Economics PhD Courses

 

Core topics in consumer and producer theory, expected utility, and general equilibrium.

Units: 3
Usually offered: Fall
Grading: Regular Grading
Prerequisite(s): ECON 361

Equilibrium concepts, core models, communication models, Bayesian persuasion, and auctions.

Units: 3
Usually offered: Fall
Grading: Regular Grading
Prerequisite(s): Corequisite(s): ECON 501A

First half presents the basics of mechanism design, including screening and auction models.  Second half introduces theoretical concepts in behavioral economics and the use of experiments to test theory.

Units: 3
Usually offered: Spring
Grading: Regular Grading
Prerequisite(s): ECON 501B

This course introduces and implements solution techniques for economic models and dynamic analysis for economics. A first part focuses on numerical optimization, integration, and solutions to systems of equations.  A second part introduces dynamic modeling and the computational solution of dynamic models.  A third part studies classic applications of dynamic models.  This course trains pure theorists who may use numerical explorations to inform proofs, applied theorists who may want to solve nontrivial models, econometricians who may want to implement estimators, and empiricists who may want to estimate structural models.

Units: 3
Usually offered: Spring
Grading: Regular Grading
Prerequisite(s): ECON 332

First half teaches digital research skills: how to clean and organize data, how to write basic code, how to use LaTeX and reference managers for writing research papers, how to use modern version control and collaborative software (git), and how to use high‐performance computing resources.  Second half is a research seminar that introduces students to faculty research, develops presentation and critical thinking skills, and provides the first opportunity to write a research paper.

Units: 3
Usually offered: Spring
Grading: Regular Grading
Prerequisite(s): ECON 501A, ECON 520

Introduction to the theory and methods of mathematical economics and its applications. Designed primarily for entering graduate students majoring in economics.

Units: 3
Usually offered: Fall
Grading: Regular Grading
Prerequisite(s): or Concurrent registration, ECON 520; consult department before enrolling.

This course serves as an introduction to basic concepts of probability theory and statistical inference and their application to the analysis of economic data for graduate studies in economics and related fields. Designed primarily for entering graduate students majoring in economics.

Units: 3
Usually offered: Fall
Grading: Regular Grading
Prerequisite(s): Consult department before enrolling.

After taking this course, students should be able to estimate linear regression models, linear models, panel data model, also with endogeneity using the generalized method of moment estimation methods, including nonlinear in coefficients models with good understanding of the theoretical underpinnings of the estimation methods. In addition students should be able to estimate nonparametric and semiparametric
models.

Units: 3
Usually offered: Spring
Grading: Regular Grading
Prerequisite(s): ECON 520

 

 

Focuses on the specification, estimation and testing of nonlinear economic models. Models that are covered are binary choice models, models that allow for utility maximization, selection models, and text analysis using machine learning. The estimation techniques are Maximum Likelihood, LASSO and Generalized Method of Moments.

Units: 3
Usually offered: Fall
Grading: Regular Grading
Prerequisite(s): ECON 522A

 

The practical application of theoretical learning within a group setting and involving an exchange of ideas and practical methods, skills and principles.

Units: 1-3
Usually offered: Fall
Grading: Regular Grading
Prerequisite(s): Consult department before enrolling.

This course reviews the major findings from research in experimental economics and trains students to conduct their own laboratory experiments. The course consists of lectures by the instructor and two presentations by each student. Students will design their own original experiment and conduct the experiment with live participants at the end of the semester.

May be repeated:  for credit one time (maximum two enrollments).

Units: 3
Usually offered: Fall
Grading: Regular Grading or SPCDE

 

Economists often use advanced mathematical methods, yet rely on simplistic assumptions about human nature. Research in neighboring social sciences, by contrast, typically uses less sophisticated analytical methods while entertaining a richer description of man. Behavioral economics combines the strengths of both approaches, incorporating psychological insights into economics using formal analytical tools. The goal of this course is to teach students about the exciting world of behavioral game theory, covering a broad range of topics, methods (in particular, game theory, experiments, and non-parametric statistics), and results.

Units: 3
Usually offered: Spring
Grading: Regular Grading or SPCDE

This course reviews theoretical background of high dimensional econometric analysis, and then study econometric papers studying high dimensional models. Students should be able to use various high dimensional models in econometrics and be able to evaluate its estimator’s performance using the theoretical results studied in this class. Students should be able to understand the underlying assumptions justifying the econometric procedures and theoretical reasoning behind the procedures used in the analysis.

May be repeated:  for credit one time (maximum two enrollments).

