Department of Economics

Last updated: April 15, 2014 at 5:03 p.m.

Objectives

At Brandeis, majors in economics receive training in the core subjects of the discipline: general principles, micro- and macroeconomic theory, statistics, and econometrics. They learn to use the cumulative skills developed in the core courses to analyze a variety of economic problems, social issues, and economic institutions. Exposure to a wide selection of economic fields is obtained through the requirement of four course electives which are taken from a list that includes most of the major sub-fields in economics. Included in our electives are courses that allow students to focus on international economic relationships (International Trade, International Finance), on economies from other parts of the world (China and the Middle East), on the behavior of firms and individuals (Industrial Organization, Economics of Innovation, Game Theory and Economic Applications, Corporate Finance), or on a range of social welfare and public policy issues (Economic Development, Public Sector Economics, The Economics of Race and Gender, and Household, Health and Hunger in Developing Economies).

The department stresses analytical and quantitative approaches to the study of human choice and economic behavior, the functioning of the economic system, and specific subject areas and economic issues. Students in the major develop analytical and quantitative skills, and the ability to apply these skills, that are useful not only for economics but for other subjects as well. Both theoretical and applied courses are available. After completing the major, students should be familiar with the scholarship associated with a variety of economic subjects; as majors, students learn to read books and articles written for the general economist.

The major in economics provides background for many positions in business and government. Some graduates pursue advanced degrees in economics, and others enroll in professional schools of business, law, public policy, and other fields. Programs of study can be designed to match the interests of the student (see the following list of courses).

Brandeis juniors can apply for admission as "five-year students" to the Lemberg Master's Program in International Economics and Finance (see Brandeis International Business School section of this Bulletin). Brandeis also offers a business major and minor (see the Program in Business section of this Bulletin).

Learning Goals

Economics is the study of how people make choices under conditions of scarcity of resources, including time, and the implications of these choices for individual and social welfare. Its methods allow for a deeper, more analytic, understanding of the connections between individual choices and social outcomes.

By the completion of the major, students will be better educated global citizens who can apply economic theory and empirical findings to illuminate a wide range of national and international social and policy issues. They will understand the large and growing economic interdependence of the nations and people of the world. They will be able to distinguish the difference between the kinds of questions that economics can and cannot answer, and they will be able to communicate their knowledge of economics to others.

As part of a university-wide initiative, the Economics Department has developed a set of learning goals and evaluation procedures to help the Department determine the effectiveness of both the core and elective course offerings in providing majors with a broad and rigorous training in the discipline. In particular, the Economics Department wants its majors to have knowledge of economic principles and the skills to apply this knowledge as described below.

Basic Economic Knowledge (Facts, Concepts, and Models)

Our majors should know:

Basic economic facts. Examples include U.S. per capita income, its distribution, current and historical U.S. rates of inflation and unemployment and how these rates compare with those of other major economies.

How the major macroeconomic data series are compiled and their limitations. Examples include GDP, inflation, and unemployment.

The important institutions of the U.S. and global economies and their roles. Examples include markets, firms, money and central banks, the World Trade Organization, the International Monetary Fund, and exchange rate regimes.

Basic microeconomic concepts. Examples include opportunity cost, comparative advantage, the discount rate, substitution and income effects, the importance of incentives, and elasticity.

Basic macroeconomic concepts. Examples include the national income identity, the natural rate of unemployment, the money supply, real interest rates, purchasing power parity, and the self-correcting mechanism.

Basic microeconomic models. Examples include the demand-supply model of how a market works, the model of choice based on indifference curves and budget constraints, and game theory.

Basic macroeconomic models. Examples include the IS-LM model of the short run, the Aggregate Demand-Aggregate Supply model, and the Solow model of economic growth.

Ability to Access Economic Information

Our majors should be able to:

Use relevant information databases. Examples include EconLit, Lexis-Nexis, and JSTOR.

Use primary data sources. Examples include the Current Population Survey, the UN Human Development Index, and the Statistical Abstract of the United States.

Read and assess general interest articles on economic topics, such as those found in The Economist or The Journal of Economic Perspectives.

Understand and evaluate key findings in the economic research published in scholarly journals.

Analytical Skills

Our majors should be able to:

Apply the concepts and models of micro- and macroeconomics to current economic issues and to specific policy questions (examples: What concepts and models are relevant for assessing the effects of a carbon tax? What concepts and models are applicable to understanding how the U.S. might facilitate its recovery from the Great Recession?)

Understand the logic of economic models to the point where they can evaluate the effects of a change in an exogenous variable on economic outcomes, both in partial and general equilibrium settings (examples: How does an increase in the savings rate or in the rate of productivity growth affect the growth of living standards over the long-run? Does it matter whether the savings rate or productivity change is exogenous or endogenous?).

Use empirical evidence to evaluate the extent to which an economic model is supported by the data we observe (examples: To what extent does a decrease in taxes promote increased economic activity? To what extent are economic models of the direction of trade consistent with actual trade patterns?).

Compare economic models that reach different conclusions, both on theoretical grounds and in terms of their consistency with the empirical evidence (examples: One economic model-the Neo-Classical Model-predicts that deficit spending by the government raises interest rates, while another model-the Ricardian Model-predicts that such spending leaves interest rates unchanged. What are the differences in assumptions that lead to these differing conclusions, and which model is better supported by the empirical evidence?).

Quantitative Skills

Our majors should be able to:

Access, manipulate and interpret data and have practical knowledge of statistics and econometrics to the point where they can run and interpret a regression.

Understand the differences between the different types of empirical studies (experimental, quasi-experimental and econometric), and evaluate the extent to which a given empirical result is robust.

Communication Skills

Our majors should be able to:

Organize and present economic ideas in a clear and logical form (both orally and in writing), marshal evidence to support their ideas, and use citations correctly.

The Limitations of Economics and Economic Policy

Our majors should understand:

The limits of economics, the kinds of questions economics can and cannot answer (example of an answerable question: What factors help shape household behavior, such as rates of fertility and rates of saving? How might certain minimum wage legislation affect efficiency and income distribution?; examples of an unanswerable question: Is a certain minimum wage or the existing income distribution fair or socially just?).

The strengths and limits of economic policies. Examples include the distinction between the economic effects of fiscal and monetary policies in the short-run vs. the long-run, and the sources of market failure that may justify government intervention as well as reasons why such intervention may not work as desired.

