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.
Why have tuition and fees increased substantially over the past 30 years at almost all institutions of higher education in the US? How can quality and productivity be measured in schools? Why do most students pay considerably less than the actual cost of service provision? What is society's interest in devoting considerable resources to education beyond the high school level? How do existing and proposed governmental policies impact both the number of students pursuing a college education and the cost of this education?
History shows that the gap between the rich and the poor has varied over time within and between countries, most recently seeming to increase within many countries while somewhat decreasing between countries. This course challenges students to investigate why people make different amounts of money, why income inequality has changed dramatically in recent years, what public policy tools exist to counter inequality increases, and what different institutional arrangements different countries use to lower inequality.
How does society balance the benefits of environmental protection and preservation against the costs? Though some might say that the environment is priceless, economists recognize that every action involves trade-offs. This course investigates sustainability through comparing costs and benefits. From this perspective, other questions arise: How can we design policies that incentivize sustainable choices? Why might usual market functioning fail to achieve sustainability? Do we need to put a price on the environment in order to protect it? How do we measure an economy's "success"?
Will we face an energy crisis in the near future, or will technological breakthroughs solve problems? Will we destroy the environment by careless use of polluting energy, or we will find new and clean sources of energy that resolves the environmental issue once and for all? Will politicians and governments succeed in agreeing on a coherent strategy to deal with global issues related to energy, or do we expect individual countries to move in different directions and exacerbate the problems?
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.
Economic application of mathematical tools and concepts necessary for intermediate and advanced coursework in economics. Topics include: multivariable calculus, constrained optimization, foundational coverage of probability theory, and exponential/logarithmic functions.
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.
Topics include: the economics of the Civil War, the performance of southern agriculture in the late 19th century, the rise of large corporations, industrialization, the development of financial markets, the creation of the Federal Reserve Board, the economics of the Great Depression and the New Deal, the economic impact of World War II, and the rise of the modern service economy in the late 20th century.
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 individuals and firms, the resulting market outcomes, and applications to real-world problems. Emphasis on analytical logic and theoretical rigor. Topics covered include consumer preferences and utility maximization, perfect competition and market power, uncertainty and risk, externalities, and asymmetric information.
Integrating the insights of psychology into economics. Analysis of the ways in which individuals make decisions that systematically depart from the so-called "standard model" of homo economicus, which assumes perfect rationality, perfect selfishness, and perfect willpower. Investigating the implications of the major findings of behavioral economics for policymakers.
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.
Shows how "big data" can be used to understand and address some of the most important social and economic problems of our time. The course will give students an introduction to frontier research and policy applications in economics and social science in a less-technical manner. Topics include equality of opportunity, education, racial disparities, innovation and entrepreneurship, health care, climate change, criminal justice, and tax policy.
Examines how economic tools can be used to analyze and better understand issues of "Good", "Evil" and "Fairness". Considers questions such as: What is the relation between fairness and equal treatment? Between fairness and equality? What makes an economic or political system "fair" or "unfair"? What makes a system "good"?
See Department Advising Office for course eligibility, course requirements, and application information.
Contact department for information to register for this course.
Increase student knowledge of career paths, job search tools, and strategies for successfully obtaining a job with a BA or BS in economics. Students will engage in a range of different activities which build their understanding of job opportunities in economics and hone their abilities to find positions they want. Students will reflect on specific skills employers seek from economics graduates and incorporate that knowledge in their own individual job search and career plan.
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.
General supervision will be provided through assembled meetings with the professor in charge of the course.
Students will be exposed to the nature of data collection and data usage in the field of Economics. Students will learn the historical development of economics statistics and indicators along with introduction to survey methodology issues. Course will also emphasize ethical considerations of data collection and data use
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.
An in-depth analysis of current issues in macroeconomic theory and policy. Topics covered include: 1. alternative perspectives on macroeconomics including monetarism, new classical equilibrium models, rational expectations, and real business cycle models; 2. long term growth, the slowdown in productivity growth, and concerns about U.S. competitiveness; 3. the effectiveness of macroeconomic policy in an open economy; 4. the effects of finance on the real sector.
Institutions are the sets of rules that constrain the decisions and interactions of economic agents. The course uses economic analysis to understand both formal institutions (e.g. laws) and informal institutions (e.g. cultural norms). Practical examples are drawn from economics, law, and politics, and reflect the experience of many different countries.
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.
Analysis of the determinants and influences on economic development. Emphasis on both theoretical models and econometric methods of explaining why some countries are poor, along with examination of policies to promote development.
Governments, businesses, non-profits, funders, and other organizations must allocate scarce resources between competing uses. Understanding the causal effect of policies, programs or investments on key outcomes can guide the choices of these decision-makers. Correlations between policies and outcomes or changes in outcomes after new policies are adopted are rarely sufficient for estimating the causal effect, however.
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.
Using examples from different historical and geographic contexts, students will analyze both the diversity and the commonalities of economic outcomes in Latin America, with an emphasis on institutional patterns. The class analyzes the divergence between North America and Latin America since the 1700s; surveys Latin America's economic history; reviews the region's recent economic experience with macroeconomic crises and their interaction with the political sphere; and explores current topics in the region's economic development, like the war on drugs and the rise of leftist policies.