Units: 3
Usually offered: Fall
Grading: Regular Grading or SPCDE

 

This course covers nonparametric estimation, nonparametric identification, semiparametric estimation, machine learning, bounds, structural models, and inference with many instruments. These are important tools in modern econometrics. The unifying theme of the course is to deal with endogeneity and reducing the effects of functional form assumptions. We will deal with endogeneity by (i) trying to model the decision process, and (ii) using many instruments and machine learning. We will reduce the effects of functional form assumptions by using nonparametric methods and machine learning.

May be repeated:  for credit one time (maximum two enrollments).

Units: 3
Usually offered: Spring
Grading: Regular Grading or SPCDE

This course gives an overview of topics and methods in labor economics. The first part of the course will cover the theory and application of common econometric tools used in reduced form labor economics, such as instrumental variables, marginal treatment effects, difference-in-difference, regression discontinuity, selection correction models, synthetic controls, machine learning, and decomposition. The second part of the course will cover various other topics in labor economics, such as human capital, inequality, intergenerational mobility, immigration, peer effects, and discrimination.

May be repeated:  for credit one time (maximum two enrollments).

Units: 3
Usually offered: Spring
Grading: Regular Grading or SPCDE

This is a PhD-level course in the Labor Economics sequence with an emphasis on estimation of dynamic structural models. During this course, students will gain exposure to frontier empirical research in Labor economics as well as other applied microeconomic fields (Health, Development, Education, Urban, etc) not typically offered in other regular applied field sequences at Eller (such as Environmental or Industrial Organization). The course will feature both “reduced form” as well as model-based (a.k.a. “structural”) approaches to empirical work in these fields. We will also explore how these two approaches can be combined to get the best out of each. While emphasis will be on methods, we will illustrate the methods with several applications from Labor economics and other applied microeconomics fields reflecting the research interests of enrolled students.

May be repeated:  for credit one time (maximum two enrollments).

Units: 3
Usually offered: Fall
Grading: Regular Grading or SPCDE

The purpose of this course is prepare students to both understand and to do structural econometric research. Structural econometrics fuses economic theory and statistical methods in order to derive unknown underlying primitives of economic models. The emphasis will be on how to transform an economic model into a structural econometric model. To get a better understanding of the economic models used in structural empirical work we will go through theory papers, although the main focus will be on empirical papers.  After we have developed a general framework for structural econometrics, we will apply the methodology to several topics from industrial organization, like differentiated product competition, search, vertical relations, and auctions.

May be repeated:  for credit three times (maximum four enrollments).

Units: 3
Usually offered: Spring
Grading: Regular Grading or SPCDE

This course focuses on research methods in empirical industrial organization and applied microeconomics. Every 2-3 weeks, we will review 4-5 recent empirical papers centered on a particular topic. Topics include production functions, market structure, market performance, product differentiation, strategic entry, behavioral consumers/firms and more. We will discuss in detail the research question, related theories, data, sources of identification, estimation techniques and policy implications. By the end of the class, students will be familiar with different empirical methods such as fixed effects, IVs, panel data methods, structural modeling, which are often used in economics, marketing, strategy and information systems.

Necessary Background: With a focus on teaching empirical research skills, we assume you are familiar with the theory behind the economic models we will be studying. You should obtain a copy of the text by Tirole, The Theory of Industrial Organization, and use that to update your knowledge on IO topics we cover.

May be repeated: for credit three times (maximum four enrollments).

Units: 3
Usually offered: Fall
Grading: Regular Grading or SPCDE

Contract theory: Formal contracts can be used to mitigate incentive problems in economic transactions. Their effectiveness depends on what information is available, what is contractable, the degree of shared meaning, and the legal framework. These factors influence which transactions are conducted within firms, which are conducted between firms, and the internal structure of firms and other organizations. The course develops the core ideas, methods and insights of contract theory, including adverse selection, moral hazard, sequential screening, commitment and renegotiation, contractual incompleteness etc. Building on those foundations, it explores topics from recent research on relational contracting, behavioral approaches, contract language, the role of unawareness in contracting, laboratory experiments on contracting, exploitative contracting, robust contracts etc. The goal is to stimulate original research in one of these areas.

Strategic Communication: Communication is central to human interaction. It is key to coordinating economic activity and to sharing of decision-relevant information. This course presents game-theoretic approaches to strategic communication. Its main focus will be on information transmission via cheap talk. Central topics include equilibrium selection in sender-receiver games, faulty communication channels, mediated communication, and levels of reasoning in communication games. The course will explore the status of a shared language, as well as questions about the role of linguistic meaning and the status of truth. Additional topics may include repeated communication, communication and correlation, communication with evidence, Bayesian persuasion with and without an informed sender, communication in organizations, psychological aspects of communication, misunderstandings, anonymity, survey design, conversation, and debate. The goal is to stimulate original research in one of these areas.

