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The College Catalogue

Economics – Courses

First-Year Seminars

For a full description of first-year seminars, see the First-Year Seminar section.

[1018 {18} b. The Art of the Deal: Commerce and Culture.]

1027 b. The Quiet Revolution: Women, Work, and Family in the Twentieth Century. Fall 2014. Rachel Connelly.

Introductory, Intermediate, and Advanced Courses

1050 b - MCSR. Introductory Microeconomics and Quantitative Reasoning. Fall 2014. Rachel Connelly.

A quantitative-reasoning-supported introduction to economic analysis and institutions, with special emphasis on the allocation of resources through markets. Covers the same content as Economics 1101 with added instruction in the quantitative skills used in modern microeconomics, providing a firm foundation for further coursework in economics. Students desiring a comprehensive introduction to economic reasoning should take both this course (or Economics 1101) and 1102 (102). To ensure proper placement, students must fill out economics department placement form and must be recommended for placement in Economics 1050. Not open to students who have taken Economics 1101.

1100 {100} b. Introduction to the Economy. Spring 2015 or 2016. Gregory DeCoster.

A non-technical introduction to the operation of modern capitalist economies, with a focus on the United States. Emphasizes use of a small number of fundamental concepts to clarify how economies function and to provide a foundation for informed evaluation of contemporary economic debates. Topics include incentives, decision-making, markets as a means of allocating resources, characteristics of market allocation, measures and history of US economic performance, structure and function of the financial system, sources of economic growth, and business cycles. Periodic discussions of the role of government in the economy. Seeks to provide a level of economic literacy adequate to understanding debates as conducted in the popular press. Intended for students not planning to major in economics. Not open to students who have credit for Economics 1050, 1101 or 1102. Does not satisfy the prerequisite for any other course in economics.

1101 {101} b - MCSR. Principles of Microeconomics. Every semester. The Department.

An introduction to economic analysis and institutions, with special emphasis on the allocation of resources through markets. The theory of demand, supply, cost, and market structure is developed and then applied to problems in antitrust policy, environmental quality, energy, education, health, the role of the corporation in society, income distribution, and poverty. Students desiring a comprehensive introduction to economic reasoning should take both Economics 1101 {101} and 1102 {102}. For proper placement, students should fill out the economics placement request form and must be recommended for placement in Economics 1101. Not open to students who have taken Economics 1050.

1102 {102} b - MCSR. Principles of Macroeconomics. Every semester. The Department.

An introduction to economic analysis and institutions, with special emphasis on determinants of the level of national income, prices, and employment. Current problems of inflation and unemployment are explored and alternative views of the effectiveness of fiscal, monetary, and other governmental policies are analyzed. Attention is given to the sources and consequences of economic growth and to the nature and significance of international linkages through goods and capital markets.

Prerequisite: Economics 1101 {101}, 1050, or earned 1101 through placement.

2210 {210} b. Economics of the Public Sector. Fall 2014. John M. Fitzgerald.

Theoretical and applied evaluation of government activities and the role of government in the economy. Topics include public goods, public choice, income redistribution, benefit-cost analysis, health care, social security, and incidence and behavioral effects of taxation. Not open to students who have credit for Economics 3510 {310}.

Prerequisite: Economics 1101 {101}, 1050, or earned 1101 through placement.

2211 {211} b - MCSR. Poverty, Inequality, and Public Policy. Fall 2015. John M. Fitzgerald.

Examines the causes and consequences of poverty and inequality in the United States and analyzes policy responses. Topics include social welfare theory, poverty measurement, discrimination, rising wage inequality, the working poor, and consequences of poverty for families and subsequent generations. Substantial focus on benefit-cost analysis and experimental and non-experimental evaluations of current policy, including preschool, housing vouchers, welfare reform, education and training, and employment programs. Makes limited use of comparisons to other countries.

Prerequisite: Economics 1101 {101}, 1050, or earned 1101 through placement.

2212 {212} b - MCSR. Labor and Human Resource Economics. Spring 2015. Rachel Connelly.

A study of labor market supply and demand, with special emphasis on human resource policies, human capital formation, and wage inequality.

Prerequisite: Economics 1101 {101}, 1050, or earned 1101 through placement.

