Difference between revisions of "Talk:ECON 1011A: Intermediate Microeconomic Theory"

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== Notable Q-Guide Reviews ==
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== Fall 2019 Student Comments ==
  
 
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If you want to take this class, make sure you know your Greek alphabet, make sure you know chain rule and product rule, and that's basically it. It's quite trivial really, once you see through the performance.}}
 
If you want to take this class, make sure you know your Greek alphabet, make sure you know chain rule and product rule, and that's basically it. It's quite trivial really, once you see through the performance.}}
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== Fall 2020 Student Comments ==
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Ed Glaeser talk fast
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I think the most important skill for doing well in this class is familiarity with algebra and calculus. In particular, being able to do algebra very quickly is very important for exams. I’d also say that Ec 10 can be helpful preparation in the sense that it helps develop your economic intuition, which can be helpful for some problems. Glaeser is a fantastic lecturer.
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I really enjoyed first 5 or so lectures because of all the math; later, the lecture became really confusing and it was hard to stay focused with zoom. This is a good class to meet new people through psets, projects, etc, but only because the work is so time consuming. The homeworks are time consuming, but CA office hours are really helpful because some of the CAs are very well qualified and understand the material very well, so make sure to spend the time to go to OH to do the homework so you don't have to relearn everything for midterm/final. You're going to feel so, so nervous for the midterm and final exams because they test so many concepts and expect you to know so much of the material. The only way to do well on the final this year was to have watched the Glaesar's videos on moral hazard and duopolies (doing all the practice exams didn't help so much). Modeling projects are super time consuming and gets super exhausting; it's a cycle of going to all the OHs to try to understand somewhat what was going on.
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This is a hard class. Let's face it. The problem sets were useful and helpful, but the exams are brutal. Find a good group for the modeling projects, and you should be fine. Honestly, you can skate by fine until exam time comes. When it does roll around, really work through the exams from previous years and be able to do at least last year's and year before that's exam basically from memory. This means retake the exams if you have to, but make sure you can do those problems, and the math, in your sleep.
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Revision as of 19:21, 19 January 2021

Fall 2019 Student Comments

Have you ever been to an opera? Personally, I haven't, but after having taken Econ 1011a, I think I have an idea of what it must be like. In an opera, a singer comes on stage and performs some piece of music with tremendous passion, and although you have no idea what they were saying, you still nod to your friends, say it's good, and applaud because you appreciate the art of it. Similarly, in Econ 1011a, Professor Glaeser enters the lecture hall, talks in highly elevated diction for an hour and a half about some sophisticated–sounding topics, and although you have no idea what he's saying, you still try to jot down notes and nod to your friends because you appreciate the art of it. But what exactly is this art? It is the art of brewing alphabet soup: When he writes down a model, he makes sure to include as many letters of the English alphabet as he can. He often always throws in a dash of Greek as well, just to add some exotic flavor. It is the art of improvisation: Arrive early enough and you will get a sneak peek of Econ 1011a behind the scenes. Fifteen minutes to 12:00, a TF sends the day's lecture slides to Prof. Glaeser via email. Five minutes to 12:00, Prof. Glaeser walks in and flips frantically through all 60 of the slides. At 12:00, Professor Glaeser begins his performance. It is the art of speed: Prof. Glaeser always has many more slides than he has minutes in class, but they don't call him the "mailman" for no reason. He always delivers and gets through all the slides, usually relying on the last 10 minutes as a speedround to BLAZE through the last 30. It is the art of abstraction: His handwriting is illegible. But most importantly, it is the art of the simple: Behind the facade of the multilined model with 20 different variables, there's always a really simple economic principle. Some of my favorites include: as wages rise, firms hire less labor; as we increase the benefits to crime, more people do the crime; politicians are more likely to send hate–creating messages when the message is unlikely to be investigated; and (for a superintendent who can choose to allocate his total time between 2 actions) as the time he allocates on action 1 increases, the time he allocates for action 2 decreases. Microeconomic Theory can be so beautiful. This was my first economics class at Harvard, but after taking it, I became confused as to why people call economists "snakes," unless a snake is just someone who points out obvious things about the world.

In all honesty, this class has topics that are really interesting, but they are often presented in a way that obscures the most interesting parts and focuses on the mechanics of the calculations instead. I am a fan of the pre–lecture 20–minute policy discussion where we consider the merits and drawbacks of some real–world policy and this part is usually pretty well–done, even though the conclusion will be something obvious (funny). Lectures themselves often move too quickly as a result of the large number of slides (and time taken up by the policy discussion). It is unfortunate that there is no textbook because there is no way to explore the material presented in class and get a better understanding except by reviewing the lecture slides, which is usually unhelpful. Problem sets are pretty good both as a learning tool and in terms of content (they usually involve some situation from popular culture like Batman or Game of Thrones that we then apply economics to), although I wish the algebra on them was just a little more tedious. I feel uncomfortable when I take a derivative and I am able to fit the answer on only 3 lines (with the paper in landscape orientation). Modeling projects seem interesting at first, but they're actually just more ambiguously written versions of the problem sets, so it's hard to know what they're looking for. The midterm and final are graded ridiculously, since Professor Glaeser is obsessed with having the distribution of grades be normal with mean 50 and standard deviation 20. He said this before we took the exam and this was actually the distribution, leading many to suspect that problem points were assigned after grading. As a result grades are pretty random, so don't be too sad if you don't get what you hoped for.

If you want to take this class, make sure you know your Greek alphabet, make sure you know chain rule and product rule, and that's basically it. It's quite trivial really, once you see through the performance.

Fall 2020 Student Comments

Ed Glaeser talk fast
I think the most important skill for doing well in this class is familiarity with algebra and calculus. In particular, being able to do algebra very quickly is very important for exams. I’d also say that Ec 10 can be helpful preparation in the sense that it helps develop your economic intuition, which can be helpful for some problems. Glaeser is a fantastic lecturer.
I really enjoyed first 5 or so lectures because of all the math; later, the lecture became really confusing and it was hard to stay focused with zoom. This is a good class to meet new people through psets, projects, etc, but only because the work is so time consuming. The homeworks are time consuming, but CA office hours are really helpful because some of the CAs are very well qualified and understand the material very well, so make sure to spend the time to go to OH to do the homework so you don't have to relearn everything for midterm/final. You're going to feel so, so nervous for the midterm and final exams because they test so many concepts and expect you to know so much of the material. The only way to do well on the final this year was to have watched the Glaesar's videos on moral hazard and duopolies (doing all the practice exams didn't help so much). Modeling projects are super time consuming and gets super exhausting; it's a cycle of going to all the OHs to try to understand somewhat what was going on.
This is a hard class. Let's face it. The problem sets were useful and helpful, but the exams are brutal. Find a good group for the modeling projects, and you should be fine. Honestly, you can skate by fine until exam time comes. When it does roll around, really work through the exams from previous years and be able to do at least last year's and year before that's exam basically from memory. This means retake the exams if you have to, but make sure you can do those problems, and the math, in your sleep.