Location: Bowdoin / Zorina Khan


Zorina Khan

Professor of Economics

Contact Information


Hubbard Hall - 104

Teaching this semester

ECON 1018. The Art of the Deal: Commerce and Culture

Zorina Khan
Explores the economics of culture, including the analysis of markets for art, music, literature, and movies. If culture is priceless, then why do artists starve while providers of pet food make billions? Why are paintings by dead artists generally worth more than paintings by living artists? Could music piracy on the information superhighway benefit society? Can Tom Hanks turn a terrible movie into a contender at the box office? Students are not required to have any prior knowledge of economics, and will not be allowed to argue that baseball comprises culture.

ECON 1101. Principles of Microeconomics

Zorina Khan
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 and 1102 . 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.

zorina khan

Prof. Khan holds a First Class Honours B.Sc. degree in Economics, Sociology, and Statistics from the University of Surrey in England; an M.A. in Economics from McMaster University in Canada; and a Ph.D. in Economics from UCLA. She is a Research Associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER); and was a Hoover National Fellow at Stanford University (2014-15). She has been a Fulbright Scholar, Senior Fellow at the Lemelson Center, and Research Fellow at the Institute for Advanced Studies at Australian National University; as well as a visiting professor at the NYU Law School, UC Berkeley School of Law, UCLA School of Law, Harvard University, the NBER, and the London School of Economics (2015-2016).

Prof. Khan's research examines issues in law and economic history, including intellectual property rights, technological progress in Europe and the United States, antitrust, litigation and legal systems, and corporate governance. Several papers empirically assess the role of family networks in the mobilization of financial capital during early industrialization. Her work has been recognized by grants of the National Science Foundation; the Leonardo da Vinci Fellowship; and the Griliches Fellewship, which the NBER awards once every two years to an empirical economist. Her book, The Democratization of Invention: Patents and Copyrights in American Economic Development, 1790-1920 (Cambridge University Press and NBER), received the Alice Hanson Jones Biennial Prize for outstanding work in North American economic history.

She is currently working on large-scale empirical projects on the relationship between institutions and technological change, innovation and long-run economic growth. A forthcoming book will analyze the evolution and effects of patent systems, technological prizes and other innovation incentive mechanisms, based on the experience of the U.S. and major European countries from 1750 through 1930. These results are relevant to current debates regarding the efficacy of prizes, and the role of IP and "patent trolls" in the "new economy." The findings have informed policy at such institutions as the World Bank, the Commonwealth Secretariat, and the British Commission on Intellectual Property Rights.

Prof. Khan is fond of jazz and rock music, Boston (the city), Expressionist art, black and white movies, biographies, and nineteenth-century novels. If she weren’t an economist, the difficult choice between restaurant reviewer and chef would be resolved by her taste for consumption rather than production.

Curriculum vitae

zorina khan-hubbard hall