2213 {213} b. History of Economic Thought. Fall 2015 or Spring 2016. Stephen Meardon.

A historical study of insights and methods of inquiry into the functions of markets and the role of government in shaping them. Readings include the original works of economic thinkers from the eighteenth to twentieth centuries, including Adam Smith, David Ricardo, Henry Carey, Karl Marx, Henry George, Thorstein Veblen, and John Maynard Keynes, among others. Different historiographical approaches are employed, including examination of the problems motivating past thinkers as well as the relevance of their ideas to modern economics.

Prerequisite: Economics 1101 {101}, 1050, or earned 1101 through placement, and Economics 1102 {102} or earned 1102 through placement, or permission of the instructor.

2221 {221} b - MCSR, ESD. Marxian Political Economy. Fall 2015. Jonathan P. Goldstein.

An alternative (heterodox) analysis of a capitalist market economy rooted in Marx’s methodological framework, which focuses on the interconnected role played by market relations, class/power relations, exploitation, and internal tendencies towards growth, crisis, and qualitative change. Students are introduced to the Marxian method and economic theory through a reading of Volume I of Capital. Subsequently, the Marxian framework is applied to analyze the modern capitalist economy with an emphasis on the secular and cyclical instability of the economy, changing institutional structures and their ability to promote growth, labor market issues, globalization, and the decline of the Soviet Union.

Prerequisite: one of the following: Economics 1100 {100} 1101 {101}, 1050, or earned 1101 through placement, or permission of the instructor.

2226 {226} b - IP. Political Economy of Pan-Americanism. Fall 2014. Stephen Meardon.

Examines programs for economic and political integration of the Americas from the early nineteenth century to the present. Surveys the material and ideological motives for Pan-Americanism from the Congress of Panama (1826) to the Organization of American States (1948), the draft of a Free Trade Area of the Americas (2001), and beyond. Different forms of integration are evaluated in light of historical consequences and economic ideas. (Same as Latin American Studies 2626 {226}.)

Prerequisite: Economics 1101 {101}, 1050, or earned 1101 through placement.

2227 {227} b - MCSR, IP. Human Resources and Economic Development. Fall 2014. Deborah S. DeGraff.

An analysis of human resource issues in the context of developing countries. Topics include the composition of the labor force by age and gender, productivity of the labor force, unemployment and informal sector employment, child labor and the health and schooling of children, and the effects of structural adjustment policies and other policy interventions on the development and utilization of human resources. Examples from selected African, Asian, and Latin American countries are integrated throughout, and the interaction of sociocultural environments with economic forces is considered.

Prerequisite: Economics 1101 {101}, 1050, or earned 1101 through placement.

2228 {228} b - MCSR. Natural Resource Economics and Policy. Spring 2015. Guillermo Herrera.

A study of the economic issues surrounding the existence and use of renewable natural resources (e.g., forestry/land use, fisheries, water, ecosystems, and the effectiveness of antibiotics) and exhaustible resources (such as minerals, fossil fuels, and old growth forest). A basic framework is first developed for determining economically efficient use of resources over time, then extended to consider objectives other than efficiency, as well as the distinguishing biological, ecological, physical, political, and social attributes of each resource. Uncertainty, common property, and various regulatory instruments are discussed, as well as alternatives to government intervention and/or privatization. (Same as Environmental Studies 2303 {228}.)

Prerequisite: Economics 1101 {101}, 1050, or earned 1101 through placement.

2239 {239} b - IP. Topics on Asian Economies. Spring 2015. Yao Tang.

A study of the similarities and differences in growth experience and the level of economic output per person in Asian countries. Explores possible causes of differences in economic paths, with a focus on several important economies, including China and Japan. Also discusses the relationship between the Asian economies and the United States economy. (Same as Asian Studies 2830 {231}.)

Prerequisite: Economics 1101 {101}, 1050, or earned 1101 through placement, and Economics 1102 {102}, or earned 1102 through placement.

2301 {260} b - MCSR. Financial Economics. Fall 2014. Matthew Botsch.

Provides an overview of issues in the economics of finance. Explores how financial markets are used to manage risk and allocate scarce resources over time and space. Topics covered may include: bond pricing, time and risk preferences, the capital asset pricing model, the efficient markets hypothesis, anomalies and proposed explanations in asset pricing, the Modigliani-Miller theorem, and agency issues within firms. Presentation of material is grounded in economic theory. Mathematics 1600 {161} is recommended.

