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Summer 2022 Electives

Registration for Summer 2022 is open.

Summer 1

ECON 1260: Contested Issues in the U.S. Economy (CRN 40396)

Instructor: Peter Simon

Schedule: MTWR 11:40 am – 1:20 pm
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 1711: Economics of Sustainability (CRN 40893)

Instructor: Madhavi Venkatesan
Schedule: MTWR 3:20 pm – 5:00 pm

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

ECON 1916: Economics of Inequality (CRN 41413)

Instructor: Gustavo Vincentini
Schedule: MTWR 11:40 am – 1:20 pm

The course is an introduction to inequality from an economic perspective. It starts with a historic perspective by discussing the causes and consequences of inequality in ancient civilizations, the Greek and Roman empires, the middle age, and up to the early twentieth century. It then covers a variety of more contemporaneous issues, such as: How to empirically measure inequality; how inequality is related to scarcity, appropriability, and inheritability; the effect of large-scale war on inequality; how inequality is related to economic growth and globalization; taxation and inequality; the causes and consequences of inequality in different sectors of society such as education, health care, housing, labor market, and upward mobility; and public policies to address inequality. The course concludes with a forward-looking exploration of how inequality might evolve within the near future.

ECON 3442: Money and Banking (CRN 41415)

Instructor: Gerald Porter

Schedule: MTWR 11:40 am – 1:20 pm
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 3481: Economics of Sports (CRN 40699)

Instructor: Martin Konan
Schedule: MTWR 3:20 pm – 5:00 pm

Investigates what economics has to say about sports as an economic activity: what tools of economic analysis apply to sports, whether sports require different economic tools, what the evidence has to say about key questions. Focuses on professional team sports, although some attention is paid to college sports and to individual professional sports.


ECON 3711: Economics of Race (41416)

Instructor: Madhavi Venkatesan

Schedule: MTWR 1:30 pm – 3:10 pm
This course addresses economic issues related to race, including the persistence of racial discrimination. Participants are exposed to the social construction of race and the use of this construction to legitimiz eexploitation. Addressed are the economic modeling of discrimination and segregation, as well as the effect of these societal attributes on economic outcomes, and the complexity of racial equity and equality specific to reparations. Course materials will rely on published research, film, and other media.
Please note: Students with prior credit for ECON 3916-Selected Topics class on Economics of Race will not receive credit for ECON 3711.


Summer 2

ECON 1240: Economics of Crime (CRN 60741)

Instructor: Madhavi Venkatesan
Schedule: MTWR 9:50 am – 11:30 am

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 3520: History of Economic Thought (CRN 60742)

Instructor: Ilter Bakkal
Schedule: MTWR 11:40 am – 1:20 pm
Traces the evolution of Western economic thought. Covers several important periods and schools of economic thought including mercantilism, physiocracy, classical, Marxist, neoclassical, and Keynesian. Emphasizes the relationship between historical changes in society and economic thought, focusing on changes in the types of questions economists ask and the analytical tools they use.

ECON 3915: Applied Macroeconomics – Monetary Policy (CRN 61241)

Instructor: Nancy Kimelman
Schedule: MTWR 9:50 am – 11:30 am

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 4634: Comparative Economics (CRN 61243)

Instructor: Ilter Bakkal
Schedule: MTWR 1:30 pm – 3:10 pm

This course compares different economic systems within the context of contemporary issues. Economic systems have arisen as the world economy has evolved and alliances have been formed over time. There is a strong emphasis on exploring the current and historical implications of different economic philosophies and practices. Topics include globalization, international economic organizations, economic integration, economic policy making, health care, labor migration, resource use and environmental issues.


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