Opportunity for Research and Advanced Work

As part of their coursework, most of our majors will complete a research paper that makes use of economic data.

In addition to the preceding goals for all majors, qualified majors will have an opportunity to engage in economic research through independent study, graduate coursework, and the senior honors thesis.

Qualified majors who are considering graduate work in economics will have access to and be advised toward appropriate mathematics courses and the Ph.D.-level IBS courses in economic theory.

How to Become a Major or a Minor

The main entry point for the major or minor is ECON 10a (Introduction to Microeconomics) which is one of the courses that fulfills the quantitative reasoning component of the general university requirements. Most majors begin their study in the first or second year with ECON 10a, followed by a second principles course, ECON 20a. (Introduction to Macroeconomics). If a student has any potential interest in becoming a major or a minor, ECON10a is the correct place to start.

A total of six core courses are required for the major. The two principles courses are followed by four intermediate theory courses: microeconomic theory, macroeconomic theory, statistics, and econometrics (which builds on statistics). Majors must also complete four electives. It is important for prospective majors to begin the study of economics early, because the upper-level electives required for the major build on intermediate courses and have from three to six prerequisites. Calculus is required for the the major and is a prerequisite for the intermediate theory and econometrics courses.

Faculty

George J. Hall, Chair
Macroeconomics.

Daniel Bergstresser
Municipal finance. Corporate governance. Household financial behavior.

Elizabeth Brainerd (on leave spring 2015)
Labor economics. Economic demography. Health economics.

Linda Bui
Environmental economics. Public finance. Applied microeconomics. Industrial organization.

H. Michael Coiner
Economics of higher education. Macroeconomics. International economics.

Judith Dean
International economics. Economic development. Econometrics.

Kathryn Graddy (on leave fall 2014)
Applied microeceonmics. Industrial organization. Economics of the arts.

Nader Habibi
Microeconomics. Economics of the Middle East.

Jens Hilscher
Asset pricing. Corporate finance. International finance.

Gary H. Jefferson
Economics of innovation. Institutional economics. Development and industrial organization. China.

Blake LeBaron
Macroeconomics. International finance. Microeconomics.

Ricardo Lopez
International trade. Economic development. Productivity analysis. Latin America.

Catherine L. Mann
International finance. Outsourcing. Technology. U.S. economic policy.

Nidhiya Menon
Empirical microeconomics. Economic development. Econometrics. Economic demography and labor.

Debarshi Nandy
Corporate restructuring and security issuance. Venture capital and entrepreneurial finance.

Carol Osler
International finance. Financial markets. Open economy. Macroeconomics.

Zhuan Pei
Labor economics. Micro-econometrics.

Peter Petri
International trade. Development. Japan. Korea.

Davide Pettenuzzo
Time-series Econometrics. Bayesian Econometrics. Forecasting. Financial markets.

Scott A. Redenius, Undergraduate Advising Head
Economic history. The economics of financial institutions.

Benjamin Schiller
Appled microeconomics. Industrial Organization. Information economics.

Raphael Schoenle (on leave fall 2013)
International Macroeconomics. Macro- and Monetary Economics. International Trade.

Elif Sisli Ciamarra
Corporate finance. Corporate governance. Financial intermediation.

Daniel Tortorice
Macroeconomics. Business cycles. Consumption. Unemployment fluctuations.

Requirements for the Minor

A. Successful completion of ECON 10a (Introduction to Microeconomics) and ECON 20a (Introduction to Macroeconomics). A grade of C or higher is required in each of these courses. ECON 2a (A Survey of Economics), with a grade of B+ or higher, may be used in place of ECON 10a.

B. Three additional economics courses, each of which must include a prerequisite of at least ECON 2a, ECON 10a, or Econ 20a. This means that only some of the cross-listed courses may be counted toward the minor in economics. Students must earn at least a C- in each of these three electives. ECON 98a/b and BUS 89a do not count as electives for the minor.

C. Students undertaking the economics minor together with the business major or minor are subject to additional restrictions to minimize the overlap in content. For business majors and minors, no business courses can count toward the economics minor. In addition, students pursuing a business major and economics minor are required to take a minimum of 14 total courses in the major and minor.

D. No course taken pass/fail may count toward requirements for the minor.

Requirements for the Major

A. Successful completion of ECON 10a (Introduction to Microeconomics) and ECON 20a (Introduction to Macroeconomics). A grade of C or higher is required in each of these courses. ECON 2a (A Survey of Economics), with a grade of B+ or higher, may be used in place of ECON 10a.

B. All majors must satisfy the calculus requirement. The calculus requirement can be fulfilled in one of three ways a) completing Math 10a, an equivalent course, or a more advanced calculus course with a grade of C- or above, b) scoring at least 4 on the AP Mathematics AB test or at least 3 on the AP Mathematics BC test, or c) passing a departmental placement exam. Students who have taken a college calculus course elsewhere or who are entitled to Math 10a credit based on their AP or international exam score should transfer those credits to Brandeis. Students who have taken a calculus course and feel they have mastered the material but have not received the necessary math or exam credit may take the departmental placement exam. The placement exam is administered once at the start of each semester and each summer school session. The exam can only be taken once.

All students must satisfy the calculus requirement prior to taking the intermediate theory courses (ECON 80a, 82b, 83a), Econometrics, or any of the upper-level electives. If it is found that a student enrolled in ECON 80a, ECON 82b, ECON 83a, or Econometrics has not successfully completed this prerequisite at any time during the semester, the student will be dropped from the course. For some more advanced courses, additional calculus courses and linear algebra provide a useful background. Students unsure of the adequacy of their mathematics preparation should consult their advisor.

C. ECON 80a, 82b, and 83a. Students receiving less than a C- for any of these courses must retake the course and earn a C- or better before enrolling in any upper-level elective. Students receiving less than a C- in ECON 83a must retake the course and earn a C- or better before enrolling in an Econometrics course.

D. ECON 184b, ECON 185a, or ECON 311a. A grade of at least C- is required. Students are strongly encouraged to enroll in one of these courses as soon as possible after completing ECON 83a.

