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Spring 2023 Undergraduate Electives and Selected Topics Courses

ECON 1230 – Healthcare and Medical Econ (CRN 38943) 

Instructor: Barnay, Thomas

Schedule: MW 2:50 pm – 4:30 pm

This course will enable you to recognize the relevance of economics to health and medical care and apply economic reasoning to understand health-related issues better; to understand the mechanism of healthcare delivery in the United States within broad social, political, and economic contexts; to explore the changing nature of health and medical care and its implications for medical practice, medical education and research, and health policy; and to analyze public policy in health and medical care from an economic perspective.

ECON 1291 – Development Economics

(CRN 33597) 

Instructor: Alam, Mohammad

Schedule: TF 9:50 am – 11:30 am

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 (CRN 34751) 

Instructor: Venkatesan, Madhavi

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

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 3404 – International Food Policy (CRN 38948) 

Instructor: Tanyeri-Abur, Aysen 

Schedule: WF 11:45 am – 1:25 pm 

Introduces a systems approach to policy analysis in the context of agriculture and food policies. Students study the economics of food systems and through a case study learning approach, apply economic analysis and systems thinking tools to find solutions to policy problems in both high income and lower income countries. Policy areas cover food security, nutrition, poverty alleviation, markets, production and supply, and natural resource and climate change. Topics include the dynamics of change in the role of government, structure of food demand, value chains, institutions and governance, and implications for local, regional, and global food systems. 

ECON 3405 – A Critique of Capitalism (CRN 38949) 

Instructor: Alam, Mohammad

Schedule: TF 1:35 pm – 3:15 pm

Examines the origins, workings, successes, and failures of capitalism, defined as an economic system where capital is mostly privately owned and markets generally solve economic problems. Examines, in addition, several variants of private-ownership economies including slavery, feudalism, land-tenancy, putting-out system, and self-employment. Also examines some alternatives to capitalism, such as command socialism, market socialism, worker-ownership of capital, cooperatives, Islamic economy, and Christian economy.

Prerequisites: Undergraduate level ECON 1116 Minimum Grade of D-

ECON 3410: Labor Economics (CRN 38950) 

Instructor: Marks, Mindy

Schedule: WF 11:45 am – 1:25 pm            

Emphasizes an economic analysis of the labor market, the labor force, and wages and earnings. Explores the differences that have existed and currently exist in the labor market with regard to race, ethnicity, and gender and the theories behind why they have existed and continue to exist. Covers supply, development, and efficient use of human resources; demand for labor by businesses and industries; wage inequality and its determinants; changing occupational and industrial structure; nature, causes, and incidence of unemployment; economic impact of unions; and influence of related labor-market institutions and relevant public policies including minimum wages, wage subsidies, and earned-income tax credits; health and safety regulations (OSHA); and antidiscrimination and affirmative action policies and programs.

Prerequisites: Undergraduate level ECON 1116 Minimum Grade of D- and (Undergraduate level ECON 2350 Minimum Grade of D- or Undergraduate level MATH 2280 Minimum Grade of D- or Undergraduate level MATH 3081 Minimum Grade of D- or Undergraduate level MGSC 2301 Minimum Grade of D- or Undergraduate level POLS 2400 Minimum Grade of D- or Undergraduate level PSYC 2320 Minimum Grade of D-)

ECON 3413: Health Economics and Health Care Policy (CRN 34719) 

Instructor: Barnay, Thomas

Schedule: WF  11:45 am – 1:25 pm           

Studies functional skills economists use in health policy analysis, how to apply economic models, and the tools of data and statistical analysis, with the goal of answering health policy questions. Topics include individual health decisions, health insurance coverage and access to care, the behavior of hospitals and health insurers, the Medicare and Medicaid programs, prescription drug prices, innovation/R&D in the pharmaceutical sector, and topics in public health. Offers students an opportunity to develop the knowledge and tools required to understand, discuss, and provide informed perspective on national policy debates, such as the Affordable Care Act, rising healthcare prices and lack of affordability, the benefits and drawbacks of a national single-payer health insurance program, and public health topics such as rising mortality and prescription opioid and heroin abuse.

