Fall 2020

Fall 2020 - Course Descriptions

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ECON 10011/20011 Principles of Micro

An introduction to economics, with particular attention to the pricing mechanism, competitive and monopolistic markets, government regulation of the economy, labor-management relations and programs, income determination and public policy, trade and the international economy.

ECON 10020/20020 Principles of Macro

A continuation of introduction to economics with emphasis on the measurement of national economic performance, alternative explanations of short-run economic fluctuations and long-run economic growth, money and credit, fiscal and monetary policy.

ECON 30010 Intermediate Micro Theory

An examination of the language and analytical tools of microeconomics, emphasizing the functional relationship between the factor and product markets and resource allocation.

ECON 30020 Intermediate Macro Theory

An intensive examination of Macroeconomics with particular reference to the determination of economic growth, national income, employment and the general price level.

ECON 30250 Economic History from an Empirical Perspective

This class will consider a diverse set of topics in economic history. The focus of the class will be on "Cliometrics" or how economists use statistics and statistical models to answer important questions in the discipline. The topics will range from the rapid decline in mortality since the 1850s, the role of health in development, the rise of financial markets and the institution of the Federal Reserve System, the Depression and the New Deal, and the importance of institutions for economic development

ECON 30330 Statistics for Economics

This course seeks to introduce the student to the principles of probability and statistical theory appropriate for the study of economics. The emphasis of the course will be on hypothesis testing and regression analysis.

ECON 30331 Econometrics

Provides students with an understanding of when and how to use basic econometric methods in their work as an economists, including the ability to recognize which econometric technique is appropriate in a given situation as well as what explicit and implicit assumptions are being made using the method. Topics covered include estimation and hypothesis testing using basic regression analysis, problems with basic regression analysis, alternative econometric methods, limited dependent variables, and simultaneous equation models

ECON 30401 Economics of Education

This course combines economic theory and methods to study the production and delivery of education. We will apply economic principles to understand the rationale for particular education approaches, policies, and programs and use an economic lens to explore their potential impact. We will also learn about applying analytic tools to examine the effects of schooling as well as specific education interventions and reforms. Students will read empirical research and will practice being critical consumers of policy arguments and research findings. They will also complete problem sets and writing assignments with the goals of 1) using economic principles to inform policy debates about education investments, 2) employing evidence to evaluate the impact of education policies and programs, and 3) developing skills in conducting original research on education. Substantive topics will span early childhood education, K-12 schooling, and higher education with a focus on the role of incentives, prices, and markets throughout. The course will explore teacher labor markets and teacher effectiveness, school choice, and accountability, and will include discussion of international contexts

ECON 30433 Economics of Immigration

This course examines why some individuals decide to become immigrants through a cost benefit analysis, viewing migration as an investment in human capital. It addresses the selection among immigrants and how they integrate and assimilate in the destination country. Primary focus is given to the labor market, wages in particular, both of immigrants and of natives in the host country. A distinction is made between economic migrants and refugees and discrimination in its varied forms is also studied. The fiscal impact of immigration is discussed along with immigration policy in a global context. Mandatory Spring Break travel to Mexico - travel and meal expenses will be FULLY FUNDED by a grant from Arts and Letters and several departments at the university. You will need a valid passport

ECON 30531 Environmental Economics and Policy

An introduction to the economics of the environment and natural resources. Topics include externalities, market failure, cost-benefit and contingent valuation analyses, climate change, and public policies related to environmental and natural resources.

ECON 30532 Economics of Housing

An introduction to the economics of housing, with particular attention to issues of homelessness and the low-income housing market. Topics includes economic models of homelessness, housing subsidies and regulations, housing market filtering, concentrated poverty and neighborhoods effects, and public policy responses to housing problems.

ECON 33150 Introduction to Economics and Catholic Thought

This course is the seminar version of 30150. In this course we will discuss the relationship between economics and Catholic social teaching. We will learn about key principles in Catholic social thought, read key Papal encyclicals and other writings. We will then discuss key economic concepts and empirical facts known from the field of economics, and how these relate to Catholic social teaching. Finally, we will apply these ideas to discussions on labor, capital, finance, the environment, globalization, and development.

ECON 33420 Employee Relations Law

This course is the seminar version of ECON 30420. A study of the development of common statutory law with reference to discrimination in the United States on the basis of race, creed, color, national origin, and disability, and giving emphasis to the case method.

ECON 33562 Entitlement Reform: Social Security and Medicare

With an aging population and concerns with the magnitude of government debt, the future obligations of Social Security and Medicare have made prompted policy makers to actively consider reforms of these government entitlement programs. This course will examine the following topics. What is the economic status of the elderly? How do government programs assist the elderly (the broad range of assistance from tax preferences and means tested programs such as food stamps and Supplemental Security Income to the universal programs such as Social Security and Medicare)? What role do these government programs play in retirement policy? Are governments too generous or should the elderly take on greater responsibility for their retirement years? What reforms are being proposed currently for reform of Social Security and Medicare?

