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Department and Course #: ECON 101


Academic Term: FALL 2009, SESSION I

Class Time: TUESDAY AND THURSDAY, 5:45p-8:00p

Academic Division: SOCIAL SCIENCES

Instructor: TOM SCHENK

Telephone Number: 515-481-0774




1. Demostrate abilities to conduct research to access relevant information and then communicate the
results of the research to others in written and oral format.
2. Demonstrate abilities to work in a team environment, as a leader and as a follower, to generate solutions
to specific situations.
3. Develop skills in analyzing business situations and recommend courses of action that show a thorough
understanding of the internal and external envorments.
*Learning as Knowledge
The student will:
1. Identify the definition(s) of economics and macroeconomics
2. Identify the basic principles of the law of supply, law of demand, and market equilibrium.
3. Identify and understand the principles of unemployment, interest rates, fiscal, and
monetary policy.
4. Understand the economy as a system.

*Learning as Process or Behavior

The student will:
1. Relate political economy systems to the U.S. and other economies.
2. Study how the market system allocates products and services to consumers.
3. Apply economic theory in real-world applications
4. Learn how policy affects all the elements of the economy.
*Learning as Attitude
The student will:
1. Appreciate the basic underlying dilemma of economics.
2. Develop an awareness of how economics impacts their daily lives.
3. Appreciate the complex interactions in an economy.

• Elements of economics: political economy, science, and moral philosophy
• Economic institutions
• Trade-offs (opportunity cost) and the formation of an economy
• Supply and Demand: individual choice to market equilibrium
• Economic Growth and Decline – recessions and booms
• Inflation and Unemployment
• Measuring economic activity
• Building a model of economic activity
• Monetary and Fiscal Policy
Time permitting:
• Loan defaults and the financial crisis
• Current economic policy and the potential effects

Instructional procedures for this course will include lectures, class discussions, “company” (group) exercises,
case analysis, and individual assignments. Students will successfully pass the class if they aforementioned


1. Textbook: Economics by David Colander, 7th Edition, McGraw-Hill, Irwin: 2006

ISBN: 0-07-340286-9
2. Periodicals: The Economist, The Wall Street Journal, The Des Moines Register, New York
3. Blogs: See Homework #1
4. Course website:

Y = 0.2 • E1 + 0.2 • E 2 + 0.3 • F + 0.2 • A + 0.07 • P + 0.03 • C

Y = total score;
E1 = Exam 1
E2 = Exam 2
F = Final
A = Assignments
P = Participation
C = Company Score

Exams: Two exams will be administered throughout the semester. The exams will consist of a multiple choice,
argument, and long problems. Multiple choice questions will test basic economic vocabulary and elementary
relationships. Argument questions will ask the student to reply to a normative statement using economic
reasoning taught in class. I may use quotes from recent periodicals and/or blog posts. Finally, long problems will
be multi-part and will test whether the student can work through an economic model. Each exam will implicitly
be cumulative insofar as the principles of economics are tightly intertwined, but the emphasis will be on the
contemporary lesson.

Final: The final will explicitly be cumulative, although the emphasis will be slightly more on the latter third of
the class. The format will be similar to exams: multiple choice, essay, and long problems. The test is worth
slightly more and, thus, will be slightly longer than exams.

Assignments: Assignments will be given throughout the semester through the course website. Homework will
be distributed on Tuesday and will be due at the beginning of the following Tuesday. Assignments will be graded
using the following metric: 0 = did not turn in; 1-2 = tried without serious effort; 3-4 = tried with effort;
5=(nearly) perfect Assignments are not meant to be taxing, but to help the student prepare for exams and the
final. Most assignments will involve a question that will resemble an exam’s ‘long problem.’

Participation: Students are expected to regularly participate in classes and, if not in class, in out-of-class
communication with the professor. Lack of participation and irregular attendance will be especially noticed if the
student is struggling in class. The professor will warmly reward struggling students who seek help through email
and questions.

Company Score: Students will be randomly assigned to companies of 3 to 4 individuals, depending on the final
class size. Companies will accumulate points throughout the semester based on exams, assignments,
participation, and any other metric the professor feels is appropriate. These activities are meant to be fun and
introspective, while being educational. At the end of the semester, points will be assigned as the inverse of
company rank multiplied by 100, e.g., first place: (1/1)*100 = 100, second: (½)*100 = 50, etc. The company
score is especially helpful toward boarderline students.

Final Grade: Letter grades will be assigned as follows:

A = 90-100%
B = 80-89%
C = 70-79%
D = 60-69%
F = < 60%


Assignments will be due at the beginning of class every Tuesday and tests will be given on the days denoted
below. Late assignments will be penalized 40 percent. Students must notify the professor of an upcoming
absence. Students will be allowed to make up exams ONLY when the professor received prior notification for
the inability to complete the exams. In extreme cases where prior notification is impossible, the student must
provide written documentation—not by the student—explaining the absence. Students who miss a test for an
unexcused absence will receive a zero.


