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Spring 2022 Electives

Registration for the spring 2022 semester started on Monday, November 15. The following is a list of the electives and selected topics courses offered by the Department of Economics.

ECON 1240 – Economics of Crime 

Instructor: Madhavi Venkatesan

CRN: 34140 

Schedule: MWR 9:15am-10:20am

This course will provide an overview of core issues in the economics of crime. The class will cover standard law and economics topics related to the criminal justice system, including incarceration, policing, the deterrent effect of the death penalty, gun policy, drug policy, and racial bias within the criminal justice system. The class will also consider the role that social factors play in affecting crime and violence, such as social programs and other social conditions such as education, poverty, family structure and even environmental factors (such as lead exposure). The curriculum will promote an evaluation of economic theory as it applies to human behavior as well as the role of perspective in assessing economic costs and benefits. 

ECON 1260 – Contested Economic Issues 

Instructor: Peter Simon

CRN: 38137 

Schedule: MW 2:50pm-4:30pm

Covers many of the contested economic issues that the United States faces as a nation—the size of government, the national debt, the war on drugs, national healthcare, taxation, and many more. An important social system in any society is the economic system—the allocation of scarce resources. In the large and complex economy of the United States, there is controversy over what goods and services are produced and how they are distributed. To understand the nature and causes of these issues requires a course where theory is a tool of analysis, not the focus. Economics is not value free. Attention is given to the role of ethics and how our moral values shape policy. Course topics vary from semester to semester.

ECON 1291 – Development Economics 

Instructor: Shahid Alam

CRN: 34141 

Schedule: TF 9:50am-11:30am

Explores social and economic development around the world. Topics include income, poverty, inequality, human development, geography, growth, impact evaluation, health, education, financial markets, trade, and gender inequality. Analyzes four key elements of economic development: income, poverty, inequality, and human development. Offers students an opportunity to understand the determinants of economic growth. Focuses on major policy issues concerning health, education, credit, savings, gender differences, and globalization. Studies which interventions worked and which did not. Exposes students to readings and perspectives from several academic disciplines. Emphasizes one unifying methodological theme: the usefulness of empirical economic tools in assessing the arguments presented in debates about development

ECON 1711 – Economics of Sustainability 

Instructor: Madhavi Venkatesan

CRN: 36040 

Schedule: MWR 10:30am-11:35am  

In this course students will gain an understanding of the significance of behavioral assumptions on economic outcomes and social norms, specifically as these relate to the perceived value of resources and the broader ecosystem. Further, students will learn the importance of economic concepts such as externalities and elasticity in relation to a market-driven economy, price, and consumption behavior. Through the use of elementary life cycle analysis, students will be exposed to both the definition and responsibilities of the rational agent as these relate to the establishment of sustainable outcomes. Upon completing the course, students will be able to articulate the relationship between economic growth and climate change and reconcile the historical relationship between social values and sustainable outcomes.  

Note: No credit for students who already took Economics of Sustainability as a Selected Topics class.  

ECON 1916 – Intro Selected Topics: Micro (Economics of Conflict)  


CRN: 38138 

Schedule: MWR 9:15am-10:20am

In this class, students will develop models of the drivers of conflict and resolution based on economic principles of cost and benefit. We will explore a variety of situations that culminate in conflict and consider what economics tells us about how to avoid or resolve these situations. Students will apply the concepts to current and past conflicts, creating case studies illustrating the various models. 

ECON 3290 – History of the Global Economy 


CRN: 38142 

Schedule: TF 1:35pm-3:15pm

Covers ideological biases in economics; the extent of global disparities around 1800; evolution of global disparities since 1800; evolution of international integration and international trading and monetary regimes, 1800–2000; theories explaining global disparities: classical, neoclassical, Marxian, neo-Marxian, and structuralist; import-substituting industrialization: Latin America, Asia, and Africa; international debt crises: nineteenth and twentieth centuries; the new global regime; structural adjustment: GATT (General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade) and WTO (World Trade Organization); and socialist interlude: a socialist experience and transition to capitalism. 

