Honors Economics


Thinkwell's Honors Economics with Steven Tomlinson

Thinkwell's Honors Economics is a college-level combination of our Microeconomics and Macroeconomics courses; nothing is left out, so it's a great value. Watch a sample video and you'll see that Steven Tomlinson is a gifted professor with an ability to make economics clear and relevant. 

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Thinkwell's Honors Economics Author, Steven Tomlinson

Learn from award-winning economist and Ph.D. Steven Tomlinson

It's like having a world-class college professor right by your side.

  • Founding Master Teacher at the Acton School of Business for Entrepreneurship
  • Recipient of the Texas Excellence Teaching Award from the University of Texas Alumni Association
  • Professor of Pastoral Ministry at the Seminary of the Southwest
Thinkwell's Honors Economics Table of Contents
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1. Introduction to Economic Thinking

1.1 The Basics of Economics
1.1.1 Defining Economics
1.1.2 What Economists Do
1.1.3 Macroeconomics and Microeconomics
1.1.4 An Overview of Economic Systems
1.1.5 Case Study: The Work of Adam Smith
1.2 Graphs in Economics
1.2.1 Using Graphs to Understand Direct Relationships
1.2.2 Plotting a Linear Relationship between Two Variables
1.2.3 Changing the Intercept of a Linear Function
1.2.4 Understanding the Slope of a Linear Function
1.3 Advanced Graphical Concepts
1.3.1 Understanding Tangent Lines
1.3.2 Working with Three Variables on a Graph
1.4 Production Possibilities
1.4.1 Understanding the Concept of Production Possibilities Frontiers
1.4.2 Understanding How a Change in Technology or Resources Affects the PPF
1.4.3 Deriving an Algebraic Equation for the Production Possibilities Frontier
1.5 Comparative Advantage
1.5.1 Defining Comparative Advantage with the Production Possibilities Frontier
1.5.2 Understanding Why Specialization Increases Total Output
1.5.3 Analyzing International Trade Using Comparative Advantage
1.5.4 Outsourcing

2. Understanding Markets

2.1 Demand
2.1.1 Understanding the Determinants of Demand
2.1.2 Understanding the Basics of a Demand Curve
2.1.3 Analyzing Shifts in the Demand Curve
2.1.4 Changing Other Demand Variables
2.1.5 Deriving a Market Demand Curve
2.2 Supply
2.2.1 Understanding the Determinants of Supply
2.2.2 Deriving a Supply Curve
2.2.3 Understanding a Change in Supply versus a Change in Quantity Supplied
2.2.4 Analyzing Changes in Other Supply Variables
2.2.5 Deriving a Market Supply Curve from Individual Supply Curves
2.3 Equilibrium
2.3.1 Determining a Competitive Equilibrium
2.3.2 Defining Comparative Statics
2.3.3 Classifying Comparative Statics
2.4 Elasticity
2.4.1 Defining Elasticity
2.4.2 Calculating Elasticity
2.4.3 Applying the Concept of Elasticity
2.4.4 Identifying the Determinants of Elasticity
2.4.5 Understanding the Relationship between Total Revenue and Elasticity
2.5 Interfering with Markets
2.5.1 Understanding How Price Controls Damage Markets
2.5.2 Understanding the Problem of Minimum Wages in Labor Markets
2.5.3 Understanding How an Excise Tax Affects Equilibrium
2.6 Agriculture Economics
2.6.1 Examining Problems in Agricultural Economics

3. Consumer Choice and Household Behavior

3.1 Utility Theory
3.1.1 Understanding Utility Theory
3.1.2 Finding Consumer Equilibrium
3.2 Budget Constraints and Indifference Curves
3.2.1 Constructing a Consumer's Budget Constraint
3.2.2 Understanding a Change in the Budget Constraint
3.2.3 Understanding Indifference Curves
3.3 Consumer Optimization
3.3.1 Locating the Consumer's Optimal Combination of Goods
3.3.2 Understanding the Effects of a Price Change on Consumer Choice
3.3.3 Deriving the Demand Curve

