Economics for Decision-Making

Course Description

The purpose of this course is to provide the modern individual living in a global economy with an understanding of basic economic theory so to decipher the path that led to today's economic reality. This understanding should enable economic agents to make decisions based on such theoretical analysis as well as consideration of issues pertaining to the current state of the economy, both domestic and global. In the microeconomic module, we will focus on the underpinnings of the market mechanism.

You will be introduced to underlying economic principles and will become familiar with the rationale for economic thought as well as with basic economic methodology.

In the macroeconomic module, we will investigate: the mechanism of economic growth and economic development (e.g., What conditions are most favorable to sustained expansion of the economy?); the productive process (e.g., What is the gross domestic product? How is it calculated? How relevant is it to capturing the performance of the economy?); unemployment (e.g., How is it measured? Is zero percent unemployment achievable?); the price system (e.g., What is inflation? How good or bad is it? How does it relate to the growth of the supply of money circulating in the economy?); the monetary system (e.g., the Federal Reserve System, mechanisms underlying the conduct of monetary policy); and the workings of money and banking.

Throughout the course, we will refer to the idea that knowledge of economics leads to practical, informed decisions that can help us minimize cost and maximize return and satisfaction as agents participating actively in the economy.

Course Learning Goals

At the end of this course, you will be able to describe the meaning and the relevance of standard topics of economics such as:

Course Competencies

In this course, you will develop the following competencies:


Competence Statement and Criteria


Can explain the emergence, maintenance, or evolution of an economic or political system.


Can compare one social, cultural, economic, or political institution in a society to a comparable institution in a different society.


Can analyze issues and problems from a global perspective.


Understands basic principles of economics and can apply them for optimal decision making in a variety of personal, family, and professional settings.

Course Resources

The only required textbook for this course is, Bundle: "Essentials of Economics", Loose-leaf Version, by N. Gregory Mankiw, 8th edition + LMS Integrated MindTap Economics, 1 term (6 months) Printed Access Card. 2017, Cengage Learning publishers. ISBN: 9781337368056

To buy your books, go to

Required Textbook and reading (research) material

In this class we will be using a combination of Desire2Learn (where you are now) and MindTap.  Each week you will be doing your reading and a number of assignments - including some quizzes and problem sets - on the MindTap site (links will be provided).  You will also be having weekly discussions which will be on this Desire2Learn site.

It is important that you purchase the textbook with the access to MindTap (this means that you can't purchase a used textbook).

Course Grading Scale

Final letter grades for the course will be assigned according to the following distribution:


90 to 100 points


78 to 89 points


65 to 77 points


55 to 64 points


0 to 54 points

Please note: Grades lower than a C- do not earn credit or competence in the School for New Learning.

Course Structure

This course consists of ten modules. The estimated time to complete each module is one week.

Week,  Module # and Title



Week 1, Module 1:

Thinking Like an Economist

Textbook Chapters 1 & 2

1.1 Introductions Discussion

Week 2, Module 2:

The Market Forces of Demand and Supply


Textbook Chapter 4

2.1 Market Forces Discussion

Homework (Ch 04)

2.2 MindTap Problem Sets for Chapters 1 & 2:

  • Thinking Like an Economist

Week 3, Module 3:

Elasticity: Government Policies

Textbook Chapters 5 & 6

3.1 Policy Making and Price Controls Discussion

3.2 MindTap Problem Sets for Chapter 4:

  • The Market Forces of Demand and Supply

3.3 Reflection Paper Topic (only those taking two competencies)


Week 4, Module 4:

Consumers, Producers and Markets

Textbook Chapters 7 & 10

4.1 Consumers, Goods, & Competitive Markets Discussion

4.2 MindTap Problem Sets for Chapters 5 & 6:

  • Elasticity and Its Applications
  • Supply, Demand, and Government

Week 5, Module 5:

Public Goods and Competitive Markets

Textbook Chapters 11 & 13

5.1 Public Goods and Competitive Markets Discussion

5.2 MindTap Problem Sets for Chapters 7 & 10:

  • Consumers, Producers, and the Efficiency of Markets
  • Externalities

Week 6, Module 6:

