An introduction to the modes of thought of economics. Use of simple standard tools of economics to analyze important problems that arise frequently in public policy, the news media, and in daily life. An emphasis on how economists predict what choices societies make and how economists analyze whether those are good choices. Practical application of a variety of economic tools leading to a focus on the essential unity underlying these analytical tools, viewing economics as a discipline that applies a core methodology in different ways in different situations.
Courses Offered in Fall 2016
Through most of the 20th century gaps in income between rich and poor declined in the US, but after 1970 we experienced a very rapid increase in inequality. This course challenges students to investigate why people make different amounts of money, why income inequality has risen so dramatically in recent years, what public policy tools exist to counter inequality increases, and what different institutional arrangements different countries use to lower inequality.
Introduces economic models used to analyze economic behavior by individuals and firms and consequent market outcomes. Applies conceptual analysis to several policy issues and surveys a variety of specific topics within the broad scope of microeconomics.
An introduction to how market economies behave at the aggregate level. The determination of national income/output and the problems of unemployment inflation, will be examined, along with monetary and fiscal policy.
Introductory course to develop understanding of statistical concepts used in applied economics. Students will acquire skills needed to calculate and interpret statistical concepts, including descriptive statistics, probability, discrete and continuous distributions, sampling, point and interval estimations, hypothesis testing, basic analysis of variance, and simple linear regression models. Students will apply these concepts to data using both handheld calculators and spreadsheets(Excel), and students will be introduced to an econometric software package such as SPSS or SAS or R.
Analysis of the determination of national income, employment, and price levels. Discussion of consumption, investment, inflation, and government fiscal and monetary policy.
Analysis of the theories of consumer behavior, producer behavior, different market structures, and various sources of inefficient outcomes. Analysis of microeconomic policies designed to improve market outcomes.
Economic concepts are used to analyze various aspects of the founding and early history of the U.S., including the British settlement of the North American colonies, the economics of the American Revolutionary war, the writing of the Constitution, the development of financial markets, policies on public lands and the spread of western agriculture, slavery, banking, and early industrialization.
Analysis of the economic and social characteristics of underdeveloped areas. Recent theories of economic development, obstacles to development, policies and planning for development.
Analysis of policy options and debates on fostering economic growth and development in a global economy where national boundaries are no longer relevant. Topics covered will include real loanable funds markets in both local and international contexts during normal conditions and during financial crises, the design of trade and industrial policies, and the role of the World Bank, IMF, WTO, and other international agencies as well as regional and bilateral trade agreements. Emerging economies will be emphasized.
Introduction to the use of statistics in economics. Topics include: Probability, random variables and their distributions, sampling theory, estimation, hypothesis testing, analysis of variance, regression analysis and correlation.
Analysis of macroeconomic behavior and policy with emphasis on theoretical rigor. Topics include the determinants of economic growth, unemployment, inflation, and international economic flows.
Analysis of economic decision-making by individual buyers and sellers, and resulting market outcomes, with emphasis on theoretical rigor. The efficient properties of perfect competition are examined, followed by consideration of market power, externalities, and asymmetric information.
The structure of financial institutions and their role in the provision of money and near money. Analysis of the Federal Reserve System, the techniques of central banks, and the control of supply of financial assets in stabilization policy. Relationship of money and credit to economic activity and the price level.
Introduces economic models of international trade and finance. Analyzes policies designed to promote and restrict international trade and to manage exchange rates and impact international capital flows.
See Department Advising Office for course eligibility, course requirements, and application information. Contact department for information to register for this course.
First semester of the departmental honors sequence. Students will develop and apply research skills required to carry out original research. By the end of the semester students will have produced a complete draft of an honors thesis resembling a scholarly journal article.
Integrated readings and independent study under direction and supervision of a faculty member. Contact department for additional information.
Analysis of current economic problems and public policies. Topics could include poverty, income inequality, social insurance, education, environmental sustainability, immigration, and innovation. Other issues may be substituted depending on current events.
Expands on the assumptions of rational decision-making used in intermediate microeconomics and develops more complicated, more realistic models which address uncertainty, intertemporal choices, strategic interactions, social preferences and considerations of what is fair.
Analysis of major economic, political, and social change in the developed world since 1800. This includes factors contributing to increases in economic performance, changes in the form of government, technological change (including industrialization), and integration and disintegration of the global economy. Emphasis is on institutional changes in how societies organize economic and political activities.
Studies the competitive and cooperative behavior that results when several parties with conflicting interests must work together. Learn how to use game theory to analyze situations of potential conflict. Applications are drawn from economics, business, and political science.
