Courses

Note: courses with light gray backgrounds are not offered this academic year.

ECON 110(F, S)Principles of Microeconomics

This course is an introduction to the study of the forces of supply and demand that determine prices and the allocation of resources in markets for goods and services, markets for labor, and markets for natural resources. The focus is on how and why markets work, why they may fail to work, and the policy implications of both their successes and failures. The course focuses on developing the basic tools of microeconomic analysis and then applying those tools to topics of popular or policy interest such as minimum wage legislation, pollution control, competition policy, international trade policy, discrimination, tax policy, and the role of government in a market economy. [ more ]

ECON 111Introduction to Economics and Its Applications

Not offered this year

This course is intended for students who do not wish to major in economics but who would like to learn something about the discipline and to develop a greater understanding of the ways in which economics can be used to explain behavior and to inform policy. Our focus will be on providing some very basic tools of economic analysis and important institutional background regarding the US and international economies, and then using those tools and institutional knowledge to analyze current policy issues. [ more ]

ECON 120(F, S)Principles of Macroeconomics

This course provides an introduction to the study of the aggregate national economy. It develops the basic theories of macroeconomics and applies them to topics of current interest. Issues to be explored include: the causes of inflation, unemployment, recessions, and depressions; the role of government fiscal and monetary policy in stabilizing the economy; the determinants of long-run economic growth; the long- and short-run effects of taxes, budget deficits, and other government policies on the national economy; the role of financial frictions in amplifying recessions; and the workings of exchange rates and international finance. [ more ]

ECON 203(F)Gender and Economics

This course uses economic analysis to explore how gender differences can lead to differences in economic outcomes, in both households and the labor market. Questions to be covered include: How does the family function as an economic unit? How do individuals allocate time between the labor market and the household? How have changes in family structure affected women's employment, and vice-versa? What are possible explanations for gender differences in labor force participation, occupational choice, and earnings? What is the role of government in addressing gender issues in the home and the workplace? How successful are government policies that primarily affect women (e.g., comparable worth policies, AFDC/TANF, subsidization of child care)? The course will focus on the current experience of women in the United States, but will place these gender differences in a historical and cross-cultural context. [ more ]

ECON 204Economics of Developing Countries

Not offered this year

This course is an introduction to the economics of development. The central question is: why are some people and nations poor? And what can governments (or donors) do to reduce poverty? Possible topics include agricultural productivity, health, education, microfinance, child labor, corruption, resource utilization and pollution, and intellectual property rights. We shall also discuss the extent to which market-friendly reforms (such as trade liberalization) can reduce poverty. [ more ]

ECON 205(F)Public Economics

This course examines the role of the government in a market economy. Three broad issues are considered: under what conditions is government intervention in the economy appropriate? When merited what is the most effective form of intervention? What effects do government policies have on incentives and behavior?After examining these questions from a theoretical perspective, the course will turn to analysis of particular government spending programs in the United States including Social Security, various types of publicly-provided insurance, spending on education, and public assistance for the poor. Finally we will study how the government raises revenue through taxation. We will discuss the principles that guide tax design and consider the effects of the tax code on behavior. [ more ]

ECON 211Gender in the Global Economy

Not offered this year

This course will present a feminist economic analysis of the global economy, and some of the urgent issues facing women in poor countries. The course will start by developing theoretical resources: these will include feminist critiques of economics theory, work on care labor and the shifting boundaries between markets, governments and households, theories of household bargaining, and discussions of intersectionality and difference. Then we will discuss a series of interlinked issues which may include the contradictory effects of structural adjustment and its successors; the informal sector and the 'invisible assembly line'; the economics of sex work and global sex trafficking; microcredit; the economics of the HIV/AIDS pandemic. We will finish by looking at community-based activism, non-governmental organizations, and the possibilities for first-world/third-world alliances. [ more ]

ECON 213(S)Introduction to Environmental and Natural Resources Economics

Economists love free markets, but many people fear that market-driven economic growth and consumption are endangering the natural environment. In fact, core economic theories predict that people and firms, left to their own devices, will often tend to pollute too much, conserve too little, overfish common waters, and cut down too many trees. These predictions seem to be borne out by the world's environmental problems. Fortunately, economics offers tools to address these issues, and these tools are increasingly gaining attention in the policy world. In this course, we will survey environmental and natural resource economics, fields that work to inform policy with attention to both natural assets and human needs. We will focus on real-world problems, mostly from a microeconomic perspective. Underlying issues in these fields include: why markets might be inefficient where the environment and natural resources are concerned; whether and how to value the benefits we receive from the environment; and how to carefully evaluate policies. We will study the economists' perspective on sustainability and we'll discuss how sustainability, growth, and human wellbeing relate to each other. We will study the use of non-renewable resources (like oil) and renewable resources (like trees and fish), and we will spend some time talking about energy and energy policy. We will examine issues related to pollution, looking at traditional "command and control" regulations and at market-based pollution control policies. Climate change is a pressing global problem, and we will study current and proposed climate policies and the role economics can play. We may cover other topics, including international development, food, agriculture, and water. [ more ]

ECON 215(S)International Trade, Globalization and Its Effects

This course is an introduction to international trade and finance with an emphasis on issues of current interest. Topics to be discussed may include: the gains from trade; why nations trade; different theories of the pattern of trade; the effects of tariffs and other trade barriers on national welfare and income distribution; the balance of payments, the determination of foreign exchange rates, and alternative exchange rate regimes. [ more ]

ECON 217(S)Economics of East Asia

This course will provide students with an understanding of economic growth in East Asia and the region's current microeconomic policy issues. For the purpose of this course, we will focus on China, Japan, Korea, and a few Southeast Asian countries. Those interested in economic development and applied microeconomic policies characteristic of East Asia will find this course useful. We first examine the process of economic growth. Cross country comparisons will help draw similarities but also differences in the development processes. The second part of the course will focus on specific economic issues such as, privatization in China, education and inequality in South Korea, demographic challenges in Japan, health care in Indonesia, etc. The course will involve readings from various texts, policy reports, academic journals, and case studies. Throughout the course students will learn how to read empirical evidence presented in these articles. [ more ]

Taught by: TBA

Catalog details

ECON 219 TGlobal Economic History

Not offered this year

Why did Western Europe--and not China, India, or the Middle East--first experience the Industrial Revolution? Why did Latin America fall behind in the 20th century? Why have the countries of East Asia recently experienced such high rates of economic growth? And why has Africa remained so poor for so long? These and other questions will guide our exploration of world economic development over the past several millennia. We will draw on micro and macroeconomic theory to help explain and interpret the historical roots of the modern global economy. Our focus will be broadly comparative across space and time, with an emphasis on how institutions, resource endowments, cultural and technological revolutions, and market developments have driven economic changes. [ more ]

ECON 220American Economic History

Not offered this year

This course examines the growth and development of the American economy from the colonial era to the modern period. The emphasis will be on the use of economic theory and quantitative evidence to address key questions in U.S. history. Topics may include some or all of the following: the development of colonial markets, the economic origins of the U.S. Constitution, immigration, agricultural innovation, industrialization, slavery, government regulation and policymaking, the Great Depression, the changing roles of women in the U.S. economy, post-World War II growth, and the place of the United States in the modern global economy. Comparisons will be made to European and non-European experiences when appropriate. [ more ]

