Welcome &
Review of Econ 50
Christopher Makler
Stanford University Department of Economics
Econ 51: Lecture 1
Today's Agenda
Part 1: Course Overview
Part 2: Review of Econ 50
Who is the Econ 51 teaching team?
What is this course about?
When will we study each topic?
Why is this class important?
How do we all succeed?
Good 1  Good 2 Space
Budget Constraints
Preferences and Utility
Optimal Choice
Demand
Who
Chris Makler
 B.A.: Humanities, Yale
 Ph.D.: Economics, Penn
(search & matching theory)
 10 years in the education technology industry
 Teaching Econ 50 & 51 since 2015
 Office: Landau Econ Building, Room 144
Welcome to Econ 50!
TA Intros
Econ Department Peer Advising
Other Resources
VPTL Peer Tutoring
What
Three Central Themes

Efficiency and Equity

Time

Information
When
Weeks 14
Efficiency and Equity in an Exchange Economy
Thursday 11/17
Exam on Unit II
Weeks 810
Asymmetric Information; Public Economics
Quarter Rhythm
Weeks 57
Game Theory and Imperfect Competition
Thursday 10/20
Exam on Unit I
Friday 12/16,
12:153:15pm
Final Exam (mostly on Units II and III)
Missing Exams

Exams are worth 65% of your grade. Due to multiple honor code violations during COVID, we are not giving students exams to take in isolation: if you miss an exam, for whatever reason, you miss the exam. We are having 3 exams to make it so that missing one exam is less of a big deal.

If you take all 3 exams:

lower midterm score is 10% of your grade

higher midterm score is 20% of your grade

final exam is 35% of your grade


If you miss one of the midterms:

the remaining midterm counts is 25% of your grade

final exam is 40% of your grade


If you miss both midterms, you must withdraw from the class (second midterm is week 8)

If you take at least one midterm but miss the final: you will automatically get an Incomplete.
We will work to resolve Incompletes as quickly as possible.
Thursday, November 17
Midterm 2
Thursday, October 20
Midterm 1
Fri, December 16
Final Exam
12:15pm
THESE ARE THE EXAM DATES.
DO NOT SCHEDULE VOLUNTARY TRAVEL THAT FORCES YOU TO MISS AN EXAM!!!
PUT THEM IN YOUR CALENDAR.
Why
Important?
Explained by Econ 50?
Key aspects
Trade is mutually beneficial.
Germany and Russia are
in a strategic conflict.
[Unit 1]
[Unit 2]
Germany, the EU, and the US want to incentivize Russia to end the war.
[Unit 3]
How
Please be fully present in lecture.
No phones.
No tablets (except to take notes on with a stylus).
No laptops.
I'm not a monster. There will be a break in the middle of each class to connect with your digital world.
Before Lecture
 Read the textbook and take online quizzes on the major points to be prepared for learning in lecture
Lecture
 Presents new ideas
 Illustrate those ideas with simple examples
After Lecture
 Exercises for each lecture are designed to help you understand nuance
 More complex examples and applications than in lectures; work on connecting the dots
After Each Unit
 Exam questions will ask you to apply concepts from lecture to new situations you haven't seen before.
Monday
Reading and quiz for Tuesday's lecture
Thursday
Lecture; do second half of problem set exercises
Thursday & Friday
Section; office hours
Weekly Rhythm (Suggested)
Wednesday
Reading and quiz for Thursday's lecture
Tuesday
Lecture; do first half of problem set exercises
Weekend
Review material from the week
Do practice exam problems
Finish & hand in problem set
Grading Policy

This course is not graded on a curve.
If everyone gets an A, everyone gets an A; if everyone gets a B, everyone gets a B.
Grade cutoffs are given on the syllabus (90100 = A, 8089 = A, etc.) 
Reading quizzes: 5% of your grade. One for each lecture; lowest 4 dropped.

