Social Science Education



Basic Economics

Instructor:            Dr. Debra Israel
Office:                 225 Holmstedt Hall
Telephone:           237-2165, Economics Dept. 237-2160
Office hours:        MW 11-12:50 p.m. or by appointment

Course Description and Objectives

Many of your daily activities may involve economic decision-making, as a consumer, and as a student, Economic theory is based on the idea that resources are scarce, therefore, choices must be made to allocate these resources.  Economic analysis allows us to understand how a society makes these choices.  We will examine how individuals and firms behave when faced with different incentives, and then use this information to see how markets function.  We will also learn about government involvement in the economy.

The objective of this course is to provide students with a greater understanding of how the economy works and how economists approach economic analysis.  By the end of the course you should be able to apply the material from this course to situations that you read about in the news and encounter in your lives.  You will also develop your research skills by finding current articles about specific economic topics.  In addition, you will develop your communication skills by being able to explain economic concepts both verbally and in writing.


Guell, Robert C., Issues in Economics Today, McGraw-Hill Irwin, 2003.
Study Guide for Issues in Economics Today.  (Recommended)

General Class Procedures:  Attend, read textbook, group work, practice

I expect you to complete the assigned readings before class and to come prepared to answer questions and to ask questions when the material is unclear.  You may also find it helpful to print out powerpoint slides for each chapter before class to assist you in note taking.  These are available on the internet website for the textbook at  The calendar at the end of syllabus gives a general guideline for each week's textbook readings and exam dates.  Depending on how the course progresses, modifications may be made to the timing of the assigned readings.  Group work will be an important component of this course.  Working as a team is a good way to learn from each other, and is an important skill to develop for your future scholastic and career endeavors as well.  In order to understand economic theory and be able to apply it to different economic questions that you encounter in current events or your own lives, you will need to practice thinking about economic problems yourself.  Practice problems are available in your textbook, on the internet website for the textbook, and in the study guide.  If you have any difficulties or questions during the course, please talk to me sooner than later.  If you send me an email or leave me a phone message, I will always reply as soon as I receive it.  Therefore, if you do not receive a response, assume that I did not get your message (my correct phone number and email address are above).

Attendance and Participation

Although you will not be graded specifically for class attendance, attendance at all class meetings is very important for your success in the course.  If you do not attend class you will not be able to participate and actively learn about the topics under study.  If you do miss or come late to class, you are responsible for finding out what you missed during your absence.  Entering the classroom late and leaving early are very disruptive to other students as well.  If for some reason you will need to leave class early please inform me before class begins.  If you are absent and miss a group assignment or group quiz, a grade of zero will be entered for that assignment of quiz, unless you present me with a valid excuse and arrange to make-up the assignment or quiz.


Exams (3)                                                    (45%)
Written Economic Analysis (5 of 6)              (10%)
Group Quizzes (5 of 6)                                (20%)
Final Exam                                                   (25%)


There will be three non-cumulative exams during the semester (45%) and a cumulative final exam (25%).  Make-up exams will only be allowed in clear cases of emergency.  If at all possible, I must be notified of an absence before the scheduled exam.  Final exams must be taken during the scheduled time period during final exam week.  See your class schedules for University Final Exam policies.  Exams will cover material from the textbook, lectures, assignments, class discussions and activities.  Exams will be a combination of multiple choice and short answer questions (including use of mathematical calculations and graphs).

Written Economic Analysis

For the written economic analysis assignments students will be expected to analyze an issue described in a newspaper or magazine article or a video.  Articles will either be obtained by students through ISU library databases or be assigned in class.  Any video assigned will be watched together during class.  These assignments usually will involved both individual preparation before class and working with a group during class time.  There will be six assignments during the semester.  The assignments will be explained at least one week in advance.  You will be allowed to drop the lowest grade out of your assignments.  Late assignments will only be accepted when a valid excuse is presented in a timely fashion (as soon as possible).

Group Quizzes

Six quizzes will be given in class and turned in as a group.  These group quizzes will be announced in the previous class period.  You will be allowed to drop your lowest grade out of your group quizzes.  Group quizzes may be made-up only when a valid excuse is presented, in a timely fashion, preferably before the scheduled quiz.


Aug. 27-29
    Introduction to Class
    Economics:  The Study of Opportunity Cost, Ch. 1
Sept. 3-5 (No class Mon. Sept.1 for Labor Day)
    Continue Ch. 1
    Supply and Demand, Ch. 2
Sept. 8-12
    Supply and Demand Continued
Sept. 15-19
    Supply and Demand Continued
    Elasticity and Consumer and Producer Surplus, Ch. 3
Sept. 22-26
    Continue Ch. 3
    Price Control Issues, Ch. 32 and Ch. 34,  p. 301
Sept. 29-Oct. 3
    Wed. Oct. 1 Exam 1, Ch. 1-3, Ch. 32 and Ch. 34, p. 301
Oct. 6-8 (No class Fri. Oct. 10, Fall Break)
    Firm Production, Cost and Revenue, Ch. 5
    Perfect Competition, Monopoly, and Economic versus Normal Profit, Ch.6
Oct. 13-17
    Continue Ch. 6
    Antitrust and cartel issues:  Ch. 38 and Ch. 39
Oct. 20-24
    Interest Rates and Present Value, Ch. 4
    The Environment, Ch. 19
Oct. 27-31
    Wed. Oct. 27 Exam II, Ch. 4-6, Ch. 38, 39, and 19
Nov. 3-7
    Macroeconomics, Ch. 7 and 8
Nov. 10-14
    Macroeconomics, continued
    Selected issue from Part One:  Macroeconomics Issues or internet chapter
        on 9/11
Nov. 17-21
    Labor Economic issues: Ch. 33, 29 and 30
Nov. 24 (No classes Nov. 26-28, Thanksgiving Break)
    Mon.  Nov. 24 Exam III, Ch. 7, 8 selected Macroeconomics issue,
        Ch. 33, 29, and 30
Dec. 1-5  Selected issues
Dec. 8-12  Selected issues
Dec. 15-19 Final Exam Week

Note:  Indiana State University seeks to provide effective services and accommodation for a qualified individual with documented disabilities.  If you need an accommodation because of a documented disability, you are required to register with Student Support Services at 237-2301 in Gillum Hall, Room 202A.  The Director will ensure that you receive all the additional help that Indiana State offers.  If you will require assistance during an emergency evacuation, notify your instructor immediately.  Look for evacuation procedures posted in your classrooms.

back to top