ECON 222(S)Economics of the Arts and Culture

What economic forces influence the creation, presentation, preservation and ownership of art and culture? Should support for the arts be provided through private patronage, private philanthropy, or public sector support? How does the mechanism of support for art affect the productivity and creativity of the artist? Does art make a good investment for an individual? How do art markets function and what determines the price of art? Why do some art museums and performing arts organizations require donations and public support and operate as non-profit enterprises, while other types of culture production and preservation operate as for-profit enterprise? What are the impacts on economic vitality and local economic development of cultural and arts organizations? When these impacts arise, how can (or should) they be used for public policy? This course will use the tools of economic analysis to present a framework for discussion and analysis of these and related questions. [ more ]

ECON 225 TGlobal Financial Crisis and African Economic Development

Not offered this year

Will the global financial crunch create a development crisis for Africa? Just two years ago the International Monetary Fund published the most optimistic growth projections for Africa in decades, predicting rapid growth driven by higher commodity prices, stronger agricultural output and the dividends of years of difficult economic reforms. Today, economic analysts are downgrading African growth forecasts in the face of growing poverty and macroeconomic challenges. Food prices have more than doubled in some countries--increasing hunger for the most vulnerable groups. Fuel costs--and subsidy policies in some countries--are creating macroeconomic imbalances, and the global financial crisis is depressing demand for Africa's exports. Private capital flows, which reached record levels until 2007, are expected to decline by $300-400 billion over the next two years, with bank lending falling, portfolio investment declining, and foreign direct investment decreasing. This triple-F crisis--food, fuel and financial--is posing renewed challenges to African leaders trying to tackle the imperatives of economic development and pro-poor and inclusive economic growth. This crisis is raising the costs of reforms in countries reliant on exports and international capital for growth. Successful strategies must combine policies more efficiently than ever--to balance the necessary reforms with initiatives that offset the costs for the most vulnerable. This tutorial will analyze critical questions posed by the emerging crisis: Which countries will be hit the hardest, and how deeply and for how long? Through which channels does the contagion afflict national economies? And perhaps most importantly, what coordinated strategies can African nations develop in order to foster effective responses? This tutorial will explore how policy-makers in Africa are working to build successful inclusive growth strategies, with fiscal, monetary, industrial, trade and labor market policies reinforcing each other rather than working at cross purposes. [ more ]

ECON 228 T(S)Water as a Scarce Resource

For a variety of reasons including environmental pollution, urbanization, changing agricultural techniques, resource mismanagement, and the consequences of climate change, water is becoming a scarce resource even in places where it was relatively plentiful in the past, and it is likely to become an increasingly scarce resource over the coming decades. In this course we will use basic economic models to consider policy issues relating to water: Is access to water a basic human right, and if so, what market and non-market mechanisms should play a role in water allocation? Does public ownership of water improve the way it is provided and used? Why do societies differ in their approaches to allocating water and are some systems better than others? What does it mean to have a property right to water? Could private property rights to water help address the water pollution problem? How can societies change their water-related property rights, regulations and social institutions when individuals have implicit or explicit rights to the institutional status quo? Who has the right to water that crosses international boundaries? How should societies allocate water across generations? [ more ]

ECON 229(F)Law and Economics

This course applies the tools of microeconomic analysis to private (i.e., civil) law. This analysis has both positive and normative aspects. The positive aspects deal with how individuals respond to the incentives created by the legal system. Examples include: how intellectual property law encourages the creation of knowledge while simultaneously restricting the dissemination of intellectual property; how tort law motivates doctors to avoid malpractice suits; and how contract law facilitates agreements. The normative aspects of the analysis ask whether legal rules enhance economic efficiency (or, more broadly, social welfare). Examples include: what legal rules are most appropriate for mitigating pollution, ensuring safe driving, and guaranteeing workplace safety? The course will also cover the economics of legal systems; for example, what are the incentives for plaintiffs to initiate lawsuits and what role do lawyers play in determining outcomes. The course will also consider potential reforms of the legal system. In the 2014-15 academic year, the course will place more emphasis on intellectual property law as part of the campus-wide initiative, "The Book Unbound," associated with the opening of the new library. [ more ]

ECON 230(S)The Economics of Health and Health Care

In recent years, the intersection between health and economics has increased in importance. The costs of health care have been rising, although more slowly in the past few years. A substantial fraction of the United States population lacks health insurance, with the implementation of the Affordable Care Act intended to remedy that problem. In the United States and around the world the rising elderly population is putting increasing pressure on health spending. Globally, the HIV/AIDS pandemic is causing severe economic hardship, and many people lack access to basic health care. More positively, advances in health care have widened the scope of possible treatments. Given the importance of good health for individual well-being, it is not surprising that health, health care and how to pay for it are sources of anxiety for individuals and policymakers worldwide. In this course we will analyze the economics of health by applying standard microeconomic techniques to the problems of health and health care markets. The course focuses on three broad issues: the inputs to health and the demand for health care, the structure and consequences of public and private health insurance, and the supply of health care. Special attention will be devoted to topics of current public policy, including the problems of rising costs and cost containment, health insurance reform, the changing nature of health care provision, changing public policies in the Medicare and Medicaid programs, hospital competition, and the determinants and consequences of technological change in medicine. [ more ]

ECON 231(S)Financial Markets

Financial markets play an instrumental role in household saving decisions and the allocation of investment in the economy. This course surveys the economics of financial markets and institutions. Topics may include: models of stock and bond prices, portfolio choice, financial derivatives, hedging, financial market efficiency, foreign exchange, financial crises, and the potential for regulation of financial markets. [ more ]

Taught by: Gregory Phelan

Catalog details

ECON 235Urban Centers and Urban Systems

Not offered this year

Cities, systems of cities, and the interactions between cities are the outcome of human decisions and reflect their social structure and desire for interaction. The form of these urban areas is determined by the choices made by the people who reside in, work in, and travel between cities. Economic forces influence and constrain these choices, and economic models of decision-making can help us to explain and predict the patterns that result. These models help us to comprehend the structure of urban areas. This course will introduce the ideas and some of the analytic tools that assist in understanding the economic foundations of urban centers and urban systems. Topics addressed in the course will include the determinants of land use, location of firms, choice of transportation mode, flows of capital investment into real estate, housing prices and housing availability and regulation of housing markets, movement of population from one city to another, and public policies designed to deal with urban problems. [ more ]

ECON 240 TColonialism and Underdevelopment in South Asia

Not offered this year

British colonial rule in South Asia shaped economy and society in fundamental ways. As resistance to colonial rule emerged in the late nineteenth century, "nationalist" writers developed a critique of its economic impact via taxation, fiscal policy, trade, and many other policies. In their turn, supporters of British rule, "apologists," argued that British rule had laid the foundations of economic growth by securing property rights, enforcing contracts, and developing infrastructure. The debate between "nationalists" and "apologists" has never quite ended, but after the recent growth of the Indian economy it has lost some of its emotional charge. We will use this opportunity to not only examine the economic questions, but also how power and its contestations have shaped the answers provided. Therefore, the course part of the college's Exploring Diversity Initiative. [ more ]

