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Courses

Course Descriptions for:
- Undergraduates
- Undergraduates & Graduates
- Graduates

Course Descriptions

Undergraduates & Graduates
[EC 100-199]

100 Foundational Ideas in Economic Theory. An examination of some ideas foundational to the nature of economic science and of how they are used within the positivist methodology of economic theory. These ideas include causality, equilibrium, rationality, utility maximization, the market, competition, contract, property, money, economic growth, risk and uncertainty, and path dependence. Prerequisites: Economics 11 and either Economics 12 or Economics 18.

105 Mathematics for Economists. Introduction to mathematical economics. Core topics: calculus, linear algebra, unconstrained and constrained optimization, difference and/or differential equations, and dynamic optimization with emphasis on the use of these techniques in economics. Fall term only. Prerequisites: Economics 11 and Mathematics 32 and 34 (formerly Mathematics 11 and 12), or consent.

107 Econometric Analysis. The study of multiple regression and its applications in economics. The course will focus on the appropriateness of the techniques when the independent variables are measured with error, the disturbance terms exhibit autocorrelation, or the independent variables are correlated with the disturbances. The course will be concluded by an introduction to simultaneous equation techniques. Economics 15 and 107 may not both be taken for credit. Prerequisite: Mathematics 70; and either Economics 13 or Mathematics 162.

108 Applications of Econometrics. Synthesis of economic and econometric theory and the application of appropriate econometric methods to real-world problems. Data gathering, model building, estimation, and presentation of results. Topics include wage determination, input demand, investment behavior, advertising, and macroeconomic forecasting. Seminar format. Prerequisites: Economics 11, 12, and 15, or 107, or consent.

109 Review of Econometric Analysis. Review of Economics 107 for Quantitative Economics majors who have taken Economics 15. ½ credit. Prerequisites: Economics 15, Mathematics 34 (formerly Mathematics 12) and consent. Mathematics 70 or 72 (formerly Mathematics 46 or 54) recommended a prerequisites or corequisites.

114 Behavioral Economics. Analysis of economic decision making which incorporates the effects of social, emotional, and cognitive issues. Topics considered include heuristics and biases, risks, time preferences, social preferences, matching markets and social networks. A familiarity with taking derivatives and using calculus is also expected. Prerequisites: Economics 11 and either Ec 24 or Ec 170.

116 Economic Growth: Theory and Applications. Theory and experience of economic growth in developed and underdeveloped economies. Models of exogenous growth; recent studies employing techniques of dynamic analysis that emphasize the endogenous nature of growth and the role of factors such as innovation and learning by doing. Applications to the areas of macroeconomics, dynamic trade theory, and economic development. Not open to students who have taken or are currently taking Economics 118 or its equivalent. Prerequisite: Economics 11.
In no case may a student receive credit for both Economics 116 and Economics 118.

117 Economics of Social Interactions and Social Networks. Course employs quantitative economics tools to study social networks and the identification of social interactions effects that pervade social networks and economic life. This course provides an overview and synthesis social networks effects, which are important for many economic phenomena, and draws from studies by sociologists, economists, computer scientists, physicists, and mathematicians. Prerequisites: Economics 15 or Economics 107, or consent.

118 Quantitative Economic Growth. A rigorous treatment of various theoretical models of economic growth while emphasizing the link between theory and empirics. Are poor countries catching up with rich countries in terms of per capita income? Which policies promote economic development and which do not? Topics include capital accumulation models of growth, the role of technology in sustaining long-run growth, linear regression approaches to uncovering important growth determinants, issues in robustness and specification uncertainty, and the influence of "fundamentals" like institutions, geography, population diversity, and culture on development. Prerequisites: Economics 13 and 18.
In no case may a student receive credit for both Economics 116 and Economics 118.

