This is the course website for Vanderbilt Economics 8100. This is the first course of the PhD microeconomics core sequence. The course will cover the fundamentals of consumer theory, theory of the firm, and simple markets in partial equilibrium. This page will be continuously updated throughout the semester. Please check it on a regular basis. Consider subscribing to changes using a service such as Visual Ping or Wachete.
There will be an assignment roughly each week. Problems will be added to the schedule about two weeks before the assignment is due. You must type your homework. This is the perfect time for you to learn to type in LATEX. There are many online resources for learning LATEX. One particularly easy way to get started with LATEX is through the very user-friendly editor called Lyx. There will be a learning curve at first. Embrace it. This is an investment.
There will be one midterms and a final exam. They are tentatively placed in the schedule below. Grading will be based 30% on midterm exam, 50% on the final exam, and 20% on homework.
My office hours: Tuesday 11:00-12:00pm on zoom and by appointment. TA: Ji hye Heo. Office Hours: Wed 9:30-10:30am
All office hours held on zoom. For links, see brightspace.
Week 1 (Sept 1,3) Choice. 1.1 Primitive Notions. 1.2 Preferences and Utility. A1.4 Real Value Functions.
Additional Reading: Rubinstein Lecture Notes Chapter 1.
Problem Set 1: (Due Sept 8. Please type and turn-on on Brightspace.) Prove that Choice Coherence implies Independence of Irelevant Alternatives J&R: 1.2, 1.4, 1.5 (a), (d), and (f), 1.6, and 1.9.
Try these for a deeper understanding of lexicographic preferences.
Week 2 (Sept 8,10) 1.3 The Consumer Problem. A2.1 Calculus. A2.2 Optimization.
Can preferences with a “Bad” be Strictly Monotonic?
What kind of preferences generate a Cobb-Douglas utility function?
Problem Set 2 (Due Sept 17): J&R: A.1.5, A.1.7 Parts c and d, A.1.9, A1.42, A1.46, A1.47 A.1.48
J&R: 1.12, 1.15, 1.20, 1.21, 1.27,
For A1.42 prove that the function has convex better-than sets. I am not sure what “A” refers to.
Problem Set 3: (Due Oct 8) J&R: A.1.32, A.1.36, A.1.49, A.2.12, A.2.13, A.2.14
J&R: 1.37, 1.46, 1.53, 1,56, 1.64, 1.63, 1.67
Sketch some indifference curves of:
U(x1,x2)=min(x1∗x2,x1) and find the Marshalian Demand, Hicksian Demand, Expendature Function, and Indirect Utility Function.
Week 4: (Sept 22,24)
1.5 Properties of Consumer Demand.
Week 6: (Oct 6, Oct 8)
Live Lecture Notes Week 6
Week 7: (Oct 13, Oct 15)
2.4 Uncertainty, Midterm Exam
Live Lecture Notes Week 7
Midterm Exam Oct 15 Midterm exam covering material through and including 1.5.
Problem Set: (Due Oct. 29)
These Problems and J&R 2.19, 2.25, 2.26 2.27.
4.2 Imperfect Competition.
Live Lecture Notes Week 11 Part 1
4.3 Equilibrium and Welfare.
Helpful Tips I wrote these with my classmate Zach Bethune when I was a student. They have come in handy for me many times. If you find an error, or have a suggestion about something to add, let me know.