Economics Department

Programs

Major

Correlate Sequence in Economics

The economics department offers correlate sequences which designate coherent groups of courses intended to complement the curricula of students majoring in other departmental, interdepartmental, and multidisciplinary programs. Three areas of concentration are currently available for students pursuing a correlate sequence in economics:

International Economics coordinated by Mr. Kennett.

Public Policy coordinated by Mr. Rebelein.

Quantitative Economics coordinated by Mr. Ruud.

Courses within each area should be chosen in consultation with the coordinator of that sequence.

Courses

Economics: I. Introductory

100a or b. (DELETE) Introduction to Macroeconomics (1)

An introduction to economic concepts, emphasizing the broad outlines of national and international economic problems. Students learn the causes and consequences of variations in gross national product, unemployment, interest rates, inflation, the budget deficit, and the trade deficit. The course also covers key government policy-making institutions, such as the Federal Reserve and the Congress, and the controversy surrounding the proper role of government in stabilizing the economy.

101a or b. (DELETE) Introduction to Microeconomics (1)

An introduction to economic concepts emphasizing the behavior of firms, households, and the government. Students learn how to recognize and analyze the different market structures of perfect competition, oligopoly, and monopoly. The course also covers theories of how wages, interest, and profits are determined. Additional topics include the role of government in regulating markets, determinants of income distribution, and the environment.

102a and b. Introduction to Economics (1)

This course replaces the 2-semester sequence of ECON 100 and ECON 101 which is no longer offered. Economic forces shape our society and profoundly influence our daily lives. This course introduces students to economic concepts and to how economists think about the world. We explore both basic microeconomics - decision making by individuals and firms - and basic macroeconomics - issues related to coordinating individual activities across an entire economy. Topics will include demand and supply, market structures, GDP, the business cycle, and monetary and fiscal policies. The department.

112a. Pre-Modern Economic Growth: the West and the Rest, 1000-1900 (1)

This course surveys long-term processes of growth and development in pre-modern Europe, Asia, Latin America, and Africa. The course raises fundamental questions about the nature of pre-industrial societies and what enables some to achieve sustained economic growth. First, it discusses global patterns of economic development and how economic historians measure living standards in the past. Second, it addresses current debates over the "Great Divergence"---that is, the rise of Western nations relative to those in Asia during the pre-industrial period. Finally, it focuses on the economic development of Latin America and Sub-Saharan Africa before the twentieth century. Questions addressed include: "Why and when did China fall behind Europe?" "Why did Britain industrialize first?" "How important is slavery and colonialism in explaining the delayed industrialization of Latin America and Sub-Saharan Africa?" Throughout the course students debate the importance of different economic and social factors in stimulating economic growth.

Open only to freshmen; satisfies college requirement for a Freshman Writing Seminar.

120a. Principles of Accounting (1)

Accounting theory and practice, including preparation and interpretation of financial statements. Mr. Van Tassell.

Not open to Freshmen.

184a. Income Inequality in the US (1)

Students will read a variety of non-technical analyses that attempt to explain the increase in the gap between the highest and lowest income households in the United States, noticeable since the 1980s.

The course will examine various aspects of the phenomenon: income differentials based on such factors as education and returns to education, wage differentials between skilled and unskilled workers, assortive mating and its effect on the distribution of household (family) incomes, taking into account the increase in women's labor force participation. The difference in returns to capital assets vs. labor force participation will be addressed. We will also look at effects of public policy, such as changes in the progressivity of the income tax, the minimum wage, and subsidies to low-income households. An additional topic will be: alternative measures of well-being, including access to quality schooling, health care and access to the justice system. Ms. Johnson-Lans.

Open only to freshmen; satisfies the college requirement for a Freshman Writing Seminar.

Two 75-minute periods.

Economics: II. Intermediate

Courses numbered 200 and above are not open to freshmen in their first semester.

200a and b. Macroeconomic Theory (1)

A structured analysis of the behavior of the national and international economies. Alternative theories explaining the determination of the levels of GDP, unemployment, the interest rate, the rate of inflation, economic growth, exchange rates, and trade and budget deficits are considered. These theories provide the basis for discussion of current economic policy controversies. The department.

Prerequisites: ECON 100 and ECON 101, or ECON 102.

NRO for Seniors Only.

