"The theory of economics does not furnish a body of settled conclusions immediately applicable to policy. It is a method rather than a doctrine, an apparatus of the mind, a technique of thinking which helps its possessor to draw correct conclusions." - Keynes
Principles of Microeconomics (EC201)
In teaching this class, my goal is for students to come away with an understanding of how economists analyze decisions made by individual agents -- the "apparatus of the mind." While the primary focus may seem at times to be on those decisions made by consumers and firms, analyzing the behavior of decision makers in most any situation is fair game.
This course is designed to provide students with a foundation for the study of labor and labor markets. Over the ten weeks, the course will familiarize students with theories of labor supply, wage determination, human capital, unemployment, gender and race discrimination, and work incentives. From this theoretical foundation, students will explore key developments in the American labor market over the past few decades regarding inequality, immigration, globalization, de-industrialization, unionization, the computer revolution, labor-force participation, and welfare reform.
Theory of Industrial Organization (EC460)
This course is designed to provide students with a good foundation for the study of firm behavior. Industrial organization deals with the way markets are configured, how many firms exist, how they relate to each other, and how this interaction effects production, pricing, investment, advertising, and other decisions in the face of technology constraints, the nature of consumer demand, and interactions with other firms. By the end of the semester students should have an ability to formulate economic hypotheses and to critically evaluate evidence that relates to those hypotheses.
Economics, Clark Honors College (HC431H)
In this class, I spend time unpacking some of the classic readings in economics... the rich and carefully constructed thinking games that defined economics before calculus-based theory became the convention. It is arguable that a few papers will venture to the exclusive interest of economists, but its pursuit would be an exceptionally worthwhile undertaking for a group of engaged undergraduates. Through these readings, we will develop and refine our understanding of human behavior and decision making, touching on scientific methodology, the nature of the economic problem, value, property rights, regulation, sex, social cost, and crime. Given our emphasis on this technique of thinking, our scope can be as broad as are the interests of those who enroll.
Undergraduate Honors (EC418/419)
Economic Analysis of Community Issues is a research class where students do hands-on applied economic analysis either for local community groups or on a topic of community interest. The objective of the course is to have students complete a research paper that provides them with some practical experience applying skills in economics and statistics and provide the local community or state, a finished research project that provides useful answers to questions that matter for their decision-making.
Managerial Economics (Exec MBA)
Consider this classic Smith quote... "It is not from the benevolence of the butcher, the brewer, or the baker, that we expect our dinner, but from their regard to their own self-interest. We address ourselves, not to their humanity but to their self-love, and never talk to them of our own necessities but of their advantages." That we gather to talk economics with the "managerial" modier in place will have us place particular emphasis on applications of economic theory that help us understand how organizations can achieve their aims or objectives efficiently. However, examining the processes by which organizations reach optimal managerial decisions in the face of constraints is but one abstraction from more-general economic principles. The pursuit should be an exceptionally worthwhile undertaking for a group of engaged thinkers, as we develop and refine our understanding of human behavior and decision making, touching on scientific methodology, the nature of the economic problem, value, property rights, regulation, and social cost.
Data and Decisions (Exec MBA)
In the Managerial Economics, we focused on the "apparatus of the mind" Keynes refers to when he speaks of the role of theory—a method rather than a doctrine, that leads us to good, logical conclusions. In the process of doing so, we learned a little bit about how economists analyze decisions. In Data and Decisions, we will consider how economists (not to the exclusion of other behavioral researchers) approach data... informed by what we know about statistics, economic theory, and data science. We will spend the majority of our time together investigating the techniques requisite to making causal inference and to building a toolkit for the productive adjudication of causal claims.
Game Theory (Exec MBA)
A one-day elective, covering the history and organs of formal game theory, and a variety of tools for organizing thought around situations where outcomes depends not only on what one does but also on the actions taken by other individuals or economic agent, thinking strategically, manipulating play to one's advantage or in anticipation of opponent strategy, solution techniques. The course is heavy in applications, with plenty of room to find one's own applications along the way.
Labor Seminar (Ph.D.)
In this ten-week seminar, I will typically choose an area of the literature to focus on and digest, with this objective of both developing an understanding of that literature but also refining the empirical toolkit so necessary to modern research in labor. It is therefore a nice complement to the "Advanced Microeconometrics" seminar I offer as part of the econometrics sequence.
Advanced Microeconometrics (Ph.D.)
The purpose of this course is twofold. First, I propose to have us each reflect again on the philosophy of science, and not skip over the intersection of theory and empirics. To that end, you will learn data management and related skills that will allow you to better focus your efforts on testing interesting or important economic theory extracting relevant information from data that enable you to advance your research agenda. Second, I propose to expose you to econometric techniques that are frequently used in applied microeconomic research. It will not be my intent to go into great depth on any particular method but to provide you with enough knowledge of available methods to know when, and when not, to use employ them in your empirical research. Your self interest should demand that you read the related literature, be able to discuss the econometric techniques and the intersection of those techniques and contemporary economic issues, and mature in your understanding of the discipline. I will provide appropriate incentives to move you toward this end.