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MBA 674 Economics for Mgt Decisions
Staihr, Brian

Mission Statement: The mission of the School of Graduate and Professional Studies at Park University is to provide leadership and directions to Park University's graduate and professional programs to assure that they are specialized, scholarly, innovative, and designed to educate students to be creative, independent, and lifelong learners within the context of a global community.

Vision Statement: Park University's School of Graduate and Professional Studies will be an international leader in providing innovative graduate and professional educational opportunities to learners within a global society.


MBA 674 Economics for Mgt Decisions


FAP 2009 DL


Staihr, Brian


Adjunct Professor


Ph.D. Economics - Washington University in St. Louis
M.A. Economics - Washington University in St. Louis
B.A. Economics - University of Missouri Kansas City

Daytime Phone



Semester Dates

August 3, 2009 - December 6, 2009

Class Days


Class Time



EC141, EC142, and EC315 (or equivalent approved by Program Director)

Credit Hours


Textbook:  Managerial Economics, 9th edition, McGraw-Hill/Irwin 2008
Author: Thomas, Christopher R. and Maurice, S. Charles
ISBN: 978-0-07-340281-9

Make sure the Student CD is included.

Textbooks can be purchased through the MBS bookstore

Textbooks can be purchased through the Parkville Bookstore

Additional Resources:
Additional Resources: From time to time the online classroom will refer you to additional material that is publicly available on the Internet  

McAfee Memorial Library - Online information, links, electronic databases and the Online catalog. Contact the library for further assistance via email or at 800-270-4347.
Career Counseling - The Career Development Center (CDC) provides services for all stages of career development.  The mission of the CDC is to provide the career planning tools to ensure a lifetime of career success.
Park Helpdesk - If you have forgotten your OPEN ID or Password, or need assistance with your PirateMail account, please email or call 800-927-3024
Resources for Current Students - A great place to look for all kinds of information
Advising - Park University would like to assist you in achieving your educational goals. Please contact your Campus Center for advising or enrollment adjustment information.
Online Classroom Technical Support - For technical assistance with the Online classroom, email or call the helpdesk at 866-301-PARK (7275). To see the technical requirements for Online courses, please visit the website, and click on the "Technical Requirements" link, and click on "BROWSER Test" to see if your system is ready.
FAQ's for Online Students - You might find the answer to your questions here.

Course Description:
MBA 674 Economics of Management Decisions:  This course covers the concepts, tools, and methods of economic analysis relevant to decision-making occurring within and across firms, with emphasis on the economic way of approaching business decisions.  Attention is given to the analysis of factors determining market demand and supply, as well as factors affecting short- and long-run production and costs, strategic pricing policy in the presence of market power, and interaction among firms operating within various market structures.

Educational Philosophy:
Greetings!  I'm Dr. Brian Staihr, an economist who works in the telecommunications industry.  Glad to have you on board.  My educational philosphy is pretty simple:
1) There is no such thing as a dumb question.  Ask questions! 
2) I expect everyone in the online class to extend the same common courtesy to others that he/she would want to receive.  It makes the learning environment better.  
3) I will have realistic expectations of you.  But understand that sometimes my definiton of "realistic" expectations may be higher than yours.  You should take that as a compliment.
4) Homework is sometimes a necessary evil.  This is one of those times.  There won't be much of it, but there will be some.  Homework lets me know how you are doing as we go along.
5) The homework will make the tests much easier.

