Syllabus for G300 (December 1, 1999)

Eric Rasmusen

  1. Basics
  2. Course Objectives
  3. Course Materials
  4. Assignments and Grading
  5. Office Hours and My Availability
  6. Course Schedule


Course Objectives

G300 is a course on intermediate microeconomics for business managers. It is the core requirement for the major in Business Economics and Public Policy, and hence contains the most important theory needed for that major. The two central issues are how to allocate scarce resources to make profit-maximizing decisions and how competive and strategic markets work. These will be approached using two of the most important tools in economics: price theory and game theory.

Assignments and Grading

Final course grades will be calculated from one of the following two scales:

Scale I:

Scale II: I will compute your score with each scale, and use the higher of the two scores yo have. This is designed to adjust for those of you who take longer to get used to the economic way of thinking but do succeed in the end, which often happens. (Of couse, some people never do get it...)

The quizzes, midterm, and final will contain a combination of types of questions. Multiple choice, short answer, and essay questions are all possible.

If, for some reason, you do not complete part of an assignment, write a short memo on a separate page explaining why. "Short" can mean one sentence; "memo" means the explanation says what you should have done, what you have actually done, and why there is a difference.

The problem sets will be done in groups and will be pass-fail, but with a penalty for being late. Each of you will hand in a separate copy, which may not be a xerox of someone else's, but the answers may be identical. I want you all to get the learning which comes from writing down ideas. Many of the test questions will be identical or very similar to the homework problems.

I will automatically subtract points for each of the following common stylistic mistakes in assignments:

  1. Confusion of "Affect" and "Effect".
  2. Confusion of "It's" and "Its".
  3. Use of "Impact" as a verb.
  4. Not dating an assignment.
  5. Confusion of "Loose" and "Lose".
Since we have a relatively small number of people in the class, we should take advantage of that with give and take during the lectures. I strongly suggest that you do the reading before class. Attendance is also necessary to get the full benefit out of this class, and I will pass around an attendance sheet. If you arrive late, come up after class to sign in. You may be absent 2 sessions without hurting your professionalism grade (though I don't recommend it unless you have a special reason).

I encourage you to check on my arithmetic in the adding up of points on tests. I'd appreciate your letting me know if I gave you too many points, but I won't reduce your grade in that case. I will not engage in oral discussions of particular grades, but if you think a mistake has been made in the grading of any assignment, I will be happy to read a written memo detailing the problem, even if the memo is just an inquiry on something unclear. A memo can be as short as "My scores on Quiz 3 add to 24, not 23; see my attached quiz," but it must be in writing. I encourage you to discuss test answers with me so you understand where you went wrong, but it should be understood that these discussions are entirely separate from any question of grading. High grades in this course will come from learning, not from lobbying.

Please bring to class the readings we are discussing that day.

``Professionalism'' means acting as a business professional would: attending class regularly, being polite and helpful to other students, handing assignments in on time, asking good questions, not sleeping in class, and so forth. (You don't have to wear a business suits, though.) It includes, but is not limited to attendance, having a nameplate in front of you. sending in email votes on cases, saying something in class occasionally during the semester, saying especially useful things in class, and input from teammates. "Miscellaneous assignments" refers to such things as case votes or impromptu short write-ups.

Please remember to bring the nameplates I will give you to class. They are not just for me, but for your fellow classmates too, so put your name on both front and back. If you lose your nameplate, make yourself a new one.

Announcements and Changes

Although I will generally stick to the policies and schedule outlined in the syllabus, various contingencies (snow days, illness, etc.) may require changes, and some topics may carry over from one session to the next. Announcements of changes might be made either in class or through email messages to you. You are responsible for knowledge of any and all announcements made in class and, within 24 hours, for any and all announcements made by e-mail (so check your e-mail daily).

Academic Misconduct

Any student committing an act of Academic Misconduct, as defined in the Code of Student Ethics, will be subject to any and all sanctions defined therein. Cheating is obviously dishonest, and I will not tolerate it. If you are worried about the boundary between using sources and plagiarism, please ask me. Note that signing attendance for an absent classmate is a form of cheating. If you observe cheating of any kind, you have a duty both to the university and to your non-cheating classmates to notify me.

Office Hours and My Availability

My office hours are Wednesday 2-4 in BU 456 (or by appointment-- please call 5-9219 or send me e-mail at [email protected]). My office is on the 4th floor at the north end of the business building. Feel free to stop by any time. If my door is even a little bit open, that means you can knock and have a good chance of finding me able to talk. If it is closed, I am probably not there, or am on the phone, or am otherwise busy. You can also drop by during office hours or make an appointment, or use email to contact me. I am often in my office on Saturdays, but the outer doors are closed after 5 and on weekends, so call me at 855-3356 or email me.

You can also send me email via a web form. The difference is that comments via the form are anonymous unless you sign your message.

I will put any extras I may have of handouts in the G300 mailbox across from my office door.

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