4. Production and Costs

4.1 The Basics of Production
4.1.1 Understanding Output, Inputs, and the Short Run
4.1.2 Explaining the Total Product Curve
4.1.3 Drawing Marginal Product Curves
4.1.4 Understanding Average Product
4.1.5 Relating Costs to Productivity
4.2 Variable Costs
4.2.1 Defining Variable Costs
4.2.2 Graphing Variable Costs
4.2.3 Graphing Variable Costs Using a Geometric Trick
4.3 Marginal Costs
4.3.1 Defining Marginal Costs
4.3.2 Deriving the Marginal Cost Curve
4.3.3 Understanding the Mathematical Relationship between Marginal Cost and Marginal Product
4.4 Average Costs
4.4.1 Defining Average Variable Costs
4.4.2 Understanding the Relationship between Average Variable Cost and Average Product of Labor
4.4.3 Understanding the Relationship between Marginal Cost and Average Variable Cost
4.5 Total Costs
4.5.1 Defining and Graphing Average Fixed Cost and Average Total Cost
4.5.2 Calculating Average Total Cost
4.5.3 Putting the Cost Curves Together
4.6 Long-Run Production and Costs
4.6.1 Defining the Long Run
4.6.2 Determining a Firm's Returns to Scale
4.6.3 Understanding Short-Run and Long-Run Average Cost Curves
4.6.4 Shifts in Cost Curves
4.7 Isocost/Isoquant Analysis
4.7.1 Constructing Isocost Lines
4.7.2 Understanding Isoquants
4.7.3 Finding the Cost-Minimizing Combination of Capital and Labor

5. Perfect Competition

5.1 The Basic Assumptions of Competitive Markets
5.1.1 Calculating Total Revenue
5.1.2 Understanding the Role of Price
5.1.3 Understanding Market Structures
5.1.4 Finding Economic and Accounting Profit
5.2 Calculating Profit and Loss
5.2.1 Finding the Firm's Profit-Maximizing Output Level
5.2.2 Proving the Profit-Maximizing Rule
5.2.3 Calculating Profit
5.2.4 Calculating Loss
5.2.5 Finding the Firm's Shut-Down Point
5.3 Market Supply
5.3.1 Deriving the Short-Run Market Supply Curve
5.3.2 Relating the Individual Firm to the Market
5.3.3 Examining Shifts in the Short-Run Market Supply Curve
5.3.4 Deriving the Long-Run Market Supply Curve
5.4 Competitive Firms' Responses to Price Changes
5.4.1 Examining the Firm's Long-Run and Short-Run Adjustments to a Price Increase

6. Other Market Models

6.1 Monopolies
6.1.1 Defining Monopoly Power
6.1.2 Defining Marginal Revenue for a Firm with Market Power
6.1.3 Determining the Monopolist's Profit-Maximizing Output and Price
6.1.4 Calculating a Monopolist's Profit and Loss
6.1.5 Graphing the Relationship between Marginal Revenue and Elasticity
6.2 The Social Cost of Monopoly
6.2.1 Determining the Social Cost of Monopoly
6.2.2 Calculating Deadweight Loss
6.2.3 Understanding Monopoly Regulation
6.3 Oligopoly
6.3.1 Introducing Oligopoly and the Prisoner's Dilemma
6.3.2 Understanding a Cartel As a Prisoner's Dilemma
6.3.3 Understanding the Kinked-Demand Curve Model
6.4 Monopolistic Competition
6.4.1 Defining Monopolistic Competition
6.4.2 Understanding Pricing and Output under Monopolistic Competition
6.4.3 Understanding Monopolistic Competition As a Prisoner's Dilemma

7. Resource Markets

7.1 The Derived Demand for Labor
7.1.1 Deriving the Factor Demand Curve
7.1.2 Deriving the Least-Cost Rule
7.1.3 Analyzing the Labor Market
7.2 Monopsony
7.2.1 Understanding Labor Market Power and Marginal Factor Cost
7.3 Capital Markets
7.3.1 Analyzing Capital Markets

8. Market Failures

8.1 Overview of Market Failures
8.1.1 Understanding Market Failures
8.2 Public Goods and Public Choice
8.2.1 Defining Public Goods
8.2.2 Analyzing the Tax System
8.2.3 Understanding Public Choice
8.3 Uncertainty
8.3.1 Understanding Expected Value, Risk, and Uncertainty
8.3.2 Understanding Asymmetric Information as an Economic Problem
8.3.3 Understanding Moral Hazards in Markets
8.4 Externalities
8.4.1 Defining Externalities
8.4.2 Explaining How to Internalize External Costs
8.4.3 Explaining How to Internalize External Benefits
8.5 Solutions to Externalities
8.5.1 Finding a Market Solution to External Costs
8.5.2 Finding a Negotiated Settlement to an External Cost
8.5.3 Applying the Coase Theorem