ECON 251(F, S)Price and Allocation Theory

A study of the determination of relative prices and their importance in shaping the allocation of resources and the distribution of income. Subjects include: behavior of households in a variety of settings, such as buying goods and services, saving, and labor supply; behavior of firms in various kinds of markets; results of competitive and noncompetitive markets in goods, labor, land, and capital; market failure; government policies as sources of and responses to market failure; welfare criteria; limitations of mainstream analysis. [ more ]

ECON 252(F, S)Macroeconomics

A study of aggregate economic activity: output, employment, inflation, and interest rates. The class will develop a theoretical framework for analyzing economic growth and business cycles. The theory will be used to evaluate policies designed to promote growth and stability, and to understand economic developments in the U.S. and abroad. Instructors may use elementary calculus in assigned readings, exams and lectures. [ more ]

ECON 255(F, S)Econometrics

An introduction to the theory and practice of applied quantitative economic analysis. This course familiarizes students with the strengths and weaknesses of the basic empirical methods used by economists to evaluate economic theory against economic data. Emphasizes both the statistical foundations of regression techniques and the practical application of those techniques in empirical research. Computer exercises will provide experience in using the empirical methods, but no previous computer experience is expected. Highly recommended for students considering graduate training in economics or public policy. [ more ]

ECON 299(F)Economic Liberalism and Its Critics

Economic liberalism holds that society is better off if people enjoy economic freedom. Its critics point to what they believe this position ignores or what it wrongly assumes, and hence, how it would make bad policy. This course explores the relationship between politics and economics by surveying influential works of political economy. Its first part examines major thinkers in relation to the historical development of capitalism in Western Europe and the United States: the classical liberalism of Adam Smith, Karl Marx's revolutionary socialism, and the reformist ideas of John Stuart Mill and John Maynard Keynes. The second part considers mid-20th-century writers who revise and critique economic liberalism from a variety of perspectives, including Friedrich Hayek, Milton Friedman, Ronald Coase, Arthur Okun, and Albert O. Hirschman. The third part surveys significant recent contributions relevant to the themes of the course, with applications to current public policy issues, including topics such as: power relations and autonomy in the workplace; asymmetric information and social insurance; economic inequality and distributive justice; equality of opportunity; the economics of health care; positional goods and the moral foundations of capitalism; intergenerational equity and climate change; economic nationalism and new trade theory; behavioral economics; finance and financial crises; and rent-seeking. The combination of the historical focus of the early part of the course with discussion of modern policy issues and debates in the latter part of the course permits you to appreciate the ongoing dialogue between classical and contemporary views of political economy. [ more ]

ECON 351Tax Policy

Not offered this year

The tax system is a major element of public policy. In addition to raising revenue for government expenditure programs, policymakers use the tax system to redistribute resources and to promote a variety of economic policies. For example, the United States tax system has specific rules to encourage savings, education, and investment. Inherently, many tax policy choices involve trade-offs between equity and efficiency. The purpose of this course is to clarify the goals and possibilities of tax policy, mainly through an examination of U.S. federal tax policy (though the search for possible reforms may lead us to examine policies from other countries). The course will examine the choice of the tax base (income or consumption), notations of fairness in taxation (e.g., the rate structure), the choice to tax corporate income separately from personal income, and a variety of specific tax policy issues (e.g., retirement saving, child care, the "marriage" tax, capital gains taxation, and the taxation of housing). [ more ]

ECON 357 TThe Economics of Higher Education

Not offered this year

This tutorial will utilize economic theory and econometric methods to understand a variety of issues pertaining to the economics of colleges and universities. In particular, we'll discuss the logic of non-profit enterprises, the financial structure of a college or university, competition in the market for higher education, policies impacting tuition and financial aid, the individual and societal returns from investments in higher education, and the distinctive features of academic labor markets. Particular attention will be paid to selective liberal arts colleges. [ more ]

ECON 358International Trade & Economic Policy

Not offered this year

Advances in transportation and communication have led to an increasingly integrated global economy where goods, services, people, capital, and ideas flow across borders. In this course we will examine the causes and consequences of globalization, using theoretical models and empirical evidence. Topics discussed in class will include: models of international trade; immigration; multinational corporations; offshoring; trade policies such as tariffs, quotas, and export subsidies; international trade agreements and organizations; and the implications of trade for the environment. [ more ]

ECON 360International Monetary Economics

Not offered this year

This course studies the macroeconomic behavior of economies that trade both goods and assets with other economies: international financial transactions, especially the buying and selling of foreign money, the role of central banks and private speculators in determining exchange rates and interest rates, and the effects of international transactions on the overall performance of an open economy. Additional topics may include the "asset market approach" to exchange rate determination, the nature and purpose of certain international institutions, and important current events. [ more ]

Taught by: TBA

Catalog details

ECON 361(F)Political Economy and Economic Development

This course is intended as an introduction to the newly emerging field of political economy of institutions and development. Key questions of interest include how voters behave and how this affects policy and economic outcomes; the nature, evolution and economic implication of corruption, and how it can be controlled; and the economics of conflict. The goal of the course is both to provide students of a sense of the frontier research topics in political economy in developing countries and to introduce them to the methodologies used to investigate these topics. [ more ]

ECON 362Global Competitive Strategies

Not offered this year

This course examines the ways in which a country's factor endowments, domestic market characteristics, and government policies promote or impede the global expansion of its industries and corporations. First, actual trade and investment decisions of multinational corporations are analyzed and compared to the predictions of international trade theory. Second, competitive strategies of indigenous and foreign rivals in U.S., Pacific rim, and European markets are explored. Third, the efficacy of government policies in promoting the competitiveness of industries in global markets is discussed. Case studies of firms, industries, and countries will be utilized. In class taught during the fall, students will simulate a meeting of the Federal Reserve Open Market Committee, either to decide on monetary policy or to debate a current policy monetary policy or regulatory issue; in class taught during the spring, students will gain insights into the implementation of monetary policy through a simulation of the Federal funds market. [ more ]

ECON 363(F)Money and Banking

This course first explores the role of the financial system and financial markets, and how they interact with the economy. What does finance do? How are asset prices determined, and how are these prices related to interest rates? Are financial markets efficient, and what are the implications of their efficiency or lack thereof? How does the financial system help with the management of risks faced by society? Second, it analyzes the role of the central bank and the conduct of monetary policy. How do central banks set monetary policy and how do those policies effect the economy? How does monetary policy change when interest rates are (virtually) zero? Third, it studies the complexities associated with managing and regulating modern financial instruments and markets. Why are financial crises so common, and why has regulation not succeeded in preventing them? [ more ]