  Instructor Learning Outcomes

  1. Identify the overall factors that drive market demand and supply by solving representative problems and analyzing how changes in demand/supply affect price, quantity, and equilibrium in the market.
  2. Employ marginal analysis to achieve managerial goals through both constrained and unconstrained optimization problems designed to replicate business situations requiring profit maximization or cost minimization.
  3. Utilize basic estimation techniques (linear and log-linear regression) to produce estimates/forecasts of demand and supply, based on factors identified in Core Learning Outcome #1.
  4. Analyze consumer behavior as it affects demand theory using standard tools to explore how consumers maximize utility subject to budget constraints.
  5. Conduct demand elasticity analysis to identify how pricing changes affect the firm's overall profitability, and forecast demand of such price changes.
  6. Utilize production and costing theory in both the short- and long run to identify the role that costs play in managerial decisions regarding profit-maximization.
  7. Identify the sources of market power and characteristics that allow firms to exercise market power.
  8. Analyze strategic interdependence among firms operating in oligopolistic markets by using standard approaches such as game theory.
  9. Employ advanced pricing techniques including two-part pricing, block pricing, and third-degree price discrimination in the presence of multiple markets with varying demand elasticities.
Class Assessment:


(Overall course policies—including rules regarding deadlines—are described in a section further below.)

Participation: (12 out of 16 weeks)

  • Participation points are a significant part of your grade. To receive full participation credit you will be expected to do the following each week:
    • Provide a “substantive” answer to each discussion question posted. (Discussion questions are described in more detail below.)
      • What is a “substantive” answer? It is a well-thought-out response that answers a question completely. It may cite other material or sources or it may not. It also explains “why” or “why not”. It is written in complete sentences wit correct grammar.
      • You do not have to write a novel. Length is not important, but there must be evidence that you have actually thought about the question.  
    • Provide a substantive comment, observation, reply or argument to two (2) of your classmates’ answers to either of the discussion questions for that week. 
      • Simply stating “I agree” does not constitute a substantive answer!
      • I am looking for a total of 2 responses, not 2 responses to 2 students (which would be four responses).
      • You can respond to 2 different classmates. For example, you can comment on “Susan Smith’s” answer to discussion question #1 and to “John Jones’” answer to discussion question #2.   

·       IMPORTANT NOTE: You must post your answers to discussion questions or responses to classmates’ answers on two different days during each seven-day week. This means you cannot log on once, answer all the discussion questions and respond to your classmates’ answers all at one sitting. The intent of this requirement is obvious: You must log on (and expose yourself to the material) more often than once a week! 

  • One way you might want to do this: Answer the discussions questions, then come back the next day (or two days later) and respond to others’ answers. That way there should be several answers to which you can respond. It is fine to respond to another student’s post that already has one (or more) responses to it.

·       If postings are not made on two different days 4 points (out of 12) will be deducted from your participation score for that week. 

Even More on Discussion Questions (Threaded Discussions):  (12 out of 16 weeks)

  • Every week discussion questions will be posted that require your active response and participation.
  • Responses should be long enough to thoroughly answer the questions or problems. Any outside sources that you reference must be cited accordingly.
  • Do not copy and paste an entire article or web page.  Provide a link, and/or summarize important points and cite accordingly.
  • Substantive and high value postings are expected.  Please check for grammar and spelling before posting your message. 
  • You must answer all discussion questions and, as described above, respond to at least two of your classmates’ answers to discussion questions.
  • There is nothing wrong with using examples or expressing an opinion in your answers. However, to receive full credit the examples must be accurate and appropriate and opinions must be supported by facts and reasonable explanations.   

Homework: (12 out of 16 weeks) 

  • Each week (except exam weeks) you will have a homework assignment. This will take the form of solving problems similar to those found in your text.
  • Please manage your time effectively so you can complete the homework assignments on time. See the “Policies” section below regarding submission deadlines and late submissions.
  • Refer to week's Homework tab in the course menu for additional instructions.
  • Homework assignments must be submitted via Dropbox
  • NO HOMEWORK IS TO BE E-MAILED. All homework assignments must be submitted via Dropbox. (Yes, that has already been said once; it is being said again (in BOLD) to make sure everyone understands.)
  • Please refer to Course Policies regarding acceptable file format, labeling, and penalty for submitting the assignments late.