119 Quantitative Games & Information. The strategic role of information, or “who knows what and when they know it”, underlies many observed economic phenomena. This course applies game theory to understanding how revealing and concealing information can be the basis of strategic behavior in economics. It will cover games of perfect information, imperfect information, and incomplete information, and develop the corresponding solution for each type of game. Examples will include games of asymmetric information that have been applied in economics to a wide range of fields including industrial organization, finance, labor, and development economics. No previous course in game theory is required. Prerequisites: Economics 13 and 16; or Economics 201 and 203.

120 Public Finance. Study of the economics of the public sector. An examination of the role government plays in market economics, and the ways public spending decisions are made. An evaluation of the size of government and the effectiveness of specific programs. Detailed analysis of the methods used to finance governments and of the role various taxes play in influencing the allocation and distribution of resources within an economy. Prerequisites: Economics 5 and 11.

122 Topics in Public Finance. Analysis of a current issue regarding government tax or expenditure programs using tools developed in public finance. Topics vary from year to year. Possible areas of study include reforming the federal tax system, designing new tax systems in developing countries, and improving the provision of public education. Prerequisite: Economics 120; Economics 13 recommended.

124 State and Local Public Finance. Issues in the provision and financing of public services by state and local governments. Provision of local public services, their adequacy, alternative models of local government decision making, optimal size of local governments, merits of the property tax, who really pays the property tax, alternative revenue sources, suburbs vs. central cities, metropolitan governance, the fiscal crisis of large cities, fiscal federalism, school finance reform, and the impact of tax and expenditure limitation. Prerequisite: Economics 11 and Economics 13, or consent.

127 Urban Economics. Development of modern urban areas and the application of economic analysis to the problems of location, transportation, housing, racial discrimination, public services, and finances. Prerequisites: Economics 11.

130 Topics in Environmental Economics. Research seminar for students who wish to pursue environmental economics beyond the level of Economics 30. Topics may include the design and administration of environmental excise taxes, the theory and practice of benefit-cost analysis, the economics of renewable and exhaustible resources, and the sustainability of economic growth. Prerequisites: Economics 11 and 30, or consent.

132 Economics of Energy Markets. Analysis of energy markets and policy issues arising from our production and consumption of energy. Topics considered include the theory of depletable resources, measurement of energy externalities, market power in energy production, climate change and energy security. Prerequisites Economics 11; Economics 13 suggested.

134 Resource and Environmental Economics and Policy. Research seminar for students interested in current research and thinking in the area of resource and environmental economics. Topics include: the future of fossil fuels, the potential for renewables such as solar and wind power, resource abundance and violent conflict, resource use and population dynamics, environmental regulation, pollution and water markets, and energy access and poverty. Discussion will be based on simple economic models as well as current empirical research. Tests, homework and term paper required. Prerequisites Economics 11.

136 Topics in Economic Development. Selected major current problems in various less-developed countries. Students will be asked to utilize and extend the theoretical insights from Economics 35 by applying them in specific cases. Topics will include problems in energy, agriculture, balance of payments, and industrialization. Elements of benefit-cost analysis will also be covered. Prerequisites: Economics 11 and 35; Economics 13 suggested.

139 Transition Economies. Analysis of the economics of transition from central planning to a market-based economy. Topics may include characteristics of socialist economies, theories of transition, transformational recession, stabilization, privatization, labor markets, financial development, trade, social safety nets, and institutional reform. Prerequisite: Economics 11.

140 Labor Economics. Analysis of competitive labor markets. Examination of firm's choice of workers and workers' choice of amount and quality of labor to provide. Implications for policy areas such as social security and retirement, welfare reform, labor supply and taxes, job training and wage subsidies, labor force participation rates, unemployment, and investment in schooling. Prerequisite: Economics 11, or consent.

142 Topics in Noncompetitive Labor Markets. Analysis of wage and employment decisions in labor markets that deviate from the standard competitive model. Effects of imperfect information, labor unions, and discrimination. How implications for policy differ from the usual competitive model predictions. Prerequisites: Economics 140 or 11, and consent.