201a and b. Microeconomic Theory (1)

Economics is about choice, and microeconomic theory begins with how consumers and producers make choices. Economic agents interact in markets, so we carefully examine the role markets play in allocating resources. Theories of perfect and imperfect competition are studied, emphasizing the relationship between market structure and market performance. General equilibrium analysis is introduced, and efficiency and optimality of the economic system are examined. Causes and consequences of market failure are also considered. The department.

Prerequisites: ECON 101 or ECON 102, and one semester of college-level calculus.

NRO for Seniors Only.

209a and b. Probability and Statistics (1)

Probability and Statistics introduces basic probability theory, statistical analysis and its application in economics. The objective is to provide a solid, practical, and intuitive understanding of statistical analysis with emphasis on estimation, hypothesis testing, and linear regression. Additional topics include descriptive statistics, probability theory, random variables, sampling theory, statistical distributions, and an introduction to violations of the classical assumptions underlying the least-squares model. Students are introduced to the use of computers in statistical analysis. The department.

Prerequisite: ECON 100 or ECON 101 or ECON 102; and one semester of college-level calculus..

NRO for Seniors Only.

210a and b. Econometrics (1)

Econometrics equips students with the skills required for empirical economic research in industry, government, and academia. Topics covered include simple and multiple regression, maximum likelihood estimation, multicollinearity, heteroskedasticity, autocorrelation, distributed lags, simultaneous equations, instrumental variables, and time series analysis. Mr. Johnson, Ms. Pearlman.

Prerequisite: ECON 209 or an equivalent statistics course.

Recommended: ECON 100, ECON 101 or ECON 102.

215a. The Science of Strategy (1)

Strategic behavior occurs in war, in business, in our personal lives, and even in nature. Game theory is the study of strategy, offering rigorous methods to analyze and predict behavior in strategic situations. This course introduces students to game theory and its application in a wide range of situations. Students learn how to model conflict and cooperation as games, and develop skills in the fine art of solving them. Applications are stressed, and these are drawn from many branches of economics, as well as from a variety of other fields. Mr. Jehle.

Prerequisite:ECON 100 or ECON 101 or ECON 102.

218a. Urban and Regional Economics (1)

(Same as URBS 218) An exploration of the nature and development of urban areas that begins with an examination of the theory of why cities grow and how individuals and firms choose their locations before covering patterns of land use, suburbanization, transportation, education, crime, and housing and their influence the growth of cities.  Mr. Frye.

Prerequisite: ECON 102.

Two 75-minute periods.

220a. The Political Economy of Health Care (1)

(Same as STS 220) Topics include the markets for physicians and nurses, hospital services, pharmaceuticals, and health insurance, both public and private; effects of changes in medical technology; and global health problems. A comparative study of several other countries' health care systems and reforms to the U.S. system focuses on problems of financing and providing access to health care in a climate of increasing demand and rising costs. 

Prerequisite: ECON 101 or ECON 102. Students who have not taken ECON 101 but have strong quantitative backgrounds may enroll with the instructor's permission.

Not offered in 2015/16.

225b. Financial Markets and Investments (1)

Financial Markets and Investments provides an overview of the structure and operation of financial markets, and the instruments traded in those markets. Particular emphasis is placed on portfolio choice, including asset allocation across risky investments and efficient diversification. Theoretical foundations of asset-pricing theories are developed, and empirical tests of these theories are reviewed. The course introduces valuation models for fixed-income securities, equities, and derivative instruments such as futures and options. Throughout the course, students apply investment theories by managing a simulated asset portfolio. Additional topics include financial statement analysis and performance evaluation measures.Ms.Pearlman.

Prerequisite: ECON 100 and ECON 101, or ECON 102. Students with strong quantitative backgrounds can enroll with instructor permission.

Recommended: ECON 201 and ECON 209.

238b. Law and Economics (1)

Law and Economics uses economics to analyze legal rules and institutions. The primary focus is on the classic areas of common law: property, contracts, and torts. Some time is also spent on criminal law and/or constitutional law (e.g., voting, public choice, and administration). Much attention is paid to developing formal models to analyze conflict and bargaining, and applying those models to specific cases. Topics include the allocation of rights, legal remedies, bargaining and transaction costs, regulation versus liability, uncertainty, and the litigation process. Time permitting, the course may also include discussion of gun control, the death penalty, federalism, and competition among jurisdictions. Ms. Turkay-Pillai.