Team Project

·       Your team project for this class is a short paper, approximately 1500-1600 words in length (1500 words is approximately 4 pages double-spaced using 11 point font). 

·       The paper is due for Week 16, submitted before the deadline on 12/6/09.

·       The paper is a written analysis of two related subjects that we have discussed in this class as they apply to a real-world firm and the situation it faces in today’s economy.

·       For example, the two related subjects could be a firm’s ability to exercise market power within the context of an oligopoly. You would have to—using real-world information—identify the firm, explain how it exercises market power (including identifying the source of its market power) and how that affects the interaction of competing firms within the oligopoly of which it is a part.      

·       A team is composed of two people. We will create teams by Week 4.


Midterm / Final Examinations: (Week 4, Week 8, Week 12, Week 16)

  • You will have four exams: three midterm exams and one final. The final is not comprehensive in the standard sense but because all material builds on itself you will need to remember the concepts you used in previous exams and homework assignments.
  • The exams will be based on the chapter readings and homework problems. They will reflect problems similar to the homework, as well as short answer questions.
  • You'll have one week to complete each midterm examination as well as the final (Monday through Sunday).
  • The exams are completed online. It is expected that each student completes the exam on his or her own, without receiving assistance from any other person.
  • Final Examination does NOT need to be proctored.


Your grade will be based on the following: Discussion questions and responses, homework, team paper, and exams.

Section of Course



Discussion Questions and Responses

·       12 Weeks

·       12 points per week

·       (8 points for your answers to discussion questions; 4 points for your responses to others’ answers)

·       Total of 144 points



Homework Assignments

·       12 weeks

·       12 points per week

·       (8 points for proper set up; 4 points for correct answer (this way if you make simple arithmetic mistakes you can still get most of the points)

·       Total of 144 Points



First Mid-term Exam (Week of September 7-13)



Second Mid-term Exam (Week of October 5-11)



Third Mid-term Exam (Week of November 2-8)



Team Paper (Week of November 30-December 6)



Final Exam (Week of November 30-December 6)






How to calculate your final grade:

740 points are possible for the course. Grade-weighting is straightforward: 90%-100% is an A; 80% to 89.99% is a B; 70% to 79.99% is a C; 60% to 69.99% is a D; < 60% is an F.

Grading Rubric-Homework, Team Paper, and Exams:

Because much of the material in this course is quantitative grading is very straightforward, and there is virtually zero subjectivity involved.

·       The exams questions are multiple-choice. If you answer a multiple-choice question correctly you get points for the question.

·       On the team paper, if you correctly identify the two issues and correctly apply them to the firm you are investigating you will receive at least 3/4ths of the points possible.

·       On the team paper, if your paper includes spelling errors, punctuation errors, and/or grammatical errors you will lose points. Spelling, punctuation and grammar will be worth a maximum of 1/4th of the points possible.   

·       On homework, if you solved the problem correctly you will get the points for that problem.

·       On homework, if you set up the problem correctly you will get 2/3 of the points for that problem, because knowing how to attack the problem is always more than ½ of the challenge.

·       On homework, if you did everything right but made silly arithmetic mistakes—and it happens all the time, to everyone—you will receive at least 80% of the points.  

Late Submission of Course Materials:
Late Submissions:

  • All submissions are due by 11:59pm Central time the Sunday of the week they are due. This includes homework, discussion question postings, and exam completion. For example, the homework and discussion question postings for Week 1 are due before 11:59pm Central time Sunday August 23, 2009.
  • Any homework assignment or discussion question posting that is late (posted after 11:59pm Central time the Sunday of the Week it is due) immediately loses ½ the possible points. There are no exceptions.
  • Any homework assignment or discussion question posting that is more than two days late (posted after 11:59pm Central time the Tuesday after the Week it is due) loses all possible points. There are no exceptions.
  • No exam may be completed late. There are no exceptions.

