New Courses and Seminars

Spring 2017
ECON 002B.  First-Year Seminar: Technological Change and the Economy.
This seminar examines the economic and social impact of technological advances and the economic structures that encourage or inhibit innovation.  Among the questions we will address are: What technological advances contributed to the dramatic increase in standards of living and improved public health in the U.S. since the mid-nineteenth century?  What social disruptions accompanied these changes?  In the coming decades, are standards of living likely to increase as rapidly as they did in the twentieth century?  Will advances in computer capabilities lead to mass unemployment and social disruptions?  Can public policy make important contributions to the pace of technological change?  Technological advances in weapons threaten the very existence of humans.  Will we be able to manage these threats?This course counts as 1 of the 8 economics credits needed to fulfill an economics major, but it does not take the place of ECON 001.  It, therefore, cannot be used to fulfill the ECON 001 prerequisite for further work in the Economics Department.
Social sciences.
1 credit.
Spring 2017. Caskey.
ECON 091A. Research Seminar in Economics: Community-Based Field Experimental Research.
We will collaborate as a group on field experimental research with a community partner off campus, on a topic related to behavioral economics and/or health economics. The relationship with a community partner will
be established and the basic focus of the experiment will be determined before the semester begins. Students will participate in all remaining stages of the research including experimental design, implementation, data collection and analysis, and preparation of a final report, which may form the basis of a journal article. Students will read and discuss literature on the methodological approach of field experimentation in economics and related to the topic of the experiment. Students will spend time off campus for planning meetings with the community partner, during the implementation of the experiment, and to present our findings. There may be opportunities for one or two students to receive funding to continue working on the project over the following summer.
Prerequisite: ECON 011 and  ECON 031 (or its equivalent)
Social Sciences.
1 credit.
Spring 2017. Magenheim
ECON 091B. Research Seminar in Economics: Development Economics.
This course provides each student with an opportunity to write an original empirical research paper in development economics. The course emphasizes key steps in the research process, including motivating and posing a research question, adopting a theoretical framework, designing and implementing an empirical strategy, presenting data and findings, and developing policy implications. Students study the research process through the lens of prominent recent papers in development economics, while developing and reporting on their own projects from initiation to conclusion. Student-identified projects may focus on aspects of household or firm behavior; poverty, inequality, and/or economic growth; public service delivery; impact assessment; or economic policy, along with other potential topics in a developing-country context. Student projects will employ observational or experimental data as appropriate, with an emphasis (not exclusive) on publicly available data.
Prerequisite: ECON 011 and ECON 031 (or its equivalent)
Social Sciences.
1 credit.
Spring 2017. O'Connell.
ECON 162.  Antitrust and Market Regulation.
This seminar studies the regulation of firms operating in imperfectly competitive markets.  The course will have a strong focus on antitrust topics, such as collusion, mergers, and exclusive dealing.  Other forms of regulation, such as net neutrality, FCC wireless spectrum auctions, and energy price controls, will also be studied.  Students will learn to apply economic models and use data to understand the impact of government intervention on the strategic actions of businesses and consumer welfare.  There will be a strong emphasis on learning the realities of policy implementation, the tools government economists use to evaluate regulations, and real-world case studies.
Prerequisite:  ECON 011 and ECON 031 (or its equivalent).
Social sciences.
2 credits.
Spring 2017. Remer
Spring 2018. Remer.


Fall 2017

ECON 176.  Environmental Economics
This seminar examines the microeconomics of environmental issues with applications to the design of environmental policy.  The seminar will cover the concepts and methods used in the valuation of environmental goods as well as the design of policy instruments and regulations to improve environmental quality.  Specific topics include pollution and environmental degradation, the use of renewable and non-renewable resources, and climate change.
Prerequisites: Econ 001, 011, 031 (or its equivalent), and single-variable calculus (MATH 025 or higher).
Social Sciences.
2 credits.
Fall 2017. Peck.