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Economics

COURSE OFFERINGS

1. The Price System: Analysis, Problems, and Policies

09F: 9, 10, 11 10W, 10S: 10A, 10, 11, 12

10F: 9, 10, 11 11W, 11S: 10A, 10, 11, 12

Emphasis will be placed on problems and policies of current interest as they relate to resource use and the distribution of income and output. Students will receive an introduction to the theory of supply and demand in both product and factor markets in order to examine selected topics drawn from such areas as industrial organization and antitrust policy, labor economics, international trade, economic development, agriculture, urban problems, poverty and discrimination, public sector economics, and environmental problems. Dist: SOC. The staff.

2. Economic Principles and Policies

09F, 10S, 10F, 11S: 12

This is a general survey course for students who have had no previous college level economics and who do not plan to take further economics courses. It is divided between microeconomic concepts—supply and demand, labor and capital markets, tax incidence, comparative advantage, international trade, and benefit-cost analysis—and macroeconomic issues such as economic growth, unemployment inflation, national income and product accounting, the banking system, and monetary and fiscal policy. Applications to current policy issues will be emphasized throughout.

Economics 2 may be taken under the Non-Recording Option (NRO). It does not count towards the major or minor. The course has “negative” prerequisites: Students who have previously taken Economics 1 or who have been exempted from Economics 1 at matriculation may not enroll in Economics 2. Completion of Economics 2 does not, however, preclude subsequent enrollment in Economics 1. Dist: SOC. Fischel.

7. First-Year Seminars in Economics

Consult special listings

10. Introduction to Statistical Methods

09F: 10, 11, 12 10W, 10S: 11, 12 10F: 10, 11, 12 11W, 11S: 11, 12

This course introduces the student to the basic concepts and methods of statistics. It covers descriptive statistics and inference (estimation and hypothesis testing) for a single variable and for two variables. The probability theory required for these topics will be developed.

Prerequisites: Economics 1 and Mathematics 3 (or 2), or permission of the instructor. Economics 10 is a prerequisite to the major in Economics. This course should be taken early in the student’s major program. Because of the large overlap in material covered, no student may receive credit for more than one of the courses Economics 10, Government 10, Mathematics 10, Psychology 10, Social Sciences 10, or Sociology 10 except by special petition. Dist: QDS. Giummo, Prakash.

20. Econometrics

09F, 10W, 10S; 9, 10 10X: 10A 10F, 11W, 11S: 9, 10

Econometrics is the statistical analysis of economic data. This course focuses on regression analysis (specification, estimation, and hypothesis testing) and problems and pitfalls in its application in economics. The course involves extensive use of the statistical program STATA and will enable students to implement their own empirical research projects in preparation for the culminating experience in the economics major.

Prerequisites: Economics 10 and Mathematics 3. Dist: QDS. Anderson, Edwards, Lewis.

21. Microeconomics

09F, 10W, 10S: 9, 10 10X: 10A, 2A 10F, 11W, 11S: 9, 10

This course is a study of the pricing and allocation process in the private economy. Topics include the theories of demand and production, and the determination of prices and quantities for commodities and factors of production in competitive and noncompetitive markets. Applications of the theory and its implications for empirical analysis are also considered.

Prerequisites: Economics 1 and Mathematics 3. Dist: SOC. Doyle, Prakash, Sessions.

22. Macroeconomics

09F: 11, 12 10W: 9, 11, 12 10S, 10X: 9, 10

10F: 11, 12 11W: 9, 11, 12

This course is concerned with the behavior of the economy as a whole, particularly fluctuations in economic activity. General equilibrium models are developed to analyze the determinants of GNP, unemployment, the rate of inflation, and the growth of output. The micro foundations of macro aggregates are developed, with special emphasis on the role of expectations. The analytic tools are used to evaluate monetary and fiscal policies and to understand current macroeconomic controversies.

Prerequisites: Mathematics 3 and Economics 1. Dist: SOC. Bar-Ilan, Feyrer, Rose.

24. Development Economics

09F, 10W, 10F, 11W: 10A, 2A

This course uses economic analysis to understand contemporary issues in low-income countries. We consider why extreme poverty and hunger, child mortality, low-levels of education, gender inequality, environmental degradation, high fertility, and child labor are pervasive in the developing world. We also examine the economic consequences of globalization and infectious diseases such as malaria and HIV/AIDS. For each topic, we seek to understand the factors and constraints influencing decision-making in developing countries. We use this understanding to discuss the role of markets, civil organizations, government policy, and international institutions.