ECON 374 T(S)Poverty and Public Policy

Since 1965, the annual poverty rate in the United States has hovered between 10% and 15%, though far more than 15% of Americans experience poverty at some point in their lives. In this course, we will study public policies that, explicitly or implicitly, have as a goal improving the well-being of the poor in this country. These policies include safety net programs (Aid to Families with Dependent Children/Temporary Assistance to Needy Families, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program/Food Stamps, Medicaid/Children's Health Insurance Program, and housing assistance), education programs (Head Start and public primary and secondary education), and parts of the tax code (the Earned Income Tax Credit). We will explore the design and functioning of these programs, focusing on questions economists typically ask when evaluating public policy: Does the policy achieve its goals? Does the design of the policy lead to unintended effects (either good or bad)? Could it be redesigned to achieve its goals in a more cost-effective manner? Through in-depth study of these programs, students will learn how economists bring theoretical models and empirical evidence to bear on important questions of public policy. [ more ]

ECON 378(F)Long-Run Perspectives on Economic Growth

The world today is marred by vast differences in the standard of living, with about a 30-fold difference in per-capita incomes between the poorest country and the most affluent. What explanations do long-run growth economists have to offer for these differences in levels of prosperity across nations? Are the explanations to be found in underlying differences between countries over the past few decades, the past few centuries, or the past few millennia? If contemporary differences in living standards have "deep" historically-rooted origins, what scope exists for policies to reduce global inequality today? Can we expect global inequality to be reduced gradually over time, through natural processes of economic development, or are they likely to persist unless action is taken to reduce them? This course will present a unified theory of economic growth for thinking about these and related questions. Examples of issues to be covered include: the Neoclassical growth model and its inefficacy for answering questions about development over long time horizons; Malthusian stagnation across societies during the pre-industrial stage of economic development; the importance of the so-called demographic transition and of human capital formation in the course of industrialization; the persistent influence of colonialism, slavery, and ethnic fragmentation in shaping the quality of contemporary politico-economic institutions; and the long-lasting effects of geography on comparative development, through its impact on the emergence of agriculture in early human societies and its influence in shaping the genetic composition of human populations across the globe. [ more ]

ECON 380(S)Population Economics

This course is an introduction to the economic analysis of demographic behavior and the economic consequences of demographic change. An important aim is to familiarize students with historical and contemporary trends in fertility, mortality, migration, and family composition, and the implications of these trends for the economy. The course demonstrates the application of microeconomic theory to demographic behavior, including fertility, marriage, and migration. Students are introduced to basic techniques of demographic measurement and mathematical demography. Selected topics include the economic consequences of population growth in developing countries, the economics of fertility and female labor force participation, the effects of an older age structure on the social security system, and the relationship between population growth and natural resources. [ more ]

ECON 381(F)Global Health Policy Challenges

Poor health is both a cause and a consequence of poverty. It can trap individuals in poverty and reduce aggregate economic growth. This course will be structured around major global health challenges, including maternal health, HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, malaria, diarrheal disease, nutritional deficiencies and obesity. For each topic, we will first examine the prevalence of the problem. Then, we will turn to the evidence about the costs, benefits, and effectiveness of existing policy solutions. Finally, we will use this information to debate policy alternatives and develop policy recommendations that take into account budgetary, political, and social constraints. [ more ]

Taught by: Susan Godlonton

Catalog details

ECON 383(F)Cities, Regions and the Economy

Cities and urbanization can have significant impacts on the economy. In many developed economies, a process of regional decline is associated with older, industrial cities. In developing countries, the process of economic growth is generally associated with increasing urbanization. Urbanization, with its increasing concentration of population and production, puts particular pressure on markets to allocate resources for provision of land, housing, transportation, labor and public goods. Urbanization can alter the productivity of land, labor, and capital in ways that can improve the welfare of residents and the performance of the broader economy. In this course we will examine these conflicting economic forces and examine some recent research that contributes to our understanding of the difference between regional growth and decline, and the role that the urban structure plays in these processes. We will examine the function of land, housing, transportation, and labor markets in the urban context, and the scope for public policies to improve the performance of the regional economy. [ more ]

ECON 384Corporate Finance

Not offered this year

This course analyzes the major financial decisions facing firms. The course takes the perspective of a manager making decisions about both what investments to undertake and how to finance these projects. Topics include capital budgeting, links between real and financial investments, capital structure choices, dividend policy, and firm valuation. Additional topics may include issues in corporate governance and corporate restructuring, such as mergers and acquisitions. The course will emphasize the underlying economic models that are relevant for these decisions. [ more ]

ECON 385(S)Games and Information

This course is a mathematical introduction to strategic thinking and its applications. Ideas such as Nash equilibrium, commitment, credibility, repeated games, incentives and signaling are discussed. Examples are drawn from economics, politics, history and everyday campus life. Applications include auctions, labor contracts, debt relief, and corruption. [ more ]

ECON 386Environmental Policy and Natural Resource Management

Not offered this year

Policymakers in developed and developing countries struggle to manage natural resources and to protect the environment from excessive degradation while attending to pressing human needs. Economics has a rich body of advice to help achieve these goals. In this course, we will study environmental policy and natural resource management from a microeconomic (and, to a lesser extent, macroeconomic) perspective. We will explore relevant economic theory, look for empirical evidence in scholarly studies, and study actual policies as they have been implemented. The course is undergirded by concepts like sustainability, welfare within and across generations, market failure, and valuation of environmental assets. We will continually emphasize issues of efficiency and equity. Again and again we will see that the challenges are both technical and ethical, as society is forced to make troubling tradeoffs. Topics in the class will include pollution (with a focus on climate change and on incentive-based policies like tax and "cap-and-trade"), management of nonrenewable and renewable resources (including resources like oil, forests, and fisheries), and energy (with its obvious links to resource use and climate change). We will also examine the relationship between development and the environment, touching on controversial topics such as the "natural resources curse" and the relationship between economic growth and the demand for environmental quality. [ more ]

ECON 388Urbanization and Development

Not offered this year

At current rates of growth, the combined population of urban areas in developing countries will double in the next 30 years. The land area devoted to urban use is expected to double even more quickly. The costs of providing housing and infrastructure to accommodate this growth are enormous, but the costs of failing to accommodate urban development may be even larger. The decisions made in response to these challenges will affect the economic performance of these countries and the health and welfare of the urban residents. By affecting global patterns of energy use, these decisions will have broader impacts on the entire planet. This course will focus on these challenges. What are the economic forces that drive the process of urbanization, and how does the level of urbanization affect economic development? How are policies towards housing, transportation, public finance and development affected by urbanization? What policy choices are available, and which are most likely to succeed in dealing with the challenges of urban growth? [ more ]