Prerequisite: Economics 1101 {101}, 1050, or earned 1101 through placement, and Economics 1102 {102}, or earned 1102 through placement.

2303 b. Financial Crises. Spring 2015. Matthew Botsch.

Presents a historical and theoretical overview of financial crises. Covers models of exchange-rate crises, sovereign debt crises, and banking crises. A particular focus on the financial crisis of 2007-09, with close readings of contemporary accounts on the origins and propagation mechanisms linking this crisis to the “Great Recession.”

Prerequisite: Economics 1101 {101}, 1050, or earned 1101 through placement, and Economics 1102 {102}, or earned 1102 through placement.

[2323 b - MCSR. The Economics of Information.]

2555 {255} b - MCSR. Microeconomics. Every semester. The Department.

An intermediate-level study of contemporary microeconomic theory. Analysis of the theory of resource allocation and distribution, with major emphasis on systems of markets and prices as a social mechanism for making resource allocation decisions. Topics include the theory of individual choice and demand, the theory of the firm, market equilibrium under competition and monopoly, general equilibrium theory, and welfare economics.

Prerequisite: Economics 1101 {101}, 1050, or earned 1101 through placement, and Economics 1102 {102} or earned 1102 through placement; and Mathematics 1600 {161} or higher, or placement in Mathematics 1700, 1750, 1800, or 2000 level.

2556 {256} b - MCSR. Macroeconomics. Every semester. The Department.

An intermediate-level study of contemporary national income, employment, and inflation theory. Consumption, investment, government receipts, government expenditures, money, and interest rates are examined for their determinants, interrelationships, and role in indicating the level of aggregate economic activity. Policy implications are drawn from the analysis.

Prerequisite: Economics 2555 {255}.

2557 {257} b - MCSR. Economic Statistics. Every semester. The Department.

An introduction to the data and statistical methods used in economics. A review of the systems that generate economic data and the accuracy of such data is followed by an examination of the statistical methods used in testing the hypotheses of economic theory, both micro- and macro-. Probability, random variables and their distributions, methods of estimating parameters, hypothesis testing, regression, and correlation are covered. The application of multiple regression to economic problems is stressed. Students who have taken Mathematics 2606 {265} are encouraged to take Economics 3516 {316} instead of this course.

Prerequisite: Economics 1101 {101}, 1050, or earned 1101 through placement, and Economics 1102 {102} or earned 1102 through placement; and Mathematics 1600 {161} or higher, or placement in Mathematics 1700, 1750, 1800, or 2000 level.

2970–2973 {291–294} b. Intermediate Independent Study in Economics. The Department.

2999 {299} b. Intermediate Collaborative Study in Economics. The Department.

Courses numbered higher than 3000 {300} are advanced courses in economic analysis intended primarily for majors. Enrollment in these courses is limited to eighteen students in each unless stated otherwise. Elementary calculus will be used in all courses numbered 3000–3999 {300–399}.

3302 {360} b. Topics in Finance. Spring 2015. Gonca Senel.

Provides hands-on practice of financial theory using financial modeling. Addresses real-life financial problems using Excel and VBA. Topics include arbitrage pricing theory, capital asset pricing model, portfolio selection, fixed income securities, and option pricing. Builds on materials covered in Economics 2301 {260}.

Prerequisite: Economics 2301 {260} and 2555 {255}.

3305 {355} b. Game Theory and Strategic Behavior. Fall 2014. Daniel Stone.

A rigorous introduction to mathematical game theory, the theory of strategic behavior. Topics include dominance, rationalizability, pure and mixed strategy Nash equilibrium, sequential and repeated games, subgame perfect equilibrium, bargaining, and games of incomplete information. Applications to business, politics, and sports are discussed. Not open to students who have credit for Economics 2323.

Prerequisite: Economics 2555 {255} or permission of the instructor.

3350 {370} b. Mathematical Economics. Spring 2015. Erik Nelson.