Prerequisites: Economics 1 and 10 or equivalent. Dist: SOC or INT; WCult: NW. Prakash, Sukhtankar.

25. Industrial Organization and Public Policy

10W, 11W: 11

This course examines competition and monopoly in American industry from both theoretical and empirical viewpoints. Further, the course analyzes specific aspects of antitrust policy (e.g., the treatment of monopoly, of collusion among firms, and of mergers), including an appraisal of present policies and of alternative antitrust approaches.

Prerequisite: Economics 1, or permission of the instructor. Dist: SOC. Scott.

26. The Economics of Financial Intermediaries and Markets

09F, 10W, 10S, 10X, 10F, 11W, 11S: 12, 2

This course examines the nature and function of financial intermediaries (e.g., banks, mutual funds, and insurance companies) and of securities markets (e.g., the money and capital markets and the market for derivatives). It analyzes liquidity and risk management and studies the efficiency, stability, and regulation of the financial system.

Prerequisite: Economics 1. Dist: SOC. Kohn, Zinman.

27. Labor Economics

10S, 11S: 9

This course studies the economic behavior of employers and employees as they interact in the labor market. The class will move beyond the basics of labor supply and demand to cover such topics as human capital investment, the structure and determinants of financial compensation and benefits packages, contract negotiations and arbitration. Additionally, since many of the pressing problems facing the United States are labor market issues, this course will provide a basis for better understanding of nationally-debated issues such as reforms of the welfare system, the income tax system, immigration policy, and affirmative action programs.

Prerequisite: Economics 1. Dist: SOC. Anderson.

28. Public Economics

09F, 10X: 10A 10F: 2

This course consists of the study of the public economy of the United States at the national, state, and local levels. The course is divided into the microeconomic topics of resource allocation and income distribution. The macroeconomic impact of selected tax and expenditure policies is also studied. Particular topics may include the rationale for government activity, theories of collective decision-making, cost-benefit analysis, and the efficiency and incidence of various tax structures.

Prerequisites: Economics 1 and Economics 21, or permission of the instructor. Dist: SOC. Skinner, Wheelan.

29. International Finance and Open-Economy Macroeconomics

09F, 10W: 10A, 2A 10S: 10A 10F: 9, 10 11W: 10A, 2A 11S: 10A

This course covers introductory material in the area of international monetary theory and policy. It examines the behavior of international financial markets, the balance of payments and exchange rates, interactions between the balance of payments, the exchange rate and domestic economic activity and ways of organizing the international monetary system.

Prerequisite: Economics 22 or permission of the instructor. Dist: SOC or INT. Johnson, Shambaugh.

35. Games and Economic Behavior

10W, 11W: 10A, 2A

Game theory is the study of strategic behavior in situations in which the decision makers are aware of the interdependence of their actions. This course introduces the basic notions of game theory with an emphasis on economic applications. The topics covered are static and dynamic games with complete information; static and dynamic games with incomplete information; and the refinements of equilibrium concepts. The main applications will be in industrial organization: examples include competition and cooperation in the Cournot and Bertrand oligopoly, durable goods monopolist, entry deterrence, predation, price discrimination, and commitment. Applications to other fields, such as job market signaling, efficiency wages, bargaining, provision of public goods, and monetary policy, will be discussed as well.

Prerequisites: Economics 10, 21 and Mathematics 3, or permission of the instructor. Dist: SOC. Edwards, Snyder.

36. Theory of Finance

09F, 10W: 10A, 2A 10F, 11W: 10A, 2A 11S: 9, 10

This course studies decision making under risk and uncertainty, capital budgeting and investment decisions, portfolio theory and the valuation of risky assets, efficiency of capital markets, option pricing, and problems of asymmetric information.

Prerequisites: Economics 10, 21, and 26, or permission of the instructor. Dist: SOC. Papaioannou, Venti.

