Photo of Professor Eva Dziadula Teaching Her Economics Of Immigration Class

The Department of Economics requires core courses to teach you how to think like an economist and equip you with the tools to study more specialized topics. The courses listed below are a recent sampling of the electives that we offer.

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Economics electives

Charity and Voluntarism

This course will discuss important issues and topics related to charitable giving and prosocial behavior. Topics may include fundraising, charitable donations, voluntarism, and religious activity. Students will learn about economic models and methods currently being used to study these topics. Students will also be expected to produce written works exploring these topics.

Data Analytics and Economic Evaluation for Social Impact

Economics and data science are powerful tools that can improve peoples’ quality of life. This course will put knowledge into action, equipping you to: (1) describe data, (2) use machine learning to predict the future, (3) establish cause and effect, and (4) address pressing social challenges using economic frameworks. There will be an emphasis on critical thinking – including the strengths and limitations of impact evaluation – and communicating research findings effectively with stakeholders. The course will feature guest speakers from public policy, tech, and economics. Focus areas will include: poverty alleviation, child protection, upward mobility, predictive analytics in high-stakes settings, sports and culture, and other topics of student interest. Students will develop and present their own research project during the semester. Basic applied statistics background is recommended but can be waived with permission. This course is ideal for students hoping to see the big picture of an economics major, those in other disciplines passionate about the intersection of data analysis and social challenges, and those hoping to gain perspective on high-impact career opportunities.

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.

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.

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.

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

Game Theory and Strategic Analysis

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.

Health Economics

This course examines how economic analysis can be applied to various components of the health care system. Microeconomic theory is used to understand the operation of health care markets and the behavior of participants (consumers, insurers, physicians, and hospitals) in the health care industry. International comparisons and the role of the public sector are discussed.

History of Central Banking

This course explores the origins of central banking and examines how the role of central banks in stabilizing the financial system and key macroeconomic aggregates has evolved over the decades. It discusses how the conduct of monetary policy has changed and what lessons can be learned from historical events such as the Great Depression, the Great Inflation, and the Volcker disinflation, among others.

International Macroeconomics

This course provides students with an introduction to open-economy macroeconomics. Discussed are theories of trade, exchange rates, business cycles in emerging markets, international financial crises, and sovereign debt. The course is primarily model-based, giving students an analytic framework in which to understand international economic issues. However, current events and policy issues are integrated to give context.

International Trade

This course develops analytical tools to help us to understand the causes and consequences of international trade. The course covers a suite of models that feature national product differentiation, comparative advantage, increasing returns to scale in production, and firm heterogeneity. The course also introduces students to widely used quantitative and empirical methods for studying the impacts of trade on consumers, workers, and firms.

Introduction to Economics & Catholic Thought

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.

Labor Economics

This course will provide a survey of theoretical and empirical research in labor economics. Topics typically include compensating differentials, human capital accumulation (including education, experience, and tenure), incentive contracts, job matching, job search, worker mobility, and discrimination. Students will be responsible for analyzing research and presenting it to the class.

Law and Economics

This class teaches how to use the basic tools and concepts of economics to analyze the economic effects of legal rules, regulations, and enforcement methods. Examples of this "economic approach" to the study of the law are taken from the basic bodies of law in a civil society: property law, tort law, contract law, and criminal law. The course also explores the role of the state in creating and enforcing a body of law that promotes economic growth and development.

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.

Sports Economics

This course is on the economics of sports, and aims to use economic principles, theories, and tools to analyze the organization of the sports industry and sports markets, the activities of professional and amateur athletes, the effects of sports on the broader economy, and strategic behavior in sports settings. Topics include the industrial organization of professional sports leagues, the labor economics and labor markets in both professional and amateur sports, the public economics and politics of the funding of sports, the economic impact of the sports industry, as well as the application of microeconomic theory to strategic decision-making in sports.

Urban Economics

This course provides an introduction to urban economics, focusing on both contemporary and historical issues in the United States. Topics include location decisions of households and firms, agglomeration economies, housing and zoning policy, suburbanization, local governments, and segregation. Students will use economic models, data analysis, and academic articles to study these topics.