ECON 389(S)Tax Policy in Emerging Markets

Taxes are half of what government does. So if you are interested in what government policy can do to promote efficiency, equity, and economic development, you should be interested in tax policy. Governments must raise tax revenue to finance critical public goods, address other market failures and distributional issues, and to avoid problems with debt and inflation. Taxes typically take up anywhere from ten to fifty percent of a country's income, they profoundly affect the incentives to undertake all varieties of economic activity, and the government expenditures that they finance have potentially large consequences for human welfare. So the stakes involved in improving tax policy are quite large. All of these issues are of great importance in developing and transitional countries (also known as "emerging markets"), but in these nations taxation is especially challenging because of serious problems with tax evasion and administration, among other things. This class provides an in-depth exploration of tax policy, with an emphasis on the challenges and issues most relevant in emerging markets. Topics addressed in this class include: how basic economic principles can be applied to help one think about the efficiency and equity consequences of tax policies; how personal income taxes, corporate income taxes, and value-added taxes are designed and administered and how they influence the economy; ideas for fundamental reforms of these taxes; theory and evidence in the debate over progressive taxes versus "flat" taxes; how various elements of tax design affect incentives to save and invest; how market failures may influence the optimality of different tax policies; the implications of global capital flows and corporate tax avoidance for the design of tax policy; tax holidays and other special tax incentives for investment; empirical evidence on the influence of taxes on economic growth, foreign direct investment, labor supply, and tax evasion; case studies of efforts to reform tax administration and reduce tax evasion and corruption; taxes on land and property; presumptive taxation; the "unofficial" economy and its implications for tax policy; tax policy towards natural resources such as minerals and oil; taxes on imports and exports; non-tax methods of raising revenue; and political economy considerations in tax policy. [ more ]

ECON 390 TFinancial Crises: Causes and Cures

Not offered this year

Financial crises have been with us for as long as banking has existed. Why are crises such a regular fixture of societies, and what can be done to prevent them, or at least reduce their cost? Topics examined include bubbles and swindles, especially when these spillover to the broader macroeconomy; the role of information in banking in normal times and in bank runs; boom-bust cycles in asset markets; international contagion; crisis resolution techniques; and the extensive history of attempts to improve regulation so as to reduce the frequency and cost of crises. Crises in developing and developed economies in the 19th, 20th and 21st centuries will be examined, and the role of political economy factors in their run-up and resolution will be featured. [ more ]

ECON 391 TEconomic Analysis of Housing Markets

Not offered this year

Housing is one of the most basic of human needs and the housing market is one of the largest, most important and most heavily regulated markets in national economies around the world. At various times economists, policy makers and the general public have regarded the housing market as irrational and malfunctioning in a variety of ways. Why? In this tutorial we will explore and analyze the workings of the housing market. In what ways do housing markets differ from other markets? Why (and how often) do house price "bubbles" occur? How do mortgage markets function and influence housing markets in countries around the world? In what ways can housing and housing conditions serve as an indicator of quality of life? How do housing markets affect the sustainability of cities? These and other questions will be the focus of reading and discussion for the course. [ more ]

ECON 393(S)International Macroeconomics

This course examines the workings and interactions among national economies in the global arena and the implications for macroeconomic policy analysis. Topics include analysis of international financial asset markets, international capital flows and the transmission of business cycles internationally. A series of both factual and counterfactual case studies are developed in class and used to study the implications for central bank exchange rate policies, monetary policies, trade policies, currency and trade unions such as the EEC and NAFTA, and international policy coordination issues among the G7 and members of the International Monetary Fund more broadly. [ more ]

ECON 394European Economic History

Not offered this year

Why did modern economic growth first occur in Europe, and not in China or the Middle East? Why did the Industrial Revolution occur in Britain and not France? Why did the economy of the Soviet Union collapse in the 1980s? What drove European economic integration? This course will explore these and other questions related to the economic development of Europe from the early modern period until today. We will investigate how institutional change, technology, industrialization, social welfare policies, trade and globalization, and government intervention have affected the process of economic growth. Drawing on a wide variety of empirical and theoretical readings, the perspective of the course will be comparative, both across Europe and to the experiences of developing countries today. [ more ]

ECON 397(F)Independent Study: Economics

Students are invited to apply to undertake independent study on subjects of their own choosing. Interested students should consult with a faculty member about designing an appropriate project well in advance of spring registration. [ more ]

ECON 398(S)Independent Study: Economics

Students are invited to apply to undertake independent study on subjects of their own choosing. Interested students should consult with a faculty member about designing an appropriate project well in advance of spring registration. [ more ]

ECON 451(S)Topics in Macroeconomics

This seminar explores some of the central topics in macroeconomics, including economic growth, saving and investment, business cycle fluctuations, monetary policy, and financial crises. The first part of the course focuses on long-run economic growth. Using economic theory and evidence, we will attempt to answer some of the most important questions in all of economics: Why are some countries poor and other countries rich? What can governments do to achieve faster and environmentally sustainable rates of growth? What are the growth consequences of sustained budget deficits? Understanding the behavior of the economy in the long run is one of the key tasks of macroeconomics. But as we have seen during the recent financial crisis, the short run matters as well. In the second part of the class, we will turn our attention to economic downturns and financial crises. Using historical work on past crises and the accumulating evidence on the current one, we will study a host of short-run topics, including financial markets, the effectiveness of fiscal and monetary policies, consumer expectations, asset prices, employment, and productivity. Because this is an advanced class in macroeconomics, we will approach these issues as practicing economists working with the best possible models and empirical techniques. Students will have an opportunity to apply these methods in a required end-of-term research paper. [ more ]

ECON 453Research in Labor Economics

Not offered this year

The labor market plays a crucial role in people's lives worldwide. In industrialized countries, most households contain at least one wage earner, and income from working represents the largest component of total income. Thus analyses of the labor market are fundamentally relevant to both public policy and private decision-making. This seminar will explore the structure and functioning of the labor market using theoretical and empirical tools. Topics to be covered include labor supply and demand, minimum wages, labor market effects of social insurance and welfare programs, the collective bargaining relationship, discrimination, human capital, immigration, wage distribution, and unemployment. As labor economics is an intensely empirical subfield, students will be expected to analyze data as well as study the empirical work of others. [ more ]

ECON 455(S)Research in Economic History

Historical approaches to understanding economic development and current economic policy issues are increasingly in vogue. This seminar will focus on how economic historians marshal evidence and utilize the empirical tools of economics to investigate questions of a historical nature that often have direct implications for modern society. Possible topics to be covered include the role of political change in economic development, trade and migration, education and human capital accumulation, technology and innovation policies, and the evolution and workings of domestic and global factor markets. Students will be expected to not only analyze recent scholarship in economic history, but they will also produce and present their own original research over the semester. [ more ]

ECON 456(F)Income Distribution

This course examines the distribution of income in the U.S., with emphasis on how it is affected by taxes, transfers, and other government programs.Questions to be addressed may include the following: How have wage inequality and the skill premium evolved over time? What factors explain a rising skill premium? How does income differ with race and gender? How is poverty measured, and what are the factors associated with living in poverty? How do government programs change the distribution of income? How much income mobility is there across generations? Students will become more critical readers of current economic literature, and will apply their skills in conducting empirical research. [ more ]

ECON 457Public Economics Research Seminar

Not offered this year

In this class, students will learn how to read, critically evaluate, and begin to produce empirical research on important and interesting public policy questions. Topics will be selected from across the spectrum of public economics issues and may vary from year to year. Examples of specific topics that may be covered include education, environmental policy, taxation, income inequality, anti-poverty policy, health care policy, the economics of crime and corruption, and the implications of behavioral economics and psychology for public policy (we will typically only cover a subset of these topics). Applications will be drawn mostly from the United States but we will also consider some issues and evidence from other industrialized and developing countries. The course will especially emphasize the critical analysis of empirical evidence on public policy questions. [ more ]