ECON 40045 Decision Theory

Decision Theory seeks to model choices made by individual agents and thereby serves as an important foundation for the economic study of human behavior. The goal of this class is to understand core concepts in decision theory, to learn how to interpret empirical data and to discuss both the need for formal models and their shortcomings in capturing important psychological factors. Topics will include the definition of rationality, the equivalence between preference relations and choice rules, the meaning of utility functions, and the role of uncertainty. A special emphasis is put on careful mathematical reasoning and explicitly identifying the underlying assumptions behind commonly used concepts. Interactive components will help students identify ways in which they violate basic assumptions and explore reasons for doing so, as well as ways to overcome easily exploitable choice biases.

ECON 40050 Game Theory

The objective of this course is to help students develop a good understanding of the basic concepts in game theory and learn how to employ these concepts to better understand strategic interactions. Topics covered will include normal form games, extensive form games, pure and mixed strategies, Nash Equilibrium, subgame perfect equilibrium, repeated games, and introduction to games of incomplete information. Selected applications will include competition and collusion in oligopoly, entry deterrence, political competition and rent seeking, social norms and strategic interaction.

ECON 40355 Financial Economics and Econometrics Enriching Experience

Students will attend additional out of classroom enrichment opportunities, such as presentations by outside researches and practitioners. These events will complement the coursework by offering insights into the world of finance and policymaking, and will be natural opportunities for networking and for career advancement.

ECON 40356 Asset Pricing Theory

This course examines the theoretical foundations of financial asset pricing. Topics include the capital asset pricing model, stochastic discount factors, arbitrage pricing theory, the efficient market hypothesis, and option pricing.

ECON 40364 Monetary Theory & Policy

This course will cover the development of monetary theory and policy with a particular focus on financial crises and the appropriate central bank response. Other topics include the welfare cost of inflation, countercyclical monetary policy, and central bank independence.

ECON 40581 Strategic Pricing, Innovation, and Entrepreneurship

This course focuses on the strategic behavior of firms in imperfectly competitive markets. The course will cover the acquisition and use of market power by firms, strategic interactions amongst firms, and the role/effects of government competition policy. There will be a strong emphasis on applying the theoretical tools developed in class to assess markets and issues observed in the world.

ECON 40750 Economics of China

The course will cover aspects of China's economy (international, macro, labor market issues, demographics, migration, and others) since economic reforms were implemented in 1978.

ECON 40850 Economics of Innovation and Scientific Research

We will use simple microeconomics principles to understand how and why innovation happens, how innovation is related to basic scientific research, what factors influence the production and diffusion of new ideas, and how government policy can help or hinder innovation. We will also study the relationship between innovation and economic welfare using recent macroeconomic models. Intermediate microeconomics and at least one semester of econometrics are recommended, though not required. There will be two midterms and a final exam, as well as written homework assignments.

ECON 43260 Political Economy of Development

This is the seminar writing intensive version of 40260. The course will focus on why and how political institutions affect economic development. The goal is to understand core theoretical concepts in political economy, discuss the political determinants of economic policy choices and learn how to understand and evaluate empirical evidence. The course will use evidence and examples from both developed and developing countries. Topics will include the determinants of economic development, the role of historical circumstances and political leaders, the role of politics in creating or resolving economic crises and the constraints posed by corruption and political instability. Readings for the class will comprise selected academic papers, case studies and sections from books.

ECON 43271 Global Trade, Inequality & Development

Global considerations are increasingly shaping economic outcomes around the world. This course will explore various topics at the nexus of international trade and economic development using models of international trade, empirical research, and case studies. Topics include macroeconomic growth accounting, changing patterns in world trade, trade and inequality, the political economy of trade policy, trade and industrial policy, trade versus aid, trade and the environment, trade linkages and international financial crises. The objective is to equip students with the analytical tools to characterize the multifaceted and unequal impacts of globalization. Assignments will include interim problem sets, in-class presentations and an original term paper. International Trade is recommended but not required.

ECON 43420 Economics of Inequality 

This course will examine the causes and consequences of economic inequality. Topics covered include conceptual issues in measuring inequality and understanding its consequences for welfare; a comparison of inequality across countries and over time; the role of globalization and technological change in explaining recent increases in inequality in the U.S.; explanations for inequality across groups, including race, gender, childhood socioeconomic status and age; and the role of government in addressing inequality. Students will write a paper evaluating a policy proposal aimed at reducing inequality.

ECON 43550 Economics of the Family

This course will use economic theory and empirical economic research to study the family. Topics will include household decision making; the determinants of marriage and fertility; how marriage, fertility, and family structure are related to other outcomes; and public policies that affect the family and family formation. Students will learn to read and evaluate empirical economic research. This is a writing-intensive seminar course.