Summer Session at CMC

ECON101 CM: Intermediate Microeconomics - Overview

Professor S. Brock Blomberg
Robert Day School of Economics and Finance
Claremont McKenna College

Overview    |    Course Outline

Course Description
An analysis of the determination of price and output under various market conditions, from competition to monopoly. Theories of economic choice are applied to consumers, producers, and resource owners. Techniques of partial equilibrium analysis are stressed.

Prerequisites: ECON 50 and some calculus.

Course Information

Class Location: TBD

Office Hours


Note on availability: Please do not call me at home. There are plenty of opportunities to find me during the day. I will not be available on weekends or in the evening unless a review is scheduled.


  • (Primary) Pindyck, Microeconomics: 7th Edition

Learning Objectives
At completion of this course, students will be able to:

  • Solve the consumer's utility maximization problem to derive demand
  • Solve the firm's cost minimization problem to derive input demands and compute the cost function
  • Use the cost function to solve the perfectly competitive firm's profit maximization problem and derive supply
  • Evaluate the impacts of changes in exogenous variables on the optimal behavior of consumers and firms and the resulting impacts on utility and profits
  • Use equilibrium analysis to understand the links between individual behavior and market-level outcomes in competitive markets
  • Assess and quantify the impacts of public policies on competitive markets
  • Evaluate the implications of departures from perfect competition, such as markets with externalities, public goods, monopolies, or imperfect competition

Grading Criteria

  • Problem Sets - 10%
  • First Midterm - 25%
  • Second Midterm - 25%
  • Final - 40%

Problem sets will generally be assigned every week. Due dates for each problem set will be clearly spelled out and late assignments will docked 50% of the total point value automatically. Problem sets will be graded primarily on my perception of student's effort. Skipped questions, completely incorrect answers, and answers without explanations and relevant work shown will be penalized.

While grading details are given above, the true keys to success in this class are listed below in order of importance:

  1. Attend and participate in class. Economics is a difficult subject with a language that is often difficult to comprehend at first. Attempting to learn via only reading the text is not recommended. Moreover, in this class, each lecture builds upon the last. Missing even one class can have long-term consequences—you've been warned! Also, I want to emphasize that learning is not a spectator sport. You are paying a lot to attend CMC, so be active with your learning. Ask questions! Challenge me when you don't agree or understand something I say! Debate with your peers!
  2. Don't neglect problem sets. Economics can only be learned through struggle. Make doing problems sets a priority. While I encourage you to work with others on these problems sets, don't free ride! Often the best learning comes from teaching others or trying to convince others that your solution is correct.
  3. Consult the textbook. While I will try to stick to the textbook in my lectures, I have my own way of discussing some topics. However, not everyone learns in the same way, so what may be confusing to you in class may be clearer in the textbook presentation.
  4. Don't give up. Micro Theory may seem simple at first, but it can become very complex in a hurry. However, do not fret, the beauty of Micro Theory is its elegance. After awhile, the big picture will come together and you will see how these tools can help simplify very difficult problems. But it takes effort to get there. If you find yourself getting lost, seek help from me or our Tutor! Often the simplest comments make all the difference. Besides, I like getting to know my students.

Academic Dishonesty
Academic dishonesty consists of misrepresentation by deception or by other fraudulent means and can result in serious consequences, e.g. the grade of zero on an assignment, loss of credit with a notation on the transcript (notation reads: "Grade of F assigned for academic dishonesty"), and/or suspension or expulsion from the university.

It is your responsibility to understand what constitutes academic dishonesty. I am told you are all informed about what constitutes academic dishonesty during your freshman year. For those of you still uncertain, please see discussion on the CMC Registrar's webpage.

In this class, students are encouraged to work together on problem sets and form study groups. However, each student is required to contribute to the study group and problem set solutions. If it is determined that a student is consistently not contributing to solution of problem sets within a study group, the student will be asked to leave the study group and submit the problem sets without the help of others. Therefore, do not free-ride!

Additional Information