International Economics electives

Economic Growth

What are the drivers of economic growth? Can governments induce it? How does it interact with inequality and climate change? Having these questions in mind, this course has two objectives: The first is to familiarize students with the evolution of debate about economic growth, from the modernization theories of the 1960s to the current policy and academic debate; the second is to develop key quantitative and theoretical tools used in the current discussions about economic growth. This course will cover subtopics related to migration, agricultural development, industrial policy, climate change, and trade liberalization.

Advanced Econometrics for Policy & Public Finance

The course covers the core methods necessary to read and conduct economic research using examples from the Public Finance literature. Students should have a good understanding of statistical inference and linear regression methods to be eligible. The course stresses the practical implementation of various econometric methodologies to analyze longitudinal datasets and "big data." Lectures will provide a comprehensive introduction to Randomized Controlled Trials (RCTs) and survey design, quasi-experimental research designs, non-parametric methods, Maximum Likelihood Estimation (MLE), the Generalized Method of Moments (GMM), time series econometrics, and modern machine learning. The course will also provide a refresher on hypothesis testing and model specification testing. Readings and practical problem sets will be posted each week to provide hands-on numerical experience to students.

Economics of Climate Change

Human induced climate change is one of the major problems facing society. Economics provides a powerful intellectual basis for understanding, analyzing and correcting these problems. This course will cover basic science of climate change, the associated market failure and tragedy of the commons, cost-benefit analysis of climate mitigation, computation of the social cost of carbon, empirical research on economic effects of climate change, adaptation, and carbon taxation.

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. Statistics recommended but not required.

Empirical Methods in Development

This is an advanced undergraduate economics course that will provide a broad introduction to development economics, with an emphasis on the application of modern econometric techniques to questions in development. This course will survey recent literature that examines the factors that explain poverty in the developing world. In particular, we will consider the relative roles of government failures, market failures, history, geography, culture and technology among others. This course will briefly survey 'classic' theories in development and then focus on understanding recent journal articles in detail. We will explore these questions primarily from a microeconomic perspective, paying careful attention to understanding, evaluating and applying econometric techniques. The goal of this course is to introduce students to modern research in development economics and produce an original empirical research paper.

International Economics

This course introduces core frameworks used to analyze the global economy and international economic policies. We will study the impact of monetary policy and fiscal policy on exchange rates and output, the behavior of current account balances, and the mechanics of fixed exchange rate regimes. We will also explore the microeconomic determinants of international trade, the labor market impacts of globalization, and the goals and instruments of international trade policy. The goal of the course is to equip you with tools to understand the sources and consequences of trade and macroeconomic interdependence, analyze contemporary developments in the world economy, and critically evaluate international economic policies.

International Finance

This course presents the theory of International Finance and applies it towards gaining an understanding of recent events and current policy issues. The theory presented in this course covers a broad range of topics including exchange rate determination and the choice of exchange rate systems, monetary and fiscal interactions in an open economy, balance of payments crises, and international debt. The insights gained from the theoretical framework will enable us to discuss topics such as current account deficits and global financial imbalances, the Chinese exchange rate regime, proposed changes in the international financial architecture, the single currency in Europe, the Asian and Argentine financial crises, and the role of international factors on a nations employment, wage and economic performance.

International Macroeconomics

This course provides students with an introduction to open-economy macroeconomics. Discussed are theories of trade, exchange rates, business cycles in emerging markets, international financial crises, and sovereign debt. The course is primarily model-based, giving students an analytic framework in which to understand international economic issues. However, current events and policy issues are integrated to give context.

Labor Markets around the World

This is an advanced undergraduate course in labor economics that will feature theoretical and empirical analysis of labor market policies and institutions in high and low-income countries. We will cover topics ranging from unions, minimum wages, public workfare programs/job guarantees, international and internal migration, fairness and social preferences, to firms in the labor market among others. The course will start with a theoretical overview of labor markets and an empirical overview of features that distinguish labor markets in high and low-income countries. We will then focus on reading empirical papers in detail drawing on evidence from high and low-income countries for a given topic.

Political Economy of Development

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.