Prerequisite: ECON 101 or ECON 102, and one semester of college-level calculus.

240a. U.S. Economic Issues (1)

The U.S. economy has dominated the world economy for the last 60 years. With only five percent of the world's population, it consumes roughly 25 percent of the world's resources and produces approximately 25 percent of the world's output. However, U.S. policy makers face substantial challenges in the years to come. The course surveys the causes and possible solutions for numerous issues including increasing international competition for jobs and resources, an aging population, persistent trade and government budget deficits, and rapid growth in entitlement programs. Other topics will be studied based on student interests and as time permits. This course utilizes readings, writing assignments and classroom discussion rather than quantitative problem sets. Mr. Rebelein.

Prerequisite: ECON 100 or ECON 102.

Not open to students who have completed ECON 342.

248b. International Trade and the World Financial System (1)

A policy-oriented introduction to basic models of trade adjustment, exchange rate determination and macroeconomics adjustment. These are applied to the principle issues and problems of the international economy. Topics include the changing pattern of trade, fixed and floating exchange rates, protectionism, foreign investment, the Euro-dollar market, the role of the WTO, the IMF and World Bank, the European Community and third-world debt. Mr. Kennett.

Prerequisites: ECON 100 and ECON 101, or ECON 102.

Not open to students who have completed ECON 345 or ECON 346.

261b. Political Economy (1)

Political Economy focuses on political strategy, public policy and the private sector and addresses the political, legal and social constraints on economic decision making. While economics typically focuses on strategic interactions in market contexts, e.g., customers, competitors, suppliers, workers---many strategic interactions occur outside of the marketplace. This course uses real world cases to examine strategies in non-market environments. Topics may include: activism, NGOs, the media, lobbying, the US political system, environmental and other regulation, anti-trust, intellectual property, international political economy, IGOs, trade policy, ethics, and corporate social responsibility. Mr. Ho.

Prerequisite: ECON 101 or ECON 102.

267a. Environmental and Natural Resource Economics (1)

(Same as STS 267) This course examines environmental and natural resource issues from an economic perspective. Environmental problems and controversies are introduced and detailed, and then various possible policies and solutions to the problems are analyzed. Economic analyses will determine the effectiveness of potential policies and also determine the people and entities which benefit from (and are hurt by) these policies. The goal is for students to develop a framework for understanding environmental problems and then to learn how to analyze policy actions within that framework. Topics include water pollution, air pollution, species protection, externalities, the energy situation, and natural resource extraction. Mr. Ruud.

Prerequisite: ECON 101 or ECON 102, or permission of the instructor.

Recommended: ECON 209 recommended.  

273b. Development Economics (1)

A survey of central issues in the field of development economics. Topics include economic growth, the role of institutions, trade, poverty, inequality, education, child labor, health, the environment, conflict and impact evaluation.  Examples and case studies from Africa, Asia and Latin America provide the context for these topics. Ms. Kagy.
 

Prerequisites: ECON 100 and ECON 101, or ECON 102.

275a. Money and Banking (1)

Money and Banking covers the structure of financial institutions, their role in the provision of money and credit, and the overall importance of these institutions in the economy. The course includes discussion of money, interest rates, financial market structure, bank operations and regulation, and the structure of the banking sector. The course also covers central banks, monetary policy, and international exchange as it relates to monetary policy and the banking sector. The ultimate goal is to provide a deeper understanding of the structure of financial markets, the reasons why it is optimal for these markets to be well functioning, and the key barriers to this optimal outcome. Mr. Johnson.

Prerequisites: ECON 100 and ECON 101, or ECON 102.

290a or b. Field Work (0.5)

Individual or group field projects or internships. The department.

Prerequisite: a course in the department. Permission required. Corequisite: a course in the department. Permission required.

May be elected during the academic year or during the summer.

Unscheduled.

298a or b. Independent Work (0.5to1)

Economics: III. Advanced

300a. Senior Thesis Preparation (0.5)

Independent work with a faculty advisor and includes preparing a detailed proposal for a senior thesis paper and researching and writing two introductory chapters. These typically consist of a literature review and a full description of any theoretical model and/or econometric project (including data) that forms the core of the proposed thesis. Students should approach a proposed advisor at the beginning of the semester (or, if possible during the Spring semester of the Junior year or summer preceding the Senior year) to gain permission to undertake this course of study. Students may continue with ECON 301 upon completion of Economics 300, conditional on approval of the advisor and the department. The department.

