Course Descriptions

Mandatory Courses

ECON-601 Microeconomics I

This is the first semester of the microeconomic theory sequence for Ph.D. students. The topics covered are Consumer and Producer Theory, Choice Under Uncertainty, General Equilibrum, and General Equilibrum with Asset Markets.

ECON-602 Microeconomics II

This course examines topics in Infinitely Repeated Games, Games of Incomplete Information and associated notions of Perfect-Bayesian equilibrium and Sequential equilibrium, General Equilibrium Theory including Markets under Uncertainty, Imperfect Competition, Adverse Selection, and Moral Hazard. Prerequisite: ECON-601

ECON-605 Macroeconomics I

This course provides an introduction to the techniques of modern macroeconomic analysis that are needed by all graduate students in economics. Intertemporal frameworks are developed to discuss modern theories of consumption, saving, and growth. Other applications include the analysis of business cycles, models of the labor market and search frictions, theories of asset pricing and fiscal policies. Dynamic programming will be emphasized as a method for formulatng and solving problems with these features.

ECON 606 Macroeconomics II

This course presents the standard frameworks used in the literatures on consumption, asset pricing and growth. These literatures feature decision making over time and under uncertainty. Dynamic programming will be emphasized as a method for formulating and solving decision problems with these features. Dynamic programming will also influence how we define notions of equilibrium. Several homeworks will involve using standard programming languages (e.g. Matlab) to compute equilibria or solutions to dynamic programming problems. You should get to know one of these languages quickly. Prerequisite ECON-605

ECON-612 Econometrics I

This course provides the foundations for econometrics and economic theory: random variables, distribution theory, estimation, and hypothesis testing.

ECON-613 Econometrics II

Methods of estimation and inference are developed for the classical regression model, the generalized regression model, basic time-series models, and simultaneous equations systems. Prerequisite: ECON-612

ECON-614 Econometrics II

This is the second econometrics course in the Ph.D. sequence focusing on nonlinear and nonparametric econometrics. Topics covered include asymptotic theory, maximum likelihood and generalized method of moments estimation, nonlinear and specification tests, and numerically methods. Students develop their own computer code to implement the latest estimation and testing methodologies. A research paper utilizing these techniques is required to complete the course.

Field Courses

Field courses have as prerequisites satisfactory completion of first year courses (exception Econometrics II which is taken in fall of students second year).

ECON-603 Micro Theory I

This course is designed for graduate students who plan to concentrate in certain areas of microeconomics. Topics covered include: repeated games, bargaining, mechanism design and implementation, the economics of information, and search. Applications will be primarily in the areas of Industrial Organization, Labor, and Public Economics.

ECON-604 Micro Theory II

This is the second part of the Theory Field of the PhD program in Economics. This Class involves some hard math. Though not all topics covered require it, the math used in some parts of the course exceeds that used in Econ 601, 602 1n 603. This does not mean that students are expected to know the mathematical tools involved; we will pick them up as we go along. However, you must be willing to make some fairly heavy investments in this sense.

ECON-607 Macro Topics I

This course is designed for graduate students who plan to concentrate in one of the areas of macroeconomics. It develops further some of the techniques that were introduced in Macroeconomics I and II, and it discusses some of the areas of current macroeconomic research. Topics covered will vary from year to year, but likely topics include: "new" Keynesian models, theories of price determination, real business cycle model techniques, endogenous growth, monetary transmission mechanisms, asset pricing models, and models of banking and finance.

ECON-608 Macro Topics II

This course focuses on the construction of macroeconomic models in which money “matters”. Since monetary policy has fiscal implications, and since fiscal policy has implications for price determination, we also discuss some aspects of fiscal policy. We will begin with IS-LM cum rational expectations models, since some of the intuition for the newer models is easier to understand in terms of these simple models, but we will proceed rather quickly to models based on explicit profit and utility maximization. The first challenge is to get money into such a framework. We focus on models with money in the utility function or “cash in advance” constraints. The next challenge is to make money matter for issues other than public finance. We focus on “limited participation” models and “New Neoclassical Synthesis” (or NNS) models with monopolistic wage/price setting. Students will learn to simulate simple NNS models using dynare.

ECON-615 Micro-Econometrics

Econometric methods for analysis of microeconomic behavior are developed. Topics include panel data analysis and models with discrete or limited dependent variables.

ECON-616 Macro-Econometrics

This course focuses on econometric methods for nonlinear models with particular emphasis on models estimated in the time domain. Topics covered include: general specification tests, non-nested testing and encompassing, the estimation of nonlinear models using conditional and unconditional moment techniques, systems estimation, and time series modeling. Emphasis is placed on understanding the intuition behind the estimation techniques and tests. Students study how recent econometric methods have been applied in the literature to address various economic issues. The course requires students to develop their own computer programs to implement the techniques and to produce an original piece of applied econometric research.

ECON-621 Economic Development I

The purpose of this course is to provide you with a deep understanding of some important theories in the literature on economic development. We will also review the empirical tests of these theories. The topics covered include coordination failures, theories of persistent inequality, credit market, informal insurance, savings, land reform, and institutions. Under each section we will explore different theories and study in detail two or three relevant papers.