Analyzes patterns of economic and institutional development in the Middle East; assesses the general trends in economic growth, investment, and institutional changes; and examines specific issues such as population and human development, economics and politics of oil and trade, the structure of state and its role in economic development, financial markets and Islamic banking, and business environment.
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 may include: autocorrelation, heteroscedasticity, functional form, simultaneous equation models, logit and probit models, instrumental variables, 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.
An introduction to the methodology of experimental economics and its application to issues such as decision-making under uncertainty, auctions, and public goods. Also an introduction to behavioral economics as a relatively new area of economic research.
The importance of big data in the global economy is rising. Students will explore the definition and characteristics of big data, the impact of big data on individuals, use of big data by firms, entrepreneurs and non-profits, as well as how big data reshapes various public policies.
How do rational agents make decisions when faced with uncertainty? How do markets and other institutions deal with risks? How do markets behave when some actors are better informed than others? What incentives influence whether economic decision-makers hide or reveal information? Topics include the value of information, the purchase of warranties, agency problems in management, adverse selection and moral hazard in insurance, and signaling in education.
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.
An introduction to financial econometrics, which is data science applied to understanding the financial system. Students will learn modern techniques in financial econometrics with an emphasis on the interaction between modeling (theory) and empirical analysis. Topics include relevant economic theory, optimization techniques, probability models, statistical analysis, and use of statistical software.
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.
As globalization continues, individual countries must confront a variety of related issues including rising inequality, decline of domestic industries, climate change, and disputes over intellectual property rights. Various economic models and research methods will be covered to develop the analytic and empirical skills needed to perform independent research in globalization. Students will prepare literature reviews, conduct preliminary empirical investigations using STATA, and produce well-designed research proposals.
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.
Rational use and reuse of natural resources. Theory, methodology, and policies concerned with the allocation of natural resources among alternative uses. Optimum state of conservation, market failure, safe minimum standard, and cost-benefit analysis.
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 the role that government plays in providing and financing education. Analyzes why people invest in education. Considers the effects of education on long-term social and economic outcomes, the behavior of institutions that produce education, and how to design and implement public policies affecting the level and distribution of educational resources. Uses microeconomic models and empirical findings to analyze current issues in education 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.
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.
The application of theoretical and empirical economic tools to the sports industry, including competition at professional,collegiate, and international levels. Microeconomic models from labor, industrial organization and public finance will be applied to the sports industry and combined with data from sports markets, providing students with opportunities to produce and interpret economic analysis. The topic of discrimination will also be explored in the context of this particular economic activity.
Analyze markets for health care and related products by understanding the incentives and constraints for various participants, including individuals, family units, doctors, pharmaceutical companies, hospitals, and insurance providers. Analysis will combine both theoretical models and empirical tools.
Analysis of labor markets in theory and the real world. Topics include labor supply, labor demand, human capital, performance incentives, unemployment, discrimination, and immigration. Students will develop an understanding of how formal economic research is used to analyze U.S. labor markets and how research influences policy debates.
Economic analysis of labor based on modern theory and empirical analysis. Focus on public policy, studying the interactions between labor demand and labor supply in the labor market and how policies impact those interactions. Possible policies include welfare policy, minimum wage policy, immigration policy, and anti-discrimination policies. Uses statistical software to summarize and create visualizations of economic data.
Analysis of the economic issues associated with social safety nets. Topics to be covered include the cash transfer programs for breaking the cycle of poverty, labor market policies aimed at combating unemployment, childhood interventions to improve human capital development, and the challenges faced by pension systems over the world. The approach is based on a life-cycle perspective. Evidence and experiences from developed and developing countries will covered.
An exploration of the use of economic incentives for protection of the environment and the determination of appropriate (or efficient) level of environmental quality. Also covers the choice of policy instruments for the attainment of environmental standards.
The role of economics in the formation of climate policy; basic concepts of environmental economics including efficiency, externalities, and policy instruments; economic models of intertemporal decisions and decision making in the face of uncertainty. Applied economic analysis of specific issues and current policy initiatives.
Fundamentals of location theory. Microeconomics of land use decisions, including determination of rent and hedonic pricing models. Impacts of government decisions on land use, including regulation (e.g., zoning), incentives (transferable development rights), provision of public services, and infrastructure investments. Impacts of land use on environmental quality, including issues relating to sprawl, agricultural land preservation, and other topics of special interest.
Economic theory and empirical methods are used to study problems of energy, the environment, and the economy. It examines the extraction, production, and use of energy and market institutions and regulatory approaches used to correct market failures. Topics covered include: oil and natural gas markets, management and design of electricity markets, renewable energy, non-market valuation , climate change, and transportation policies.
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.
The Wealth Management Fundamentals Program is an opportunity for undergraduate students to gain knowledge of financial instruments, financial markets, and develop expertise in investment analysis, financial planning, personal finance, and wealth management. Throughout the course relevant financial and statistical concepts, such as time value of money (present value, future value, annuity, etc.), intrinsic value, risk (standard deviation), expected value (mean), and diversification (covariance, CAPM) are emphasized.
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.
Directed research under the supervision of a faculty member. Contact department for additional information.
Honors Seminar: Fairness, Inequality, and Democracy