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 2017
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.
Analysis of the fluctuations in economic activity and the formulation and use of forecasting models of the economy. Illustrations of computer macro models and forecasting problems.
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.
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.
Relationship of the exchange process to the system of institutions and rules that society develops to carry out economic transactions. Topics covered include: Property rights; torts, negligence, and liability; contracts and exchanges; criminal control and enforcement; equity and efficiency issues.
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.
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.
Central topics include the determinants of firms' demand for labor and households' decision making about whether to work, how much to work, and where to work. We will then study the equilibrium amount of labor hired in society and the wages paid to workers. The course will also include the measurement of the labor market, human capital, discrimination, incentives, and current changes in the American economic landscape. Various economic policies impacting labor markets will be analyzed.
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.
Honors Seminar: Fairness, Inequality, and Democracy