E. Four elective courses in economics, at least two of which must be upper-level. Upper-level electives are courses that have as prerequisites ECON 80a, ECON 82b, and/or ECON 83a; not all 100-level courses meet this criterion. ECON 122b and 175a are lower-level electives. Lower-level electives can be any course in economics other than the required courses, except that ECON 92a, ECON 98a/b, ECON 99a/b, and BUS 89a do not count as electives for the major. Only one course that does not include ECON 2a, ECON 10a, or ECON 20a as a prerequisite can be accepted as a lower-level elective. Eligible electives include cross-listed courses and certain other courses that contain significant economics content offered by IBS, Heller, and other departments in the social sciences. Any student who intends to count an economics-oriented course in another department or school that is not cross-listed as an Economics elective should obtain prior approval of the Undergraduate Advising Head.

F. A passing letter grade must be obtained in each course taken for credit toward the major. No course taken pass/fail may count toward requirements for the major. Students must earn at least a C- in three of the four electives, that is, no more than one grade of D, D+, or D-. Students must also achieve a GPA of at least 2.00 in the major courses; students close to this average should consult the undergraduate advising head before enrolling in economics courses for the senior year.

G. Students undertaking the economics major and the business major or minor are subject to additional restrictions. Business majors and minors may double count no more than two courses for another major or minor. For Business and Economics double majors, Bus 10a (required for the Business major) will count as a lower level elective for Economics and Econ 20a (required for the Economics major) will count as a Business Administration elective for Business.

H. Any exception to the previously listed rules requires department approval by petition. See the department academic administrator or the Undergraduate Advising Head. For example, a student must petition to get credit toward the major for an economics course taken at another university.

I. Qualified seniors are invited to participate in the department's honors program, which involves research and writing a thesis under the supervision of a member of the faculty. Candidates for honors must maintain a GPA of at least 3.5 in the major. Honors are awarded on the basis of excellence in courses taken in the major and the senior thesis.

Special Notes Relating to Undergraduates

Business Major and Minor

Students interested in pursuing a formal program in business should consult the description given in the business program section of this Bulletin.

Academic Advisor and Selection of Courses

Students are strongly advised to choose courses with well-considered educational objectives in mind. Course offerings in economics can be grouped roughly into four categories (see below). Some students will wish to take at least one course from each of the four groups and thereby obtain a broad exposure to the discipline. Others will find a more narrow focus with in-depth study in only one or two groups more appropriate. Majors should discuss educational objectives and course selections and sequencing with their academic advisors.

Internships

Most economics majors and minors interested in taking an internship for credit enroll in BUS 89a. BUS 89a does not provide credit toward the economics major or minor, but it is a four-credit course that counts as one of a student’s thirty-two courses and as one of the BUS electives. Internships can be done during an academic semester or during the summer. For more information, consult the description and enrollment information for BUS 89a in the Business section of this Bulletin or the Hiatt website for internships.

Economics majors who are also undertaking interdepartmental programs with economics connections (e.g. legal studies, environmental studies), and who are doing an internship related to economics to fulfill the requirements of the interdepartmental program, may enroll in ECON 92a. Like BUS 89a, ECON 92a does not provide credit toward the economics major or minor but does count as one of a student’s thirty-two courses.

ECON Course Offering Groups

1. Core Analytical Courses

ECON 10a Introduction to Microeconomics
ECON 20a Introduction to Macroeconomics
ECON 80a Intermediate Microeconomic Theory
ECON 82b Intermediate Macroeconomic Theory
ECON 83a Statistics for Economic Analysis
ECON 184b Econometrics
ECON 185a Econometrics with Linear Algebra

2. International and Comparative

ECON 28b The Global Economy*
ECON 30a The Economy of China*
ECON 122b The Economics of the Middle East*
ECON 141b Economics of Innovation
ECON 160a International Trade Theory
ECON 161a International Finance
ECON 175a Introduction to the Economics of Development*
ECON 176a The Household, Health, and Hunger in Developing Countries

3. The U.S. Economy: Analysis, Institutions, and Policy

ECON 57a Environmental Economics*
ECON 59b The Economics of Education*
ECON 69a The Economics of Race and Gender*
ECON 70a American Fiscal Policy*
ECON 76b Labor Economics*
ECON/FA 87a Economics and the Arts*
ECON 134b Public Sector Economics
ECON 135a Industrial Organization
ECON 171a Financial Economics
ECON 172b Money and Banking
ECON 173a Central Banking: Theory and Policy
ECON 174a Corporate Finance
ECON 182a Topics in Advance Macroeconomics

4. Analytical Methods

ECON 181b Game Theory and Economic Applications
ECON 194a Econometrics Research Practicum

ECON 2a A Survey of Economics, a one semester course specifically designed for students who are not Economics majors or minors, is also offered by the department.

Several Brandeis International Business School courses may be appropriate analytical electives for advanced undergraduates, including first-year courses in the PhD program in international economics and finance. Interested students should see their advisor or the Undergraduate Advising Head for more information.

*This course is designated a lower-level elective.

Courses of Instruction

(1-99) Primarily for Undergraduate Students

ECON 2a A Survey of Economics
[ qr ss ]
Intended for students who are not Economics majors or minors. May not be taken for credit by students who took ECON 10a in prior years.
Introduces economic analysis with policy applications. The economist's approach to social analysis is systematically elaborated. Usually offered every semester.
Mr. Coiner

ECON 10a Introduction to Microeconomics
[ qr ss ]
Intended for Economics majors and minors or students who intend to take more than one Economics course. Students who have taken Econ 2a and received a B+ or better cannot receive credit for this course. May not be taken for credit by students after they have taken ECON 80a.
Introduces the field of microeconomics, which is the study of how individuals and firms make decisions and how these decisions interact. Usually offered every semester.
Mr. Coiner

ECON 20a Introduction to Macroeconomics
[ ss ]
Prerequisite: Econ 2a with a B+ or higher or Econ 10a. May not be taken for credit by students after they have taken ECON 82b. May not be taken concurrently with ECON 82b.
Introduces the field of macroeconomics. Macroeconomics is the study of the overall or aggregate economic performance of national economies. Usually offered every semester.
Mr. Redenius and Mr. Hall

ECON 28b The Global Economy
[ ss ]
Prerequisites: Econ 2a or Econ 10a and Econ 20a. May not be taken for credit by students who took ECON 8b in prior years.
Applies the basic tools and models of economic analysis to a wide range of topics in micro-, macro-, and international economics. Usually offered every semester.
Mr. Redenius

