Ph.D. Microeconomics

90-908

Units: 12

Description: Microeconomics is the study of the ways in which individuals and firms make choices, and how these choices interact. Economics shares with other behavioral sciences the general goal of explaining and predicting human behavior. The distinguishing feature of the economic approach is an emphasis on rational decision-making under conditions of scarcity. Because of the central role of markets, i.e., the price system, in describing the outcomes of individual and firm decision-making, microeconomics is sometimes called price theory. Ph.D. Microeconomics I provides a semester-long introduction to microeconomic theory and its application. The primary objective of the course is to familiarize students with the microeconomic paradigm, and develop an appreciation of the usefulness (and limitations) of microeconomic analysis. A further goal of the course is to develop and exercise students’ ability to use economic analysis in examining applied issues, and, more generally, to help students acquire formal modeling skills—the ability to reduce real-world problems to useful and mathematically tractable representations. This course is designed for the following students: (i) Ph.D. students who want to increase their exposure to microeconomics, but do not expect to use formal microeconomics in their research (i.e., students for whom this course is likely to be their last course in microeconomics); (ii) Ph.D. students who plan to study microeconomics beyond the introductory level of this course, but do not have the background for the Ph.D. economic theory sequence offered at the Tepper School; and (iii) masters level students (or perhaps the occasional undergraduate) with an especially high level of interest and a good background in mathematics. Note that this course is not a close substitute for the first course in the Tepper School microeconomics sequence (Ph.D. Intermediate Microeconomics). Some students may find this course to be a useful supplementary course to Ph.D. Intermediate Microeconomics. Students who have sufficient preparation are encouraged to investigate the Ph.D. Intermediate Microeconomics offered at the Tepper School. There are no formal prerequisites for this course. However, students are assumed to have a solid working knowledge of multivariate calculus. You will take a brief math quiz in the first lecture to help you determine whether your math training is sufficient for the course. Prior exposure to microeconomics, in a good undergraduate-level course, is helpful but not required.

Syllabus: 90-908_PhD_Microeconomics_I_Syllabus_F18.pdf