Measuring Income and Cost of Living

Textbook Chapters 15 & 16

6.1 Measuring Income & Cost of Living Discussion

6.2 MindTap Problem Sets for Chapters 11 & 13:

  • Public Goods and Common Resources
  • Firms in Competitive Markets

Week 7, Module 7:

Production, Growth and Unemployment


Read Chapters 17 & 20

7.1 Production, Growth & Unemployment Discussion

7.2 MindTap Problem Sets for Chapters 15 & 16:

  • Measuring a Nation's Income
  • Measuring the Cost of Living

Week 8, Module 8:

The Monetary System



Textbook Chapters 21 & 22

8.1 The Monetary System Discussion

8.2 MindTap Problem Sets for Chapters 17 & 20:

  • Production and Growth
  • Unemployment

Week 9, Module 9:

Aggregate Supply and Demand


Textbook Chapter 23

9.1 Aggregate Supply and Demand Discussion

9.2 MindTap Problem Sets for Chapters 21 & 22:

  • The Monetary System
  • Money Growth and Inflation

Week 10, Module 10:

Monetary and Fiscal Policy



Textbook Chapter 24

10.1 Monetary and Fiscal Policy Discussion

10.2 MindTap Problem Sets for Chapters 23 & 24:

  • Aggregate Demand and Supply
  • Monetary and Fiscal Policy

10.3 Reflection Paper


To see course due dates, click on the Checklist link on the top navigation bar.  This page contains module-specific checklists and due dates for the work due in the course.

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Course Grading Criteria

There will be weekly assignments, to be found on the MindTap site of the course. The purpose of such assignments is:


The instructor expects all assignments to be completed on the course’s MindTap site at the time scheduled. Please beware that students’ access to any assignment will cease once the time scheduled has expired.

Grading will occur as follows:
AssignmentReference ChapterStudents taking one competenceStudents taking two competenciesDue Date (strictly)
Weekly See MindTap's schedule 80% 60% See MindTap's schedule
Reflection Paper All chapters assigned, plus major research conducted on a topic you choose Not applicable 20% (Length: 9-12 pages) Friday of Week 10
Minimum of 40 postings (mandatory) Online Discussions 20% 20% All 10 weeks of the quarter, 4 postings per week, at least
Total   100% 100%  

Reflection Paper Topic and Assessment Criteria (for students taking 2 competences)

A reflection/research paper is due at the last class. It is recommended that students start looking for a paper topic EARLY in the quarter (that is, from the first week), and researching it immediately. The earlier students start, the better they can conduct significant (major) research and analysis, the more they can use online class discussions (Discussion Forums) to fine tune their analysis, the wider and deeper they can go.

Each student taking this course for two competencies is to conduct such research and write the paper (9 to 12 pages) on a topic to be chosen among the wealth of issues included in the textbook, its related web resources, or in the relevant media (the Wall Street Journal, The Economist magazine, BusinessWeek, etc.). Every 2-competence student is free to choose one topic most suited to his or her interests or focus area. However, every paper must specifically address the two competences for which the student was registered.

The reflection paper will be assessed according to the following criteria: relevance of content, thoroughness of research, rigor of organization, originality of argumentation, and stylistic quality.

Relevance of content: You must present a thorough discussion of the chosen topic, establishing its relevance both to real-life experiences and to the course's topics. Relate your argument to existing theories or the literature. Throughout your paper, regardless of the topic, there must be a clear and substantial effort to utilize the tools and concepts studied in class in order to reinforce your argument.

Thoroughness of research: The Internet is NOT a sufficient source of ideas or data for an academic paper. You must also research relevant literature (books, professional journals, magazines, etc.). Your bibliography, to be included at the end of the paper, must reflect this variety.

Rigor of organization: Clearly state your argument at the onset, and then position it with regard to ongoing trends and ideas in your field of inquiry. Develop and illustrate your points logically, using structured paragraphs organized in a coherent entity.

Originality of argumentation: Indeed, you are not being asked to reinvent the wheel. It is fine to use other people's ideas, but be sure to present your own perspective on these ideas, written in your own words. If you are quoting a sentence or passage from the assigned report, or from another published work, state it explicitly—with quotation marks at the start and end. Plagiarism is a grave departure from academic ethics that DePaul University does not condone. For more information about DePaul's policy on plagiarism, please refer to the Faculty Council Web page at and the statement on Academic Honesty below.

