ECON 312 Principles of Economics All Discussions
Week 1 Discussion
Opportunity Cost (Graded)
Give an example of how the Principle of Opportunity Cost applies to your life. Think of a recent decision you made. It could be a decision as simple as whether to eat out or cook your own dinner, or it could be a decision to quit your job and go back to school. What alternatives did you consider? How did you arrive at your final decision? Did you implicitly weigh marginal cost and marginal benefit? How does the concept of opportunity cost apply to production possibilities curve (PPC) analysis? How can we use PPC analysis to examine what we do?
Week 2 Discussion
Demand, Supply, and Market Equilibrium
Think about a product that you have purchased recently (e.g. soda, diapers, takeout meals, milk, shoes, manicure/pedicure, video game, etc.). Explain how the law of demand affected your purchase. Give specific examples of how the determinants of demand and supply affect this product (T-I-P-E-N and P-R-E-S-T). What happens to the demand curve and the supply curve when any of these determinants change? Give examples of scenarios that would cause a change in demand versus a movement along the same demand curve and supply curve for this product. Discuss the new equilibrium price and quantity that result from these changes. Can you demonstrate some of these changes graphically?
Week 3 Discussion
A Firm’s Shut Down Decision (Graded)
Say you are the manager of a perfectly competitive firm selling a product. Your business is making a loss because total revenue is less than total costs. What would you do–shut down or continue to operate? Use hypothetical numbers to explain. Information you need to provide include–state the product you are selling, the price of the product, the quantity of the product you produce, fixed costs, total cost, figure out total revenue, total and average variable costs. Then go ahead and make your decision. Explain carefully why it makes better sense to shut down rather than continue to operate or to continue to operate rather than shut down, as the case may be. How do fixed costs play a role in your analysis? What is the difference between shutting down and going out of business?
Week 4 Discussions
Go to the Bureau of Economic Analysis website, www.bea.gov, and access the BEA interactively by selecting “National Accounts” and then “National Income and Product Account Tables.” Select “Frequently Requested NIPA Tables,” and find Table 1.1.1 on GDP. What is the current GDP growth rate for the U.S.? Examine the trend over the past few years. What trends interest you? What stage of the Business Cycle would the U.S. economy be in currently given the trends? Why might GDP not be considered an accurate measure of economic well-being of a country? Identify at least three limitations of GDP as a measure of economic well-being.
Week 5 Discussion
Aggregate Demand and Aggregate Supply (Graded)
Go to the BEA website www.bea.gov. On the left tab under Publications, go to the Interactive Data Tables. Select National Income and Product Accounts. From Table 1.1.6 and 1.1.7 examine all four components of GDP (C, I, G, and Xn). Which of these four components of AD declined the most during the 2007 and 2009 recession? Do you think an increase in government’s spending (G) can boost the Aggregate Demand (AD) in a recession? Analyze why the economy may operate below full-employment GDP in the short run. How can the multiplier have a negative effect? What is the relationship between the multiplier and the marginal propensities? Explain.
Week 6 Discussion
Money and Banking (Graded)
What factors led to the mortgage default crisis? How did mortgage defaults affect banks involved in mortgage lending and mortgage investing? Securitization? TARP? What do these mean? How did mortgage-backed securities spread losses during the mortgage default crisis? How does TARP illustrate the problem of moral hazard? What did the Federal Reserve do during the financial crisis of 2008 and 2009? How did the recent financial crisis affect the financial services industry? What are some of the major provisions of the Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act?
Week 7 Discussion
Free Trade (Graded)
Are you for or against free trade? Are you for or against NAFTA? What is the economic basis for trade? Explain the underlying facts that support free trade and give an example of a good that you purchased recently that is based on resource differences. What are some examples of goods that the U.S. has comparative advantage in producing? Take a look at the tag of the shirt/dress/pants you are wearing today. Where was it made? Anyone wearing “Made in America” items of clothing today? We sometimes hear people say “Buy American.” Why don’t we? What is the basis of international trade? What are the benefits and the costs? Under what conditions would you advocate for trade restrictions?
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