ECON 30a The Economy of China
[ nw ss ]
Prerequisite: ECON 2a or 10a.
Analysis of China's economic transformation with particular emphasis on China's economic reforms since 1978, including the restructuring of its enterprise, fiscal, financial, and political systems and the roles of trade, foreign investment, and technology in driving China's economic advance. Usually offered every year.
Mr. Jefferson

ECON 57a Environmental Economics
[ ss ]
Prerequisite: ECON 2a or 10a.
Investigates the theoretical and policy problems posed by the use of renewable and nonrenewable resources. Theoretical topics include the optimal pricing of resources, the optimal use of standards and taxes to correct pollution problems under uncertainty, and the measurement of costs and benefits. Usually offered every year.
Ms. Bui

ECON 59b The Economics of Education
[ ss ]
Prerequisite: ECON 2a or 10a.
An introduction to economic analysis of the education sector. Topics include the concept of human capital, private and social return on investment in education, cost-benefit analysis of special educational programs, and issues in the financing of education. Usually offered every second year.
Mr. Coiner

ECON 69a The Economics of Race and Gender
[ ss ]
Prerequisite: ECON 2a or 10a.
The role of race and gender in economic decision making. Mainstream and alternative economic explanations for discrimination, and analysis of the economic status of women and minorities. Discussion of specific public policies related to race, class, and gender. Usually offered every second year.
Ms. Brainerd

ECON 70a American Fiscal Policy
[ ss ]
Prerequisite: ECON 2a or 10a.
Examines Federal and State level tax and spending decisions with a focus on debt crises, the financing of wars and infrastructure, and the political debates surrounding choices made. Theories of monetary and fiscal policy will be presented and evaluated. Usually offered every year.
Mr. Hall

ECON 76b Labor Economics
[ ss ]
Prerequisite: ECON 2a or 10a.
Analysis of competitive and less-than-competitive markets. Rationale for alternate methods of paying workers (e.g., hourly wages, piece rates, bonuses). Sources of wage differentials among jobs and workers. The U.S. labor movement, the process of collective bargaining, and the economic effects of unions. Effects of government interventions in the labor market, such as the minimum wage and occupational safety regulation. Extent and effects of discrimination in the labor market. Inequality in the distribution of wages. Usually offered every second year.
Ms. Brainerd

ECON 80a Microeconomic Theory
[ ss ]
Prerequisite: Econ 10a. Students must earn C- or higher in MATH 10a, otherwise satisfy the calculus requirement, to enroll in this course.
Analysis of the behavior of economic units within a market economy. Emphasis upon individuals' decisions as demanders of goods and suppliers of resources, and firms' decisions as suppliers of goods and demanders of resources under various market structures. Usually offered every semester.
Ms. Graddy, Mr. Habibi and Mr. Shiller

ECON 82b Macroeconomic Theory
[ ss ]
Prerequisite: Econ 20a. Students must earn C- or higher in MATH 10a, or otherwise satisfy the calculus requirement, to enroll in this course.
Models of the determination of economic aggregates, such as national income, consumption, investment, government spending, exports, imports, and international capital flows, and economy-wide variables, such as the interest rate, the exchange rate, the price level and inflation, and the unemployment rate. The influence of fiscal and monetary policies on these aggregates and variables is examined. Usually offered every semester.
Mr. Hall, Mr. Schoenle and Mr. Tortorice

ECON 83a Statistics for Economic Analysis
[ qr ss ]
Prerequisite: ECON 2a or 10a. Students must earn C- or higher in MATH 10a, or otherwise satisfy the calculus requirement, to enroll in this course.
A first course in statistical inference. Topics include descriptive statistics, probability, normal and binomial distributions, sampling distributions, point and interval estimation, properties of estimators, hypothesis testing, regression, and analysis of variance. Usually offered every semester.
Ms. Bui and Ms. Menon

ECON 92a Internship
Signature of the undergraduate advising head required. Does not count toward the major in economics.
Available to economics majors who wish to do an internship as part of an interdepartmental program (e.g., legal studies, environmental studies), where the internship itself will be in an area related to economics. Any economics major not seeking credit for such a program should enroll instead in BUS 89a, an internship class connected to the business major and minor (see Business section of the Bulletin for the course description). Usually offered by request.
Staff

ECON 98a Independent Study
Signature of the instructor required. Does not count toward the major or minor in economics.
Normally available for a student who has taken a course and wishes to pursue further reading or research in that field or study a subject not listed among the department course offerings. Usually offered every year.
Staff

ECON 98b Independent Study
Signature of the instructor required. Does not count toward the major or minor in economics.
See ECON 98a for course description. Usually offered every year.
Staff

ECON 99a Senior Research
Signature of the instructor required. Does not count toward the major in economics.
A senior Economics major whose GPA in economics courses is 3.50 or above and who has completed ECON 184b or equivalent may petition to be admitted to the senior honors program and to enroll in this course. Usually offered every year.
Staff

ECON 99b Senior Thesis
Prerequisite: Satisfactory completion of ECON 99a. Signature of the instructor required. Does not count toward the major in economics.
Senior Economics majors who wish to complete a senior honors thesis normally enroll in this course. Usually offered every year.
Staff

ECON/FA 87a Economics and the Arts
[ ca ss ]
Prerequisite: ECON 2a or 10a; FA 30a, 57a, 59a or 62a. The FA course may be taken concurrently with ECON/FA 87a.
Economics and art history provide dual lenses for studying the mechanics of art auctions and building collections. The course will focus on the intersection of history and patronage of specific artists and works of art with the marketplace. Usually offered every second year.
Ms. Graddy and Ms. Scott

(100-199) For Both Undergraduate and Graduate Students

ECON 122b The Economics of the Middle East
[ nw ss ]
Prerequisite: ECON 2a or 10a or the equivalent. Does not count toward the upper-level elective requirement for the major in economics.
Examines the Middle East economies – past experiences, present situation, and future challenges – drawing on theories, policy formulations and empirical studies of economic growth, trade, poverty, income distribution, labor markets, finance and banking, government reforms, globalization, and Arab-Israeli political economy. Usually offered every year.
Mr. Habibi

ECON 134b Public Sector Economics
[ ss ]
Prerequisites: ECON 80a and ECON 83a or permission of the instructor.
The effect of tax and expenditure policies on economic efficiency and equity. Topics include externalities and public goods, public choice, cost-benefit analysis, income redistribution, social security, and health care. Also discussion of U.S. tax system, public debt, and state and local finance. Usually offered every year.
Mr. Coiner