144 Income Inequality, Poverty, and Economic Justice. Summary measures of income distribution and their implicit value judgments. The link between trends in relative inequality in incomes and differences in wages, earnings, and labor supply. The impact of personal characteristics, institutions, and macroeconomic trends on earnings. Discussion of the pervasiveness of poverty, its causes and public policy measures for its alleviation. Economic and philosophical aspects of an equitable and just distribution of income. Prerequisite: Economics 11 and Economics 15 or 107.

145 Economics of Higher Education. Advanced seminar exploring economic research on some provocative current policy questions in U.S. higher education. Topics may include the function of colleges, public subsidies, fairness of college admissions, financial aid as a benefit of the college or the student, whether it is worth paying more to attend a selective college, the influence of competition for prestige on university behavior, and whether college sports teams are consistent with educational values. Most class meetings involve student-led discussion of articles from books, journals, and the popular press. Class attendance and active participation required. Required research paper on a topic related to the class readings. Paper will be integrated into the course, with periodic deadlines for portions of the paper and class discussion of the ongoing research. Prerequisites: Economics 11; or Economics 16 and Economics 13.

148 Economics of Sports. The world of sports is used to illustrate the application of core concepts from microeconomics and econometrics. The main topics covered are the industrial organization of sports, the public finance of sports, the labor economics of sports, and college sports. Each section will begin with an overview of contextual information and will then show how the appropriate tools for economics can be applied. Each section closes with discussion of recent research on the topic of the section. Prerequisites: Economics 11 and Economics 15 or Economics 107.

150 Financial Economics. Application of economic theory and statistics to the analyses of corporate investment and financing decisions and the equilibrium prices of financial instruments. Topics include the time value of money, structure of interest rates, evaluation of investment projects, the advantage of portfolio diversification, asset pricing models, corporate capital structure, dividend policy and the valuation of options and futures. Prerequisites: Economics 11 and either Economics 12 or Economics 18.
In no case may a student receive credit for both Economics 150 and Economics 159.

151 Monetary Economics. Overview of the U.S. financial system with an emphasis on basic monetary theory, the structure and regulatory environment of financial institutions, the conduct of monetary policy, and international linkages. Prerequisites: Economics 11 and either Economics 12 or Economics 18.

152 Topics in Money and Finance. Research seminar for students who wish to pursue monetary and financial issues beyond the levels of Economics 150. A lengthy research paper is required, and active participation in class is expected. Topics covered include the level and structure of interest rates, structure of financial flows in the U.S., portfolio theory and decision making under uncertainty, and public policy issues insecurity markets. Prerequisites: Economics 11, 12, 13, and 150 or 151.

154 Uncertainty Methods in Economics and Finance. New and recent developments in uncertainty methods applied to economic theory and financial decision-making under symmetric and asymmetric information. Topics include the structure of financial markets, insurance, risk-sharing, and asset pricing in static and dynamic economic contexts. Prerequisites: Economics 11 and 13.

157 Topics in Finance and Entrepreneurship. Topics covered include: the financial life-cycle; corporate liquidity; small-firm financing options; organizational constituencies—founders, shareholders, employees—and their goals; conflict and cooperation in constituent goals; and strategic modeling. Individual and/or team projects. Capstone course for the Finance Minor. Prerequisites: Ec 50 or Ec 150 or permission of instructor.

159 Quantitative Financial Economics. This course will explore quantitative analysis of theoretical and empirical models of finance; including, but not limited to, the economic foundations of financial assets and prices; financial decisions of households; and the role of financial markets and institutions in an economy. Recent theories in behavioral finance, and how these theories explain financial market anomalies (e.g., asset price bubbles and financial crises), as well as their policy implications, will also be examined. A short paper is required at the end of the course. Prerequisites: Ec 13, 16 and 18.
In no case may a student receive credit for both Economics 150 and Economics 159.

