Walter G. Park
Principles of Microeconomics (UCL)
Describe your course. What will the students be studying and learning?
Students will learn about how market economies work. In particular, they will learn about the price system, and how many buyers and sellers interact in markets. They will also study public policies that complement the working of markets or help correct market failures. This framework -- market systems and public policies -- will be used to study a variety of applications; for example, to the environment, criminology, education, health care, immigration, poverty and inequality, technological progress, international trade and investment, among others.
Why would a first-year student want to take this course? Discuss its uniqueness as part of the University College, your teaching style, and any special opportunities the students may have.
Economics is an important branch of study that relates to a lot of fields: international relations, political science, sociology, law, science policy, arts management, business, and many others. Economics deals with resource allocation, cost-benefit analysis, finance, competition, regulation, social welfare and quality of life. What is unique about doing micro-economic analysis through the University College is that students do field trips and visit institutions involved in shaping economic events. They also learn the material by participating in lab experiments and in interactive group projects. The course focuses more on applications, examples, and case studies than on ‘theory’.
What do you like best about teaching first-year students?
Many first-year or first-time economics students are actually representative of the population at large, including policy-makers, business owners, and activists, in that they may have some interest and knowledge about the economy, but not a whole lot. I think that more knowledge about economics, and about how to use the tools of economic analysis, will help people in their professional lives. I see this as a good opportunity to convey what economics can offer to the general public.