ECON 458 TEconomics of Risk

Not offered this year

Risk and uncertainty are pervasive features of economic decisions and outcomes. Individuals face risk about health status and future job prospects. For a firm, developing new products is risky; furthermore, once a product has been developed, the firm faces product liability risk if it turns out to be unsafe. Investment decisions--from managing a portfolio to starting a business--are also fraught with uncertainty. Some risks are environmental--both manmade problems and natural disasters; other risks include the possibility of terrorist attack and, more locally, issues of campus safety. This tutorial explores both the private market responses to risk (e.g., financial markets, insurance markets, private contracting, and precautionary investments and saving) and government policies towards risk (e.g., regulation, taxation, and the legal system). From a theoretical standpoint, the course will build on expected utility theory, diversification, options valuation, principal-agent models, contract theory, and cost-benefit analysis. We will apply these tools to a wide variety of economic issues such as the ones listed above. One goal of the course is to discover common themes across the disparate topics. Students will be expected to read and synthesize a variety of approaches to risk and uncertainty and apply them to various issues. [ more ]

ECON 459Economics of Institutions

Not offered this year

Why are some countries rich and others poor? There are numerous candidate explanations emphasizing factors ranging from demography to technological innovation to unequal international relations. However, some economists like Douglass North and Mancur Olson have argued that beneath the profusion of proximate causes the quality of a country's "institutions" fundamentally determines its economic prospects. The word "institutions" is used broadly; it can refer to micro-structures like households or macro-structures like the state. The course will survey the literature on institutions and economic development, discussing both developed and developing countries. Readings will largely consist of published journal articles and unpublished work of similar quality. Students should expect to use microeconomic theory and econometrics learned in previous courses. [ more ]

ECON 460(F)Economic Development of China

This course is an introduction to the economic development of China in the post-1978 period. It seeks to provide an overview of the process by which China grew from an economic backwater to the second largest economy in the world, with a particular focus on rural development and the growing gap between rural and urban incomes; human capital and education; and health and gender in the Chinese context. In addition, the course has the goal of familiarizing students with current economics research on Chinese topics and enabling them to be informed consumers of this research. [ more ]

ECON 461Computable General Equilibrium (CGE) Modeling

Not offered this year

The Computable General Equilibrium (CGE) model is an important tool for applied policy work. CGE models are the primary tool for many government organizations when evaluating policy alternatives and are also used extensively by various NGO's when deciding aid and policy recommendations. The great advantage of these models is that they capture the general equilibrium feedback effects of policy proposals on various sectors of the economy. This is of great importance to applied work, as this allows the identification of the winners and losers from potential policies. The class will begin with a general overview of CGE models. This overview will be rigorous and mathematical. This course will use the free programming packages GAMS and MPSGE to implement various CGE models using real world data. While no previous computer experience is required, some familiarity with Excel is recommended. During the latter part of the course, students will create a CGE model for a country of their choice and conduct policy experiments using their model. Interested students could continue this project as a potential thesis topic. [ more ]

ECON 463Financial History

Not offered this year

This course opens with a brief survey of some of the major characteristics, issues, and challenges of financial systems today, and then examines earlier experience with these phenomena. Topics to be examined include: the role of finance in economic development historically; the relationship between finance and government, and the extent to which it has changed over time; the lessons from early asset bubbles for modern financial systems; the effect of institutions (laws, norms, and culture) and political systems in shaping the impact of finance, as illustrated by comparisons between Mexico and the U.S., among other cases; and lessons from U.S. financial history for policies today. The course also examines the tools that were developed in earlier epochs to deal with different risks, evaluates their efficacy, and considers lessons for modern financial regulation. [ more ]

ECON 467 TDevelopment Successes

Not offered this year

Although living standards in most of the worlds poor countries have increasingly fallen behind those of the rich industrial countries, a relatively small number of countries that were quite poor in the middle of the last century have achieved dramatic improvements in their incomes since then. These development successes include countries such as Japan, the four dragons (Hong Kong, Korea, Singapore, and Taiwan), the MIT economies (Malaysia, Indonesia, and Thailand), the Asian giants of China and India, as well as non-Asian economies as diverse as Botswana, Chile, and Turkey. This tutorial will explore why these countries have apparently succeeded where many other poor countries have failed. A particular focus of the course will be on extracting insights from the experiences of these success cases about the broad development strategies that have been advocated over the past 50 years by scholars as well as by the international financial institutions. [ more ]

ECON 468(S)Your Money or Your Life: Health Disparities in the United States

A 25-year-old man living in a high-income household can expect to live 10 years longer than his low-income counterpart. There are also stark differences in mortality and health by education, employment status, race, immigrant status, region, and gender. This course will explore many of the potential explanations for health disparities, including access to insurance and health care, health behaviors, stress, environmental exposure, and intergenerational transmission of health. We will emphasize causal inference and focus on assessing the quality of evidence. We will also investigate how government policies contribute to or ameliorate health disparities in the U.S. [ more ]

ECON 469(S)Topics in Urban Economics

This course will provide students with an understanding of how economists think about and analyze various urban policy issues around the world. Those interested in doing policy work on urban issues and/or economic development in the future will find this course useful. We will cover topics including city size and growth, agglomeration extrenalities, land use and property rights, transportation and infrastructure, the valuation of education and environment, entrepreneurship and housing. Students will read economics journal articles on each topic, learn how to empirically analyze urban policy questions, and pursue individual research. There will also be a module based on case studies where students discuss and analyze real estate development projects using cost-benefit and cash-flow analysis. We will cover topics from both the US and developing countries. [ more ]

Taught by: TBA

Catalog details

ECON 470(S)The Indian Economy: Development and Social Justice

The Indian economy today is described in two competing narratives. India is, on the one hand, a fast-growing "emerging economy:" it is producing a range of information technology services, threatening white-collar jobs in the United States; its growing consumption of fossil fuels is stressing world energy supplies and contributing to global warming; along with China, it is changing the balance of international economic and political relations. In another narrative Indian economic growth is lop-sided and unsustainable: poverty and malnutrition remain widespread; Maoist insurgencies threaten a swath of eastern districts; and conflicts rage over threatened ecological resources. In one prominent academic work India has been described as an "Emerging Giant;" in another, it is a "Republic of Hunger." This course will introduce the student to these narratives in the words of participants, ranging from books by CEO's of major corporations to pamphlets produced by left-wing critics of present economic policies. We will then use the traditional theoretical and quantitative methods of an economist to evaluate these perspectives, and, consistent with the goals of the Exploring Diversity Initiative, consider how they are shaped by power, privilege, and the social location of the narrator. [ more ]

ECON 471(F)Topics in Advanced Econometrics

This course focuses on a set of topics in the fields of time series econometrics and panel time series. Particular emphasis is placed on methods of structural identification of macroeconomic dynamics in vector autoregressive analysis and long run cointegration analysis, both in a conventional time series framework and in more recently developed multi-country and multiregional panel time series contexts. The course is well suited for students exploring possibilities for empirically oriented honors theses in fields that employ these techniques, such as macro, finance, growth, international trade and macro-development. It is also well suited for students who simply wish to expand their econometrics training and understanding to a more advanced level, or wish to pursue an honors thesis in econometrics. The course will cover both conceptual and practical issues. [ more ]