Mechanism Design and Implementation Theory: The main objective of this class is to teach the foundations of mechanism design and implementation theory. These subfields of microeconomic theory use game theoretic reasoning to model institutions where individuals interact to achieve an outcome that affects them collectively. While in game theory the game (or mechanism) is taken as given and analyzed to predict the possible resulting outcomes, in this course the desired outcomes will be taken as given and the mechanism will be the object of design. In particular, given a set of desired outcomes, we will ask whether there exists a mechanism that induces the individuals to choose actions that lead to the desired outcomes. Indeed, there are many economic, social, and political situations that can be addressed using this framework and examples are as varied as voting rules, auctions, bargaining protocols, and methods for deciding on public good projects. A general theme that comes out of the literature is the difficulty of finding mechanisms that satisfy individual truthtelling and participation incentives, while also achieving efficiency (total welfare maximization) and balanced transfers (which net out to zero across individuals). While in mechanism design the focus is on finding a mechanism that implements at least one outcome with the desired properties (weak implementation), implementation theory imposes the additional requirement that all possible outcomes of the mechanism are desirable (full implementation).

May be repeated:  for credit one time (maximum two enrollments).

Units: 3
Usually offered: Spring
Grading: Regular Grading or SPCDE

Auction Theory: Auction theory is frequently cited as one of the principal successes of the application of game theory. Auctions are used in online advertising, electricity markets, procurement, business-to-business trade, and the allocation of wireless spectrum. In contrast to the theory of competitive markets, which is largely silent about how dispersed information gets reflected in prices, auction theory is explicit about the price-discovery process. This course covers sealed-bid auctions, ascending auctions, different payment rules, independent-private value environments, interdependent values, revenue equivalence, auctions of multiple identical objects, the Vickrey-Clarke-Groves mechanism, bidding rings, etc. Advanced topics may include repeated auctions and commitment issues, package bidding, bidding languages, credibility in auctions, and computational constraints. The goal is to stimulate original research in auction theory, as well empirical and experimental explorations of auction environments.

Organizational Economics: This course offers a game-theoretic approach to central questions in organizational economics, in particular the design and the performance of organizations. One central aspect of organizational design is the allocation of decision rights. Should a headquarters keep authority over decision making or rather delegate to a better informed subordinate? The tradeoff is a loss of information versus a loss of control. Another aspect is the flow of information through the organization. Creating information channels by designing a network of who is able to communicate with whom is a powerful tool in organizational design. Communication can, for example, be horizontal (between divisions) or vertical (between hierarchies). Organizations often develop their own code and language to communicate. This can simplify the flow of information within the organization, but can result in a loss of information when communicating to outsiders. In multi-divisional organizations, adaptation and coordination play a key role for decision making. Each division has to adapt to local conditions. Different divisions have to coordinate their actions with each other. Potential conflicts between local and global interests can arise. The course will analyze and discuss seminal papers as well as state of the art research in organizational economics. The goal of the course is to stimulate research questions related to organizational design and performance.

Information Design: The behavior of economic agents is driven by preferences and incentives. We take preferences as given. Incentives can be created through contingent rewards and punishments (the subject of mechanism design) and through the provision of information (the subject of information design). In this course we focus on the latter and investigate to what extent a designer can influence a set of agents to behave in a certain way by modifying the informational environment in which their strategic interaction takes place. The course surveys the seminal papers as well as the more re- cent developments in the fast-growing literature on persuasion and information design, as well as some classic results from information theory. The topics are studied both in generality as well as in the context of specific application in banking and finance, industrial organization, organizational economics and political economy.

May be repeated:  for credit one time (maximum two enrollments).

Units: 3
Usually offered: Fall
Grading: Regular Grading or SPCDE

Game theory provides the analytic tools and language for much of modern economic theory. It recognizes that an individual’s options and preferences over those options are frequently influenced by the choices of others. It is explicit about who the participants are in an interaction, which choices are available to them, what information they have about their environment and about each other, and what their objectives are. This course assumes familiarity with the basic ideas of game theory, including the notion of a strategy, the Nash equilibrium concept, Bayes Nash equilibrium, and sequential equilibrium. This is a topics-oriented course that may take a closer look at how game theory represents knowledge and beliefs, robustness to higher-order uncertainty, repeated games (with perfect monitoring, imperfect public monitoring, imperfect public monitoring), correlated equilibrium, extensive-form rationalizability, the universal belief space, etc. The goal is to stimulate original research in game theory, its applications, and the study of strategic interaction in experiments.