ECON 135a Industrial Organization
[ qr ss ]
Prerequisites: ECON 80a and ECON 83a or permission of the instructor.
Microeconomic analysis of firm behavior under alternative market structures and implications for market outcomes. Topics include strategic interaction, entry and exit, collusion, predation, price discrimination, product differentiation, vertical relations, imperfect information, advertising, and patents and innovation. Usually offered every year.
Ms. Graddy and Mr. Shiller

ECON 141b Economics of Innovation
[ ss ]
Prerequisites: ECON 80a and ECON 83a or permission of the instructor.
Studies the innovation and technological change as the central focus of modern economies. Topics include the sources of growth, economics of research and development, innovation, diffusion and technology transfer, appropriability, patents, information markets, productivity, institutional innovation, and global competitiveness. Usually offered every year.
Mr. Jefferson

ECON 160a International Trade Theory
[ ss ]
Prerequisites: ECON 80a and ECON 83a or permission of the instructor.
Causes and consequences of international trade and factor movements. Topics include determinants of trade, effects on welfare and income distribution, trade and growth, protection, foreign investment, immigration, and preferential trading. Usually offered every year.
Mr. Lopez

ECON 161a International Finance
[ ss ]
Prerequisites: ECON 82b. Corequisite: ECON 184b or permission of the instructor.
Applications of international economic theory – regarding trade, the balance of payments, investments, and exchange rates – to the management of import/export firms and multinational corporations. Usually offered every year.
Ms. Mann

ECON 171a Financial Economics
[ ss ]
Prerequisites: ECON 80a and ECON 83a, or permission of the instructor.
An introduction to financial economics. Topics include the selection of assets, portfolio choice under uncertainty, equilibrium asset pricing models, the efficient markets hypothesis, futures, and options markets. Usually offered every year.
Mr. Hilscher and Mr. Tortorice

ECON 172b Money and Banking
[ ss ]
Prerequisites: ECON 82b and ECON 83a or permission of the instructor.
Examines the relationship of the financial system to real economic activity, focusing especially on banks and central banks. Topics include the monetary and payments systems; financial instruments and their pricing; the structure, management, and regulation of bank and nonbank financial intermediaries and the design and operations of central banks in a modern economy. Usually offered every year.
Mr. Redenius

ECON 173a Central Banking: Theory and Policy
[ ss wi ]
Prerequisite: ECON 82b.
Studies the purposes and functions of central banks over time and the challenges they confront. Examines central banks' roles in the recent financial crisis and explores current debates over the policies that central banks are following in its aftermath. Usually offered every year.
Ms. Browne

ECON 174a Corporate Finance
[ ss ]
Prerequisites: ECON 171a and BUS 6a or permission of the instructor.
An introductory course in corporate finance and financial management. Covers the theory and application of capital budgeting techniques and capital structure choice of firms. Usually offered every year.
Staff

ECON 175a Introduction to the Economics of Development
[ ss ]
Prerequisite: ECON 2a or 10a or permission of the instructor. Does not count toward the upper-level elective requirement for the major in economics.
An introduction to various models of economic growth and development and evaluation of these perspectives from the experience of developing and industrial countries. Usually offered every second year.
Ms. Menon

ECON 176a The Household, Health, and Hunger in Developing Countries
[ nw ss ]
Prerequisites: ECON 80a and ECON 184b, or permission of the instructor. ECON 175a is recommended. Primarily recommended for juniors and seniors.
Examines aspects of poverty and nutrition that are confronted by households in low-income countries. Examines these issues primarily from a microeconomic perspective, although some macroeconomic angles are explored as well. Usually offered every second year.
Ms. Menon

ECON 181b Game Theory and Economic Applications
[ ss ]
Prerequisites: ECON 80a, ECON 83a, MATH 10a or equivalent.
Analysis of decision making in multiperson settings. Studies models of equilibrium and various kinds of games under perfect and imperfect information. The applications include include business strategy and competition, auctions, and risk sharing. Usually offered every second year.
Ms. Graddy

ECON 182a Topics in Advanced Macroeconomics
[ ss ]
Prerequisite: ECON 80a, 82b, and 83a.
Contemporary theories of economic growth, business cycles, monetary economics, and financial crises and their implications for monetary and fiscal policy. Emphasis on empirical work and computer modeling. Usually offered every year.
Mr. Hall

ECON 184b Econometrics
[ qr ss ]
Prerequisites: ECON 83a. Corequisite: ECON 80a or permission of instructor. Students must earn C- or higher in MATH 10a, or otherwise satisfy the calculus requirement, to enroll in this course. This course may not be taken for credit by students who have previously taken or are currently enrolled in ECON 185a or ECON 311a.
An introduction to the theory of econometric regression and forecasting models, with applications to the analysis of business and economic data. Usually offered every year.
Ms. Brainerd, Mr. Pei and Mr. Pettenuzzo

ECON 185a Econometrics with Linear Algebra
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Prerequisites: ECON 80a, 82b, 83a and MATH 15a. A working knowledge of linear algebra is required. Does not count toward the major in economics if the student has taken ECON 184b or an equivalent course.
Students are first exposed to the necessary background in advanced probability theory and statistics. Then statistical theory for the linear regression model, its most important variants, and extensions to nonlinear methods including Generalized Method of Moments (GMM) and Maximum Likelihood Estimation (MLE) are covered. Theoretical analysis is accompanied by the study of empirical economic examples. Usually offered every second year.
Staff

ECON 194a Econometrics Research Practicum
Prerequisites: ECON 184b or 185a. Yields half-course credit. Does not meet the requirements for the major in Economics.
Applies knowledge of econometrics by analyzing data and writing an econometrics research paper. Classes will meet once a week throughout the semester; each class will cover a different topic in applied econometrics using economics journal articles for illustration. Usually offered every semester.
Staff

(200 and above) Primarily for Graduate Students

ECON 201a Global Economic Environment
Open to IBS students only.
A look at global economic environments from the perspective of all stakeholders, including governments, businesses, consumers, labor, rich, and poor. Takes a multidisciplinary approach drawing on international politics, economy, finance, and business management. The course is divided in two major themes: the economic finance dimension and the political social dimension. Usually offered every year.
Mr. Ballantine, Ms. Dean, or Ms. Mann