E-Mail Procedures and Submitting

  • Please e-mail your questions to my Park University e-mail address:
  • Please add my email to your address book so your system does not consider my email a spam and move it to your trash folder.
  • Please be specific in the subject line of your e-mail; it will help you get a faster response.
  • My Response Policy:  I check my e-mail frequently, but I receive many e-mails that require responses.  I will respond to course-related questions within 48 hours (unless I notify you previously that I will be unavailable).

Submitting Assignments:

  • All homework is submitted via Dropbox.
  • IMPORTANT NOTE: In some cases (problems with many equations) you may choose to do your homework “by hand” and scan the files in .pdf format and submit them to me that way. That is fine. They are still submitted to the Dropbox. 
  • All discussion question postings and responses are submitted into the discussion thread itself.
  • All exams are taken online, so submission is automatic once you “Submit”.

Acceptable File Formats:

  • All assignments should be submitted using MS Office 2003 or 2007 (Word, Excel, etc.).


  • On a weekly basis, you will receive feedback on your assignments.
  • The feedback will be available via the Gradebook on all the assignments unless otherwise noted. 
  • Depending on the assignment, my turn around time for giving feedback is 5 to 6 days after the submission.
  • I will be posting an announcement if there will be any delays in providing feedback.

Classroom Rules of Conduct:
Online Etiquette:

  • All your online communications need to be composed with fairness, honesty and tact.  Spelling and grammar are very important in an online course.  What you put into an Online course reflects on your level of professionalism.  Here are a couple of online references that discuss writing online and netiquette

Course Topic/Dates/Assignments:

Week 1 - 8/17/09 to 8/23/09: Introduction and Demand

  • Read Chapters 1 and 2 up to page 45

Assignments Due by Sunday, August 23 at 11:59 PM (CT):

  • Respond and participate to the discussion questions
  • Homework assignment for Week 1

Week 2 - 8/24/09 to 8/30/09: Demand (cont.), Supply, Equilibrium

  • Read the remainder of Chapter 2

Assignments Due by Sunday, August 30 at 11:59 PM (CT):

  • Respond and participate to the discussion questions
  • Homework assignment for Week 2

Week 3 - 8/31/09 to 9/6/09: Marginal Analysis

  • Read Chapter 3 on Marginal Analysis

Assignments Due by Sunday, September 6 at 11:59 PM (CT):

  • Respond and participate to the discussion questions
  • Homework assignment for Week 3

Week 4 - 9/7/09 to 9/13/09: Exam 1


Establish Teams for Team Paper

Week 5 - 9/14/09 to 9/20/09: Regression

  • Read Chapter 4 on Regression

Assignments Due by Sunday, September 20 at 11:59 PM (CT):

  • Respond and participate to the discussion questions
  • Homework assignment for Week 5

Week 6 - 9/21/09 to 9/27/09: Consumer Behavior

  • Read Chapter 5 on Consumer Behavior

Assignments Due by Sunday, September 27 at 11:59 PM (CT):

  • Respond and participate to the discussion questions
  • Homework assignment for Week 6


Week 7 - 9/28/09 to 10/4/09: Elasticity

  • Read Chapter 6 on Elasticity and Demand

Assignments Due by Sunday, October 4 at 11:59 PM (CT):

  • Respond and participate to the discussion questions
  • Homework assignment for Week 7

Week 8 - 10/5/09 to 10/11/09: Exam 2

Week 9 - 10/12/09 to 10/18/09: Production and Costs (Short Run)

  • Read Chapter 8 on Production & Costs

Assignments Due by Sunday, October 18 at 11:59 PM (CT):

  • Respond and participate to the discussion questions
  • Homework Assignment for Week 9

Week 10 - 10/19/09 to 10/25/09: Production and Costs (Long Run)

  • Read Chapter 9 on Production & Cost (Long Run)

Assignments Due by Sunday, 11:59 PM (CT):

