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Week 1 Introductory class & basic quantitative methods

The first class tries to give you an overview of what economics is and some general ideas about the subject. Make sure you get a clear understanding of the idea of opportunity cost.

The second class deals with the very basic quantitative techniques we use in this unit. Basically you need to develop skills at using graphs to represent relationships. You need to be able to graph the equation of a straight line and to interpret the idea of its slope. Also the idea of the ‘slope of a curve’ as the slope of a tangent to the curve.

We introduce ideas of marginal and average cost.

Make sure you enrol in a tutorial and prepare written answers for Tutorial 1 now. You only get a mark for a tutorial if you provide written evidence of having prepared for it by attempting the tutorial questions.

You are welcome to visit me during my consultation period about questions on the first two classes or to post questions here. I’ll try to answer them promptly.

3 comments to Week 1 Introductory class & basic quantitative methods

  • Kate

    Hi Harry
    What is the difference between a tradeoff between two things and an opportunity cost between choosing one thing and another? Thanks

  • hc

    Not a lot. The fact that you are forced to make tradeoffs means that opportunity cost is positive – you have to give up something to get more of something else.

    If you did not have to make tradeoffs opportunity cost would be zero.

  • Joel

    Hi Harry,
    I was wondering if you could help me grasp the concept [and relationship] between Average and Marginal cost. I understand that marginal cost is higher than ave. cost when ave. cost is increasing, and it makes sense, but I just can’t seem to come up with an explanation of why this is the case.
    Thank you.