ECON 202a Applied International Macroeconomics
Using countries to illustrate, this course covers domestic and international macroeconomics. Topics include the goals and functioning of monetary authorities, financial crises, international competitiveness and PPP, exchange rate regimes, hyperinflation, and the sustainability of government finances. Students also master basic skills for manipulating and presenting macroeconomic information. Usually offered every year.
Ms. Osler

ECON 203f Advanced International Macroeconomics: Theory, Evidence, and Policy
Prerequisites: ECON 202a (may be taken concurrently), and one course in econometrics (graduate module or undergraduate course). Meets for one-half semester and yields half-course credit.
Builds on and extends the economic frameworks developed in ECON 201a and ECON 202a to focus on economic models that are fundamental to international macroeconomic analysis, policy making, and business strategy. Students apply data to the models, and discuss journal articles that apply the frameworks to macroeconomic questions. Usually offered every year.
Ms. Mann

ECON 205f Applied Business Cycle Analysis
Prerequisites: ECON 202a. Meets for one-half semester and yields half-course credit.
Focuses on the determinants of short-run economy-wide fluctuations in output, unemployment and inflation. Develops the time-series tools needed to summarize the data and provides an introduction to macroeconomic forecasting and empirical policy analysis. Usually offered every second year.
Staff

ECON 206f Microeconomics for Business
Meets for one-half semester and yields half-course credit.
Introduces the essentials of microeconomic concepts with an emphasis on managerial relevance for decision-making. Topics include the analysis of market demand, firm's production decisions, and optimal pricing strategy under various market conditions such as monopoly and oligopoly. Usually offered every year.
Staff

ECON 207a Managerial Economics
Teaches students to apply basic microeconomic concepts to business and management decision-making. Key concepts include consumer behavior, properties of market supply and demand, firm's production decisions, market structures, government interventions in the markets, and optimal pricing strategy under various market conditions such as monopoly and oligopoly. Usually offered every year.
Mr. Habibi

ECON 210f Foundations of Statistics
Meets for one-half semester and yields half-course credit.
Intended for students with little or no prior coursework in statistics. Introduction to statistical thinking and analytic methods, emphasizing business decision-making. Considerable use of statistical software (Stata), readings, cases, and projects permits focus on concepts, models, and interpretation of results. Topics include descriptive statistics, financial models, estimation, hypothesis testing, and regression analysis. Usually offered every year.
Mr. Fournier

ECON 211f Foundations of Econometrics
Prerequisite: Statistics or ECON 210f. Meets for one-half semester and yields half-course credit.
Survey of quantitative techniques and computer tools in data analysis and forecasting, including econometric estimation. The course will include case studies and the use of computer applications. Usually offered every year.
Mr. Fournier

ECON 212f Survey of Advanced Econometric Techniques
Prerequisite: ECON 211f or equivalent. Meets for one-half semester and yields half-course credit.
Applies econometric models using data measured as counts, including the poisson and the negative binomial, and extensions that incorporate inflated or truncated counts. They then consider tobit and heckit models which adjust for truncation and censoring in the general linear model. Finally, they learn how to correct for simultaneity bias and heteroskedasticity using Instrumental Variables approaches. Usually offered every year.
Mr. Fournier

ECON 232f Country Risk Analysis
Meets for one-half semester and yields half-course credit.
Explores country risk from the perspective of bankers who seek long-standing relationships with clients in emerging markets. Examines quantitative and qualitative techniques to manage country risk in a dynamic environment. Various country crises and success stories will be analyzed by using case studies. Not offered in 2014-2015.
Mr. Bayone

ECON 235a Central Banking Seminar
Prerequisites: FIN 201a, ECON 202a, ECON 210f or equivalent.
Studies the origins of banks and central banks; old and new debates about monetary policy including inflation targeting: sophisticated questions such as whether central banks should pay interest on reserves; and finally the appropriate policies for central banks in a financially turbulent world. Each week students read a substantial amount and synthesize it in a short paper. Class is devoted to discussion. Each student makes two presentations. Usually offered every year.
Ms. Brown

ECON 236a Managing Government Debt and Deficits
Prerequisites: ECON 202a and ECON 207f.
Examines how across the industrialized world, countries realize they need to reduce their government deficits, and possibly their government debt, to avoid a crisis down the road. Should they raise taxes? If so, which? Should they reduce spending? Should they default? We consider the pros and cons of these alternatives and more. Not offered in 2014-2015.
Ms. Brown

ECON 252f The Economy of China
Meets for one-half semester and yields half-course credit.
Provides an analytical overview of China's economic transformation, emphasizing the period since 1980. Topics covered include the reform process, the role of institutions, including the financial and fiscal sectors, corporate governance reform, trade and foreign direct investment, science and technology, regional and income disparities, and the changing laws, practice, and culture that define the role of business within China. Usually offered every year.
Mr. Jefferson

ECON 253a Asia: Center of World Economy
With half of the world's population, one quarter of its output, and twice its growth rate, Asia is emerging as the center of the world economy. This course examines Asia's economic dynamism and the companies, investments, and policies that are shaping its future. Usually offered every other year.
Mr. Petri

ECON 260a International Trade Policy and Institutions
Prerequisite: Intermediate Microeconomics or ECON 207f and 208f.
Develops the fundamental economic theories behind the various policies that regulate and interfere with international trade. Examines the predominant national and international institutions that are charged with administering these policies as well as the scope and process for potential reform. Usually offered every year.
Ms. Dean or Mr. Lopez

ECON 261a Empirical Analysis of Trade Policy
Prerequisite: One semester (or module) of econometrics, at either the undergraduate or graduate level.
Explores contemporary trade policy issues, with a focus on emerging markets, while helping students learn advanced econometric techniques. Students read professional empirical studies to learn what we know and carry out their own original research on a policy issue, from data collection to econometric testing and evaluation. Usually offered every year.
Ms. Dean

ECON 262f Outsourcing and Offshoring: Multinationals, Technology, and Globalization
Meets for one-half semester and yields half-course credit.
Outsourcing and offshoring raise questions of economic theory, business strategy, and policy emphasis for both industrial and emerging economies. This course examines and assesses empirically different theories of the multinational firm. Addresses how pervasive application of information technology exposes firms to business opportunities and economies to policy challenges. Usually offered every year.
Ms. Mann

ECON 270a Economic Development Strategies
Prerequisites: At least one semester of undergraduate microeconomics and one semester of undergraduate macroeconomics, or the equivalent.
Discusses the current situation of developing countries and the main theories of development and underdevelopment. Introduces the field and tools of development economics, explores the theoretical and policy debates around developing economies, and looks at alternative development strategies. Usually offered every year.
Ms. Dean

