The Economics Ph.D. Core curriculum consists of Core courses in microtheory (ECON 7740, ECON 7741), macrotheory (ECON 7750, ECON 7751), mathematics for economists (ECON 7720), statistics (ECON 7770) and econometrics (ECON 7772). Course descriptions of the core courses are presented below.
ECON 7720 Mathematics for Economists
Economics studies the efficient allocation of scarce resources." It follows almost immediately from this definition that while verbal and graphical analyses are often helpful too, economists derive their sharpest and most powerful results by setting up and solving constrained (because resources are "scarce") optimization (because allocations should be "efficient") problems. Hence, this course introduces first-year graduate students to variety of techniques for doing just that: setting up and solving constrained optimization problems. Specific methods covered include those based on the Kuhn-Tucker and envelope theorems, the maximum principle, and dynamic programming. Note that since this is a "math for economists course" as opposed to a "course in mathematical economics," its emphasis is not so much on stating and proving theorems but on developing an intuitive understanding of how and why each method works and determining when one particular approach may be easier or more convenient than all others to apply to a specific problem.
ECON 7740 Microeconomic Theory I
This course covers basic consumer and producer theory and expected utility maximization. Also covered are special topics in consumer theory such as welfare change measures and revealed preference theory.
ECON 7741 Microeconomic Theory II
This course comprises four modules. The first treats social choice theory and the second covers decision under risk and uncertainty. The third is an introduction to non-cooperative game theory while the fourth covers topics in information economics.
ECON 7750 Macroeconomic Theory I
The first half of the course presents Keynesian and classical models, rational expectations and its implications for aggregate supply, and economic policy. The second half covers the Solow growth model, infinite horizon and overlapping generation models, the new growth theory, real business cycle theory, and traditional Keynesian theories of fluctuations.
ECON 7751 Macroeconomic Theory II
This course is divided into three sections. Part I covers consumption and asset pricing. Part II introduces business-cycle theory with flexible prices. Part III covers monetary models, including business-cycle theory with nominal rigidities and the role of monetary policy.
ECON 7770 Statistics
The first part of this course deals with topics in probability theory, including random variables, conditional distributions, expectation, and multivariate distributions. The second part presents topics in mathematical statistics, including moment estimation, hypothesis testing, asymptotic theory, and maximum likelihood estimation.
ECON 7772 Econometric Methods
This course provides an understanding of econometric theory that underlies common econometric models. The focus is on regression models and their many extensions. Topics include finite and asymptotic properties of estimators, consistency and limiting distributions, specification issues, heteroskedasticity, autocorrelation, endogeneity and simultaneity, and nonlinear model estimators including maximum likelihood and generalized method of moments.
The elective courses offered by the Department of Economics are listed below. All courses are three credit hours, and generally meet twice per week.
ECON 8085 Labor Economics I
Description: With ECON 8086, this course prepares students to do research in labor economics. Topics include labor supply and demand, human capital, education, job search, wage determination, unemployment, immigration, family and gender, and discrimination.
ECON 8086 Labor Economics II
Description: With ECON 8085, this course prepares students to do research in labor economics. Topics include labor supply and demand, human capital, education, job search, wage determination, unemployment, immigration, family and gender, and discrimination.
ECON 8802 Advanced Microeconomic Theory
Description: In recent years, auction theory and matching theory have found applications in many interesting real-life problems from a market/mechanism design perspective. Topics of this course include the theory of matching markets, multi-object auctions, school choice, and kidney exchange.
ECON 8811 Modern Decision Theory
Description: The course will cover the major developments in division theory of the last 25 years. The three main topics will be: experiments and psychological theories; axiomatic models; and ambiguity (uncertainty) aversion.
ECON 8819 Mechanism Design
Description: This course covers fundamental topics in mechanism and market design as well as some advanced ones. We will start with Bayesian mechanism design and dominant strategy mechanisms. Other topics include dynamic mechanism design, robust mechanism design, and axiomatic mechanism design. We will also consider non-transferable utility settings.
ECON 8821 Time Series Econometrics
Description: This course covers major advances in time series analysis. In addition to univariate and multivariate models for stationary time series, it addresses the issues of unit roots and cointegration. The Kalman Filter and time series models of heteroskedasticity are also discussed. The course stresses the application of technical tools to economic issues, including testing money-income causality, stock market efficiency, the life-cycle model, and the sources of business cycle fluctuations.
ECON 8822 Cross Section and Panel Econometrics
Description: This course covers major advances in microeconometrics. The course will present developments in estimating models with limited dependent variables, random and fixed effects models, and duration models.
