HS101 - Economics

HS101 - Economics

Instructor

Tara Shankar Shaw, Pushpa Trivedi

Section

S3

Semester

Autumn ‘20

Course Difficulty

Moderate. It’s not a very intellectually challenging course, but since the content is new for most people, and also given the fact that a fairly big amount of content is usually covered in the course, it does require some efforts from the student’s end, but not too much if done smartly. Microeconomics is quite logical, and paying attention in class usually suffices for this half of the course. Macroeconomics requires a bit of self-reading, i.e. just listening in classes may not suffice since it is heavy on the definitions part; which is why one may have to sit and read and mug things up

Time Commitment Required

For microeconomics - listening to lectures does majority of the work and hence brushing up the concepts before the exams shouldn’t take too much of your time, a day or two prior to the midsems should be good enough (given that you could grasp things during your lectures)
For macroeconomics - This half of the course is more time-taking as compared to its counterpart. It’s good to start the prep for macroeconomics well in advance as it is theory and definition-heavy and it takes time to get it all in your head. Also, it’s always best to keep up with the class and stay up to date.

Grading Policy and Statistics

Grading was moderate in terms of leniency. That’s because the other sections had a more lenient grading as compared to ours, but then there were still a decent number of AAs, ABs and so on in ours as well, so nothing much to worry about.

Attendance Policy

None (but that may be because of the relaxation in attendance policy throughout all courses since it was an online semester)

Pre-requisites

No prerequisites needed

Evaluation Scheme

The course was split into two halves - Microeconomics and Macroeconomics. both having equal weightage.

Microeconomics
Quiz -1 (before midsem) : 10 marks
Mid-semester : 40 marks

Macroeconomics
Mid-semester : None
Quiz -2 (post midsem) : 10 marks (although for us, the weightage for this quiz wasn’t considered due to some reasons, and hence the weightages were redistributed accordingly for the other quiz and endsem)
Quiz - 3 : 10 marks
End-semester : 30 marks

NOTE: Microeconomics was not a part of our endsem syllabus, but this may be specific to our batch, need not be the case always (benefits of an online sem :p)

Topics Covered in the Course

Microeconomics:-

Three basic questions of economics
Ten principles of economics
Economic models: circular flow diagram, production possibility frontier
Positive vs normative analysis
Market, trade and government
Market Structures : Oligopoly, Monopoly, Monopolistic Competition and Perfect competition
Marginal Revenue and price elasticity of demand
Other elasticities of demand
Elasticity of supply
Control on prices
Demand, Supply and their equilibrium
Consumer and producer surplus, market efficiency
Consumer Behaviour
Production and cost functions and curves
Behaviour of firms
Perfect Competitions

Macroeconomics:-

Economic systems, economic policy
Measuring economic activity (GDP, National Income etc.)
Consumption, saving, investment
Business Cycles, theory of Aggregate Demand, multiplier model
Monetary policy and the economy
Financial system, money and commercial banking
Credit Control
Impact of monetary and fiscal policy on aggregate demand

Teaching Style

Microeconomics - Prof. Tara Shankar Shaw used to make live notes during the lectures in addition to the existing slides. The things being taught were quite easy to understand, as he simplified things to a good extent. The pace of teaching in the class was also fairly slow, so it was easy to keep track, and discussions during lectures were always welcome. He’s always open to doubts, so that’s surely a benefit. Also, the professor would majorly ask questions from what he taught but there were instances when he added some extra stuff (for example - a handful of questions in our midsem, which almost no one could answer).

Macroeconomics - Prof. Pushpa Trivedi used her readymade slides during the lectures. The professor was always well prepared in the class and included most of the teaching content in the slides, slides can be used as pointers for the topics which can be asked in the exam. Yet again, the professor always encouraged two-way discussions and is quite knowledgeable when it comes to Economics as a whole. The professor does make it a point to include real-life scenarios to facilitate the student’s understanding of the topic. On that note, the course content of macroeconomics can be a tad-bit boring for some :p The pace of teaching is medium owing to the comparatively bigger amount of content covered in class. The slides are not exactly self explanatory and you may have to take help from class notes or reference books (tip : it’s way easier if you do the former, i.e. make class notes, as compared to looking up reference books)

Tutorials/Assignments/Projects

No assignments or projects or even tutorials

Feedback on Exams

Microeconomics
The professor would majorly ask questions from what he taught but there were instances when he added some extra stuff (for example - a handful of questions in the midsem, which almost no one could answer). Following the lectures should do 80% of your job with respect to exams, maybe looking up a reference book every now and then might benefit in case there are any extra questions asked which haven’t been covered in the lectures. Having said that, most people wouldn’t be able to do those questions anyway, plus one could argue that it was not taught in class, so even if you are unable to do those, it’s not something to worry about much. But it’s always a good idea to be prepared from your end.
Quiz-1 was MCQ-based, Midsem comprised of MCQs + Numericals. The quiz was quite easy to score in, almost everything was directly from the content covered in lectures. Coming to the midsem, there were some questions that were a little outside the content covered in class. The difficulty level was also a little higher and so being clear with all the concepts is quite important.

Macroeconomics
Following the lectures and preparing lecture notes would be good enough if you can top it up with a couple of revisions prior to exams. The content asked in exams is completely from whatever the professor takes up in her lectures, so to reiterate, for someone who has been attentive in her classes (followed by some self-revisions), the exams would be a cakewalk for that person.
This holds true for all the exams, be it quizzes or the endsem. Quiz- 2 was a subjective-type paper that consisted of single-word, one-line and 3-4 line answers. Quiz- 3 and Endsem were predominantly MCQ-based, so you can expect any type of a format. Either way, following the lectures and doing revisions suffice.

References Used

P.A. Samuelson & W.D. Nordhaus, Economics, McGraw Hill, New York, 1995.
N. Gregory Mankiw’s: Principle of Macroeconomics (Edition depends upon the Professor)

Other Remarks

It’s a fairly interesting course since you can relate a lot of what is being covered in it with real-life scenarios, plus the professors simplify it enough so understanding is never an issue. Scoring-wise too this is a course where one can comfortably get themselves a pretty good grade, given that he/she does what needs to be done. All-in-all, a good learning experience :)

HS 101 Review By: Sahil Kumar