ECON 3412 – Women’s Labor and the Economy 


CRN: 38143 

Schedule: MWR 10:30am-11:35am

The course has three units. The first unit introduces economic models of dating, marriage, divorce, and childbearing with the goal of understanding the dramatic changes in family structure that have occurred over the past 60 years. The second unit focuses on the factors (changes in family structure, tax policy, paid childcare) that lead to the rapid increase of women in the paid labor force and account for the remaining gap in female participation. This unit also includes a discussion of poverty and antipoverty programs (as the majority of America’s poor are in families headed by women). The final unit is all about the gender gap. We will discuss theories, evidence, and policy remedies for wage differences between men and women. The class will emphasize the cost and benefits of various policy reform such as pro-marriage and fertility initiatives, entitlement reform, the earned income tax credit, antidiscrimination and affirmative action policies, the marriage tax, paid parental leave, and childcare support. Non majors welcome. 

ECON 3423 – Environmental Economics 

INSTRUCTOR: Ilter Bakkal

CRN: 38144 

Schedule: MWR 1:35pm-2:40pm

Applies the tools of economics to environmental issues. Explores taxonomy of environmental effects; externalities; the commons problem; taxation, regulations, marketable permits, and property rights as a solution; measuring benefits of cleaner air and water, noise abatement, and recreational areas; global issues including tropical deforestation and acid rain; and the relevance of economics to the environmental debate. 

ECON 3440 – Public Finance 

INSTRUCTOR: Gregory Wassall

CRN: 38145 

Schedule: MW 2:50pm-4:30pm

Presents an overview of the economics of government and the role of public policy. Develops guidelines to determine which economic activities are best performed by government and which are not. Also examines the impact of tax policies on efficiency, economic growth, and equity. Topics include market failures, public choice, the personal income tax, the corporate tax, sales tax, and taxation of capital and wealth, and options for reform of the tax structure. Major spending programs such as social security and education and healthcare are analyzed. 

ECON 3442 – Money and Banking 

INSTRUCTOR: Martin Konan

CRN: 32385 

Schedule: MWR 9:15am-10:20am

Covers the nature and functions of money, credit, and financial markets in the modern international economy. Analyzes financial markets and institutions, central banking, and the effects of interest and foreign exchange rates on the real economy. 

ECON 3470 – American Economic History 


CRN: 38146 

Schedule: MWR 10:30am-11:35am

Covers the economic history of the United States from the colonial period to the present. Includes studies of the development of major economic institutions and the effects of technological change. Examines economic reasons for the spread of an industrial market economy in the nineteenth century and the successes and failures of this economy in the twentieth century. 

ECON 3490 – Public Choice Economics 

INSTRUCTOR: Frank Georges

CRN: 38264 

Schedule: MWR 1:35pm-2:40pm

Studies public choice economics—the scientific analysis of government behavior—and is divided into two parts: institutional political economy and social choice theory. Public choice economics applies this neoclassical economic analysis to political issues such as rent seeking, tax reform, logrolling, voting behavior, the function of government, the intersection between public and private interests, and federalism. The point of departure from political science is that economists have based this analysis on the assumption that utility functions do not change once a person enters the realm of public service and that the argument of their utility functions is still their own self-interest and not the interest of the social system in which they operate. 

ECON 3915 – Intermediate Selected Topics: Macro (ST Fed Challenge/Monetary Policy)

CRN: 38265

Instructor: Kimelman, Nancy

Schedule: TF 1:35pm -3:15 pm

Are you ready to practice macroeconomics in the real world? Can you analyze current economic trends and forecast where the economy is headed next? For most students, the answer to those questions is no. But it’s not your fault! Traditionally, macro classes focus almost exclusively on theory, largely because there is an active, rich and evolving literature in the field that takes a full semester to get through – and then just.  What gets left out of these classes is the application of macro theories and concepts to the world we live in. Of course, we read and hear in the press what macroeconomists think about the present — the pandemic economy, for example — but rarely in our current sequence of courses are their ideas vetted for consistency, logic, or accuracy.    

This course fills that gap. We’ll rely on a case study approach to identify the economic concepts and approaches that have explained well past episodes of inflation, recession, bubbles, etc., and we’ll lay to rest those ideas that have proven unhelpful. While we’ll find our grounding in the past, however, the clear goal of the course is to look forward, to give students the techniques and tools they need to analyze events in the future, long after their college career is over. This course also provides a strong foundation for anyone hoping to become part of the Boston Fed Challenge this Fall. Northeastern students have had great success in the Challenge, not just by advancing in the competition but by being very, very well prepared for both co-op and permanent job interviews.   