ECON 8823 Applied Econometrics
Description: This course presents a number of econometric estimation techniques relevant for applied research in economics and finance and addresses the computational issues related to their implementation. Topics will be drawn from instrumental variables (IV-GMM) estimation and diagnostics; panel data estimators, including dynamic panel data techniques; reduced-form and structural vector autoregressions; ARFIMA (long memory) models; general linear models; limited dependent variable techniques; structural equation modeling; propensity score matching; state-space and dynamic factor models; simulation and bootstrapping.
ECON 8825 Topics in Econometric Theory
Description: This is a course in asymptotic theory for econometric estimation and inference, with emphasis on nonlinear, cross section models. Topics include forms of convergence, consistency and limiting distribution theory, maximum likelihood, linear and nonlinear least squares, generalized method of moments, extremum estimators, nonparametric kernel estimators, and semiparametric estimators.
ECON 8830 Topics in Developmental Economics
Description: This course will study the micro-economic development literature, with an emphasis on empirical applications in the areas of health, education, fertility, gender, family, children, marriage, and intra-household allocation of resources.
ECON 8853 Industrial Organization I
Description: This course studies imperfect competition among firms, with an emphasis on empirical work. We learn how to implement empirical methods commonly used in Industrial Organization (IO), and how to read, and ultimately write, papers in empirical IO. Topics covered include demand estimation, auctions, price discrimination, bundling, asymmetric information and adverse selection, vertical control and contractual arrangements, and others as time allows. Each topic will be organized around recent empirical work. Throughout, we will consider the importance of identification in empirical studies.
ECON 8854 Industrial Organization II
Description: This course covers a selection of industrial organization topics not already covered in EC 8853. A typical week covers theory on Tuesday with discussion of a relevant empirical paper on Thursday. Topics may include nonlinear pricing, price discrimination, search, switching costs, obfuscation, insurance markets, present bias, pass-through and consumer protection, collusion, and learning.
ECON 8860 Advanced Macroeconomics
Description: his course consists of two parts. The first part introduces tools for solving and estimating linearized, full-information, dynamic stochastic general equilibrium (DSGE) models. Students will develop tools in matlab to solve and estimate medium-scale DSGE models. Part two of the course explores alternatives to the linearized, full-information, rational expectations paradigm. Students will write a final paper incorporating at least one of these alternatives.
ECON 8862 Monetary Economics II
Description: This course considers various topics in monetary theory and policy with a particular emphasis on empirical applications. Included among the topics covered are money demand, the term structure of interest rates, asset pricing models, macroeconomic aspects of public finance, and models of unemployment and inflation.
ECON 8870 Economic Development
Description: This course is an introduction to empirical development economics. Topics will focus on some constraint or missing market in developing countries such as credit and insurance; education, labor markets, and migration; health; and institutions. We will emphasize identification and model differentiation using IV, randomization, structural models, and non-parametric approaches.
ECON 8873 Empirical Methods in Macro/Finance
Description: We will study econometric models and methods that are useful to conduct substantive empirical research in macroeconomics and finance. We consider the estimation and evaluation of dynamic stochastic general equilibrium models, analysis of linear and nonlinear vector auto-regressive models, time series models with regime switches and time-varying coefficients, as well as dynamic factor models. For the most part, we will focus on Bayesian methods of inference, with detailed discussions of suitable Markov-Chain- Monte-Carlo methods.
ECON 8874 International Macroeconomics
Description: This course will focus on the construction of models for understanding the international business cycle and analysis of macroeconomic policy in open economies. The first part will focus on the transmission of macroeconomic shocks across countries, from the international real business cycle literature to models with nominal rigidity and financial imperfections. The second part will cover the recent literature on macroeconomic policy in open economies. The third portion of the course will return to model building and shock transmission and focus on the recent literature at the intersection between international trade and macroeconomic theory.
ECON 8876 Topics in International Economic Policy
Desription: This course will cover trade policy and its political economy and a topics of current interest in trade and economic development.
ECON 8879 Game Theory and Applications
Description: In this elective advanced Graduate Class, we will cover many topics and problems that fall under the category game theory with more emphasis on dynamic games and repeated games. Although we will study some topics of dynamic games with complete information, there will be a disproportionate weight on problems with asymmetric information, and problems in which there are elements related to learning. More specifically, we will study Repeated Games, Reputation Games, Bargaining, Experimentation and Information Aggregation. Students should have a a strong background in Mathematical tools used in economics, and should have taken an advance undergraduate course in Game Theory, and/or first year Graduate Micro sequence.
ECON 8884 Theories of Distributive Justice
Description: The course will deal with the allocation of goods and rights when markets cannot or should not be used. Topics covered will include measurement of utility, bargaining, utilitarianism, non-utilitarian social welfare functions, social and individual preferences for randomization, ex-ante and ex-post analysis of social welfare, equality, the trolley problem, and the creation of social groups. The course will cover both the formal literature as well as some of the relevant philosophical and legal literature.
Students may also take Ph.D.-level elective courses in Finance in the Carroll School of Management.
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