Focuses on recent developments in the design of markets to improve economic performance and to open new economic opportunities. It is divided into three main segments -- auction design, the design of matching mechanisms, and antitrust theory and policy.
Analyzes patterns of economic and institutional development in China; assesses sources of and challenges to economic growth over the past century as China's systems have transitioned from central planning and communism to market-oriented socialism with one-party politics; and examines specific issues such as the role of foreign investment, the performance of state-owned enterprises, the tensions between central and local governments, and the economic impact of demographic policies.
Emphasizes the interaction between economic problems and the assumption employed in statistical theory. Formulation, estimation, and testing of economic models, including single variable and multiple variable regression techniques, theory of identification, and issues relating to inference.
Interaction between economic problems and specification and estimation of econometric models. Topics include issues of autocorrelation, heteroscedasticity, functional form, simultaneous equation models, qualitative choice models, and other computational methods.
Provide the knowledge and skills necessary to accomplish and utilize basic applied econometric analysis utilized by many business service providers, government agencies, and nonprofits engaged in policy analysis. Topics include simple and multiple regressions using cross section, time series, and panel data, issues of heteroskedasticity, serial correlation, and multicollinearity, models with binary dependent variable, and program evaluation. Course emphasizes application of knowledge using software packages but still covers essential theoretical background.
Study of how to use cost benefit analysis and other similar tools of applied microeconomics to conduct policy analyses. Cost-benefit analysis is an empirical method of identifying an optimal choice from a set of policy alternatives, where optimal is defined in terms of economic efficiency. Real world examples are addressed, so that students understand limitations of the methods and also interactions of economic analysis with political and administrative processes.
The different types of financial assets that exist, the markets that they trade in, and the determination of their prices and rates of return are examined. Specific topics that will be covered include the Markowitz portfolio selection model, the capital asset pricing model, the arbitrage pricing theory, the efficient markets hypothesis, the term structure of interest rates, and options. There will be almost no emphasis on issues in corporate finance.
Uses models of open-economy macroeconomics to explain the causes and consequences of international capital flows. Analysis is made of private consumption, investment, the government sector, current accounts, the labor market, and the money and foreign exchange markets in small open economies. This framework is then used to study examples of how speculative attacks on currencies, sudden reversals of capital inflows, and the effects of the lack of credibility of economic policy affect economic development.
Examines the economics of international economic integration, including the theory of customs unions and free trade areas, the role of GATT and the WTO, changes in individual countries' foreign trade policies during the new era of globalization, the special role of multinational firms in world trade, and recent controversies about the benefits and costs of globalized trade.
Analysis of collective decision making, economic models of government, program budgeting, and policy implementation; emphasis on models of public choice and institutions which affect decision making.
The role of the public sector in a market economy constitutes the over-arching topic of this course. Emphasis lies on analyzing government expenditure programs and the microeconomics of tax policy.
Examines different theoretical models of firm behavior in markets with varying amounts of market power. Relates theory to specific industries and examines how market structure evolves over time.
Considers government intervention in economic activity of three types: antitrust policy, regulation of natural monopolies, and health safety regulation. Covers theoretical models, real-world policy applications, and empirical studies relevant to the impact of regulation.
Economic theory highlights the role of entrepreneurs in fueling economic growth and accomplishing reallocation of resources in response to changes in preferences, technology, demographics, and resource. This course uses empirical evidence to examine the extent to which these predictions are valid. To more fully understand the motivations and constraints relevant to entrepreneurs, student will write a business plan as if s/he were starting a new business.
Students will work in small groups (3-4 per group) to gather macroeconomic and industry-specific data, analyze and interpret this information, and use findings to develop recommendations for simulated clients. Each semester’s research will focus on a different business line. Each group will examine data pertaining to unemployment rates, personal income, uncollectible debt, and collection laws. They will analyze this data with an eye to the accounts receivable management industry and private collection agencies, explaining their findings in a final executive summary and a visual presentation.
Exploration of urban and regional economics and policies, including economic forces leading to formation of city and regional networks. Conceptual and empirical analysis of policies affecting land use, housing, transportation and other aspects of sub-national economic development.
Introductory technical treatment of standard Keynesian, classical and new classical macroeconomic models. Expectations formation and microeconomic foundations of consumption, investment, money demand, and labor market behavior.
A detailed treatment of the theory of the consumer and of the firm, particularly emphasizing the duality approach. Topics include the household production model, imperfect competition, monopolistic and oligopolistic markets.
Survey of a variety of models explaining how market failures may lead to poverty and underdevelopment, with an emphasis on the empirical evaluation of constraints faced by individuals in developing countries and the programs that attempt to alleviate those constraints. Topics include: agricultural and land markets, labor markets, human capital in developing countries, credit markets, and consumption smoothing and risk coping.