Prerequisites: Undergraduate level ECON 1116 Minimum Grade of D- and (Undergraduate level ECON 2350 Minimum Grade of D- or Undergraduate level MATH 2280 Minimum Grade of D- or Undergraduate level MATH 3081 Minimum Grade of D- or Undergraduate level MGSC 2301 Minimum Grade of D- or Undergraduate level POLS 2400 Minimum Grade of D- or Undergraduate level PSYC 2320 Minimum Grade of D-)

ECON 3423: Environmental Economics (CRN 36126) 

Instructor: Bakkal, Ilter 

Schedule: MWR  1:35 pm – 2:40 pm  

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.  The course also discusses the pertinence and attributes of Ecological Economics. 

Prerequisites: Undergraduate level ECON 1116 Minimum Grade of D- 

ECON 3424: Law and Economics (CRN 38951)

Instructor: Stone, Michael

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

Law and Economics uses economic theory to explain the evolution of the common law (judge-made law). In addition, it highlights how the law can be contoured to achieve particular social goals. Students will probably find the course to be easier if they first take Micro Theory (though it’s not a prerequisite).

Prerequisites: Undergraduate level ECON 1116 Minimum Grade of D-

ECON 3442: Money and Banking (CRN 32146) 

Instructor: Porter, Gerald

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

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.

Prerequisites: Undergraduate level ECON 1115 Minimum Grade of D-

ECON 3462: Bubbles, Busts, and Bailouts: Market and Regulatory Failures in the Financial Crisis

(CRN 38952) 

Instructor: Kwoka, John

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

Investigates economic and financial bubbles together with the busts and bailouts that usually follow. Analyzes how and why bubbles form in markets such as housing, stocks, and cryptocurrencies, beginning with the financial crisis of 2007–2008. It examines the lasting effects on markets and the economy from the collapse of such bubbles and the need for bailouts and other policies that are often used. Applies a range of perspectives to identify the market failures and regulatory failures that can cause bubbles—failures of assumptions about information, about incentives, and about oversight. Includes perspectives from microeconomics, behavioral economics, finance, and public policy.

Prerequisites: Undergraduate level ECON 1116 Minimum Grade of D-

ECON 3490: Public Choice Economics (CRN 36229) 

Instructor: Georges, Francis

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

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.

Prerequisites: Undergraduate level ECON 1115 Minimum Grade of D- and Undergraduate level ECON 1116 Minimum Grade of D-

ECON 3520: History of Economic Thought (CRN 38953) 

Instructor: Bakkal, Ilter 

Schedule: MW 2:50 pm – 4:30 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. 

Prerequisites: Undergraduate level ECON 1115 Minimum Grade of D- and Undergraduate level ECON 1116 Minimum Grade of D- and (Undergraduate level ENGL 1111 Minimum Grade of C or Undergraduate level ENGL 1102 Minimum Grade of C or Undergraduate level ENGW 1111 Minimum Grade of C or Undergraduate level ENGW 1102 Minimum Grade of C) 

ECON 3711: Economics of Race (CRN 38954) 

Instructor: Venkatesan, Madhavi

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

Addresses economic issues related to race, including the persistence of racial discrimination. Studies the social construction of race and the use of this construction to legitimize exploitation. Covers 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 rely on published research, film, and other media.

Prerequisites: Undergraduate level ECON 1116 Minimum Grade of D-

ECON 4635: International Economics (CRN 38955) 

Instructor: Dupree, Jill

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

Covers Ricardian and neoclassical theories of trade; trade policies; tariffs, quotas, voluntary export restraints, and customs union; global trade regime; GATT (General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade) and WTO (World Trade Organization); balance-of-payments accounts; foreign exchange markets; monetary and portfolio balance approaches to external balance; fixed or flexible exchange rates; and international monetary system.

