AP Microeconomics Summer Assignment

AP Microeconomics Summer Assignment

Congratulations, and welcome to the wonderful world of economics!! As a student in next year’s class, you are also the lucky recipient of a summer assignment giving you a preview of the topics we will focus on in the coming school year. Below, you will find the details of this assignment. My email address is rstern2@boston.k12.ma.us should you need to contact me for any reason.

Your task:
• Read the assigned chapters from the book, Naked Economics: Undressing the Dismal Science by Charles Wheelan.
• Answer the accompanying questions about the reading.
• For each section, please write one question related to the reading that you would like answered.

***Make sure to acquire the fully revised and updated 2010 version of the book!!!! ***

Written responses to the questions below must be turned in on Friday, September 16th, 2010.
Responses must be written in complete sentences and must be typed, double-spaced, 12 point Times New Roman font with standard margins. For each response, you must support your answer with specific evidence from the book.

Foreword by Burton G. Malkiel

1. The study of economics has often been criticized for a variety of reasons. What are those reasons?

2. The influence of economics is present in many business, financial, and government communities. What are some institutions and agencies that rely on economics in some significant way?


3. Give one example of a politician (in the United States or abroad) who has failed to understand economics and as a result, failed to understand how to solve a problem society faces.

Chapter 1: The Power of Markets

4. What does it mean to “maximize your utility?”

5. What are some “barriers to entry” that make it so only seller can provide a good or service? Why are barriers to entry important?

6. What is meant by “price discrimination?” Why do you think airlines are able to price discriminate?

7. What does Wheelan mean when he says the market economy operates as an “amoral force?”

8. Besides prices, what is another way that firms can compete in order to outperform their competition?

9. According to Wheelan, what makes markets a good way to organize economic activity?

Chapter 2: Incentives Matter

10. What problem do communal resources present, as compared to privately owned resources?

11. Why do incentives matter? Use an example from the book as well as from your own life to explain your response.

12. The law of unintended consequences states that “actions of people – and especially of government – always have effects that are unanticipated or unintended” (The Concise Encyclopedia of Economics). While important to recognize, politicians often fail to understand its significance. Provide one example mentioned in the reading that illustrates this point.

13. “Capitalism can be a brutal, cruel process…But ‘creative destruction’ (Joseph Schumpeter) is a tremendous positive force. Competition means losers, which goes a long way to explain why we embrace it in theory and fight it bitterly in practice.” Explain this statement, and give an example.

Chapter 3: Government and the Economy

14. What positive and negative externalities are associated with cigarette smoking? Can you make the case that the positives outweigh the negatives?

15. What makes taxation a good solution the problem of negative externalities?

16. List all of the ways that government is essential in order for a market economy to operate successfully.

You are an AP student. Lesson # 1: Do Not Procrastinate!