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Course Descriptions for MS degree


Below are descriptions of the courses in the MS in Economics program.  The curriculum involves a core set of courses and the choice of one of two concentration areas. Video descriptions of individual courses are provided below; an overview of the program and its innovative features are described in the video to the right.

Professor Justin Tobias (PhD, Chicago) Overviews the Online Economics MS Program

Core/Common Courses

Econ 511: Intermediate Economics I (Microeconomics)

This is a course in microeconomics at the intermediate level. It develops and applies some of the basic theories of consumer and producer behavior and market interactions. The main objectives are to help students to learn how to approach issues from an economic perspective and to provide them with an understanding of the microeconomic tools and “intuition” that will be used in subsequent courses. Credits: 3

Econ 562: Econometics I

This course in econometrics covers the tools that will enable students to conduct empirical analysis using economics data. The course examines the statistical techniques used in testing economic theories, estimating casual effects, and making predictions. Emphasis is placed on estimating a single equation (e.g., a demand function) and the problems associated with such estimation. As part of the course, students will estimate equations using STATA, a statistical software package. Permission of department required. Credits: 3;

Professor Kevin Mumford (PhD, Stanford) describes Econ 562

Econ 512; Intermediate Economics II (Macroeconomics)

This a course in macroeconomcs that focuses on models that are micro-founded, meaning that decisions are made at the household and firm level by households and firms that solve constrained optimization problems.  Different than traditional courses in macroeconomics, this course introduces the important concepts in financial economics in order to be able to understand the relationship between financial markets and the real economy.  Only with these connections is it possible to assess events such as the recent global financial crisis of 2007-2008.  Credits: 3

Professor Matt Hoelle (PhD, Univ. of Pennsylvania) describes Econ 512

Econ 585: Behavioral Economics
This course explores human economic behavior, with a strong emphasis on laboratory and field experiment methodology used in behavioral economics research. Topics considered include behavior in markets for financial assets and auction markets, and behavior in social dilemmas that arise when people try to provide public goods voluntarily or increase economic surplus through trust. Students will also study how people bargain with and exhibit social preferences towards others. Decision-making and anomalies for risky and uncertain choices will also be covered. Credits: 2

Professor Tim Cason (PhD, Berkeley) describes Econ 585

Econ 573: Financial Econometrics
This course provides an introduction of basic principles of econometric analysis that may help students understand finance theories and their empirical applications.  It also aims to equip students with appropriate statistical techniques for conducting applied financial research.  The statistical techniques are particularly well suited for analyzing financial time-series data. Permission of department required. Credits: 2  

Econ 570 (or 590): International Economics

This courses develops a basic understanding of international trade and finances.  The course examines the role played by international policies in influencing economic growth and develops insights based on economics analysis concerning the benefits and costs of technology transfer, trade, and the role of multinational corporations. Credits: 2 

Professor David Hummels, International Economics (PhD, Univ. of Michigan) describes Econ 570

Econ 571 (or 590): Econometrics II

This course exposes the student to a more rigorous treatment of the linear regression model and its variants. Specifically, we review notions of convergence of random variables, sampling distributions, properties of estimators, asymptotic distributions, a linear algebra approach to the multiple regression model, and an introduction to binary choice modeling.

Professor Justin Tobias (PhD, Chicago) describes Econ 571

Applied Economics/Business Concentration Courses

Econ 565: Law and Economics
This course is designed to give the student an understanding of both legal and economic principles and the relationship between them. It will also show the student how to access various data bases, Lexis/Nexis, to get a formal statement of the law and how the laws have actually been interpreted and enforced. Finally, through the use of economic analysis, the student will acquire the tools to predict the likely outcomes of particular laws and how they will affect their family and business decisions. Permission of department required. Credits: 2

Professors John Umbeck and Cliff Fisher on Law and Economics

Econ 590: Economics and Accounting
While the course devotes time to understanding the fundamentals of accounting, a common theme is to continue to return to examine how the accounting numbers are related to economics.  Topics include financial accounting (accrual accounting and basic rules, balance sheets, income statements, cash flows, and financial statement analysis) and managerial accounting (costing of activities, decision-making using costing information, and costing information to motivate and evaluate peformance).  Credits:  2