ECON 472(F)Macroeconomic Instability and Financial Markets

This advanced course in macroeconomics and financial theory attempts to explain the role and the importance of the financial system in the global economy. The course will provide an understanding of why there is financial intermediation, how financial markets differ from other markets, and the equilibrium consequences of financial activities. Rather than separating off the financial world from the rest of the economy, we will study financial equilibrium as a critical element of economic equilibrium. An important topic in the course will be studying how financial market imperfections amplify and propagate shocks to the aggregate economy. The course may cover the following topics: the determination of asset prices in general equilibrium; consequences of limited asset markets for economic efficiency; theoretical foundations of financial contracts and justifications for the existence of financial intermediaries; the roles of financial frictions in magnifying aggregate fluctuations and creating persistence and instability; the role of leverage and financial innovation in fueling financial crises. [ more ]

Taught by: Gregory Phelan

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ECON 473Microfinance

Not offered this year

Unequal access to finance (loans, savings, insurance) contributes to the persistence of poverty in developing countries. We review evidence that the entrepreneurial poor lack access to loans, and discuss how repayments can be enforced even when borrowers do not have collateral. We discuss how recent innovations in micro-insurance can reduce vulnerability. We will study the role of governments and donors in equalizing financial access through subsidies or targeting. Finally, we shall explore how microfinance can empower women within the household. Readings include current empirical and theoretical research in development economics. This course is an EDI course because it critically analyzes how microfinance interventions can reduce inequality both within and across households. [ more ]

ECON 475Advanced Microeconomic Theory

Not offered this year

This course examines the mathematical underpinnings of advanced economics. This includes proofs of the following: existence and uniqueness of competitive equilibrium in a variety of environments, first and second fundamental welfare theorems, existence of Nash equilibrium, and others. The focus of this class is primarily on the mathematical proofs. These proofs are essential components of any graduate program in economics. Students who wish to see pure math theorems applied to other fields may also be interested. [ more ]

ECON 491(F)Honors Seminar: Economics

This course is a research seminar for candidates for honors in economics. Each candidate prepares an honors thesis. Candidates will meet as a group to discuss problems common to all of them (such as empirical methods, data sources, and theoretical approaches) and each one will report on his/her work at various stages for criticism by the group as a whole. Some work is required during the preceding semester. [ more ]

ECON 492(S)Honors Seminar: Economics

This course is a research seminar for candidates for honors in economics. Each candidate prepares an honors thesis. Candidates will meet as a group to discuss problems common to all of them (such as empirical methods, data sources, and theoretical approaches) and each one will report on his/her work at various stages for criticism by the group as a whole. Some work is required during the preceding semester. [ more ]

ECON 493(F)Honors Thesis: Economics

A year-long research project for those honors candidates admitted to this route to honors. [ more ]

ECON 494(S)Honors Thesis: Economics

A year-long research project for those honors candidates admitted to this route to honors. [ more ]

ECON 501(F)Development Economics I

This course introduces some of the major theories and ideas about economic growth and development. Motivated by a number of stylized facts from cross-country data, we will begin by posing a series of questions: Why are some countries rich and others poor? Why have some countries grown at high rates over extended periods of time, while others have experienced little or no growth? Do all economies face comparable challenges to achieving sustained economic growth? Will poor countries catch up to rich countries or are they doomed to stagnate in a poverty trap? To answer these "big" questions, we will explore the underlying mechanisms of economic growth. What role is played by savings and investment (i.e., the accumulation of physical capital)? What is the influence of population growth? How important are investments in human capital (i.e., education and population health)? How important are technological differences across countries? How much significance should we ascribe to differences across countries in geographical characteristics? How much should we ascribe to differences in the quality of institutions? For each question, we will explore different theoretical and empirical strategies developed by economists to answer the question, ranging from formal models to historical and anecdotal evidence to cross-country growth and development regressions. We will evaluate the usefulness of the different approaches to each question for informing development-promoting and poverty-alleviation policies, and we will also discuss the reasons why so many important questions about economic growth continue to remain difficult to answer. [ more ]

ECON 502(F)Statistics/Econometrics

This course focuses on basic methods of bringing economic theory and data together to provide empirical guidance for policy formulation, including use of computers in econometric analysis. This course covers techniques of econometric analysis using a moderate level of mathematical exposition. [ more ]

ECON 502Institutions and Governance

Not offered this year

Over the last two decades economists have become increasingly aware of the importance of the "social infrastructure" at various levels of economic activity: capable and honest government officials must be available to formulate and implement policies, markets must be supported by suitable institutional frameworks, property rights must be secure, and contracts reliably enforced. Even the structure of the household, the smallest institution analyzed by economists, has been shown to have an important influence on economic development. This course will survey the growing literature on institutions and governance. [ more ]

ECON 503(F)Statistics/Econometrics: Advanced Section

This course focuses on basic methods of bringing economic theory and data together to provide empirical guidance for policy formulation, including use of computers in econometric analysis. This course covers techniques of econometric analysis using a more mathematical exposition. [ more ]

ECON 504(F)Public Economics

This class is about microeconomic and empirical analysis of government expenditure programs in developing and transitional countries. It provides tools for understanding the effects of government policies, as well as a useful conceptual framework for analyzing normative questions such as "what role should government play in the economy" and "what is a good policy?" The course begins by considering the efficiency of market economies, and rationales for government intervention in the market, such as public goods, externalities, information-based market failures, imperfect competition, and equity. We also consider ways that human behavior might deviate from perfect rationality, and what that might imply for policy. Along the way, we apply these concepts to various examples of policy issues, including, among other things, the environment, education, health, infrastructure, security, social insurance, and aid to the poor. We then turn to the general question of how to make the government work better, addressing questions such as the following. When is it better to have the government own and produce things, and when is it better to privatize? What are the incentives of politicians and government employees, and how does the design of political and budgetary institutions affect the degree to which they serve the public interest? How should responsibilities be divided up between the central government and local governments, and what are the advantages and disadvantages of "decentralization?" What can be done to improve the delivery of basic services? For example, how might one address problems of corruption and absenteeism? Throughout the course, we consider examples of empirical research, and to facilitate this, we will occasionally introduce econometric tools that are particularly useful for microeconomic policy evaluation. [ more ]

ECON 505(F)Developing Country Macroeconomics

This course focuses on the relationship between macroeconomic policies and economic growth in developing countries. After examining the links between macroeconomic stability and long-run growth, the rest of the course is divided into three parts. The first part is devoted to the construction of an analytical model that is suitable for analyzing a wide variety of macroeconomic issues in developing countries. This model provides the general framework for a more specific analysis of fiscal and monetary policies in the two remaining parts. In analyzing fiscal policy, the course will consider in particular the requirements of fiscal solvency and the contribution that fiscal policy can make to macroeconomic stability. It will also examine alternative methods for achieving fiscal credibility, including the design of fiscal institutions. The final part of the course will turn to an analysis of central banking, focusing on central bank independence, time consistency of monetary policy, and the design of monetary policy rules in small open economies. [ more ]