161 International Trade. Historical development of the theory of international specialization and exchange. Subsequent topics include trade and imperfect competition, trade policy, and economic warfare. International factor movements, international trading system, and policy tools of trade intervention and their welfare implications. Prerequisite: Economics 11.

162 International Finance. Macroeconomic and monetary aspects of international economics. Topics include foreign exchange markets, income and price determination under flexible and fixed exchange rates, theories of the exchange rate and of the balance of payments, stabilization policy in the international economy, international capital movements, and the institutional arrangements of the international monetary system. Not open to students who have taken or are currently taking Economics 169 or its equivalent. Prerequisite: Economics 12 or Economics 18.
In no case may a student receive credit for both Economics 162 and Economics 169.

164 Topics in International Finance. Research seminar for students who wish to pursue international finance beyond the level of Economics 162. Topics include basics of multinational corporate finance, exchange rate hedging using options and forwards, monetary and fiscal policies in open economies, global capital markets, international business cycles, emerging market financial crisis, and regional economic issues. Prerequisite: Economics 162.

165 Labor and Global Supply Chains. At the turn of the 21st century the growth of international trade has raised concerns about working conditions in factories and plantations producing for consumers in North America and Europe. Consumers have become increasingly aware of the sometimes demanding and dangerous working conditions and the plight of child workers. Workers' organizations complain of their goods competing against those of workers denied the rights of free association and collective bargaining. This course examines the realities of work in global supply chains and the role that markets and market failure play in determining working conditions. Consumer, policymaker, and labor concerns including the establishment and coordination of international labor standards, corporate codes of conduct, enforcement in the World Trade Organization and International Labor Organization, monitoring of working conditions, and other remedies are analyzed. Intended as intermediate level course. Prerequisites: Economics 13 and 16.

166 Topics in the Macroeconomics of Regions and Nations. Economic geography and its interaction with international trade; economic integration; spatial distribution of economic activity with particular reference to urban/regional structure. Macroeconomic performance and the spatial structure of the economy. Income distribution and macroeconomics. Strategic aspects of economic interdependence. Economic geography and self-organization. Prerequisites: Economics 11, Economics 12 or Economics 18, and one course in international economics; or consent.

169 Quantitative International Finance. (Formerly Economics 185.) Quantitative analysis of theoretical and empirical models of international finance. Topics include balance of payments and exchange rate determination models, foreign exchange market efficiency, exchange rate regimes, international capital flows, and emerging market financial crisis. Prerequisite: Economics 18 or 205; Economics 105 recommended.
In no case may a student receive credit for both Economics 162 and Economics 169.

170 Industrial Organization. Examination of the strategic interaction of firms in the marketplace and how this affects the way markets are organized. Different models of oligopoly are studied in order to understand how firms strategically set price, choose output, choose product quality, invest in capacity, and engage in R&D. Use of government policy and antitrust laws to influence the ways in which firms compete with each other. Prerequisite: Economics 11.

171 Topics in Industrial Organization. New and recent developments in industrial organization. The theory of the firm and its organization in the context of transaction costs, agency costs, and property rights. Vertical integration, vertical restrictions, tie-in sales, and informational topics such as advertising and disclosure. Prerequisites: Economics 11 and 170.

174 Advertising and Imperfect Competition. An analytical course that focuses on how advertising affects consumer demand, firm rivalry, two-sided platforms and market efficiency. The formal objective of the course is to give students an exposure to how economists view the role of advertising in a market economy by presenting key economic models of advertising, empirical research on advertising and when relevant case studies. Prerequisites: Economics 11 and Economics 13.

175 Economics of Management and Strategy. Application of economic reasoning to strategic aspects of management decision-making. The centrality of game theory in a firm's strategic choices; bargaining and negotiation; the determination of the vertical and horizontal boundaries of the firm; strategic commitment; dynamic pricing rivalry; entry and exit; the origins, creation, and maintenance of competitive advantage. Prerequisite: Economics 11, or consent.