ECON 277f Public Policy, Business Leadership and World Affairs: An Insider's Perspective
Meets for one-half semester and yields half-course credit.
Explores the approach of the World Economic Forum, focusing on three global challenges. Students meet with guest lecturers who know the facts and the players; review background material; and debate the issues by assuming the roles of the main players.
Mr. Steinberg and Mr. Ballantine

ECON 297a Internship
Prerequisite: Two semesters at IBS or permission of program director. This course yields half-course credit. This course may not be repeated for credit.
Offers students an opportunity to apply the theories and key themes covered in the core courses in a real-life setting. Requires completion of at least six weeks of a paid or unpaid internship approved and monitored by a faculty advisor. The project could involve a research or consulting assignment or a structured internship in the school's fields. Interested students should consult the guidelines established by the school. Usually offered every year.
Staff

ECON 297g Internship
Prerequisite: Two semesters at IBS or permission of program director. This course yields quarter-course credit. This course may be repeated twice for credit.
Offers students an opportunity to apply the theories and key themes covered in the core courses in a real-life setting. Requires completion of at least six weeks of a paid or unpaid internship approved and monitored by a faculty advisor. The project could involve a research or consulting assignment or a structured internship in the school's fields. Interested students should consult the guidelines established by the school. Usually offered every year.
Staff

ECON 298a Independent Study
Normally available for a student who wishes to pursue advanced reading or research in a subject or field not available in the department's course listings. Usually offered every semester.
Staff

ECON 298f Independent Study
Open only to IBS students. Meets for one-half semester and yields half-course credit.
Normally available for a student who wishes to pursue advanced reading on research in a subject or field not available in the department's course listings. Usually offered every year.
Mr. Bown

ECON 299a Master's Project
Prerequisite: Two semesters at IBS or permission of program director.
A student wishing to complete a master's project under the guidance of a faculty advisor may enroll in this course during his or her second year in the master's program. Projects may involve a short analytical thesis, the solution of an applied problem, or a report on work completed in an appropriate internship. In exceptional cases a student may undertake a master’s thesis so demanding that it requires two semesters. In such cases, with careful consideration of the faculty adviser and the program director, the student may enroll in this course for his/her two final semesters. Usually offered every year.
Staff

ECON 301a Advanced Microeconomics I
Prerequisites: Microeconomics and math.
Study of the theories of microeconomics, including optimization, theory of the firm, theory of the consumer, duality theory, general equilibrium, welfare economics, public goods, and externalities. Usually offered every second year.
Ms. Bui

ECON 302a Advanced Microeconomics II
Prerequisites: ECON 301a.
This course will focus on game theory with specific emphasis on its application to firm behavior, information economics, and the study of market organization including auctions. Important contributions of behavioral economics will also be address in this course. A strong emphasis will be placed on acquiring the tools that are required for economic research. Usually offered every second year.
Ms. Graddy

ECON 303a Advanced Macroeconomics I
Prerequisites: course work in microeconomics and mathematics.
Study of modern theories of short-run and long-run determination of aggregate income. Topics include private consumption and investment behavior, fiscal policy, the current account and exchange rates, economic growth, and stochastic dynamic programming with applications to macroeconomics. Usually offered every second year.
Mr. Hall

ECON 304a Advanced Macroeconomics II
Prerequisite: ECON 303a.
Current research issues in macroeconomics, such as the impact of supply shocks, real demand shocks, and monetary shocks on output, interest rates, and exchange rates. Empirical studies and testing of competing macroeconomic theories. Usually offered every second year.
Mr. Tortorice

ECON 307f Empirical Methods for Dynamic Economic Models
Prerequisite: ECON 304a. Meets for one-half semester and yields half-course credit.
An advanced topics course on contemporary methods to solve, estimate, and evaluate structural models. Usually offered every second year.
Mr. Hall

ECON 311a Advanced Econometrics I
Prerequisites: Statistics and math.
Econometric theory and applications. Discusses the statistical theory of regression modeling and associated hypothesis testing, with emphasis on the construction, interpretation, and use of econometric models. Usually offered every second year.
Mr. Pei

ECON 312a Advanced Econometrics II
Prerequisite: ECON 311a or consent of instructor.
Examines the models and statistical techniques used to study time series data. Topics will include linear and non-linear univariate as well as multivariate econometric models. One objective of the course is to provide the students with a good understanding of econometric models for time series data. These models are widely used in the empirical literature, and a good understanding of these models is crucial for the second objective of the course: to provide the students with the ability to evaluate recent empirical studies. The third objective of the course is to develop practical skills, which are necessary to perform independent research using real world data. A theme throughout the course is the use of computational methods for analyzing the material covered in class, and throughout the course we will rely heavily on examples and applications with Matlab. Usually offered every second year.
Mr. Pettenuzzo

ECON 330a International Macroeconomics
Prerequisite: ECON 304a.
Applications of macroeconomic theory to open economies. Topics include international parity theorems, models of exchange rate determination, and central bank management of the exchange-rate. Usually offered every year.
Mr. Schoenle

ECON 332f Topics in Empirical International Economics: Questions, Methods, and Data
Prerequisite: Open to IBS PhD students only. Meets for one-half semester and yields half-course credit.
Students present and discuss current working papers in international economics focusing on the questions that are being asking, the empirical methods used, and the sources of data. Course prepares students for the thesis process and for presenting thesis work. Usually offered every second year.
Ms. Mann

ECON 340a Empirical Industrial Organization
Prerequisite: ECON 302a. Meets for one-half semester and yields half-course credit. May not be taken for credit by students who have taken ECON 340f.
Examines the theoretical and empirical methods that are used in the study of firm and industry behavior. Topics include price discrimination, oligopoly behavior, product differentiation, auctions, and market structure. The course places a strong focus on the questions that are being asked, the empirical and theoretical methodology used to address these questions, and the sources of data. A primary purpose of this course is to prepare students for the thesis process and for presenting thesis work. Usually offered every second year.
Mr. Shiller

ECON 360a International Trade Theory
Open only to IBS students.
Analyzes the economic issues involved in the integration into world markets of trade in consulting and professional services, investment, financial and banking services, telecommunications, and transportation. Also addresses the tradeoffs in regulating services trade through the WTO's General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS), regional initiatives, as well as conflict areas and dispute settlement. Usually offered every second year.
Staff

