Economics 5150 Syllabus
Comparative Economic Systems
Instructor: Dr. Dwight Israelsen Spring 2012
Office: Bus 608; 7-2298; firstname.lastname@example.org 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: www.huntsman.usu.edu/disraelsen/. 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.
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
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
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
B. Issues facing each transition economy
0. Legal and institutional framework
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
3. Political issues
D. Strategies for transition
1. “Big Bang”
III. Utopian economies
B. Historical examples
C. Economic organization
1. Producer cooperatives
a. economics problems with producer cooperatives
ii. Problems with investment
b. Collectives v. communes
i. Differences in incentives
D. Factors leading to success of utopian economic organizations