Field Courses

ECON-607 Macroeconomics III

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.

ECON-608 Macroeconomics IV

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-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

The course is an introduction to univariate and multivariate time series models. Time domain methods, including VAR’s, structural VAR’s, Bayesian VAR’s for linear models and GMM for non-linear stationary models are covered. An introduction to non-stationary time series models is given. Frequency domain methods and their applications to business cycle inference is also covered.  The course starts by introducing basic concepts and progresses to more complicated models. The course intends to meet two goals.  It provides tools for empirical work with time series data, mostly for macroeconomic applications and provides a heuristic introduction into the theoretical foundation of time series models. 

ECON-621 Economics of Poverty and Inequality

Concerns about “poverty” and “inequality” have long been central to economics and policy. The course will begin with a brief historical overview of past thinking in philosophy and economic back to the 17th century. We will then study the concepts found in current literature and policy debates in more formal terms, critically reviewing prevailing measurement theories. Using these concepts, the course will then review the debates, theories and the evidence on the causes of poverty and on the role and effectiveness of specific policy interventions.

The lectures will embrace some key questions about economic development:  Why does poverty fall faster in some economies than others? Is a rise in inequality inevitable as poor countries grow? Does poverty necessarily fall with economic growth? How does the initial inequality influence the growth process and subsequent distributional changes? Can poor countries or poor areas within countries get stuck with persistently high poverty despite sound macroeconomic policies? What types of policy interventions can help in effectively fighting poverty?

The lectures will draw on both economic theory and a wide range of evidence, including both econometric studies and lessons from more qualitative work. Emphasis will be given throughout on understanding and evaluating policy interventions from a distributional perspective, ranging from macro policies to micro-sectoral policies. The course will primarily, but not exclusively, focus on developing countries.

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-663 Heterogeneous Agent Macroeconomics

This course builds on Macroeconomics III and, to a certain extent, on Labor Economics I and II. The course discusses ongoing research about the use of macroeconomic models with heterogeneous households to analyze economic policy reforms. The focus is on reforms of the tax and social insurance system, and on models with uninsurable labor market risk, human capital investment, and/or job search.

ECON-671 Empirical Microeconomics

PhD students will be able to fulfill a field requirement by taking ECON 671 together with one class from any of the following fields: Public Economics, Labor Economics, Development 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. Prerequisites: ECON-606


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 & 744 – Workshop in Empirical Econometrics

ECON-751 & 752 Workshop in Development Economics

The gui²de Seminar Series is a weekly seminar hosted jointly by the McCourt School of Public Policy and the Economics Department. It features guest speakers presenting cutting edge research in development economics.

ECON-999 Thesis Research-Economics

Thesis research and completion.