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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 course covers consumer behavior and demand, production and cost, market structure and evaluation of the economic efficiency of market outcomes (for competition, monopoly, oligopoly), choice with risk. Emphasis on the tools used to analyze the behavior of individual economic units. 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. Credits: 3;

Professor Kevin Mumford (PhD, Stanford) describes Econ 562

Econ 512; Intermediate Economics II (Macroeconomics): This course covers national income and macroeconomic accounting; the analysis of the determination of national income and employment, both in the long run and across the business cycle; the effects of fiscal and monetary policy; the effects of financial crisis. Consideration of both theory and empirical evidence.  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. Credits: 2  

Econ 570 (or 590): International Economics: This course covers topics in international trade with a focus on trade policy. The course opens with presenting main questions in international trade that are crucial to the welfare of nations in the 21st century. In order to address these key questions, the course covers selected topics in international trade theory with a focus on their applications in real-world policy debates. Credits: 2 

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

Econ 571 (or 590): Econometrics II: This course begins by reviewing basic concepts in probability, mathematical statistics and linear algebra. The purpose of this review is to provide a suitable foundation so that the student can obtain a better and more rigorous understanding of the linear regression model, its representation and assumptions, procedures for estimation and properties associated with the familiar OLS estimator.  Once the mathematical preliminaries have been reviewed, we move on and apply what we have learned to the linear regression model. We discuss estimation and prediction, establish properties such as efficiency, unbiasedness, consistency and convergence in mean square. We conclude the course by going beyond linear models, specifically considering a few nonlinear models appropriate for modeling binary outcomes.

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. Credits: 2

Professors John Umbeck and Cliff Fisher on Law and Economics

Econ 590: Economics and Accounting: Economics provides abstract theories of the workings of firms, consumers, markets, economies.  In this class we look at how economic terms and concepts are actually measured and used by firms and consumers.  We start by looking at the value of information or what makes information useful and how this usefulness can be quantified.  Next we introduce financial accounting or how firms actually measure their resources and obligations to parties external to the firm; we also discuss measures of liquidity and short-term and long-term risk.  Finally, we look at managerial accounting or the methods by which consumers and firms actually make decisions and use their information to evaluate and motivate employees.  Some understanding of accounting, the language of business, makes one better able to appreciate how economic theory is actually implemented.  Credits:  2

Econ 520: Industrial Economics: This course will explore 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. Credits: 2

Econ 574: Microeconometrics: This course in econometrics covers several empirical methods commonly used in applied microeconometric analysis including matching methods, instrumental variables estimation, fixed effects estimation, and regression discontinuity designs. Emphasis is placed on the identification strategy used to obtain an estimate of the casual effect when the researcher can only use observational data. Effective data visualization is also emphasized. Credits:  2

Econ 550: Personnel Economics: This course applies the tools of economic theory to human resource management. While traditional labor market models focus on the broadly defined demand and supply in the market for labor, personnel economics focuses on individual incentives in the employer/employee relationship. The topics to be covered in this course will include: How to motivate employees to put forth their "best" effort; What incentives various compensation schemes generate; How to minimize potential problems with information asymmetries between employer and employee; How to find the best "match" between employer and employee; and What contracts are most attractive to employees and maximize profit. The course provides the tools of economic logic that will allow you to evaluate proposals for labor policies on a firm-specific level and, to some extent, on a national level.  Credits 2

Econ 510: Game Theory: Game theory is a powerful tool for analyzing strategic interactions between players or decision making units. Players are decision making units, e.g., individuals, firms, workers, managers, countries, etc. The main goal of this course is to provide a basis for a good understanding of the logical mechanics and to provide a good intuition. The course concentrates on strategy and econ-related applications that relate to Firm Behavior in Markets and different types of Market Structures. Game theoretic decision making concepts will be applied to topics such as: Entry, R&D, Patent Races, Mergers, Cartel, Collusion, Advertisement, Auctions, Dynamic Games, New Product Introductions, etc. 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 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 equilibria, subgame perfect equilibrium, games with incomplete information, repeated games, cooperative games, and noncooperative bargaining. Applications include topics in industrial organization, networks and mechanism design. 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 (hidden action(s) and/or hidden types), including principal-agent models 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

Advanced Theory Concentration Courses (Hybrid Schedule Only) 

Econ 607: Microeconomics Theory II: 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: Additional advanced topics in microeconmics 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 670: Probabilty and Statistics: An introduction to probability theory and the basic statistical estimation methods. Topics include: axiomatic development of probability theory, conditional probability and Bayes' theorem, random variables and distributions, point and interval estimation, asymptotics. Credits 2

Econ 671: Econometrics I: An introduction to the modern techniques of econometrics and their applications. Topics include: the classical linear regression model (specification, estimation, inference, and prediction), specification analysis, functional form, heteroscedasticity, and autocorrelation. Credits 2

Econ 672: Econometrics II: Topics include generalized method of moments, estimation and inference with weak instruments, panel data models and bootstrap methods.Credits: 2

Mgmt 600: Accounting for Managers: A management-focused accounting course that employs a user’s perspective on the firm’s database. First, the standard accounting model is developed into a working tool, as no prior study of accounting is assumed. Then illustrative business cases are discussed to show how external reports conform to financial contracts and standards.Credits: 3