9. Evaluating Market Outcomes

9.1 Normative Economics
9.1.1 Measuring the Benefits of Consumption
9.1.2 Using the Demand Curve As a Measure of Benefit
9.2 Calculating Total Economic Value
9.2.1 Quantifying Social Benefit
9.2.2 Quantifying Social Cost
9.2.3 Determining Total Social Cost
9.2.4 Understanding Economic Value
9.3 Consumer and Producer Surplus
9.3.1 Understanding Producer and Consumer Surpluses
9.3.2 Calculating Total Economic Value
9.4 Market Interference and Economic Value
9.4.1 Understanding the Effects of Price Controls
9.4.2 Understanding How Price Controls Destroy Economic Value
9.4.3 Evaluating the Effects of an Excise Tax
9.4.4 Assessing the Effect of an Excise Tax on Economic Value
9.4.5 Understanding How a Tax Can Create Deadweight Loss
9.5 International Trade and Economic Value
9.5.1 Evaluating the Gains from International Trade
9.5.2 Understanding the Effects of Tariffs on Consumer and Producer Surpluses

10. Macroeconomic Measurements

10.1 Aggregate Output and Income
10.1.1 The Production Possibilities Frontier: Macroeconomic Applications
10.1.2 The Circular Flow Model
10.1.3 Real GDP
10.1.4 The BEA Procedure for Calculating Real GDP
10.1.5 Limitations of GDP and Alternative Indexes
10.1.6 The Growth of China as a Superpower
10.2 Approaches to Calculating GDP
10.2.1 The Expenditures Approach
10.2.2 The Income Approach
10.3 Cost of Living
10.3.1 Changes in the Cost of Living and the CPI
10.3.2 Calculating the Rate of Inflation
10.3.3 Comparing the CPI and the GDP Deflator
10.3.4 Hot Topic: Income Distribution in the United States

11. Economic Fluctuations: Unemployment and Inflation

11.1 The Business Cycle
11.1.1 Recessions, Depressions, and Booms
11.1.2 Theoretical Explanations for Cycles
11.2 Measuring Unemployment
11.2.1 Measuring the Labor Force and Unemployment
11.2.2 Types of Unemployment
11.3 The Natural Rate of Unemployment
11.3.1 Understanding the Natural Rate of Unemployment
11.4 Causes of Unemployment
11.4.1 Minimum Wage Laws
11.4.2 An Analysis of Labor Unions and Unemployment
11.4.3 Case Study: "La Causa": The United Farm Workers
11.4.4 The Theory of Efficiency Wages
11.4.5 Unemployment Insurance
11.5 Inflation
11.5.1 Inflation, Deflation, Stagflation, and Hyperinflation
11.5.2 Inflation and Purchasing Power
11.5.3 Short-Run Causes: Demand-Pull and Cost-Push Inflation
11.5.4 The Quantity Theory of Money
11.5.5 The Costs of Inflation
11.5.6 Case Study: Behavior during Hyperinflation

12. The Aggregate Expenditures Model

12.1 Historical Background
12.1.1 Say's Law and Keynes: An Overview
12.2 Components of Aggregate Expenditures
12.2.1 The Aggregate Expenditures Identity
12.2.2 Average and Marginal Propensities to Consume and Save
12.2.3 The Aggregate Expenditures Model
12.2.4 Case Study: The Paradox of Thrift
12.2.5 Autonomous Investment
12.3 Equilibrium GDP
12.3.1 The Expenditures Approach and the Savings Approach
12.4 The Multipliers
12.4.1 Applications of the Multipliers
12.5 Comparative Statics: The AE Model
12.5.1 Changes in Aggregate Expenditures
12.5.2 Changes in Taxes
12.5.3 Changes in Net Exports
12.5.4 Hot Topic: Does Social Security Need to Be "Saved"?

13. Money: Banking, Spending, Saving, and Investing

13.1 Money in the Economy
13.1.1 The Money Supply
13.1.2 Determinants of Money Demand
13.1.3 The Money Market
13.2 Financial Markets
13.2.1 Financial Markets and Intermediaries
13.2.2 Stocks and Bonds
13.2.3 The Price of Bonds and the Interest Rate
13.3 The Fed
13.3.1 The Federal Reserve System
13.3.2 Hot Topic: Are Reserve Requirements Necessary?
13.3.3 The Fed's Tools of Monetary Policy
13.3.4 Case Study: The Greenspan Era
13.4 The Creation of Money
13.4.1 How Goldsmiths Created Money
13.4.2 Case Study: Cigarettes As Money
13.4.3 How Banks Create Money
13.4.4 How the Fed Changes the Money Supply
13.5 Saving and Investment
13.5.1 Investment Demand
13.5.2 The Market for Loanable Funds and Crowding Out
13.5.3 Equilibrium in the Money Market