A sampling of the topics we’ll study is: the role of inflationary expectations in determining the efficacy of monetary policy and the workings of the economy; explanations for the current mystifying trends in the labor market; actual measurements of the expenditure and money multipliers in recent business cycles; the emerging role of macroprudential policy as a discretionary policy tool, especially in developing nations; the role of the financial sector in the business cycle; the impact of income inequality on economic performance and modern economic policy; and the politics of economics.    

In terms of output and grading, the course entails both small-group and independent work, a few short 2-3 page papers, and active involvement of all in class. There is also a final assignment (paper or exam). 

ECON 3916 – Intermediate Selected Topics: Micro (ST: Fintec) 

INSTRUCTOR: James Kurt Dew

CRN: 33780 

Schedule: MWR 10:30am-11:35am

“Some courses I teach. This is a course I live! When I’m putting together lectures, projects, and the rest, it feels inadequate. I can’t put into words the joy that creating and destroying value in our marketplaces has given me over the 40 years I have been privileged to do so. 

This is your opportunity to participate in the same process of value creation! 

Much of the course is focused on derivatives and their structure. I have had a hand in designing three of the most important derivatives: Eurodollar futures, S&P futures, and OTC interest rate swaps. All three are deeply flawed. We consider possible improvements to these and other major financial markets. 

The second part of the course will develop your skills in the use of the current market technology and instruments. Here you will learn the arithmetic of the markets and how it might be simplified, empowering firms to use financial markets to their advantage. 

Finally, in a project conducted in small groups, you will dissect one of these markets to determine where it fails and how it may change to better meet financial market needs. You will then present a project that explains your findings. Student projects that are exceptional are uploaded and featured on my site in LinkedIn.” – Kurt Dew 

Please note: No credit for students who already took Changing Market Technology as a Selected Topics class. 

ECON 4640 – Financial Economics 


CRN: 32773 

Schedule: TF 9:50am-11:30am

Introduces students to the theory of investments, including the principles of risk and return, the theory of portfolio selection, asset pricing models such as the capital asset pricing model (CAPM) and arbitrage pricing theory (APT), valuation of stocks, bond pricing and the term structure of interest rates, and options (what they are and how to use them). Geared toward nonbusiness majors who are interested in a rigorous course in finance. 

ECON 4681 – Information Econ & Game Theory 

Instructor: Haldun Evrenk 

CRN: 33666 

Schedule: MWR 9:15am-10:20am (2022-01-18 to 2022-04-27) 

Offers an advanced course on the economics of information, including moral hazard and adverse selection; game theory; and mechanism design. Formally considers alternative solution concepts, such as Nash equilibrium and rationalizability for simultaneous move and sequential move games under complete information about payoffs and preferences, as well as solution concepts, such as Bayesian-Nash equilibrium to analyze selection, screening, and incentives in games of incomplete or asymmetric information. Covers optimal incentives or mechanism design, including the optimal design of contracts, auctions, and other mechanisms. Prior exposure to game theory recommended. 


ECON 5200 – Topics in Applied Economics (Topics in Energy Economics) 

INSTRUCTORS: Derya Eryilmaz, Margarita Patria

CRN: 35379 

Schedule: TF 9:50am-11:30am 

The goal of the course is to provide students with marketable skills and fundamental knowledge needed for a career in modern energy space. Both instructors have extensive experience in economic consulting focusing on energy economics and market design. There will be some guest speakers, representing broader energy industry as well.  The course will highlight applications of economic theory, such as deregulation, industrial organization, auction design and data analysis techniques using applied econometric models.  The course consists of two parts. 

First part of the course is an overview of energy markets. Students will learn about different energy sources, economics used to design competitive and regulated power markets, fundamental forces shaping supply and demand, and price-setting mechanisms. Our focus is electricity markets in US: their history, on-going transformation, design and most current issues. The second part of the course is hands on analysis of the energy market data. The analysis is done in Stata and Excel. The goal is to provide students with data visualization skills to aid decision making. 

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