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.

Ph.D. Core Curriculum

ECON 7720 Mathematics for Economists

Description: 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

Description: This course covers basic consumer and producer theory and the theory of general equilibrium. Also covered are applications of simple game theory such as oligopolies, contests, and public good provision problems.

ECON 7741 Microeconomic Theory II

Description: This course comprises four modules. The first treats social choice theory and the second covers decision under risk and uncertainty (altogether, one third of the course). The third is an introduction to non-cooperative game theory while the fourth covers topics in information economics.

ECON 7750 Macroeconomic Theory I

Description: The course covers the standard models of exogenous and endogenous growth, mostly in a deterministic setting: The Solow-Swan model without and with human capital, the Ramsey growth model with infinitely lived optimizing agents, overlapping generation models without and with altruism, fiscal policy, models with human capital, basic AK models of endogenous growth, two sector models of endogenous growth, product variety models and Schumpeterian growth models. We will also review some crucial empirical papers on applied growth, starting from those on the fundamental causes of growth. In the last part of the course we cover the Ramsey model in discrete time with a stochastic technology shock and the choice of investment with adjustment costs and consumption in a stochastic setting.

ECON 7751 Macroeconomic Theory II

Description: 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

Description: 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

Description: 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, family economics, discrimination, wage inequality, occupational choice, unemployment, job matching theory and business cycle behavior of labor markets.

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, family economics, discrimination, wage inequality, occupational choice, unemployment, job matching theory and business cycle behavior of labor markets.

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 decision theory of the last 30 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. More recent developments in the area, such as treatment effects, RDD (regression discontinuity design), DDC (dynamic discrete choice), partial identification, and nonlinear models with endogeneity will also be explored.

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 8853 Industrial Organization I

Description: In this course, we study imperfect competition among firms, emphasizing 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, entry, auctions, bundling, vertical control and contractual arrangements, retailing and inventories, U.S. merger policy, health markets, and others as time allows. Each topic is organized around recent empirical work. Throughout, we consider the importance of identification in empirical studies.

ECON 8854 Industrial Organization II

Description: This course builds on ECON 8853 by covering a selection of additional important industrial organization topics. Material will span theoretical and empirical work. Topics may include production functions, endogenous products, competition and anti-trust, dynamics, nonlinear pricing, price discrimination, search, switching costs, and insurance markets.

ECON 8855 Empirical Methods in Applied Microeconomics

Description: This is a PhD level course in applied econometrics and computational economics, targeted at students conducting applied research (as opposed to econometricians). Topics include nonparametric regression, model selection, penalized regression, treatment effects, selection, discrete choice, dynamic discrete choice, root-finding, optimization, and partial identification. We will discuss these topics in the context of popular papers across many fields of applied microeconomics.

ECON 8856 Experimental Economics

This class is an introduction to experimental methods in economics. We will cover all the steps of an experiment from design, measurement, and randomization to practical considerations like cost and power analyses. This is mainly a methods course; the experiments we discuss are chosen to give a broad understanding of experimental methods (e.g., lab, field, and online studies, experiments in developing countries, interventions in organizations, and so on). The course is not intended to provide a foundation of famous experimental results overall or for any one topic. The take-away of the course is to develop the ability to design a confound-free experiment regardless of question or context.

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 8861 Monetary Economics I

This course surveys recent advances in monetary economics. It is organized into three parts. Part 1 introduces the growing HANK literature. Part 2 introduces a recent strand of the macro–labor literature that incorporates labor market frictions into models with aggregate shocks and heterogeneity. Part 3 explores how departures from full information contribute to our understanding of business cycles.

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 8871 Theory of International Trade

Description: This course provides an overview of some of the key theoretical ideas and empirical findings in the field of in- ternational trade. It aims to strike a balance between covering the core foundations and discussing the recent advances on the frontiers of the field. Two main themes of the course are 1) explaining the observed patterns of trade across countries and regions, and 2) assessing the welfare effects of barriers to trade (or lack thereof). The other core theme of the field, which is the study of trade policy, will be covered in the second part of the sequence.

ECON 8872 International Finance

Description: The course provides an introduction to international finance, spanning from the classic puzzles to current research. It is designed for Ph.D. students in their second year or later, and provides an overview of theory and empirical tools for conducting research in this field. We study two overarching themes: First, exchange rate dynamics and second, international risk sharing and financial integration.

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

Description: 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.

Fall 2024

Please visit the EagleApps Course Information and Schedule section in Agora for up-to-date course descriptions, faculty, meeting times, and room assignments.