Students will be expected to attend every class. Attendance in the first week is mandatory. Irregular attendance
will be reflected in participation and company exercise scores. Those who already anticipate missing two or
more classes are encouraged to enroll at another time. Those who are dropped from class due to absences may
lose financial aid.


Modern economics is intensely mathematics, but few people possess the training to grasp a mathematical model.
As such, economics is typically communicated in written periodicals so it is no coincidence that well-known
economists tend to be good writers—e.g., Paul Krugman, Herny James, John Gailbraith, and Milton Friedman.
Employers often lament and seek those with sharp writing ability. Although writing ability is hard to notice
during an application procedure, employers will often quickly promote those who effectively communicate.

This class will challenge student to reply to assertions during an examination. Students will need to synthesize
economic theory and writing to convince the professor the original argument was either fallacious or correct.
This experience will be different from writing an essay or research paper. Argument portions of the exam will
give the student little room to wonder or “add fluff”.


Economics is truly an interdisciplinary subject involving political theory, moral philosophy, mathematics, and
elements of all social sciences. This course will be based around the cold logical and mathematical aspects often
satirized in TV and movies. However, this class will also overtly emphasis applications of economic theory and
briefly highlight the moral philosophy and political philosophy elements.

Readings are divided into three tiers: mandatory (***), suggested (**), and voluntary (*). Mandatory readings
should be completed prior to the beginning of class, with the exception of the first week. Suggested readings are
not mandatory, but will help the student understand the mandatory content if needed. The suggested readings will
often re-explain the material from a slightly different perspective, much like the function of this sentence to the
former sentence. Lastly, voluntary readings are tangential to the topic—interesting, but not necessary knowledge
for the class. These readings will delve into political theory, philosophy, and other classical writings that will add
to the student’s comprehensive knowledge. Students will not be tested over the material and absolutely should
complete other assignments first. I hope this syllabus will be a resource for the student after the class has been

25 Aug: Review of the syllabus and introduction
What is Economics?
***Chp. 1 – Colander
**An Essay on the Nature & Significance of Economic Science. Lionel Robbins, 1945:
**“Politics versus Economics” in Applied Economics: Thinking Beyond Stage One. Thomas Sowell,
2004: pp. 1-29.
*(Negative Liberty) “Economic Liberalism—introduction” in Western Liberalism: A History in
Documents from Locke to Croce. Eds. E.K. Bramsted and K.J. Melhuish, 1978: pp. 250-258.
*(Socialism) “The Elements of Socialism” in The Strength and Weakness and Socialism. Richard T.
Ely, 1899: pp. 9-18.
*(Corporatism) “Economic Fascism” by Thomas J. Dilorenzo in The Freeman: Ideas on Liberty.
Foundation for Economic Education, Vol. 44(6): 1994
Economic institutions
***Chp. 3 – Colander
Guns and butter: opportunity cost and the beginnings of an economy
27 Aug: Production possibilities frontier
***Chp. 2 – Colander
**Chp. 2, Appendix A – Colander
Supply, demand, and equilibrium
***Chp. 4 – Colander
Algebra Review
Find your favorite algebra book and/or begin Chp. 5, Appendix A – Colander, pp. 121-123
1 Sep: Supply, demand, and equilibrium (con’t)
***Chp. 4 – Colander
3 Sep: The Macroeconomy: Growth, Business Cycles, and Inflation
***Chp. 22 – Colander
8 Sep: TEST #1 (Chps. 1 – 4)

10 Sep: The Macroeconomy: Growth, Business Cycles, and Inflation

***Chp. 22 – Colander
15 Sep: Primordial Question: Growth and the Wealth of Nations
***Chp. 8 – Colander
*F.A. Hayek, “The Use of Knowledge in Society.” American Economic Review. September 1945.
*James A. Kagn and Robert W. Rich, “Tracking Productivity in Real Time.” Current Issues in
Economics and Finance. Vol. 12(8), November 2006.
17 Sep: Model Building: The Keysian Model – AD/AS
***Chp. 25 – Colander
22 Sep: Model Building II: Multipliers
***Chp. 26 – The Multiplier Model
24 Sep: Test (Chps. 22 – 26)
29 Sep: Money
***Chp. 27 – Colander
***Chp. 27, Appendix A – Colander
1 Oct: Monetary Policy & How Economists Were Once Wrong
***Chp. 28 – Colander
6 Oct: Fiscal Policy
***Chp. 30 – Colander
8 Oct: Current Events (TBD)
15 Oct: Final (Chps. 1 – 4, 22 – 28, 30; emphasis on 22-28, 30)

Revised: 4/13/04, 6/24/05, 8/01/06, 12/21/06, 6/04/07



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