14. Aggregate Demand/Aggregate Supply Model

14.1 Aggregate Demand
14.1.1 Deriving the Aggregate Demand Curve
14.1.2 Movement along the Aggregate Demand Curve
14.1.3 Shifts in Aggregate Demand
14.2 Aggregate Supply
14.2.1 The Short-Run Aggregate Supply Curve
14.2.2 The Labor Market
14.2.3 The Long-Run Aggregate Supply Curve
14.3 Differences in the Long Run and the Short Run
14.3.1 The Classical View
14.3.2 Equilibrium in the Short Run
14.3.3 Equilibrium in the Long Run
14.3.4 Expectations in the Long Run and the Short Run
14.3.5 Long-Run Macroeconomic Equilibrium
14.3.6 Case Study: The U.S. National Debt
14.3.7 Hot Topic: Oil Shocks
14.4 The Phillips Curve
14.4.1 Definitions and the Historical Record
14.4.2 Expectations and the Phillips Curve

15. Monetary and Fiscal Policy

15.1 Recessions and Booms
15.1.1 Unanticipated Changes in Aggregate Demand
15.1.2 Unanticipated Changes in Aggregate Supply
15.2 Fiscal Policy: The Mainstream
15.2.1 Fiscal Policy Using the AD/AS Model
15.2.2 The Market for Loanable Funds and Government Policy
15.2.3 Timing Problems and the AD/AS Model
15.2.4 Automatic Stabilizers
15.2.5 Hot Topic: The Political Business Cycle
15.3 Fiscal Policy: Alternative Approaches
15.3.1 New Keynesian and New Classical Approaches to Fiscal Policy
15.3.2 Supply-Side Policy
15.4 Monetary Policy: The Mainstream
15.4.1 The Quantity Theory of Money (review)
15.4.2 Monetary Policy Using the AD/AS Model
15.4.3 Monetary Responses to Changes in the Economy
15.4.4 Monetary Policy: Accommodation
15.4.5 Hot Topic: Should Monetary Policy Be Made by Rule or Discretion?
15.5 Monetary Policy: Alternative Approaches
15.5.1 New Keynesians versus Monetarists
15.5.2 New Classical Macroeconomics
15.5.3 Case Study: Policy in the Great Depression

16. Productivity and Growth

16.1 The Elements of Productivity and Growth
16.1.1 The Rule of 70, Compounding, and Growth
16.1.2 The PPF, the AD/AS Model, and Long-Run Growth
16.1.3 The Production Function and Growth
16.1.4 The Definition of Productivity and Factors Affecting It
16.2 Policy and Growth
16.2.1 Investment
16.2.2 Other Policies to Encourage Growth
16.2.3 Hot Topic: Women's Roles in Rural Economic Growth
16.3 Emerging Economies
16.3.1 Growth in Emerging Economies
16.3.2 Policies to Promote Growth
16.3.3 Hot Topic: The Myth of Exploding Populations

17. International Focus

17.1 Microeconomics Background
17.1.1 Determining the Difference between a Closed Economy and an Open Economy
17.1.2 Understanding Exports in an Open Economy
17.1.3 Analyzing a Change in Equilibrium in an Open Economy
17.1.4 Analyzing International Trade Using Comparative Advantage
17.2 Exports, Imports, and Accounting
17.2.1 The International Flow of Goods and Services
17.2.2 Balance of Payments
17.2.3 Balance of Payments: An Example
17.2.4 Trade Balances
17.3 Exchange Rates
17.3.1 Nominal Exchange Rates
17.3.2 Real Exchange Rates
17.3.3 Purchasing Power Parity
17.3.4 Determination of Exchange Rates
17.3.5 Floating and Fixed Systems
17.3.6 The Managed Float
17.4 Government Policies
17.4.1 Government Budget Deficits and Trade
17.4.2 Trade Policy
17.4.3 Hot Topic: Winners and Losers in NAFTA
17.4.4 Political Instability and Trade
17.4.5 Hot Topic: Is the World Trade Organization a Conspiracy?
17.5 Transition Economies
17.5.1 Centrally Planned Economies
17.5.2 Policies to Change to Market Systems
17.5.3 Comparative Economic Performance
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