ECON-622 Economic Development II

This course will focus primarily on macroeconomic problems and issues in developing countries. The course will begin with a selective review of growth models and empirics, before moving on to macroeconomic questions that are of particular interest in developing countries. Inflation dynamics and anti-inflation programs will be analyzed. The macroeconomic effects of exchange rate policy will be studied in detail, including the potentially contractionary effects of devaluation and issues of the credibility of fixed exchange rate commitments. Models of speculative attacks or balance of payments crises will be covered, as will issues of the sustainability of current account and fiscal deficits. the bulk of the course will follow the structure of the book Development Macroeconomics by Pierre-Richard Agenor and Peter Montiel.

ECON-631 Industrial Organization I

The course studies theoretical models of industrial organization that are used to address competition policy and monopoly regulation. Topics covered will include some of the following: monopoly behavior and welfare losses; strategic interaction in oligopoly -- prices, outputs, investments; welfare tradeoffs due to fixed costs, asymmetric costs, and product differentiation; collusion and horizontal mergers; price discrimination; vertical control -- incentives and methods, including integration versus contracting, and vertical control for exclusionary purposes; promoting competition in traditionally regulated network industries; innovation and intellectual property rights.

ECON-632 Industrial Organization II

This course aims to provide an in-depth introduction to several topics in Industrial Organization including auction theory, price discrimination, research and development, and collusion. Along the way, the course will introduce techniques that are useful for conducting research in this and other fields.

ECON-641 International Macroeconomics and Finance I

This course covers topics in macro and international finance. We will focus on quantitative models, on the tools to solve them, and on how they compare to the data. The goal is to introduce topics of current research in these fields. We will cover a variety of topics, including international business cycles, current account dynamics, financial frictions, banks, capital flows, asset pricing and monetary policy. We will also study Structural Vector Autoregression techniques.

ECON-642 International Macroeconomics and Finance II

This is the second PhD course in International Macroeconomics and Finance. Its focus is on the behavior of international financial markets, particularly the foreign exchange market. We will study both traditional macroeconomic models of exchange rate determination, and a new generation of models based on trading behavior in actual markets. This new generation of models can account for must of the observed behavior of exchange rates and offers new insights in many areas of international finance including; the disconnect puzzle, portfolio diversification, forward bias, and foreign exchange intervention. Students should have completed Econ 641 and all first year PhD requirements before taking the course.

ECON-651 International Trade I

This is the introductory graduate course in international trade theory and is intended to give a broad coverage of the field. Topics include: gains from trade and comparative advantage; the Heckscher-Ohlin model and its higher  dimensional extensions; trade and wages; increasing returns and imperfect competition; the Gravity Model; trade policy and political economy.

ECON-652 International Trade II

Topics in International Trade is a PhD-level class. The course is designed primarily for students planning to write dissertations on a topic related to international trade. The main focus of this course will be on empirical trade papers and on the political economy literature of trade. This course will cover selected topics of international trade, including: empirical evidence on trade patterns, volumes and composition; the impact of trade on growth and productivity; political economy models of international trade; international political economy and the world trading system.

ECON-661 Labor Economics I

This course will cover a selection of the major topics in labor economics that are microeconomic in nature. Emphasis is placed on analyzing both the theoretical models in the area and the methods and results in empirical labor market analysis. Topics include: labor demand, labor supply, human capital analysis, equalizing differentials and the analysis of unionized labor markets.

ECON-662 Labor Economics II

This course will survey search, matching, and related models of the labor market. These models are designed to explain the existence of unemployment and of wage dispersion across similar workers. Several policy issues can be addressed using these models, e.g., the design of unemployment insurance systems, the impact of hiring and firing costs, etc. The course will include both theoretical and empirical literature, and it is intended for PhD students interested in research in macro labor economics.

ECON-681 Public Economics and Political Economy I

This course studies the fundamentals of collective action. Topics include social welfare results, Arrow's Theorem, altruism and intergenerational altruism, public goods and externalities, mechanism design and implementation of collective decisions, Gibbard Satterthwaite Theorem, optimal taxation, voting behavior, legislative and bureaucratic models, social norms and the evolution of cooperation, Tiebout results and other models of migration.

ECON-682 Public Economics

This course is designed for 2nd year Ph.D. students in economics. It has two goals: (1) introduce some of the core theoretical and empirical public finance/economics techniques and literature, (2) help students identify thesis topics. Towards those goals, we will read two types of papers: (1) "classics" that every well-trained public finance economist should know, (2) and new papers that represent new trends and ideas in the field. Topics will include, but not be limited to, the following: excess burden, optimal tax theory, tax incidence, behavioral responses to taxes, federalism, and externalities. Prerequisities: ECON-606

ECON-691 Topics

The contents of this course vary depending on faculty and student interests.


Workshops meet once a week throughout the academic year. Each student enrolled in a workshop is required to attend all sessions and to participate in the discussion of the papers presented.

ECON-711 &712 - Workshop in Macroeconomics
ECON-721 & 722 - Workshop in Microeconomics
ECON-731 &732 - Workshop in International Trade
ECON-741 &742 - Workshop in Empirical Econometrics
ECON-751 - Workshop in Development