38. Urban and Land Use Economics

09F, 10S, 10F, 11S: 11

This course is about the location of economic activities. The central focus is on urban areas and attendant problems in public economics, but some attention is given to agricultural, natural resource, and environmental issues. Topics include housing markets, transportation, local government structure, property taxes, resource depletion, and zoning and land use controls. Economics 72 may be substituted for Economics 38 in the Economics 28-38 sequence.

Prerequisite: Economics 1. Dist: SOC. Fischel.

39. International Trade

09F, 10W, 10S, 10F, 11W, 11S: 9, 10

This course deals with the causes and consequences of international trade and factor movements. Topics covered include theories of why nations trade, the consequences of trade for economic welfare and the distribution of income, the determinants of trade patterns, the tariff and other forms of commercial policy, trade policies of selected countries, and the formation of the multinational corporation.

Prerequisite: Economics 1. Dist: SOC or INT. Irwin, Pavcnik.

44. Topics in Developing Economics

10W, 11W: 10A, 2A

This seminar considers microeconomic aspects of the causes and consequences of extreme poverty in the developing world. Recent research on topics such as child labor, credit, education, environmental degradation, fertility, gender discrimination, health, HIV/AIDs, insurance, malnutrition, social capital, and technology adoption will be considered in depth. Topics vary from year to year. Students are required to write a major research paper.

Prerequisites: Economics 20, 21, and 24. Dist: SOC or INT; WCult: NW. Edmonds.

45. Topics in Industrial Organization

10W, 11W: 10A

This course deals with selected topics in industrial organization and with public policies designed to deal with problems of monopoly and competition. Students are required to write a major paper. The topic for the student paper changes regularly, but an econometric analysis is always required. Examples of the student papers include time-series analysis of stock prices to evaluate the competitive consequences of horizontal mergers challenged under Section 7 of the Clayton Act and Probit analysis to explore the determinants of university participation in research joint ventures filed under the National Cooperative Research and Production Act.

Prerequisites: Economics 20, 21 and 25. Dist: SOC. Scott.

46. Topics in Money and Finance

10W: 10A, 2A 10S: 10A, 2A, 10, 11, 12 11W: 10A, 2A 11S: 10A, 2A, 10, 11, 12

A seminar course covering in depth such selected topics as the following: the theory of financial institutions; banking panics; the excess variability of asset prices; finance constraints and capital market imperfections; the theory of monetary policy; inflation and financial markets; debt and deficits. Will require writing a major paper.

Prerequisites: Economics 20, 22, and 36. Dist: SOC. Sacerdote, Zitzewitz.

47. Topics in Labor Economics

10S, 11S: 10

This seminar provides an in-depth examination of selected topics in labor economics, with an emphasis on recent empirical studies. Topics will vary from year to year. In past years topics have included aspects of human capital investments; differential effects on earnings of not only race and gender, but also such things as height and beauty; earnings determinants, including studies of CEO compensation, the use of tournaments as a pay scheme and compensating differentials; real effects of union conflict and workplace cooperation; and historical changes in skill-levels and earnings in the finance industry; and other topics related to labor market policies and wage determination. Will require writing a major paper.

Prerequisites: Economics 20 and 27. Dist: SOC. Anderson.

48. Topics in Public Economics

10W, 11W: 10A, 2A

This seminar provides an in-depth examination of selected topics in public economics. Topics vary from year to year, but may include the analyses of the economic effects of social insurance programs, such as Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and other public assistance; the economics of health and aging; the effects of taxation on household and corporate financial behavior; the effects of taxation on labor supply, saving, and investment decisions; the economics of public goods and externalities; optimal taxation; and, theories of government structure and decision making at the federal, state, and local levels. Will require writing a major paper.

Prerequisites: Economics 20, 21 and 28. Dist: SOC. Cascio.

49. Topics in International Economics

10W: 10A, 2A 10S: 9, 10 11W: 10A, 2A 11S: 9, 10

This seminar will cover selected topics in international trade and finance beyond those covered in Economics 29 and 39. Offerings in the next few years are expected to include current research on (1) financial crises in emerging markets, (2) the role of trade, open capital markets, and financial development on growth in developing countries, (3) the determinants and consequences of foreign direct investment, (4) the impact of the multilateral trade agreements on world trade, and (5) issues related to globalization. Will require writing a major paper.

Prerequisites: Economics 20, 21, 22, 29 and 39. Dist: SOC or INT. Marion, Pavcnik.

