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Microeconomics for Research Students I


Fall 2013
Felix Kubler
Plattenstrasse 32
phone: 044 634 41 06
fkubler@gmail.com
This class is an introduction to microeconomic theory. We will cover choice under
uncertainty, general equilibrium theory and a bit of game theory. The theories we will
discuss provide the foundation of almost all formal economic analysis. As I will point out
as we go along, elds such as labor-economics, industrial economics, macro-economics and
public nance use the tools from this course on a day to day basis.
Prerequisites
You should have taken a real analysis class at the level of Oks textbook on Math for
Economists (Efe Ok, Real Analysis with Economic Applications, Princeton University
Press). It is also be useful to have some background in micro, e.g. on the level of Var-
ians micro textbook.
Grading
There will be about 4-5 homework assignments which will be graded on a check, check-plus
basis. They will count for about 5 percent of the nal grade. There will be a two hour
midterm which will count for 30 percent. The nal exam will count for 65 percent of the
grade.
Both the mid-term and nal will be closed-book exams.
The mid-term will be on Wednesday, October 30th in class. Missing an exam is only
possible with a serious excuse.
Texts
The book which seems most useful for this class is
Kreps, D.: Microeconomic Foundations I: Choice and Competitive Markets,
Princeton University Press 2012. This book covers almost everything (and more) we
do in class, is well written but very technical. It does not cover game theory or contract
theory but it is not very expensive an I really recommend to get it. In the notes I refer to
this as Kreps new book (KNB).
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A classic text for all of micro is Mas-Colell, Whinston and Green: Microeconomic
Theory (MWG). This is a bit outdated but still a good book to own.
If you have never taken a micro class before, you might want to start with Kreps old
book (KOB), A Course in Microeconomic Theory (1990). This is easy to read, not too
technical and contains some good intuition.
I will cover some basic game theory. For this, I recommend the textbook by Fudenberg
and Tirole. This will also be used next semester. Rubinstein has great notes online if you
want to save money, do not buy any books and just read his notes.
Oce hours
I will try to hold oce hours Wednesday 2.00-3.00 p.m.
If you cannot make this time but really need to see me, feel free to send me e-mail and we
can arrange something. Also, after class is usually a good time to chat.
The internet
I will post notes and homeworks on the university class page. You should also check the
web-page once in a while for announcements.
Important dates
The class meets Wednesdays 10-12. In addition there is supposed to be an exercise session
every second Friday 10-12. I will sometime teach new material on Fridays and go over
exercises on Wednesdays.
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Course outline
1. Consumers and Producers in a static economy (2 weeks)
2. Choice under Uncertainty (3 weeks)
(a) von Neumann and Morgenstern
(b) comparative statics, asset demand
(c) Savage, Anscome and Aumann
3. General equilibrium theory (4 weeks)
(a) The Arrow-Debreu model
(b) Existence and Eciency
(c) Comparative Statics
(d) Uncertainty and Financial Markets
4. Game theory (2-3 weeks)
(a) Static Games of Complete Information
(b) Dynamic Games of Complete Information - Extensive form