Principles of Macroeconomics

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General course information and requirements

Semester Fall 2012
Course: Economics 216 (Principles of Macroeconomics)
Prerequisite: Economics 215 (Principles of Microeconomics)
Instructor: Robert J. Stonebraker
Office: 401 Thurmond  
Office Phone: 323-2488
Office Hours: MW 3:30 - 5 p.m., TR 9 - 11 a.m., F 11 a.m.  - 12 p.m. (no appointment needed)
                        Other times are available by appointment.

Course objective:

The course is designed to give students a solid foundation in understanding and applying basic macroeconomic concepts. In doing so, the course links to the following University-Level Competencies:
Winthrop graduates think critically and solve problems: The course will challenge students to think critically about a wide range of current macroeconomic issues.
Winthrop graduates understand the interconnected nature of the world and the time in which they live: The course will help students appreciate and understand the U.S. economy and economic policies affect and are affected by those of other countries.
In addition, as a Social Science in the Touchstone Program, this course will assist students to better analyze and understand human behavior. It involves the following Touchstone goals:
To acquire and appreciate quantitative skills: Quantitative data and relationships are an integral part of any course in economics.  Students will study how to calculate, critique and analyze such quantitative measures as as real and nominal gross domestic product, price indexes, unemployment rates, exchange rates and trade balances.
To use critical thinking, problem-solving skills and a variety of research methods: Students will be expected to critically analyze a wide variety of macroeconomic policy initiatives.
Understand the nature of social and cultural conflict and methods of resolution: Social and cultural conflict often originates with the disparate goals of consumers and producers, of competing producers, and of competing interest groups. Students will learn to appreciate how an efficient economic system can resolve these conflicts in a way that maximizes overall social value.
Examine problems, issues and choices that confront citizens of the world: Students will be expected to analyze such critical issues as economic growth, unemployment, inflation, financial system stability, national debt and trade deficits.
Brief Principles of Macroeconomics, 6th edition, by N. Gregory Mankiw. Although exam questions are based on the lecture material, the text material closely parallels the lectures. Good lecture notes and conscientious textbook reading reinforce each other.  I also have included links below to a number of instructional YouTube videos that you might find useful to help you better understand course topics.
The grading will be straight letter grades: no plusses or minuses. Three exams will determine 94% of your grade. Two short writing assignments will determine the remaining 6% of your grade. The weight for each assignment is:

Click here for a spreadsheet that will calculate your course average.
Exam questions will stress analysis rather than factual information and will be based on the material presented in class. You will be expected to write short essay/explanation answers and to solve graphical and numerical problems. Students caught copying/cheating will be dealt with harshly. The final exam will be given at 8 a.m. on Monday, December 10 and will include some specified review material.  Calculators will not be permitted during exams.  College students should be able to do arithmetic. The approximate grading scale will be:

        86 - 100%      A
        72 - 85%        B
        60 - 71%        C
        50 - 59%        D
          0 - 49%        F
Make-up policy:
Make-up exams will be given to students with what I judge to be a valid excuse. Needing more time to study is not a valid excuse. If you can't make an exam I expect to be notified as quickly as possible, preferably before the exam. Students who do not notify me in a timely manner should not expect a make-up exam.
Writing Assignments:
Students will be expected to write two short papers comparing macroeconomic statistics from countries of their choice. For detailed instructions, click on: Writing Assignment Instructions.
Problem Sets:
A number of problem sets will be distributed though the semester.  You will not be asked to turn them in and they will not be graded. The answers are posted on this course web page. It will be your responsibility to do these problems, check the answers, and ask questions about any that are not clear. Although the problem sets are not graded, students who are serious about learning the material and doing well in the course will complete them.  Similar problems will appear on exams.
Cell phones and related devices:
I expect to never see these in class. That means no texting and no checking messages; even under the desk where you think I will not see them.  Each time I see a student using/checking such a device I will deduct one point from his/her final average.
Attendance policy:
While I expect you to attend every class on time and will hold you responsible for all class material whether or not you attend, there are no attendance requirements.   However, students who do miss frequently without cause should not expect me to go over the missed material with them, nor will they be welcome in any review sessions that I might hold.
Course withdrawal:
Friday, October 19, 2012 is last day to withdraw from a full fall semester course.  (Automatic N grade is issued.)  Students may not withdraw from a course after this date without documented extenuating circumstances.
Students with Disabilities:
Winthrop University is dedicated to providing access to education.  If you have a disability and require specific accommodations to complete this course, contact the Office of Disability Services at 323-3290 as soon as possible.  Once you have your Professor Notification Form please tell me so that I am aware of your accommodations well before the first assignment.
As a student you should expect me to take my class responsibilities seriously.  You should expect me to deliver quality instruction in each class, to start and end each class on time, to be responsive to student perspectives and questions, and to treat each of you with respect.  As an instructor, in addition to adherence to Winthropís Code of Student Conduct, I expect similarly responsible behavior from you. 


