Summer 2024 - ECON 105 D100

Principles of Macroeconomics (4)

Class Number: 1323

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    May 6 – Aug 2, 2024: Mon, 10:30 a.m.–12:20 p.m.

    May 6 – Aug 2, 2024: Wed, 10:30–11:20 a.m.



The principal elements of theory concerning money and income, distribution, social accounts, public finance, international trade, comparative systems, and development and growth. Students with credit for ECON 205 cannot take ECON 105 for further credit. Quantitative/Breadth-Soc.


Macroeconomics is the study of “the economy” as a whole, in contrast to microeconomics which focuses on understanding the behavior of individual businesses, people and markets. Over the course of the semester, we will aim to develop an informed basic understanding of inflation, unemployment, economic growth, financial markets, business cycles, and economic policy.

Topics:  This course is taught in universities all over the world and has a standard list of topics to be covered:

  1. Microeconomic foundations.
    We will start by introducing (if you have not taken ECON 103) or reviewing (if you have taken ECON 103) a few core ideas from microeconomics: scarcity, markets, supply and demand.

  2. Social welfare and the gains from trade.
    Markets are very powerful tools for organizing human activities and allocating resources. We will discuss the potential role of market exchange to enhance human well-being, as well as some conditions under which it will do the opposite.

  3. Measuring economic activity.
    Economics is a fundamentally quantitative field of study; it is built on careful measurement of the things we care about. We typically measure the value of a country’s economic activity using a statistic called Gross Domestic Product (GDP).  We will explore the construction of GDP and related economic statistics, their interpretation, and their limitations.

  4. Economic growth.
    The average Canadian today has a standard of living well beyond that of the average Canadian 100 years ago, or of the average person in most of the world today. This material abundance is the result of decades of consistent economic growth. Economic growth has been minimal for much of human history, which raises the crucial question of what conditions facilitate or prevent economic growth.  We will explore this question.

  5. Unemployment.
    Most people work to survive and pay their bills. But sometimes people find it difficult to find work, a situation we call unemployment. We will discuss the measurement, causes and consequences of unemployment.

  6. Inflation, money, and exchange rates.
    The prices of goods and services tend to increase over time, an in recent years have increased more rapidly than usual. These price increases are called inflation.  We will discuss the measurement, causes, and consequences of inflation, along with related issues such as money and the exchange rate.

  7. Consumption, saving, investment and financial markets.
    Markets are a mechanism for allocating resources. Financial markets are a crucial allocation mechanism that connects spending and savings decisions made by households with investment decisions made by businesses. Well-functioning financial markets direct household savings towards productive investments, leading to economic growth and a higher standard of living.  But financial markets can fail in a spectacular and costly manner, as in the Great Depression of the 1930s or the global financial crisis of 2008.  We will discuss these markets, their components, and their role in the economy as a whole.

  8. Business cycles.
    Most of the time, the economy is growing and it is not too hard to find a job. But occasionally an economy enters a sustained period of reduced (or even negative) economic growth and high unemployment, also called a recession. We will discuss several theories of what causes recessions, as well as associated policy recommendations for avoiding or ameliorating them.

  9. Monetary policy.
    Central banks such as the Bank of Canada or the US Federal Reserve play an important role in the economy through their influence on the financial system and the supply of money. We will review the structure of central banks, their available policy tools, and the consequences of using these tools for economic growth, unemployment, inflation, and exchange rates.

  10. Government spending, taxes, and fiscal policy.
    Governments also influence the economy by collecting taxes, issuing bonds, and spending the proceeds on things like social services, infrastructure, education, and the military. We will discuss the basic components of these decisions, and how they may affect the economy as a whole.


In addition, we will regularly explore these topics with reference to current events. We will track the release of major economic statistics and policy announcements, and we will talk about any major macroeconomic events – financial crises, natural disasters, etc. – that occur over the course of the semester.  Economics courses often ask you to invest a substantial amount of effort into understanding abstract theory (and a little math), and this course will be no exception. But one of my goals is demonstrating that the investment pays off and will give you a better understanding of the world around you.



  • Weekly homework assignments 15%
  • 1 Midterm exam 25%
  • 2 Midterm exam 25%
  • Final exam 35%



Kevin Milligan; Philip Oreopoulos; Betsey Stevenson; Justin Wolfers; Principles of Macroeconomics: Canadian Edition. ISBN: 9781319456368. This e-book is bundled with the Achieve platform, which is required to do the homework assignments.

Note: This course has been selected to participate in the Day 1 Access Pilot (Summer, 2024). This means that your Digital Course Material content will be automatically made available within your Canvas account upon course registration on or before the first day of classes.

Simply login to your Canvas account, and when you click on your Course then “Modules” in the left menu bar, you will be presented with the option to access your digital course materials. You will be able to preview your Digital Course Materials for up to 14 days and may choose to purchase at any time via the presented SFU Bookstore link to secure ongoing access beyond the preview period. No access codes will be required, and materials will be available right away within your Canvas account.

The SFU Bookstore has worked to ensure this is the lowest cost option for students to secure their Digital Course Materials, however, should you choose to secure your Course Materials in a different format (ex. printed version via the SFU Bookstore), or not at all, then simply let the free preview period expire.

Should you have any questions, you may access the support links within Canvas, or feel free to visit the SFU Bookstore website for more information at



Department Undergraduate Notes:

Please note that, as per Policy T20.01, the course requirements (and grading scheme) outlined here are subject to change up until the end of the first week of classes.

Final exam schedules will be released during the second month of classes. If your course has a final exam, please ensure that you are available during the entire final exam period until you receive confirmation of your exam dates. 

Students requiring accommodations as a result of a disability must contact the Centre for Accessible Learning (CAL) at 778-782-3112 or


Registrar Notes:


SFU’s Academic Integrity website is filled with information on what is meant by academic dishonesty, where you can find resources to help with your studies and the consequences of cheating. Check out the site for more information and videos that help explain the issues in plain English.

Each student is responsible for his or her conduct as it affects the university community. Academic dishonesty, in whatever form, is ultimately destructive of the values of the university. Furthermore, it is unfair and discouraging to the majority of students who pursue their studies honestly. Scholarly integrity is required of all members of the university.