The Reflection Paper is not intended to be a hurdle on the path towards passing this course. Its purpose is to provide 2-competence students with a good opportunity, at the end of the quarter, to wrap up and put in perspective (relevance for real life) the materials covered throughout the quarter. It is useful to keep that simple idea in mind when undertaking the paper.

Grading Policies and Practices

To complete the course, you must complete each of the assignments as described in the course and submit them to your instructor by the assigned deadline.  In addition, you must participate in the course discussion forum by responding to all instructor requests and by interacting with fellow classmates as necessary.

Points are deducted for late work.

General Assessment Criteria for All Writing Assignments

All writing assignments are expected to conform to basic college-level standards of mechanics and presentation.

Consider visiting the Writing Center to discuss your assignments for this course or any others. You may schedule appointments (30 or 50 minutes) on an as–needed or weekly basis, scheduling up to 3 hours worth of appointments per week. Online services include Feedback–by–Email and IM conferencing (with or without a webcam). All writing center services are free.

Writing Center tutors are specially selected and trained graduate and undergraduate students who can help you at almost any stage of your writing. They will not do your work for you, but they can help you focus and develop your ideas, review your drafts, and polish your writing. They can answer questions about grammar, mechanics, different kinds of writing styles, and documentation formats. They also can answer questions and provide feedback online, through IM/webcam chats and email.

Obviously, the tutors won’t necessarily be familiar with every class or subject, but they are able to provide valuable help from the perspective of an interested and careful reader as well as a serious and experienced student-writer.

Schedule your appointments with enough time to think about and use the feedback you’ll receive. To schedule a Face-to-Face, Written Feedback by Email, or Online Appointment, visit

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Discussion Forums

Discussion Forums are an important component of your online experience. This course contains discussion forums related to the topics you are studying each week. For requirements on your participation in the Discussion Forums, please see "Course Expectations" in the syllabus.

A Course Q & A discussion forum has also been established to manage necessary, ongoing social and administrative activities. This is where the management and administrative tasks of the course are conducted, and where you can ask 'process' questions and receive answers throughout the course. Please feel free to answer any question if you feel you know the answer; this sharing of information is valuable to other students.

Online Participation Guidelines

All the discussion that would ordinarily take place in a classroom takes place in the Discussion Forums in your online course. This is done by going to the Discussions area to read what has been written there by other students and to contribute to the ongoing discussion.

The depth and breadth of online participation will be closely monitored and scored. Twenty percent (20%) of the course's final grade will be assigned based on participation in Discussion Forums in each of the 10 weeks of the quarter (that is, 2% of final grade per week), at least four times a week (that is, ½ percent of final grade per time), for a mandatory total of 40 postings, at the very least.

It is important to understand that none of those 40 mandatory postings can be simple "yes", "no", "I agree", "that's great", etc., reactions to someone else's message. To be counted towards the fulfillment of the mandatory 40 postings, a student's message must bear a reflective or analytical content, laid out in at least one paragraph. A valid posting can also be a significant reflection about or the real-life illustration of a concept presented in the text's readings assigned. Postings where a question is asked in order to obtain clarification, although much welcome, does not count towards fulfillment of the mandatory 40 postings.

The first submission to the Discussion Forum should be made on or before the middle of the week in which the forum is taking place. This will allow everyone time to respond to each other's submissions.

Course Policies

College and University Policies

This course includes and adheres to the college and university policies described in the links below:

Academic Integrity Policy (UGRAD)

Academic Integrity Policy (GRAD)

Incomplete Policy

Course Withdrawal Timelines and Grade/Fee Consequences

Accommodations Based on the Impact of a Disability

Protection of Human Research Participants

APA citation format (GRAD)

Additional Course Resources

University Center for Writing-based Learning

SNL Writing Guide

Dean of Students Office

Changes to Syllabus

This syllabus is subject to change as necessary. If a change occurs, it will be clearly communicated to students.


This course was designed and produced by Dr. Ludovic Comeau Jr. (the Author) and staff at SNL Online of the School for New Learning of DePaul University.

©2017 School for New Learning, DePaul University. All Rights Reserved by SNL during contractual interval with the Author.