New Courses and Seminars

Fall 2015
ECON 175.  Health Economics Seminar
This seminar applies microeconomic theory, including models from behavioral economics, to analyze consumers', producers', and the government's behavior with respect to health and health care.  Special attention will be paid to the role of socioeconomic and demographic factors in explaiing patterns of health and access to health care.  Other topics include environmental health, international comparisons of health and health care systems, and ongoing state and federal health care policy reform.
Prerequisites: Econ 001 and Econ 031 (or its equivalent.)
2 credits.

Prof. Ellen Magenheim.

Spring 2016

ECON 056.  Behavioral Science and Public Policy
(Cross-listed as PSYC 047)
In the last few decades, the multidisciplinary field of
behavioral science has emerged and grown, drawing primarily from research
in economics and psychology. Because it focuses on how people behave and
make decisions, the field has also become influential in public policy
circles, with "behavioral science" teams appearing in both government and
policy-relevant non-governmental sectors around the world. In this course,
we briefly review the psychology and economics behind this field, then
discuss specific policy areas where behavioral science has had an impact.
The course will use lectures and discussions, along with special guest
events organized for the course.
Prerequisites: ECON 001 and PSYC 001
1 credit
Spring 2016.  Profs. Syon Bhanot and Barry Schwartz


ECON 155.  Behavioral and Experimental Economics Seminar
The standard model of economic behavior is based on a set of assumptions about individual rationality, willpower, and preferences. Increasingly, researchers are finding that these assumptions can be inconsistent with observed behavior. This seminar focuses on behavioral and experimental economics, subfields of economics that draw from the broader social science literature to explore how individuals actually behave and make decisions, with the goal of improving both economic theory and public policy. The seminar will cover behavioral economics concepts and their applications in the real-world (in both high-income and low-income contexts worldwide), as well as experimental economics research and methods. Topics include: self-control problems in financial behavior, preferences regarding inequality and fairness, cooperative behavior, social preferences, and consumer decision making.
Prerequisites: Econ 011 and Econ 031
2 credits.
Spring 2016.
Prof. Syon Bhanot 

Fall 2016
ECON 176.  Environmental Economics Seminar
Seminar description coming soon.
Prerequisites: Econ 001, 011, 031 (or its equivalent), and single-variable calculus (MATH 025 or higher)
2 credits.
Fall 2016.

Prof. Jennifer Peck.

Spring 2017
ECON 055.  Behavioral Economics
In the past 30 years, economists have increasingly used insights from psychology to explore the limitations of the standard economic model of rational decision making - a field now known as "behavioral Economics."  This course is an introduction to the central concepts of behavioral economics, touching on related research in psychology and experimental economics.  We will also discuss the public policy implications of this work, and current policy applications of behavioral research around the world.  Topics covered include: self-control, procrastination, fairness, cooperation and reciprocity, and reference dependence, and choice under uncertainty.
Prerequisite:  ECON 001.
Spring 2017.
Prof. Syon Bhanot.
ECON 162.  Regulating Markets: How and Why the US Government Intervenes
In the United States, the federal government regulates nearly all market activity.  Air quality, the speed of wifi connections, and the prices of all products are influenced by government regulations.  This seminar explores regulatory policy that affects markets in both obvious and subtle ways, and covers topics such as net neutrality, antitrust policy, energy price regulations, and wireless spectrum auctions.   This seminar will use both economic models and data to better understand why governments impose regulations and the impact of these market interventions.
Prerequisites: Econ 001, 011, 031 (or its equivalent).
2 credits.
Spring 2017.

Prof. Marc Remer.