ECON 370a Development Economics
Prerequisite: ECON 302a.
Reviews neoclassical and endogenous growth theory as it relates to the experience of developing countries. Also examines recent applied work relating to household fertility, natural resource depletion, technology, and sustainable growth, and various political economy issues, including the link between inequality and growth, the interaction between economic growth and political systems, and a range of issues that engage the new institutional economics. Usually offered every second year.
Mr. Jefferson

ECON 399a Dissertation Workshop
Prerequisites: ECON 302a and ECON 304a.
Involves invited lectures by Brandeis faculty and other researchers. Presentation and discussion of dissertation topics and work in progress. Usually offered every year.
Mr. LeBaron

Cross-Listed in Economics

AAAS 60a Economics of Third World Hunger
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Employs the tools of social science, particularly economics, to study causes and potential solutions to problems in production, trade, and consumption of food in the underdeveloped world. Usually offered every second year.
Mr. Nyangoni

AAAS 146a Africa in the Global Economy
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This course makes an important contribution to our understanding of Africa's relationship within the world economy and to our awareness of how economic liberalization programs and World Trade Organizational (WTO) systems are influencing the continent's industries. Usually offered every second year.
Mr. Nyangoni

BUS 6a Financial Accounting
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Prerequisite: ECON 2a or ECON 10a.
Develops basic concepts and accounts and applies them to income measurement, capital values, and costs. Through the use of cases, develops the basis for rational choice and control of business activity. Usually offered every semester in multiple sections.
Mr. Angell, Mr. Radding and Ms. Weihs

BUS 10a Functions of the Capitalist Enterprise
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Prerequisite: BUS 6a. BUS 6a may be taken concurrently with BUS 10a.
Introduces the internal complexity of modern businesses and the various roles they play in society. First examines the internal workings of firms--marketing, operations, finance, and other functions. Subsequently, the relationships between businesses and their context--the economy, social issues, and government are studied. Usually offered every semester in multiple sections.
Mr. Bayone, Mr. Carver, and Mr. Oliver

BUS 170a Business in the Global Economy
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Prerequisite: BUS 10a. May not be taken for credit by students who took BUS 70a in prior years.
Modern firms frequently cross national borders to find new markets and resources. Their strategies are then shaped by the international economy and by the policies of national governments. Using case discussion, students explore why and how U.S., Japanese, and European firms operate outside their home countries. Usually offered every second year.
Mr. Lopez

ECON 236a Managing Government Debt and Deficits
Prerequisites: ECON 202a and ECON 207f.
Examines how across the industrialized world, countries realize they need to reduce their government deficits, and possibly their government debt, to avoid a crisis down the road. Should they raise taxes? If so, which? Should they reduce spending? Should they default? We consider the pros and cons of these alternatives and more. Not offered in 2014-2015.
Ms. Brown

ECON 261a Empirical Analysis of Trade Policy
Prerequisite: One semester (or module) of econometrics, at either the undergraduate or graduate level.
Explores contemporary trade policy issues, with a focus on emerging markets, while helping students learn advanced econometric techniques. Students read professional empirical studies to learn what we know and carry out their own original research on a policy issue, from data collection to econometric testing and evaluation. Usually offered every year.
Ms. Dean

FIN 202a International Corporate Finance
Prerequisite: FIN 212a (may be taken concurrently)
Focuses on how companies make their investment, financing, and dividend decisions in a global environment. Examines the theory and practices of firms through a combination of current articles, problems in the text, and case analysis. Students will have a firm understanding of how companies create value through their decisions. Usually offered every year.
Mr. Bezviner, Mr. Canella, Mr. Nandy or Ms. Sisli Ciamarra

HS 104b American Health Care
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Examines and critically analyzes the United States health care system, emphasizing the major trends and issues that have led to the current sense of "crisis." In addition to providing a historical perspective, this course will establish a context for analyzing the current, varied approaches to health care reform. Usually offered every year.
Mr. Altman

HS 110a Wealth and Poverty
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Examines why the gap between richer and poorer citizens appears to be widening in the United States and elsewhere, what could be done to reverse this trend, and how the widening disparity affects major issues of public policy. Usually offered every year.
Mr. Shapiro

HSSP 104b Health Economics
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Prerequisite: ECON 2a or 10a.
Emphasizes the concepts and tools of health economics applicable to both developed and developing countries. Topics include: cost-benefit and cost-effectiveness analysis, the demand for health services, insurance and risk, managed care, provider reimbursement, national health insurance, and an overview of health care systems in other countries. Usually offered every second year.
Mr. Hodgkin

LGLS 127b International Economic Law
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Prerequisite: ECON 2a or ECON 10a or permission of the instructor.
Studies the transnational legal institution and practices that constitute the global economic networks of the 21st century. Surveys the fields of corporate regulation, including business practices and human rights, and legal regimes supporting trade and finance. Practice in arbitrating investment disputes between states and corporations. Usually offered every second year.
Mr. Mirfendereski

PHIL 13b The Idea of the Market: Economic Philosophies
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Historical survey of philosophical assumptions in the defense and critique of market capitalism, starting from Adam Smith's views on value, self, and community. Explores philosophical alternatives in Marx, Weber, Durkheim, Dewey, and Nozick, including debates on justice and individualism. Usually offered every second year.
Mr. Gaskins

POL 172b Seminar: International Political Economy
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Prerequisite: Sophomore standing or higher.
The politics and modern evolution of international economic relations, comprising trade, money, multinational productions, and development. Also the role of states and transnational actors in international markets and the global differentiation of power, and distribution of wealth. Usually offered every year.
Mr. Chase

POL 173a U.S. Foreign Economic Policy
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Prerequisite: Sophomore standing or above.
Presents the history and politics of the foreign economic policy in the United States. Emphasis is on political and economic considerations that influence the domestic actors and institutions involved in the formulation of policy. Usually offered every year.
Mr. Chase

PSYC 146a Evolutionary Psychology
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Prerequisite: PSYC 10a (formerly PSYC 1a), PSYC 51a, PSYC 52a or permission of the instructor.
Approaches psychology using two core ideas: evolution and computation. Investigates the mind as a functional system which performs computations to solve adaptive problems. Topics include perception, objects, tools, family, mates, trade, property, and culture. Usually offered every year.
Mr. DeScioli