Econ 520: Industrial Economics
This course will discuss the determinants of market and firm structure, firm conduct, and market performance in imperfectly competitive markets, and different approaches to regulating such markets. Emphasis is placed on using basic economic models of firm and industry behavior to explain and analyze real-world markets. Permission of department required. Credits: 2

Econ 574: Microeconometrics
This course focuses on the specification and estimation of various models commonly encountered in microeconomic applications. The course will first briefly cover the theory of maximum likelihood estimation (MLE), and apply MLE in some introductory settings. These methods will then be applied to various latent-variable economic models including binary choice models (the logit, probit, and other alternatives), censored regression models (e.g., the tobit) and models for count data. Permission of department required.  Credits:  2

Econ 550: Personnel Economics
Personnel Economics applies micro- and macroeconomic theory to the workings of the labor market while maintaining a focus on incentives in the workplace. The course will investigate the determination of wages and compensation (based on a study of labor demand and supply) and the differences in these forms of payment for labor services across workers within an occupation, across occupations, and across cultures. Other topics to be considered include the connection between investments in education and training and labor market outcomes and estimates of the costs and benefits of immigration and employee turnover and discuss the impact of unions, as well as discrimination in the labor market issues. Permission of department required.  Credits 2

Econ 510: Game Theory
Game theory is a powerful tool that facilitates a decision making process of individuals. Games are characterized usually by two or more players where any player’s action has an impact on other players’ payoff. Players are decision making units, e.g. individuals, firms, workers, managers, countries etc. Game theory analyzes situations in which people (or other animals) interact by breaking these situations down into basic descriptions of the set of players, the strategies available to these players, and the payoffs that the players receive for different combinations of strategy choices. Permission of department required. Credits:  2

Econ 590: Independent Study
Supervised reading and reports in various subjects. Permission of instructor required.  Credits:  1

Advanced Theory Concentration Courses

Econ 606: Microeconomics Theory I
An introduction to basic consumer and producer theory, competitive markets (including using the continuum to model competition), basic general equilibrium theory, and basic risk/uncertainty. Co-requisite: ECON 61500.  Credits:  2

Econ 607: Microeconomics Theory II (Hybrid Schedule Only)
Building on Microeconomics I, more advanced consumer and producer theory using support functions, risk/uncertainty and information, and basic game theory and oligopoly. Prerequisite: ECON 60600. Credits:  2

Econ 609: Microeconomics Theory III (Hybrid Schedule Only)
An advanced course in game theory and general equilibrium theory. Among the topics covered are: games in strategic form, games in extensive form, games of incomplete information, cooperative games with side payments, mechanism design, consumer choice theory, Pareto optimality, the Arrow-Debreu-McKenzie model, and the existence and stability of competitive equilibria. Prerequisite: ECON 60600. Credits:  2

Econ 610: Advanced Game Theory
An advanced course in game theory and its applications. Among the topics covered are: extensive form games, normal form games, Nash equilibrium, mixed strategies equilibrium, subgame perfect equilibrium, learning and equilibrium, games with incomplete information, repeated games, cooperative games, noncooperative bargaining, and auctions. Prerequisite: ECON 60600.  Credits:  2

Econ 614: Economics of Information
An introduction to the economics of information. Key topics considered are nonexpected utility theory and the various implications of asymmetric information-either hidden action(s) and/or hidden types, including extensions of the basic principal-agent model as well adverse selection issues, mechanism design, and screening/signaling models. Other topics that may be considered include the value of information/real option theory, herd behavior, capital asset pricing models, stochastic calculus and options pricing models, organizational decision making, search theory and price dispersion models, and herd behavior. Prerequisite: ECON 60600. Credits:  2

Econ 615: Mathematical Analysis for Economics
Topics include constrained optimization, comparative statics, and elementary topics in mathematical analysis. Students should be familiar with calculus, linear algebra, basic probability, and have a grasp of microeconomic theory (such as the material covered in ECON 51100). Credits: 2

Econ 690: Independent Study
Supervised reading and reports in various subjects. Permission of instructor required. Credits:  1