Electives (Summer Term)

The Masters in Political Economy Program will offer the following elective courses in the Summer term of the Program in Washington D.C. at Georgetown University.

ECON-563 Public Economics

This course focuses mainly on public sector taxation and expenditures. It encompasses normative and positive theories of public economics and a broad range of empirical work. The course uses a well-known textbook in public economics. In addition, optional readings from the economics literature will be assigned every week. A series of problem sets using publicly available data and a major econometric software package will be assigned. A major empirical project will constitute a large portion of the grade.

ECON-564 Environmental Economics

This course focuses on the application of economic concepts and methods to environmental issues, both in theory and in practice. The environment is strongly connected to the economy both as a source of inputs to the production of manufactured goods and as a sink for pollution from economic activities. Many environmental resources also serve as inputs to the “production” of human health and other aspects of overall well-being. However, most environmental resources are not privately owned and are typically not exchanged in traditional markets. This can lead to an over-production of pollution, over-extraction of nonrenewable resources, such as fossil fuels, and over-exploitation of renewable resources, such as fish or other wildlife species. In this course, students will learn how to design policies that can correct such market failures and improve environmental quality, human health, and economic efficiency.

ECON-565 Law and Economics

Econ 565 offers an introduction to the burgeoning field of law and economics, or the application of microeconomic theory to positively and normatively assess various legal rules, regulations, and institutions as well as the incentives of economic agents (such as judges and criminals) operating within the legal system. Specific topics to be covered include the common law, contracts, torts, property, crime, and antitrust. Each of these topics will be supplemented with insights from the recent empirical literature. A significant portion of class assignments will involve collecting and analyzing real-world datasets. Readings will be drawn from several sources including the text, legal statues, court decisions, and the academic literature. The prerequisite for the course is Econ 551; previous coursework in law is neither assumed nor required.

ECON-569 Energy Economics and Policy

The energy industry is inextricably linked to political and regulatory systems that collectively identify and implement the government objectives for the energy industry, including economic incentives for investment and regulatory oversight and compliance. This course aims to develop an understanding of the economic fundamentals of traditional fossil fuels, power and renewables and emerging technologies, which are all going through substantial transformations. The course will develop an understanding of the influence of energy policies on the energy industry and detail the recent changes in policies and implications. This course will also provide an overview of regulatory systems that implement the energy policies and address the significance of geopolitical and energy security. This course will demonstrate the importance of the energy industry to the economy, energy infrastructure developments and energy and the environment considerations. The course will provide the U.S. perspective as well as selected discussions from other countries, Asia, Europe and others, to understand the global nature of the energy industry. The course will equip the students with the necessary skillset to critically think about our current and prospective energy industry, the economy and the environment.

ECON-572 Monetary Theory & Policy

Economics 572 is a masters-level course in monetary theory and policy. It surveys some of the key theoretical and empirical literature in monetary economics. It also considers the conduct of monetary policy and other aspects of central banking both in relatively normal circumstances and in crisis conditions. The course begins by reviewing the structure and functions of central banks and surveying some of the principal macroeconomic analytical tools for monetary policymaking. Then empirical evidence on the monetary aggregates is reviewed. Next, several models of the demand for money for transaction purposes are considered. The interactions between monetary policy and fiscal policy are studied next. Attention then turns to sticky price and wage models and related analyses. Based on the analytical tools developed earlier in the course, more immediate monetary and financial policy questions are analyzed, including monetary policy formulation, communication, and implementation, with a particular view to issues raised by the recent financial crisis. An important aspect of Econ 572 is a focus on current U.S. and international monetary policy and central banking policy.

ECON-578 Development Economics

The aim of this course is to provide students with the necessary understanding of major concepts and theories in the field of economic development that will allow them to analyze problems and policies in this area. In addition to the conceptual tools, we will also discuss recent papers in the literature and past as well as present policies in different areas of the world.

ECON-579 Open Economy Macroeconomics

This course focuses on applying empirical and theoretical techniques used in international economics and macroeconomics to current academic and policy issues. The course is geared toward sharpening the skills of students who wish to proceed from the master's program to economic analyst employment in either the private or public sectors. In this course, we read academic journal articles and other materials, primarily studies from central banks such as the Federal Reserve and European Central Bank. The primary objectives are assisting students in developing a facility with economic data; becoming knowledgeable about current issues in international economic policy; and providing them with actual research training befitting a high-quality economics professional.

Elective courses are generally taught by economists who work in government, international organizations, think tanks, consulting firms or other research positions in the Washington, D.C. area. These faculty members are highly experienced professionals who have deep expertise in the substantive areas in which they offer courses.

The elective courses typically entail textbook readings, readings from professional and academic journals, review of policy papers, and significant empirical work.

ECON-580 Labor Markets and Policies

This course explores the experiences and outcomes of the individuals working within an economy. Labor markets comprise the suppliers of labor (workers), the demanders of labor (employers), and the resulting pattern of wages, employment, and income. This course is designed to introduce you to the theories and tools economists use to analyze labor markets, as well as some of the results yielded by this analysis. Particular areas of focus will include labor market discrimination and inequality, immigration, and the returns to education.

Electives (Spring Term) Admissions