Econ101 - Introductory Microeconomics

Course Description
Course Grade
Required Books
Class Email List


Lynne Lewis
Pettengill 261
Office Hours: Tuesdays 1:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m.
Wednesdays 10:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.
(Or by appointment)
TA: Nik Dettman; email: ndettman


Course Description:

Welcome to Principles of Microeconomics! This course is designed to introduce you to the basic tools of economics and to help you learn how to apply economic principles to real world issues and problems.

Economics is a behavioral science that deals with scarcity and choice. Microeconomics is the study of how individuals and businesses make choices. Some types of questions we will cover include: What is a market? How are prices set and why? How do individuals make spending decisions? What is the role of the government?

By the end of the semester you will hopefully be able to critically think about issues and questions such as, Do oil markets still support cartels? Why is water so inexpensive? What effect do taxes on cigarettes have? Why the big fuss over Microsoft? What does it mean when we download music for “free?” Was the AOL-Time Warner merger good or bad for competition? Why are dairy farmers in Maine nervous?

Economics is a framework for thinking about issues. Keep in mind that it is one of many frameworks, but a useful one to know and understand. Keeping an open mind and learning where it fits in with other frameworks is key!



There will be three exams in this course – two in-class exams and one final. Midterm #1 will be on Friday, October 15. Midterm #2 will be on Wednesday, December 1. The final exam is scheduled for Tuesday, December 14, 1:15 p.m.

Your highest two scores will count toward your final grade. You may take all three exams or you may skip one exam. This means that if you are satisfied with your grade at the end of the semester, you do not have to take the final. If you need to miss an exam during the semester, you will drop that grade and take the final. There will be no make-up exams.

There will also be an ETS exam during the last week of class.


Course Grade:

There will also be problem sets and in-class projects. Your final grade will be comprised of your grade on two exams, the problem sets and projects, class participation and attendance. Each exam will be worth 40% of your grade. Problem sets will count for 10% and class participation and attendance will count for the final 10%. Please make sure you staple your homework. Multiple loose papers will not be accepted.


Required Books:

The required text for this course is Microeconomics, 2nd Edition by Tregarthen and Rittenberg. I also recommend the study guide that accompanies this book. Both of these should be available at the Bates College Bookstore.

Optional, but recommended: You may want to consider getting a student subscription to the Wall Street Journal. A sign-up form will be available in class.


Course Materials:

You will also need:

  1. Calculator
  2. Colored pencils (recommended, but not required)
  3. Graph paper (recommended, but not required)
  4. Bates email account
  5. An open mind


Class Email List:

There is an email list set up for this class. The name of this list is fecon101b. Please use the list for class-related discussion, course questions, etc. From your Bates account, simply send a message to fecon101b.



Be prepared for class. Readings should be read before class. This will make learning and class participation easier, thus preparing you better for exams and assignments. After doing the reading and attending class, try some of the problems in the study guide to make sure that you understand the material. Working in groups can be helpful and more fun than studying on your own.

If you need additional help, please come to see me during my office hours or see the teaching assistant or ask your study group for additional meetings. Remember, much of economics is common sense. Thinking about and discussing how concepts apply to real world applications will facilitate learning.



We will try to stick to the schedule below, but we will also move at the pace of the class. Please be willing to be flexible. Any changes will be announced in class. Exam dates will NOT change.

Date: Topic: Required Reading:
Week 1:    
9/8 Introductions, What is Economics? Chapter 1
9/10 Choices in Production Chapter 2
Week 2:    
9/13 Supply and Demand Chapters 3-4
915 Supply and Demand (continued) Chapters 3-4
Week 3: No Classes This Week  
Week 4:    
9/27 Supply, Demand and Elasticity Chapter 5
9/29 Elasticity Chapter 5
Week 5:    
10/4 Markets and Market Failure Chapter 6
10/6 Consumer Choice Chapter 7
Week 6:    
10/11 Consumer Choice (continued)  
10/13 Review and Catch Up  
10/15 Midterm  
Week 7:    
10/18 Production and Cost Chapter 8
  Fall Recess  
Week 8:    
10/25 Production and Cost (continued) Chapter 8
10/27 Market Structures: Perfect Competition Chapter 9
Week 9:    
11/1 Market Structures: Monopoly Chapter 10
11/3 Imperfect Competition Chapter 11
Week 10:    
11/8 Imperfect Competition (continued)  
11/10 Public Finance Chapter 15
Week 11:    
11/15 Role of the Government Chapters 15-16
11/17 Anti-Trust Chapter 16
  Thanksgiving Recess  
Week 12:    
11/29 Review and Catch-up  
12/1 Midterm  
Week 13: Applied Topics in Economics  
12/6 ETS Exam (Extra Credit)  
12/8 Environmental Economics Chapters 13-18
12/14 FINAL EXAM 1:15 p.m.