Course Outline


I. Fundamental Concepts: How an Economy Works
A. Scarcity and choice
     chapters 1 and 2 (skim)
B. Supply and demand
     chapter 4
     Demand and Supply: An Overview
     Video: Determinants of Demand
     Video: Shifting the Demand Curve
     Video: Supply Shifts
     Video: Market Equilbrium
     Video: Demand Shifts and Equilibrium
     Video: Supply Shifts and Equilibrium
     Demand and Supply: Sample Problems
C. Trade and comparative advantage
     chapter 3
     Video: Production Possibilities Frontier
     Video: PPF and Increasing Opportunity Costs
     Video: Comparative Advantage
     Video: Nobody Knows How to Do Anything
     International Trade
     Petition of the Candle Makers
II. Introduction to Macroeconomic Concepts
A. Gross domestic product
     chapter 5
     Video: GDP
     Video: Real and Nominal GDP
B. Inflation and price indexes
     chapter 6
     Video: GDP Deflator (or Price Index)
     Video: Inflation and Price Indexes
III. Long-run Macroeconomics in a Closed, Real Economy
A. Growth and productivity
     chapter 7
     Video: Growth and the PPF

EXAM #1: Approximately Monday, September 24

B. Loanable funds and financial markets
     chapters 8 and 9
     Video: Future and Present Value
C. Causes and effects of unemployment
     chapter 10
     Video: Measuring Unemployment
IV. Money and Prices
A. Money and the Federal Reserve System
     chapter 11
     Money; What and Why
     Escape from the Barter Islands: An Interactive Game
     Video: Structure of the Fed
     Video: Money Creation
B. Causes and effects of inflation
     chapter 12 (ignore graphs on pp. 247-248)

EXAM #2: Approximately Monday, November 5

V. Long-run Macroeconomics in an Open Economy
A. International flows and exchange rates
     chapter 13
     Demand and Supply Applied: Exchange Rates
     Video: Exchange Rates
B. Equilibrium in an open economy
     chapter 14
VI. Short-Run Macroeconomics
A. Aggregate demand and aggregate supply
     Overview of AS
     Video: Short Run and Long Run AS
     chapter 15
B. Monetary and fiscal policy
     chapter 16 and pp. 412-419 in chapter 18
     Video: Fiscal Policy
     Video: Fiscal Policy
     Video: Monetary Policy Tools
     Video: Links from Monetary Policy to Real Output 
VI. Current Macroeconomic Debates
A. Deficits and debt
     pp. 423-426 in chapter 18
     The National Debt: So What?
B. Supply-side tax policy
     pp. 426-429 in chapter 18  

FINAL EXAM: 8 a.m. on Monday, December 10

Are you interested in seeing current economic data? Click the links below for current data on:
     Gross Domestic Product
     National debt
     Distribution of income
     International currency exchange rates

Last modified 08/19/14