55. Natural Resource and Ecological Economics (Identical to, and described under, Environmental Studies 55)

10W, 11W: 10

56. Environmental Economics, Policy and Management (Identical to, and described under, Environmental Studies 56)

10S: 11

70-79. Advanced Topics in Economics

From time to time special seminars or experimental courses will be offered in the 70-79 series. Examples of titles of courses that might be offered are: Economic History of the United States; Economics of Education; Mathematical Economics; History of Economic Thought.

72. Law and Economics

Not offered in 2009-2010; may be offered in 2010-2011

Economic analysis of property and land-use law, including zoning and environmental law. Covers such topics as the Coase theorem, property rules versus liability rules, eminent domain, regulatory takings, the efficiency of compensation, and the comparative advantage of the judiciary over legislatures. A paper based on case materials is required. Economics 72 may be substituted for Economics 38 in the Economics 28-38 sequence.

Prerequisite: Economics 1. Dist: SOC. Snyder.

76. The Financial Crisis of the Noughties

10S: 9, 10

Topics covered will include (but are not limited to): recent developments in financial and equity markets, labor markets and housing markets during the financial crisis; bubbles, black swans, financial contagion and herds; bank failure, TARP, TALF, TSLF and equivalents. Monetary and fiscal policy responses including quantitative easing will be examined. Direct comparisons will be drawn with the Great Depression and other financial crises.

Prerequisite: Economics 20, 22 and 26. Dist: SOC or INT. Blanchflower.

80. Advanced Topics in Econometrics

09F, 10F: 10A

This course has two goals: (1) To further develop techniques that test for and remedy common problems associated with linear and non-linear regression analysis, and (2) to develop a practical understanding of how regression analysis can be used to examine the empirical relevance of economic theory.

Prerequisites: Economics 20 and 21 and 22 with a grade of A- or better or permission of instructor. Dist: SOC. Staiger.

81. Advanced Topics in Microeconomics

10S, 11S: 2A

This is an advanced course on the economics of information. The focus of the course is a rigorous mathematical treatment of the value of information, moral hazard, learning, adverse selection, and signaling. Applications to labor markets, corporate governance, financial markets, and insurance will be discussed.

Prerequisites: Economics 20, 21 and 22 with a grade of A- or better and Mathematics 8 or permission of instructor. Dist: SOC. Snyder.

82. Advanced Topics in Macroeconomics

10W, 11W: 10

The purpose of this course is to study in depth selected topics in Macroeconomics. Topics will include consumption, savings and investment; dynamic inconsistency and the design of monetary and fiscal policies, multiple equilibria, bubbles and cycles, and economic growth.

Prerequisites: Economics 20, 21 and 22 with a grade of A- or better or permission of instructor. Dist: SOC. Feyrer.

85. Independent Study in Economics

All terms: Arrange

This course offers an opportunity for a student to do independent work under the direction of a member of the Department. It is required of all majors in the Honors Program who do not initiate their honors work in their 40-level course; they will be expected to do the preliminary work on their Honors theses in this course

For students who take this course in order to engage in independent study of a topic of interest rather than as a part of honors work, the prerequisite background will consist of all the regularly offered courses in the chosen field of study. Such a student will normally be expected to prepare, prior to the taking of Economics 85, a prospectus and a list of reading pertaining to the study he or she wishes to pursue.

Prerequisite: permission of the Vice Chair and of the Department faculty member who will be advising the student.

87. Senior Thesis

Arrange

As explained above under ‘Economics Honors Program’, selected students will be invited to enroll in Economics 87 after they have completed their 40-level course. Alternatively, a student can initiate honors work in Economics 85 and then enroll in Economics 87 with the approval of the student’s adviser and the Vice Chair. Honors students will normally take Economics 87 in the term following their enrollment in Economics 85, or alternatively, following their enrollment in a 40-level course in which a thesis has been started. Other majors who wish to write a non-Honors thesis for single course credit will be required to have as prerequisite background all regularly offered courses in the chosen field of study and may take the course in either the first or second terms of the senior year.

Prerequisite: permission of the Vice Chair, permission of the Department faculty member who will be advising the student, and, in the case that the research was begun in a 40-level course, the permission of the faculty member who taught the 40-level course in which the thesis topic and the research were developed.