Inclass polls: 5% of your grade. Graded for completion, not correctness; so low stakes!
However, misrepresenting your presence will result in a grade of 0 for the quarter.
Please go to pollev.com/chrismakler
but do not yet answer the question.
The question is:
"What is 2 feet plus 2 inches, in inches?"
Grading Policy

This course is not graded on a curve.
If everyone gets an A, everyone gets an A; if everyone gets a B, everyone gets a B.
Grade cutoffs are given on the syllabus (90100 = A, 8089 = A, etc.) 
Reading quizzes: 5% of your grade. One for each lecture; lowest 4 dropped.

Inclass polls: 5% of your grade. Graded for completion, not correctness; so low stakes!
However, misrepresenting your presence will result in a grade of 0 for the quarter. 
Problem sets: 25% of your grade. One for each week, except Week 8.

Each exercise (including old exam questions) is worth 3 points.

You do not have to do them all. Recommend doing 45 problems.

Full credit (100 points total) for ~11 points per problem set.

Maximum 15 points per problem set.


Exams: 65% of your grade.
Course Web Sites
All content is posted/linked within Canvas.
Each lecture has its own module with everything you need to know about that lecture.
Please use Ed Discussions to ask questions (not email).
Please upload your homework to Gradescope by 8am the morning after it's due.
The Small Print
 Names and pronouns
 Students with documented disabilities
 Stanford University Honor Code
 Econ Department syllabus
 Humor gone wrong
Review of Econ 50
Good 1  Good 2 Space
Two "Goods" : Good 1 and Good 2
1
Budget Constraints
2
pollev.com/chrismakler
What's one point on the budget line defined by \(p_1 = 5, p_2 = 10, m = 100\)?
Preferences
Definition Review:
Indifference Curves
Preferred/Dispreferred Sets
Marginal Rate of Substitution
3
Utility Functions
4
Indifference curve is
steeper than the budget line
Indifference curve is
flatter than the budget line
Moving to the right
along the budget line
would increase utility
Moving to the left
along the budget line
would increase utility
More willing to give up good 2
than the market requires
Less willing to give up good 2
than the market requires
The “Gravitational Pull" Towards Optimality
POINT A
POINT B
5
IF...
THEN...
The consumer's utility function is "well behaved"  smooth, strictly convex, and strictly monotonic
The indifference curves do not cross the axes
The budget line is a simple straight line
The optimal consumption bundle will be characterized by two equations:
More generally: the optimal bundle may be found using the Lagrange method
Optimal Choice
6
Optimal Choice
Otherwise, the optimal bundle may lie at a corner,
a kink in the indifference curve, or a kink in the budget line.
No matter what, you can use the "gravitational pull" argument!
 Write an equation for the tangency condition.
 Write an equation for the budget line.
 Solve for \(x_1^*\) or \(x_2^*\).
 Plug value from (3) into either equation (1) or (2).
Solving for Optimality when Calculus Works
(Gross) demand functions are mathematical expressions
of endogenous choices as a function of exogenous variables (prices, income).
(Gross) Demand Functions
8
For a CobbDouglas utility function of the form
Special Case: The “CobbDouglas Rule"
The demand functions will be
That is, the consumer will spend fraction \(a/(a+b)\) of their income on good 1, and fraction \(b/(a+b)\) of their income on good 2.
This shortcut is very much worth memorizing! We'll use it a lot in the next few weeks in place of going through the whole optimization process.
9
pollev.com/chrismakler
Find the optimal bundle for the CobbDouglas utility function is
and the budget constraint is
Functional forms for utility functions:
1. Weighted average of some common
"onegood" utility function \(v(x)\):
2. "Quasilinear": one good enters linearly
(in this case \(x_2\)), another nonlinearly:
3. Perfect complements:
not used as often, but helpful
CobbDouglas (decreasing MRS)
Weak Substitutes (decreasing MRS)
Perfect Substitutes (constant MRS)
Concave (increasing MRS)
To Do Before Next Class
Be sure you've filled out the section survey.
Do the reading and the quiz  due at 11:15am on Thursday!
Look over the summary notes for this class.
Econ 51  Fall 22  Lecture 1
By Chris Makler
Econ 51  Fall 22  Lecture 1
Welcome and Review of Econ 50
 450