Portland Community College | Portland, Oregon

Course Number:
EC 201
Course Title:
Principles of Economics: Microeconomics
Credit Hours:
Lecture Hours:
Lecture/Lab Hours:
Lab Hours:
Special Fee:

Course Description

Introduces the principles of microeconomics. Enhances the ability to recognize and analyze economic problems in the United States. Covers the American microeconomic system, which includes a familiarization with the basis of the price system and resource allocation; the operation of the firm; market concentration; regulation and antitrust policies. Prerequisites: WR 115, RD 115 and MTH 20 or equivalent placement test scores. Recommended: MTH 95. Audit available.

Addendum to Course Description

Credits from this course qualify for general education purposes at Portland Community College and may be applied toward satisfying Associates Degrees at Portland Community College and/or Oregon transfer degrees.  Textbooks are at the discretion of each course instructor.  Prices for texts and/or other materials may be found at the Portland Community College bookstore. 

Intended Outcomes for the course

Upon successful completion, students will ne able to:

  1. Think critically and formulate independent and well-considered conclusions about economic issues and
  2. Effectively participate in the political process and the economy by utilizing an understanding of the historical
    evolution of economic systems, institutions and ideologies.
  3. Make rational decisions based on rudimentary marginal analyses.
  4. Understand market structures and market power.

Course Activities and Design

This course may include lecture and discussion formats utilizing faculty expertise, texts, supplementary reading materials, films, speakers, and other classroom aids at the discretion of the instructor.  Regular attendance and completion of assigned reading are essential to the successful completion of this course.  Instructors will teach in accordance with the goals and objectives listed in this Course Content Guide.  The course Content Guides are developed by college-wide subject area faculty and are approved by management.

Outcome Assessment Strategies

Traditional and nontraditional techniques will be used to assess student mastery of the content, competencies, and outcomes. These techniques can asses either products or processes:

Products: multiple choice exams, essays, individual group projects, student demonstrations, research projects, other projects with
               specified rating criteria, and portfolios.

Processes: interviews, documented observations, web searches, journals, student self-evaluations.

Course Content (Themes, Concepts, Issues and Skills)

  • Introductory terms and concepts: opportunity costs, marginal decision making, and the use of the production possibility curve.

  • Demand analysis: identify the factors that determine consumer demand. This will include topics such as elasticities and the utility theory of value.

  • Comparative advantage: how countries specialize in international trade and the use of tariffs and quotas.

  • Production costs: identify types of production costs and illustrate graphically various cost curves.

  • Profit maximization: how firms maximize profits under different types of markets such as perfect competition; monopoly; oligopoly; monopolistic competition; etc.

  • Labor markets:  wage determination and hiring decisions

  • Factor prices: Theories of rent, profit, interest and wages

  • Market failures: public goods and externalities

  • Government intervention: regulation of industry and antitrust policies. The roles and functions of government in regulating market activities and encouraging competition.

Skills and competencies:

  • Build a vocabulary of economic terms that will enable the student to find the daily reading of papers and periodicals easier and more meaningful.

  • Develop the ability to summarize an argument, understand economic reports, and to discern between positive and normative statements.

  • Develop the ability to acquire and analyze quantitative data and make mathematical computations using formulas.

  • Develop the ability to use and apply theoretical models.

  • Develop the ability to conduct cost/benefit analyses.

  • Develop the ability to think clearly about social and environmental problems in an orderly and object way.