopoly: Cournot, Bertrand, and Stackelberg equilibirum. Bertrand equilibrium when products are homogeneous. Collusion: the core. Comparing strategic market equilibrium, collusion, and competitive equilibrium: Pareto efficiency and consumer surplus.

7. Strategic behavior in general: Game Theory.
      Noncooperative game theory and Nash equilibrium. The Prisoners' Dilemma. Extensive-form games. Entry deterrence and the Chain Store Paradox. The importance of the number of participants. Auctions (if time permits).

8. Externalities and public goods.
      External economies and diseconomies. Pigovian taxes and subsidies. Strategic issues. Public goods. Lindahl equilibrium, Arrow-Debreu equilibrium, the "Coase Theorem", and the role of the size of markets (with and without externalities). Mechanism design.

9. Other topics, as time permits.
      Liquidity and bank runs. Overlapping generations models. Disequilibrium behavior and stability. Voting and aggregation of preferences.

Note: Economics 501C covers game theory, informational issues (such as asymmetric information, signalling, moral hazard), and mechanism design. These topics are therefore treated only briefly, if at all, in Economics 501B.

Exercises, Quizzes, Exams, and Grading:

An Exercise Book is available for the course. Solutions for some of the exercises will be made available as well. Weekly exercises will be assigned from the Exercise Book. Most weeks one or two of the assigned exercises will be graded. There may occasionally be a brief quiz at the end of a lecture; the quiz will be one of the exercises you were assigned earlier, or very similar to one of the exercises.

There will be at least one mid-term exam and a comprehensive final exam. The course grade will be determined mostly by performance on the final exam, in the following way: If you do at least as well on the final exam as you did on the midterm exam, the final exam grade will be your course grade. But if you do worse on the final exam, then the midterm exam, the exercises, and the quizzes will be taken into account in determining your course grade.

!! There will be no make-up exams !!     Mark Walker's Home Page