Open to senior majors by special permission of the advisor.

301b. Senior Thesis (1)

The follow-up to ECON 300 leading to the completion of the senior thesis. Students are expected to submit the finished paper by spring vacation. They are asked to give a half hour oral presentation of their thesis to the department at the end of the semester. The department.

Open to senior majors who have successfully completed ECON 300.

303a. Advanced Topics in Microeconomics (1)

This course introduces students to modern theoretical methods in microeconomics and their application to advanced topics not typically addressed in ECON 201. Topics vary from year to year, but typically include: modern approaches to consumer theory, welfare analysis, general equilibrium, and the theory of auctions. Mr. Jehle.

Prerequisites: ECON 201 and MATH 220  or equivalent, or permission of the instructor.

Recommended:    

Two 75-minute periods.

304a. Advanced Topics in Macroeconomics (1)

This course examines recent theoretical and applied work in macroeconomics, with a special focus on the analytical foundations of modern growth theory. The requisite dynamic optimization methods are developed during the course (this involves the regular use of partial differentiation techniques). Topics include the relationship of education, demographics, institutions and industrial organization with economic growth. Mr. Sá.

Prerequisite: ECON 200, ECON 201, and  MATH 220 or equivalent, or permission of the instructor.

One 3-hour period.

310a. Advanced Topics in Econometrics (1)

Analysis of the classical linear regression model and the consequences of violating its basic assumptions. Topics include maximum likelihood estimation, asymptotic properties of estimators, simultaneous equations, instrumental variables, limited dependent variables and an introduction to time series models. Applications to economic problems are emphasized throughout the course. Mr. Ruud.

Prerequisites: ECON 210 and MATH 220 and MATH 221 or equivalent, or permission of the instructor.

320b. Labor Economics (1)

An examination of labor markets. Topics include demand and supply for labor, a critical analysis of human capital and signaling theory, the hedonic theory of wages, theories of labor market discrimination, unemployment, and union behavior. Comparative labor markets in the U.S., the U.K., and other E.U. countries and public policy with respect to such things as minimum wages, fringe benefits, unemployment insurance, and welfare reform are also addressed.

Prerequisites: ECON 201 and ECON 209.

333b. Behavioral Economics (1)

A survey of the empirical and experimental evidence that human behavior often deviates from the predictions made by models that assume full rationality. This course combines economics, psychology, and experimental methods to explore impulsivity, impatience, overconfidence, reciprocity, fairness, the enforcement of social norms, the effects of status, addiction, the myopia that people exhibit when having to plan for the future, and other behaviors which deviate from economic rationality. Mr. Ho.

Prerequisite: ECON 201 and ECON 209.

342b. Public Finance (1)

Public Finance considers the effects that government expenditure, taxation, and regulation have on people and the economy. Attention is given to how government policy can correct failures of the free market system. Topics include the effect taxes have on consumption and employment decisions, the U.S. income tax system, income redistribution, budget deficits, environmental policy, health care, voting, and social security. Mr. Rebelein.

Prerequisite: ECON 201.

Two 75-minute periods.

345b. International Trade Theory and Policy (1)

This course examines classical, neoclassical and modern theories of international trade, as well as related empirical evidence. Topics included are: the relationship between economic growth and international trade; the impact of trade on the distribution of income; the theory of tariffs and commercial policy; economic integration, trade and trade policy under imperfect competition. Mr. Jehle.

Prerequisite: ECON 201.

346b. International Finance (1)

The course is devoted to the problems of balance of payments and adjustment mechanisms. Topics include: the balance of payments and the foreign ex-change market; causes of disturbances and processes of adjustment in the balance of payments and the foreign exchange market under fixed and flexible exchange rate regimes; issues in maintaining internal and external balance; optimum currency areas; the history of the international monetary system and recent attempts at reform; capital movements and the international capital market. Mr. Islamaj.

Prerequisite: ECON 200 and college-level calculus, or permission of the instructor.

One 3-hour period.

355a. Industrial Organization (1)

This course examines the behavior of firms under conditions of imperfect competition. The role of market power is studied, including the strategies it permits, e.g., monopoly pricing, price discrimination, quality choice, and product proliferation. Strategic behavior among firms is central to many of the topics of the course. As such, game theory is introduced to study strategic behavior, and is applied to topics such as oligopoly pricing, entry and deterrence, product differentiation, advertising, and innovation. Time permitting, the course may also include durable goods pricing, network effects, antitrust economics, and vertical integration.