176 Multinational Enterprises. The turn of the 21st century has seen a dramatic increase in foreign direct investment, with investment flows substantially outstripping export and import flows in most years for most developed countries. This has had an equally dramatic impact on the means by which companies conduct their international business. This advanced seminar course develops a systematic analysis of the motives for foreign direct investment, which creates multinational enterprises. The theoretical part of the course builds a series of models that shed light on the primary forces that motivate firms to switch from exporting to multinational production. Also investigated are some of the potential welfare impacts of the decision to become a multinational enterprise, on both host and home countries, and some of the empirical issues that arise when we try to explain patterns of international production and attempt to quantify the effects of multinationals on home and host nations. Prerequisites: Economics 11 and 13. A previous game theory and/or international economics course would also be useful.

177 Economics Organization. This course considers how economic principles can help us answer these questions. We look at how the organizational architecture of firms affects corporate strategy. We investigate how organizational structure determines corporate performance. We analyze how the balance between the delegation of decision rights, the design of incentive systems and the monitoring and evaluation of individual and divisional performance, when correct lead to success and when wrong can lead to failure. Throughout the course we draw heavily on case studies and real-world examples of business organizations. Prerequisites: Economics 11.

179 Law and Economics. An economic analysis of the common, legislated, and constitutional law and the process of each with primary emphasis on the impact of legal rights and duties. Topics chosen from products liability, malpractice, tort, contracts, property, financial, family, discrimination, environment, corporate, antitrust, employment, and regulatory vs. common law remedies for the abuse of market power. Prerequisites: Economics 11 and 13, or consent.

183 Topics in International Political Economy. Advanced seminar on current economic and political developments in the global arena. Topics may include the political underpinnings of the globalization of international financial markets, factors underpinning the political backlash against globalization, the relevance of international organizations such as the UN and the WTO, the role of the military in international economic and political affairs, and the relationship between globalization and development. Prerequisites: Economics 11 and Economics 12 or Economics 18.

184 The Number and Size of Nations. The number of sovereign states has increased dramatically from 74 in 1945 to almost 200. They come in all sizes with China at 1.2 billion people and Tuvalu, the smallest country with a seat at the United Nations, at less than 11,000. This advanced seminar examines what determines the number and size of nations and how borders change over time, how a country's size matters for economic prosperity, and how the formation and breakup of nations depend on democratization, economic integration, international conflicts and wars. These questions are addressed using the tools of economic analysis, while also taking into account insights from other disciplines, such as history and political science. Prerequisites: Economics 11 or 16 and Economics 12 or 18.

190 Independent Study. Independent reading or research on special topics in economics. Approval and supervision of a faculty member is required. Credit as arranged. Prerequisite: Economics 11, Economics 12 or Economics 18, or Economics 13.

191 Intermediate Selected Topics. Lectures on intermediate topics in economics. Topics to be announced. Credit as arranged. Prerequisite: Economics 11, Economics 12 or Economics 18, or Economics 13.

192 Advanced Seminar. Designed to enable advanced students with significant training in economics to explore and do research on a major topic. Topic varies from year to year. Prerequisite: Economics 11, Economics 12 or Economics 18, or Economics 13.

193 Special Topics.

195, 196 Senior Honors. Thesis course for thesis honors candidates; see Thesis Honors Program for details. Open to seniors. Normally two courses. Prerequisite: consent.

197 Senior Thesis Research Seminar. A year-long, one-credit, pass-fail course designed to help seniors writing senior theses or honors theses plan and execute their research and write their thesis. Faculty members and past thesis writers will meet with the seminar and discuss various aspects of the research process. Students in the seminar are also expected to present their work and provide feedback to their fellow seminar participants. ½ credit course per semester.

198 Senior Thesis. (Formerly Economics 194.) Designed for students who want to write a senior thesis, but do not want to be a part of the Thesis Honors Program. Approval of a faculty member is required. Variable credit.