ECN 5150

Economics 5150 Syllabus

Economics 5150
Comparative Economic Systems

Instructor:       Dr. Dwight Israelsen                                                                                                                                                 Spring 2012
Office:             Bus 608; 7-2298;                                                                                                     TR 4:30-5:45
Office Hrs.:    TR 10:30-11:30 and by appointment                                                                                                                       BUS 317
This class examines the foundations and working characteristics of capitalist, socialist, mixed, and utopian economic systems.  Conditions leading to the abandonment of centrally planned socialism are identified, and problems of economic transition are discussed.  This is a CI class.
Text:        Gregory & Stuart, Comparing Economic Systems in the Twenty-First Century, 7th Ed. (G&S)
        Elliott, Comparative Economic Systems, chapters on reserve (E)

Readings:    Additional readings will be placed on electronic reserve in the library, or handed out in class.

Web Page:    A class web page is available to access the syllabus, current test scores, and other information relevant to the course at:                 The class will also have a Canvas page.

Exams:        Midterm exams will be given on February 14, March 20, and April 12.  A final exam will be given
                     on Thursday, May 3, 3:30-5:20 p.m.  Each exam will be worth 100 points.  The lowest midterm score will be dropped.

Paper:        A term paper is required, and will be worth 100 points.  Topics must be approved by Professor
                    Israelsen by January 26.  A draft of the paper outline will be due on February 2.  The first draft of the paper will be due                               on March 1, and the final draft will be due on April 5.  Feedback will be provided on outlines and drafts.

Forum:        A class on-line forum will be maintained on Canvas, and students are encouraged to participate in discussions of various                       topics.  Each student is required to write a “blog” entry on a course topic during the semester, and to make at least one                            
thoughtful comment on other topics.  Participation in this manner will be worth 50 points.
Group Presentation:
                     Students will be assigned to groups containing 5 students each, for the purpose of developing a presentation for the last                        week of class.  The presentation can be oral or media-based.  Groups will choose a topic from a limited set.  Each student                      in the  group is expected to participate.  The presentation will be worth 100 points.  The topic must be chosen by March 24.

Grades:    The course grade will be determined entirely by the student's performance on exams, papers, group presentations, and                           forum participation.

Week of    Topics                            Reading Assignments

Jan 10        Introduction; Pros and Cons of Capitalism                                  
Jan 17        Evaluation of Economic Systems; Foundations of Capitalism                               G&S Ch. 1-3, 5
Jan 24        Foundations of Capitalism                                                                                             G&S Ch. 5
Jan 31        Critiques of Capitalism: Marx                                                                                         G&S Ch. 4; E Ch. 6;  
Feb 7          Critiques of Capitalism: Schumpeter; Keynes & Eccles                                                       “    
                                                                                                                                                                  Israelsen, “ Eccles”
Feb 14        First Exam
Feb 16        Anglo-Saxon Capitalism; Variants of Capitalism                                                       G&S Ch. 8, 9, 10
Feb 21        Presidents Day Holiday, no class
Feb 23        Variants of Capitalism                                                                                                     G&S Ch. 9, 10    
Feb 28        Theory of Planned Socialism; Theory of Market Socialism                                      G&S Ch. 6, 7
Mar 6        The Austrian Critique of Socialism                                                                                  G&S Ch. 4; E Ch. 9
Mar 13        Spring Break
Mar 20        Second Exam
Mar 22        The Soviet Economy; The Chinese Economy                                                            G&S Ch. 11
Mar 27        The Chinese Economy; Decline of the Command Economies                             G&S Ch. 12, 13
                                                                                                                                                                 Israelsen, “Failure”
Apr 3         Transition Economies: Framework, Patterns, and Approaches                              G&S 14-16
Apr 10        Micro, Macro, and International Problems of Transition; Evaluation                      G&S Ch. 17-19, 21, 22
Apr 12        Third Exam
Apr 17        Utopian Economics                                                                                                         Domar, “Soviet Collective
                                                                                                                                                                 Farm,” Handouts,
Apr 24        Utopian Economics; Class Presentations                                                                  Israelsen, “United Order”
May 3        Final Examination, 3:30-5:20 p.m.   

Economics 5150: Final Exam Study Guide

I.    There will be questions on the final taken from each of the midterm exams, so review those.

II.    Transition economies
    A.    Typical experience of countries undergoing transition
        1.    “J”-curve
    B.    Issues facing each transition economy
        0.    Legal and institutional framework
        1.    Privatization
        2.    Restructuring
        3.    Price liberalization
            a.    monetary overhang and inflation
        4.    Revenues - tax system
        5.    Currency convertibility
            a.    foreign reserves
            b.    IMF rules
    C.    Factors leading to different experiences among countries
        1.    History - time under central planning
        2.    Resources
        3.    Political issues

    D.    Strategies for transition
        1.    “Big Bang”
        2.    Gradualism

III.    Utopian economies
    A.    Definition
    B.    Historical examples
    C.    Economic organization
        1.    Producer cooperatives
            a.    economics problems with producer cooperatives
                i.    inefficiency
                ii.    Problems with investment
            b.    Collectives v. communes
                i.    Differences in incentives
    D.    Factors leading to success of utopian economic organizations