Prerequisites: ECON 201 and ECON 209.

367b. Comparative Economics (1)

A study of different economic systems and institutions, beginning with a comparison of industrialized market economies in the U.S., Asia, and Europe. Pre-perestroika USSR is studied as an example of a centrally planned economy and the transition to a market economy is examined, with additional focus on the Czech Republic and Poland. Alternatives to both market and planned systems - such as worker self-management, market socialism, and social democracy - are also explored with emphasis on the experience of Yugoslavia and Sweden. Mr. Kennett.

Prerequisite: at least two units of Economics at or above the 200-level.

374b. The Origins of the Global Economy (1)

(Same as ASIA 374) This course examines the long-run evolution of the global economy. For centuries the world has experienced a dramatic rise in international trade, migration, foreign capital flows and technology, culminating in what is today called "the global economy." How did it happen? Why did it happen to Europe first? In this course, we examine the process of economic development in pre-modern Europe and Asia, the economic determinants of state formation and market integration, the causes and consequences of West European overseas expansion, and the emergence and nature of today's global economy. 

Prerequisites: ECON 200 and ECON 209.

Not offered in 2015/16.

384b. The Economics of Higher Education (1)

This seminar explores the economics of colleges and universities, with a particular focus on contemporary policy issues. Course materials apply economic theory and empirical analysis to selected policy issues, including tuition and financial aid, the individual and societal returns of higher education, and academic labor markets. The course also introduces students to the financial structure and management of colleges, including funding sources, budget processes, and policies and issues regarding the finance of higher education. Ms. Hill.

Prerequisites: ECON 201 and ECON 209.

386b. The Economics of Immigration (1)

This course examines the theoretical and empirical models that economists have developed to study the economic impact of immigration. The course describes the history of immigration policy in the United States and analyzes the various economic issues that dominate the current debate over immigration policy. These issues include the changing contribution of immigrants to the country's skill endowment; the rate of economic assimilation experienced by immigrants; the impact of immigrants on the employment opportunities of other workers in the US; the impact of immigrant networks on immigrants and the source and magnitude of the economic benefits generated by immigration. The course also studies the social and civic dimensions of immigration - how it relates to education, marriage, segregation etc. We compare various cohorts of immigrants who entered the US at different time periods. We also compare generations residing in the US, more specifically immigrants and their children. Ms. Basu.

Prerequisites: ECON 201 and ECON 209.

Recommended:    

387a. Topics in Financial Economics (1)

A theoretical and applied treatment of fixed income and equity pricing and trading, foreign exchange markets, derivatives markets, and mortgage markets. Mr. Bennett.

Prerequisites: ECON 201, ECON 209, and ECON 225.

One 3-hour period.

388a. Latin American Economic Development (1)

(Same as LALS 388) This course examines why many Latin American countries started with levels of development similar to those of the U.S. and Canada but were not able to keep up. The course begins with discussions of various ways of thinking about and measuring economic development and examines the record of Latin American countries on various measures, including volatile growth rates, high income and wealth inequality, and high crime rates. We then turn to an analysis of the colonial and post-Independence period to examine the roots of the weak institutional development than could explain a low growth trajectory. Next, we examine the post WWII period, exploring the import substitution of 1970s, the debt crises of the 1980s, and the structural adjustment of the 1990s. Finally, we look at events in the past decade, comparing and contrasting the experience of different countries with respect to growth, poverty and inequality. Ms. Pearlman.

Prerequisites: ECON 100    or ECON 102.

Two 75-minute periods.

389a. Applied Financial Modeling (1)

Applications of economic theory and econometrics to the analysis of financial data. Topics include the efficient markets hypothesis, capital asset pricing model, consumption based models, term structure of interest rates, arbitrage pricing theory, exchange rates, volatility, generalized method of moments, time-series econometrics. Mr. Johnson.

Prerequisites: ECON 201, ECON 210 and ECON 225, MATH 126 and MATH 127 or equivalent; or permission of the instructor.

Recommended: MATH 220, MATH 221 recommended.  

Not offered in 2015/16.

399a or b. Senior Independent Work (0.5to1)