  • Respond and participate to the discussion questions
  • Homework Assignment for Week 10

Week 11 - 10/26/09 to 11/1/09: Competitive Markets

  • Read Chapter 11 on Perfect Competition

Assignments Due by Sunday, November 1 at 11:59 PM (CT):

  • Respond and participate to the discussion questions
  • Homework Assignment for Week 11

Week 12 - 11/2/09 to 11/8/09: Exam 3

Week 13 - 11/9/09 to 11/15/09: Market Power

  • Read Chapter 12 on Market Power

Assignments Due by Sunday, November 15 at 11:59 PM (CT):

  • Respond and participate to the discussion questions
  • Homework Assignment for Week 13

Week 14 - 11/16/09 to 11/22/09: Oligopoly and Game Theory

  • Read Chapter 13 on Oligopoly and Game Theory

Assignments Due by Sunday, November 22 at 11:59 PM (CT):

  • Respond and participate to the discussion questions
  • Homework Assignment for Week 14

Week 15 - 11/23/09 to 11/29/09: Strategic Pricing & Price Discrimination

  • Read Chapter 14 on Advanced Pricing Techniques

Assignments Due by Sunday, November 29 at 11:59 PM (CT):

  • Respond and participate to the discussion questions
  • Homework Assignment for Week 15

Week 16 - 11/30/09 to 12/6/09: Final Exam


Turn in Team Paper

Academic Honesty:
As a learning community, the University upholds the highest standards of academic integrity in all its academic activities, by faculty, staff, administrators and students. Academic integrity involves much more than respecting intellectual property rights. It lies at the heart of learning, creativity, and the core values of the University. Those who learn, teach, write, publish, present, or exhibit creative works are advised to familiarize themselves with the requirements of academic integrity and make every effort to avoid possible offenses against it, knowingly or unknowingly. Park University 2009-2010 Graduate Catalog Page 31


Plagiarism involves the appropriation of another person's ideas, interpretation, words (even a few), data, statements, illustration or creative work and their presentation as one's own. An offense against plagiarism constitutes a serious academic misconduct.  Although offenses against academic integrity can manifest themselves in various ways, the most common forms of offenses are plagiarism and cheating. Plagiarism goes beyond the copying of an entire article. It may include, but is not limited to: copying a section of an article or a chapter from a book, reproduction of an art work, illustration, cartoon, photograph and the like and passing them off as one's own. Copying from the Internet is no less serious an offense than copying from a book or printed article, even when the material is not copyrighted.

Plagiarism also includes borrowing ideas and phrases from, or paraphrasing, someone else's work, published or unpublished, without acknowledging and documenting the source. Acknowledging and documenting the source of an idea or phrase, at the point where it is utilized, is necessary even when the idea or phrase is taken from a speech or conversation with another person.

Park University 2009-2010 Graduate Catalog Page 31-32

Attendance Policy:

Professors are required to maintain attendance records and report absences. Excused absences can be granted by the instructor, for medical reasons, school sponsored activities, and employment-related demands, including temporary duty. Students are responsible for any missed work. Absences for two successive weeks, without approved excuse, will be reported to the Director of the individual graduate program, or to the Executive Director for the Graduate School, for appropriate action. Students with such a record of absences, without an approved excuse, may be administratively withdrawn from the class and notified that an "F" will be recorded, unless the student initiates official withdrawal from the class(es).Park University 2009-2010 Graduate Catalog Page 35

Disability Guidelines:
Park University is committed to meeting the needs of all students that meet the criteria for special assistance. These guidelines are designed to supply directions to students concerning the information necessary to accomplish this goal. It is Park University's policy to comply fully with federal and state law, including Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, regarding students with disabilities. In the case of any inconsistency between these guidelines and federal and/or state law, the provisions of the law will apply. Additional information concerning Park University's policies and procedures related to disability can be found on the Park University web page: .


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Last Updated:8/1/2009 1:40:19 PM