A survey of some of the mathematical techniques used to conduct economic analyses. Topics include utility maximization under uncertainty; solving constrained optimization problems with mathematical programming; optimal control theory; solving complex equations and systems of equations with numerical methods; dynamic programming; and general equilibrium analysis. Students learn to solve problems with MATLAB and other similar programming and statistical software.

Prerequisite: Economics 2555 {255} and Mathematics 1800 {181}.

3508 b. International Trade. Fall 2014. Yao Tang.

Seminar. Offers a theoretical and empirical analysis of international trade. Addresses the globalization debate and the relation between trade, growth, and productivity. Particular attention is given to the standard models of trade: the Ricardian model, the Heckscher-Ohlin model, the specific factors model, the monopolistic competition model, and the model of heterogeneous firms and trade. Uses data analysis in order to evaluate the success or shortcomings of the theoretical models. Not open to students who have credit for Economics 3208 {308}.

Prerequisite: Economics 2555 {255} and Economics 2557 {257}.

3509 {309} b. International Finance. Fall 2015. Yao Tang.

Seminar. Surveys a number of topics in international finance and international macroeconomics, including balance of payments, exchange rate determination, the Mundell-Fleming model of output and exchange rate, exchange rate regimes, international capital flows, and international financial crises. Involves data analysis to empirically evaluate the theoretical models. Also provides a special focus on Asia by discussing issues such as Asia’s role in the global imbalances, China’s exchange rate regime, and the currency carry trade associated with the Japanese yen.

Prerequisite: Economics 2556 {256} and 2557 {257}, or permission of the instructor.

3510 {310} b. Advanced Public Economics. Spring 2016. John M. Fitzgerald.

Seminar. A survey of theoretical and empirical evaluations of government activities in the economy, considering both efficiency and equity aspects. Topics include public choice, income redistribution, benefit-cost analysis, analysis of selected government expenditure programs (including social security), incidence and behavioral effects of taxation, and tax reform. Current public policy issues are emphasized. Not open to students who have credit for Economics 2210 {210}.

Prerequisite: Economics 2555 {255} and 2557 {257}, or permission of the instructor.

3511 b. Economic Evaluation of Public Programs. Spring 2015. John M. Fitzgerald.

Seminar. Studies approaches to evaluating the effectiveness of public policy programs. Covers the basics of cost-benefit analysis and emphasizes the empirical methods used to measure and evaluate program impacts. Examines the strengths and limitations of social experiments, quasi-experiments, and non-experimental observational designs with applications to education, health, public assistance, and labor market policies.

Prerequisite: Economics 2557 {257} or Mathematics 2606 {265}, or permission of the instructor.

3516 {316} b. Econometrics. Fall 2014. John M. Fitzgerald.

Seminar. A study of the mathematical formulation of economic models and the statistical methods of testing them. A detailed examination of the general linear regression model, its assumptions, and its extensions. Applications to both micro- and macroeconomics are considered. Though most of the course deals with single-equation models, an introduction to the estimation of systems of equations is included. An empirical research paper is required.

Prerequisite: Economics 2557 {257} or Mathematics 2606 {265}; and Mathematics 1600 {161} or higher, or placement in Mathematics 1700, 1750, 1800 or 2000 level; or permission of the instructor.

3518 {318} b. Environmental and Natural Resource Economics. Fall 2014. Guillermo Herrera.

Seminar. Analysis of externalities and market failure; models of optimum control of pollution and efficient management of renewable and nonrenewable natural resources such as fisheries, forests, and minerals; governmental vs. other forms of control of common-pool resources; and benefit-cost analysis of policies, including market-based and non-market valuation. Permission of instructor required during add/drop for students who have credit for Economics 2218 {218} (same as Environmental Studies 2302 {218}) or 2228 {228} (same as Environmental Studies 2303 {228}). (Same as Environmental Studies 3918 {318}.)

Prerequisite: Economics 2555 {255} and 2557 {257}.

3519 {319} b. The Economics of Development. Fall 2015. Deborah S. DeGraff.

Seminar. Theoretical and empirical analysis of selected microeconomic issues within the context of developing countries. Has a dual focus on modeling household decisions and on the effects of government policy and intervention on household behavior and well being. Topics include agricultural production, land use systems, technology and credit markets, household labor allocation and migration, investment in education and health, and income inequality.

Prerequisite: Economics 2555 {255}, and Economics 2557 {257} or Mathematics 2606 {265}, or permission of the instructor.

