Field Courses

Please note that not all field courses are offered every year.

ECON-603 Microeconomics III

One of the courses in the PhD microeconomic theory field. Time permitting we will study:

• Repeated Games

• Bargaining

• Mechanism Design

• Information

• Search

ECON-604 Microeconomics IV

This is the second part of the Theory Field of the PhD program in Economics. Econ 601 and Econ 602 are prerequisites for the course. Econ 603 is highly recommended, but because of scheduling problems it is not a formal prerequisite for the class. The material covered will be a combination of topics in Bounded Rationality and Contract Theory broadly construed.

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-609 Computation of Dynamic Models with Applications

ECON-612 Econometrics I

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

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 617 – Computational Economics

ECON 618 – Advanced Theory

The course covers advanced and current research topics. The focus is on presentation and research.

ECON 619 – Structural Economics

This course will focus on the empirical estimation of dynamic programming (DP) and equilibrium models. It will present state of the art methods for solving and simulating DP models and estimating them econometrically. The course will also provide many empirical applications to illustrate how these tools and methods are used in practice. In addition, the course will examine the formulation and solution of dynamic equilibrium models and dynamic games and provide state of the art algorithms for finding equilibria and simulating and estimating such models. It will also discuss a growing line of research on behavioural models and ways to deal with some of the limitations of models of “full rationality”. These include the curse of dimensionality, the identification problem, and the problem of multiplicity of equilibria.

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 Developmental Economics

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

ECON-633 Macroeconomics Labor and Trade

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-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-680 Topics in Political Economy

Political Economy is a relatively new field in economics that combines tools and methods of economics to study political mechanisms for allocating resources. The course is designed to introduce students to tools of formal modeling in political economy and to expose the students to important issues at the frontier of the field. Particular attention is paid to the strategic incentives of political actors, particularly under imperfect information and/or when facing inter-temporal trade offs. Micro III is highly recommended but not required. Among the topics covered include (1) social choice and mechanism design, (2) models of voting incentives, lobbying, campaign contributions, voluntarism, and other forms of political participation, (3) political competition between/among candidates, parties, and interest groups, (4) the role of expertise, pivotal events, ideology, and the media, in electoral aggregation of dispersed information, (5) the dynamic evolution of policies, including provision of public goods, debt, and redistribution, within political institutions, (6) the dynamic evolution of the institutions themselves, (7) comparative performance of political institutions.

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 guide 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.