Prerequisites: Undergraduate level ECON 1115 Minimum Grade of D- and Undergraduate level ECON 1116 Minimum Grade of D-

ECON 4650: Economic Growth & Applications (CRN 39105) 

Instructor: Tanyeri-Abur, Aysen 

Schedule: TF 9:50 am – 11:30 am 

Explores the process of economic growth and comparative development examining growth patterns across different countries and regions. Reviews economic growth models with particular focus and structural change in developing economies. and then focuses on the study of the various determinants of growth and development, including population dynamics, productivity and the role of technology, human capital, institutions, government, geography, climate, and natural resources. Briefly touches on sustainability of economic growth and global implications. 

Prerequisites: Undergraduate level ECON 2315 Minimum Grade of D- and (Undergraduate level ECON 2560 Minimum Grade of D- or Undergraduate level ECON 3560 Minimum Grade of D-) 

ECON 4681: Information Econ & Game Theory (CRN 33234) 

Instructor: Piao, Richeng

Schedule: WF 11:45 am – 1:25 pm            

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.

Prerequisites: Undergraduate level ECON 2316 Minimum Grade of D- and (Undergraduate level ECON 2350 Minimum Grade of D- or Undergraduate level MATH 2280 Minimum Grade of D- or Undergraduate level MATH 3081 Minimum Grade of D- or Undergraduate level MGSC 2301 Minimum Grade of D- or Undergraduate level POLS 2400 Minimum Grade of D- or Undergraduate level PSYC 2320 Minimum Grade of D-)

ECON 4916: ST Antitrust Economics for Modern Competition Problems (CRN 39518) 

Instructor: Kwoka, John (Finnegan Distinguished Professor of Economics, recently Chief Economist at the Federal Trade Commission)

Schedule: WF 11:45 am – 1:25 pm            

Antitrust policy has been faulted for allowing mergers and monopoly practices that have resulted in high concentration, diminished competition, and dominant tech companies in our economy.  This course will study these issues and the arguments for and against reform.  It will draw on microeconomics, data and other evidence, and evaluations of current antitrust cases–including Facebook and Google–written by prominent economists for a forthcoming book being edited by Prof. Kwoka. 

Prerequisite: Econ 2316 (Micro Theory)

ECON 5200: ST Economics of Inequality (CRN 38960) 

Instructor: Vicentini, Gustavo 

Schedule: R 4:35 pm – 7:55 pm  

This course introduces inequality from an economic perspective. Studies how inequality relates to scarcity, appropriability, and inheritability. Discusses how taxation, economic growth, globalization, and technological progress affect inequality. Emphasizes the difference between inequality of economic outcomes and inequality of economic opportunity. Covers inequality in sectors such as housing, healthcare, labor market, and others. Discusses alternative empirical methods for measuring inequality, and presents economic policies designed to address it. 

Note that 5000-level electives and selected topics courses are open to undergraduate students. 

ECON 5200: ST Topics in Energy Economics (CRN 39066) 

Instructor: Patria, Margarita

Schedule: W 4:45 pm – 8:05 pm

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 the 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. The 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 the 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.

Note that 5000-level courses are open to undergraduate students.

ECON 5291: Applied Development (CRN 39106) 

Instructor: Erten, Bilge

Schedule: 10:30 am – 11:35 am

Focuses on major macroeconomics policy questions for developing countries in an open economy context. Approaches these policy issues from a political economy perspective on macroeconomics. Combines theoretical foundations with institutional analysis and empirical evidence. Begins by developing a macroeconomic framework to analyze short-term macroeconomic adjustment and concludes with long-term growth, emphasizing the effects of financial integration and capital account regulations on macroeconomic performance in developing countries. Empirical data and country experiences help assess the validity of theoretical propositions and explain the complexity of development trajectories. Requires previous coursework in macroeconomic theory.

Note that 5000-level courses are open to undergraduate students.

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