Specification, estimation, hypothesis testing and prediction in the classical and generalized linear regression model. Topics include: ordinary least squares, generalized least squares, instrumental variableestimation, quantile regression, finite and large sample analysis and general testing principles including misspecification tests. The course will also provide instructions on the use of a major statistical packagesuch as Stata or TSP.
An examination of the specification, computation, estimation and interpretation of structural models that are widely used in applied microeconomics (empirical and theoretical Industrial Organization, public and urban economics, environmental economics, development, political economy (e.g., voting), health and education economics, trade) and Marketing. The focus will be on how to use these models in practice, and students will solve and estimate models in weekly problem sets, with solutions/code being discussed in class.
To provide students with the opportunity to use empirical techniques that are particularly valuable in the analysis of microeconomic data. Topics include panel data, nonlinear optimization, limited dependent variables, truncated, censored, selected samples, the analysis of natural experiments, and quantile regressions. This course will emphasize hands-on practical experience.
Essential computational methods used in macroeconomics. There will be particular focus on approximating the solution to dynamic stochastic general equilibrium models. Methods for representative-agent and heterogeneous-agent models will be extensively studied. Econometric methods such as Generalized Method of Moments, Maximum Likelihood, Vector Autoregressions wil also be covered. Beginning on Fri, October 23rd, students will need to attend an evening meeting from 5:30p-830p
An introduction to the methodology of laboratory and field experiments. The course concentrates on a series of experiments to show how experiments build on one another, allowing researchers with different theoretical dispositions to narrow the range of potential disagreement.
Fundamental aspects of data management and interpretation emphasizing sampling, descriptive statistics, index numbers and construction of aggregated variables. Students will learn probability theory, confidence intervals, hypothesis testing and regression analysis using the EXCEL spreadsheet program and STATA statistical software.
Classical theories of industry organization are analyzed. Topics include monopoly price discrimination, product differentiation and bundling as well as traditional oligopoly models of Cournot and Bertrand are examined. Dynamic models of oligopoly including entry deterrence and collusion are discussed in addition to games of research and development. Long-run industry structures and dynamics are also analyzed. Also investigates implications of these models for antitrust policy.
Recent developments in macroeconomics with an emphasis on topics and techniques useful for conducting research in macroeconomics. Topics include advanced treatment of fiscal and monetary policy issues; the role of imperfect competition; real, sectoral and nominal business cycle models.
Formal treatment of game theory and its microeconomic applications are presented, emphasizing dynamics and information. Equilibrium concepts for static and dynamic games, and games with complete and incomplete information are studied. Topics also discussed: mechanism design, efficiency, reputations, signaling, and screening.
Advanced Topics in Applied and Theoretical Microeconomics
Advanced Topics in Applied and Theoretical Macroeconomics
Oriented towards macro-econometric methods. Topics covered will be selected from the following: Further discussion of topics covered in ECON624, nonlinear time series models, exogeneity and causality, non-stationary time series models (unit roots, co-integration, error correction models, vector autoregressive models), econometric models of volatility (ARCH and GARCH models, and Stochastic volatility models), rational expectations models, non-stationary panel data models, tests for structural change, Bayesian econometrics and methods for Bayesian computation.
Exchange rate determination; exchange rate regimes; international monetary reform; policy conflict and cooperation; the LDC debt problem; pricing of international assets; balance of payments crises.
Comparative advantage, Heckscher-Ohlin theory, specific-factors model, empirical verification, economies of scale, imperfect competition, commercial policy, factor mobility.
Study of political determinants of macroeconomic outcomes. Time inconsistency in monetary and fiscal policy, political business cycles. Political models of redistribution, delay in reform, transition, growth, and international policymaking.
Modern analytical and quantitative labor economics. Labor supply decisions of individuals and households; human capital model and distribution of income. Demand for labor; marginal productivity theory, imperfect information and screening. Interaction of labor demand and supply; unemployment; relative and absolute wages; macroeconomic aspects of the labor market.
The use of exhaustible and renewable natural resources from normative and positive points of view. Analysis of dynamic resource problems emphasizing energy, mineral, groundwater, forestry, and fishery resources; optimal, equilibrium, and intergenerational models of resource allocation. Also offered as AREC785. Credit will be granted for one of the following: AREC785 or ECON785.
Master's Thesis Research
Workshop on Macroeconomics and Growth; Workshop in Applied Economics
Workshop in Econometrics
Workshop in International Development, and Comparative Economics
Workshop in Industrial Organization
Workshop in Labor Economics
Doctoral Dissertation Research