AgEc 636

Markets, Welfare, and Policy - Part I

Fall 2015
PEAP 137
3:55 - 5:10 TR

Dr. Ron Griffin
Room 211
Office (try this first): 845-xxxx (cell phone w/o texting: 777-4434)
Calling to make a meeting appointment is often easier than emailing.
website: moved to
Assistant: Ms. Zinn, Room 211, 845-2333


Day One: September 1
Day 18: October 29, Final exam
November 2 by 1:00 pm, Welfare paper due


Richard E. Just, Darrell L. Hueth, and Andrew Schmitz. The Welfare Economics of Public Policy. Northampton, MA: Edward Elgar, 2004.


Welfare economics pertains to the economics of communities (agent aggregates), especially the social choice of policies and projects. During this 9-week class we carefully consider (A) Welfare Economics fundamentals and (B) the tools of Policy Analysis (including cost-benefit analysis). We shall also devote time to (C) the problems of Market Failure and (D) Advanced Welfare Economics concepts having relevance for policy design and analysis. The general goal is to develop analytical capacity for policy interpretation, design, and analysis through (1) the accurate application of theory and (2) practical opportunities to perform empiricism.


This phase of the course represents 60% of the course grade of 636. Grade weights within Part I are as follows:

Classroom contributions 10%
Homework 25%
Welfare paper 40%
Final Exam 25%

The Classroom contributions evaluation is Dr. Griffin's subjective assessment of each student's daily preparedness and voluntary in-class involvement. [For example, zero speaking in class guarantees 0 points.]

Late homework (minus a 25% fine) will be accepted only if solutions have not been discussed in class. Team-performed homework is acceptable; all team members' names must be on page 1 of the submitted homework. Teams can change; one student can be a team; and team organization does not require instructor approval. Plagarism rules will be enforced. Homework must be the team's original work (in full) if it is to receive more than a 0% evaluation.

The welfare paper is an original writing on a topic of the student's choosing. This is not a team paper. To prevent overlapping topics, students shall state their intensions in class (first come first serve). The ideal topic would have a strong intersection with foundational welfare economics. Example topics are concept histories, controversies, techniques, or normative roots relating to contemporary issues. Not all topics will be ideal. "Think different" topics might be stimulating. Formating rules: no title or cover page, 1" margins, double space except for bibliography entries, 12 point font, 10 pages maximum counting all elements, and AJAE-type referencing. Place paper title, date, and your name near the top of page 1. Submit as a single pdf file via email. Grading (40 max): On time, +15 (late=+0); professional content and its accuracy, +12; formating, +4; rule 13, +4; writing, +5; plagiarism, -40.

Rule 13


The final exam will feature computational questions consisting of 1 or 2 homework-like problems. This is departure from the exams posted for ≤ 2012 which were 2-hour exams. Bring an approved calculator and, if you wish, a ruler for the exam. Blue books will be provided.