3525 b. Economic Growth. Spring 2016. Yao Tang.

Seminar. Vast differences in nations’ long-run growth experience significantly affect the degree of inequality and overall welfare of the global population. Offers both theoretical and empirical analyses of macro determinants of economic growth. Explores the role of such key factors as the accumulation of physical capital and human capital, productivity and technology, natural resources, openness to trade and capital flow, institutions, culture, and geography.

Prerequisite: Economics 2555 {255} and Economics 2557 {257}, or permission of the instructor.

3526 {326} b. Trade Doctrines and Trade Deals. Fall 2015 or Spring 2016. Stephen Meardon.

Seminar. An inquiry into the consequences of theory meeting practice in international trade negotiations. The historical relationship between economic ideas and the bilateral trade treaties, multilateral trade arrangements, and retaliatory tariff laws of Great Britain and the United States considered. The timeline extends from the eighteenth century to the present, from the Treaty of Methuen (1703) to the World Trade Organization.

Prerequisite: Economics 2555 {255}.

3531 {301} b. The Economics of the Family. Fall 2015. Rachel Connelly.

Seminar. Microeconomic analysis of the family—gender roles and related institutions. Topics include marriage, fertility, married women’s labor supply, divorce, and the family as an economic organization. (Same as Gender and Women’s Studies 3302 {302}.)

Prerequisite: Economics 2555 {255} and Economics 2557 {257}, or permission of the instructor.

3532 {302} b. Business Cycles. Fall 2015 or Spring 2016. Jonathan P. Goldstein.

Seminar. A survey of competing theories of the business cycle, empirical tests of cycle theories, and appropriate macro stabilization policies. Topics include descriptive and historical analysis of cyclical fluctuations in the United States, Keynesian-Kaleckian multiplier-accelerator models, growth cycle models, theories of financial instability, Marxian crisis theory, new classical and new Keynesian theories, and international aspects of business cycles. The current global financial crisis is also analyzed.

Prerequisite: Economics 2556 {256} or permission of the instructor.

3533 {306} b. Behavioral Economics. Spring 2015. Daniel Stone.

Seminar. Standard economics (i.e., neoclassical economics) assumes that individuals are self-interested, rational actors, who optimize well-defined, stable objective functions. Behavioral economics is the study of systematic departures from these assumptions and the implications for economic outcomes. Topics include errors in information-processing and belief formation, behavioral choice under uncertainty (loss aversion, reference dependence), time-inconsistent behavior (self-control problems), and social preferences (altruism, fairness, and reciprocity).

Prerequisite: Economics 2555 {255} and 2557 {257}.

3540 {340} b. Law and Economics. Spring 2016. B. Zorina Khan.

Seminar. Law and economics is one of the most rapidly growing areas in the social sciences. The field applies the concepts and empirical methods of economics to further our understanding of the legal system. Explores the economic analysis of law and legal institutions, including the economics of torts, contracts, property, crime, courts, and dispute resolution. Also focuses on topics in law and economics such as antitrust and regulation, corporations, the family, labor markets, product liability, and intellectual property. Students are introduced to online sources of information in law and are required to apply economic reasoning to analyze landmark lawsuits in each of these areas. Not open to students who have credit for Economics 3541 {341}.

Prerequisite: Economics 2555 {255} or permission of the instructor.

3557 b. Unconventional Monetary Policy. Spring 2015. Stephen D. Morris.

Seminar. Considers traditional and unconventional monetary policies to stabilize the economy. First analyzes traditional issues in monetary economics, with particular attention to the effects of inflation and taxation on saving, investment, and output. Then examines the role of unconventional policies, such as the expansion of the Federal Reserve’s balance sheet during the “Great Recession.” The results of such recent monetary policies are put in the context of three other “Great” data points: The Great Depression, Great Inflation, and the Great Moderation.

Prerequisite: Economics 2556 {256}.

4000–4003 {401–404} b. Advanced Independent Study in Economics. The Department.

4029 {405} b. Advanced Collaborative Study in Economics. The Department.

4050–4051 b. Honors Project in Economics. The Department.


Online Catalogue content is current as of August 1, 2014. For most current course information, use the online course finder. Also see Addenda.