ECON 506(F)Fundamentals of Developing Country Macroeconomics

This class covers the basic principles of macroeconomics, with an emphasis on the issues facing for developing, transition, and emerging market economies. The course begins with an introduction to core macro concepts and definitions. It then looks at the sectors and institutions that play major roles in the economy: households, businesses, the external sector, the fiscal authority, and the central bank. It goes on to develop a simple analytical framework for thinking about economic performance and policies. The course concludes with a discussion of some of the macroeconomic problems encountered in developing economies, and some of the policies that can be used to deal with them. The class is offered as an alternative to Econ 505 for those not intending to specialize in macroeconomics. Consequently, it does not qualify as a prerequisite for Econ 515. [ more ]

ECON 510(S)Financial Development and Regulation

This course focuses on the financial system and its role in economic development. The first part explores the functions of finance, how it contributes to growth, and reviews different models of financial sector development and their influence on how governments viewed the sector. It will examine experiences with financial sector repression and subsequent liberalization, and investigate the causes and impact of financial crises. Then it will study how to make finance effective and how to prevent or minimize crises, analyzing government's role as regulator, supervisor, standard setter, contract enforcer, and owner. In this final part, attention will be devoted to the role of institutions (laws, norms, culture) and incentives in financial sector development. [ more ]

ECON 513(S)Empirical Methods in Macroeconomics

Macroeconomics and related fields in international finance and development have evolved specialized empirical techniques, known generally as macroeconometrics, which are designed to meet the practical challenges that the data and the empirical questions pose in these fields. The course will introduce the theory and application of these techniques, and students will learn how to implement these techniques using real world data to address practical questions drawn from the fields of macro, international finance and development. Topics to which these techniques will be applied include business cycle analysis and forecasting, sources of exchange rate volatility and determinants of long run economic growth. Computer work and programming will be an important and integral part of the course, but no previous training is expected. Economics majors who are considering writing an honors thesis on related topics are encouraged to enroll in this course during the spring semester of their junior year. Students studying abroad during their junior year may nonetheless take this course during their senior year. [ more ]

ECON 515(S)Developing Country Macroeconomics II

This lecture course is a continuation of Economics 505. The first part of the course extends the analysis of the first semester to several open-economy issues that arise in developing countries, especially with respect to the interactions among exchange rate regimes, monetary policy regimes, and policies directed at the financial account of the balance of payments. The second part of the course will apply these analytical tools, as well as those developed in Economics 505, to an examination of the various types of crises that have afflicted developing countries over the past three decades, considering in particular the implications of such crises for growth and development. [ more ]

ECON 516(S)International Trade and Development

This course will examine the causes and consequences of international trade and its implications for less developed countries. We will examine a few models of international trade and the empirical relevance of these theories. In addition, international economic issues of particular importance to developing countries will be covered, such as brain drain, remittances, foreign direct investment, trade policies, infant industry protection, trade and growth, the World Trade Organization, and the resource course. [ more ]

ECON 521(S)Incentives and Development Policy

Why isn't the whole world developed? This course (and instructor) is of the opinion that the difficulty of getting incentives right is the key source of inefficiency. The course therefore studies how limited enforcement and asymmetric information constrain development, and about innovative development designs that attempt to overcome these constraints. The course readings will be a mix of field studies, empirical evidence and theoretical tools from game theory. Incentive and corruption problems in health, education, the regulation of banks and natural monopolies, privatization, budgeting, debt forgiveness, foreign aid, microfinance, climate treaties and ethnic violence will be studied using a unified framework. [ more ]

ECON 523(S)Program Evaluation for International Development

Development organizations face strict competition for scarce resources. Both public and private organizations are under increasing pressure to use rigorous program evaluation in order to justify funding for their programs and to design more effective programs. This course is an introduction to evaluation methodology and the tools available to development practitioners, drawing on examples from developing countries. It will cover a wide range of evaluation techniques and discuss the advantages and disadvantages of each. The course is a mix of applied econometrics and practical applications covering implementation, analysis, and interpretation. You will learn to be a critical reader of evaluations, and to develop your own plan to evaluate an existing program of your choice. [ more ]

Taught by: Susan Godlonton

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ECON 532 T(S)Inclusive Growth: The Role of Social Safety Nets

Designing and implementing effective national strategies to promote inclusive economic growth can require difficult policy reforms, sometimes with adverse short-term impacts for vulnerable groups within society. Social safety nets provide a pro-poor policy instrument that can balance trade and labor market reform, fiscal adjustments (such as reduced general subsidies) and other economic policies aimed at enabling better market performance. In addition, social safety nets help the poor to cope with shocks to their livelihoods, promoting resilience, human capital development and sometimes high-return risk-taking. This tutorial will offer students the opportunity to explore the role of social safety nets in promoting inclusive economic growth, drawing on case studies from Africa, Asia, Latin America and Eastern Europe. The first part of the tutorial will define social safety nets within the broader context of social protection, examining the diversity of instruments and their linkages to economic growth. The second part will delve more deeply into the design and implementation of effective interventions, assessing program choice, affordability, targeting, incentives and other issues. The third part will analyze the role of social safety nets in supporting economic growth strategies, drawing on international lessons of experience. [ more ]

ECON 534 T(S)Long Term Fiscal Challenges

This tutorial will address the conceptual and theoretical issues that confront policy makers when they face policy challenges that are likely to emerge only over the coming years and that have important budgetary implications. It will explore the strategies and approaches that a number of countries have attempted to develop to bring the long-term into their current policy and budgetary planning processes. Students will be exposed to different long-term challenges that have important budgetary implications, including aging populations, health care, climate change, energy and infrastructure, and water. The course will consider the specific policy challenges that arise for each and the ways in which different industrial and emerging market countries are addressing them. [ more ]

Taught by: Peter Heller

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ECON 535 T(S)International Financial Institutions

This tutorial will explore the role of international financial institutions in the global economic and financial system, their relations with members, and proposals for how they might be reformed. The focus will be principally on the International Monetary Fund and to a lesser extent the World Bank, but consideration also may be given to the regional development banks, Bank for International Settlements, the Financial Stability Board, and the Paris Club used for official debt renegotiation. Topics and readings will focus on such issues as: the roles and governance reform of the IMF and World Bank; relations between the two institutions and their relations with other institutions of international finance and governance; lessons from their performance in international crises; and initiatives of the Fund and Bank in the global adjustment process, financial system stability, public and private sector governance, lending programs, the management of international reserves, and provision of advice to members. Participants will meet in pairs with the faculty member. Each week, one student will prepare a policy paper and submit the paper to the professor and to the other student in advance of the meeting. During the meeting, the student who has written the paper will present an argument, evidence, and conclusions. The other student will provide a detailed critique of the paper based on concepts and evidence from the readings. The professor will join the discussion after each participant has presented and ask questions that highlight or illustrate critical points. [ more ]

Taught by: Jim Hanson

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ECON 540(S)Research Studies

In this course, each Fellow carries out an individual research study on a topic in which he or she has particular interest, usually related to one of the three seminars. The approach and results of the study are reported in a major paper. Research studies are analytical rather than descriptive and in nearly all cases include quantitative analyses. Often the topic is a specific policy problem in a Fellow's own country. [ more ]