May be repeated:  for credit three times (maximum four enrollments).

Units: 3
Usually offered: Fall
Grading: Regular Grading or SPCDE

Climate change is today's grand environmental challenge. It touches many aspects of life and policy, and as a result reaches into all fields of economics.  We use multiple methodological approaches to explore a variety of the economic questions raised by climate change.  The course includes sections on empirically estimating the consequences of climate change for the economy, integrated climate-economy modeling for studying optimal emission taxation, and theoretical analysis of policy instruments for controlling climate change.

Units: 3
Usually offered: Spring
Grading: Regular Grading or SPCDE
Prerequisite(s): ECON 501A, 501B, 501C and 502

The analysis of important and current empirical topics in environmental and energy economics. It begins with a brief introduction to some of the most important theoretical ideas of environmental economics and then dives into recent empirical analyses of the costs and benefits of environmental and energy issues. Topics will include: economic and health costs of pollution, wholesale and retail electricity markets, household energy behavior, emissions markets, the effects of environmental regulation on firms, fuel economy standards and gasoline taxes and the relationship between the environment and economic development.

Units: 3
Usually offered: Fall
Grading: Regular Grading
Prerequisite(s): ECON 501A, 501B, 501C, 502, 508 and 522A

The course examines the performance and structure of the world economy over an extended period of time. We present the major research dealing with changes in output and institutions in a variety of different countries. We focus on both books and journal articles and I try to match the topics to the participating students’ interests. The books are used to show how to build research projects that build up from a series of articles to provide a complete picture of the issues under consideration. The books and journal articles also are used to illustrated methods of frontier research in economic history. Each class involves student presentations and discussions and I try to invite some leading economic historians to 3 or 4 classes so that they can participate in the discussions. The students also write and present a research paper, which can be outside economic history. The goal of the paper is to help the students continue their research for the second or third year papers or their dissertation.

May be repeated:  for credit one time (maximum two enrollments).

Units: 3
Usually offered: Spring
Grading: Regular Grading or SPCDE

The course examines the performance and structure of the U.S. economy from colonial times to the present. We present the major research dealing with output, institutions, productivity, labor markets, financial markets, technological change and other topics in United States economic history. We focus on both books and journal articles and I try to match the topics to the participating students’ interests. The books are used to show how to build research projects that build up from a series of articles to provide a complete picture of the issues under consideration. The books and journal articles also are used to illustrated methods of frontier research in economic history. Each class involves student presentations and discussions and I try to invite some leading economic historians to 3 or 4 classes so that they can participate in the discussions. The students also write and present a research paper, which can be outside economic history. The goal of the paper is to help the students continue their research for the second or third year papers or their dissertation.

May be repeated:  for credit one time (maximum two enrollments).

Units: 3
Usually offered: Spring
Grading: Regular Grading or SPCDE

 

Development and analysis of theoretical and applied models at the intersection of law and economics, including asymmetric information, adverse selection, moral hazard and contracts.

Units: 3
Usually offered: Fall, Spring
Grading: Regular Grading
Prerequisite(s): 
ECON 501A, 501B, 501C and 502

The practical application of theoretical learning within a group setting and involving an exchange of ideas and practical methods, skills and principles.

Units: 3
Usually offered: Fall, Spring
Grading: Regular Grading
Prerequisite(s): ECON 696C 

 

The practical application of theoretical learning within a group setting and involving an exchange of ideas and practical methods, skills and principles.

May be repeated:  for credit four times (maximum five enrollments).

Units: 3
Usually offered: Fall, Spring
Grading: Regular Grading
Prerequisite(s): ECON 696R, ECON 696S

Individual research, not related to thesis or dissertation preparation, by graduate students.

May be repeated: an unlimited number of times, consult your department for details and possible restrictions.

Units: 2-4
Usually offered: Fall, Spring, Summer
Grading: Regular Grading

Research for the master's thesis (whether library research, laboratory or field observation or research, artistic creation or thesis writing). Maximum total credit permitted varies with the major department.

May be repeated: an unlimited number of times, consult your department for details and possible restrictions.

Units: 1-4
Usually offered: Fall, Spring, Summer
Grading: SPEK

Research for the doctoral dissertation (whether library research, laboratory or field observation or research, artistic creation or dissertation writing).

May be repeated:  an unlimited number of times, consult your department for details and possible restrictions.

Units: 1-9
Usually offered: Fall, Spring, Summer
Grading: SPEK