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Course Descriptions


I. First Year Courses


ECON 70100
Microeconomic Theory

This course develops theories of the behavior of micro-units in the economy--firm and consumers--and uses these theories to gain insights about behavior at the market level. Required topics covered include supply of products and the theory of the firm under competition and monopoly; the theory of consumer behavior; and production functions, cost curves, and derived demand for factors of production. Optional topics include the distinction between the short run and the long run and externalities. The focus of the course is on using theory to solve problems.

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ECON 70200
Microeconomic Theory II

This course covers advanced topics in modern economic theory. The topics include product differentiation and competitive pricing of attributes, duality theory, surplus accounting, intertemporal choice, intertemporal arbitrage and asset pricing, investment dynamics, risk and expected utility, moral hazard, adverse selection, and signaling in insurance markets, employment contracts, game theory, general equilibrium theory, social welfare theory, externalities, and public goods.

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ECON 71100
Macroeconomic Theory I

The goal of this course is to introduce some core topics and methods that you need to conduct research in macroeconomics.

We will study two of the widely used workhorse models of modern macroeconomic theory, the neo-classical growth model and the overlapping generations model. In doing so, we will also learn the techniques necessary to solve these models, namely dynamic programming theory and techniques. We will use these models to study problems of growth, business cycles and asset pricing.

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ECON 71200
Macroeconomic Theory II

This is the second and last GC CUNY core course on macroeconomics. The goal of the course is to provide the students with an overview of the most important and relevant tools of modern macroeconomic theory. The material is selected with the idea to serve as a basis for those students who specialize in macro, and to serve as a sufficiently broad and deep overview for those students who specialize in other areas and who need to use macro tools in their own research..

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ECON 72500
Mathematics for Economists

This is an introductory course in mathematics for economists. The goal is to familiarize the students with a set of fundamental mathematical tools that are frequently used in economics. The emphasis will be on application, while attention will be given to the underlying theoretical assumptions. As a main reference, I will use the books of Chiang and Wainwright (2005) and Casella and Berger (2002), as well as my lecture notes and slides.

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ECON 82100
Econometrics I

This course is the first of a two-semester graduate level study of the theory and practice of econometrics.
The course assumes a working knowledge of concepts of econometric analysis. The objective is to work
through a common set of principles, to formulate the theoretical underpinnings of various models, to study
the workings of many econometric models, to be able to recognize variants of existing models, to develop
variations of existing models that fit particular research problems.

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ECON 82200
Econometrics II

This course is the second of a two-semester graduate level study of the theory and practice of econometrics. The course builds on the foundations of Econometrics I and expands the set of econometric tools and techniques that are useful in applied econometric research. The objective is to work through a common set of principles, to formulate the theoretical underpinnings of various models, to study the workings of many econometric models, to be able to recognize variants of existing models, to develop variations of existing models that fit particular research problems.

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II. Field Courses


ECON 80600
TOPICS IN FINANCIAL ECONOMICS: Venture Capital, Private Equity and Innovation

In this course, students will become familiar with and develop an in-depth understanding of the recent advances in the areas of venture capital, private equity, and innovation. The course includes a complete, yet concise synthesis of the recent available literature on the aforementioned topics within a logical, analytical structure. The topics covered are in the instructor’s area of expertise, with an emphasis placed on agency theory, incentives, and methodological approaches to empirical research. More generally, students will develop the ability to critically integrate concepts, theories, and tools from corporate finance. The purpose is to develop familiarity with some of the most advanced work in the literatures, have a good understanding of how to critically evaluate current research in the areas, and develop research projects that can be published in the leading academic journals.

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ECON 81100
Monetary Theory and Policy I

The objective of the projects is to learn about the construction and interpretation of DSGE models.  The assignment is to choose a paper from the literature, (a) analyze the parameterization/calibration used in the paper; (b) simulate the model; (c) analyze the sensitivity of the model to its calibrated values. 

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ECON 81500
Special topics in Macro Theory (Machine Learning for Economists)

Recent developments in artificial intelligence and constantly growing computational power provide economists with unprecedented capacities for the data analysis. This course provides a broad overview of numerical methods at the intersection of mathematics, statistics and computer science that constitute the workhorse of the modern data analytics. In particular, the course provides an introduction to machine learning, deep learning, reinforcement learning, parallel computing and big data methods, as well as data manipulation, visualization, presentation and interpretation techniques. The studied applications are not limited to conventional econometric regressions models but contain some prominent examples from computer science, such as recognition of handwritten numbers. The course also introduces students to programming in Python with the emphasis on economic applications.

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ECON 81500
Special topics in Macro Theory(Computational Methods for Economists)

This course studies computational approaches for solving dynamic economic models. The objectives of the course are threefold.
1. It provides background in numerical analysis (approximation, integration, optimization,error analysis), and describes local and global numerical methods (perturbation, Smolyak, endogenous grid, stochastic simulation, cluster grid methods).
2. It shows applications from recent economic literature representing challenges to computational methods (new Keynesian models with a zero lower bound, default risk models, Krusell-Smith models, international trade models, overlapping-generations models, nonstationary growth models, dynamic games).
3. It surveys recent developments in software and hardware (Python, Julia, GPUs, parallel computing, supercomputers), as well as machine learning techniques.
We expect to have some lectures given by other invited speakers.

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ECON 82300
Applied Microeconometrics

This course covers analytical methods often used in applied microeconomic fields such as labor, health, industrial organization, and public policy.  Topics may include discrete choice modeling, analysis of treatment effects, experimental methods, and other techniques often used in applied microeconometric research, both from a statistical and an applied perspective.  Students will be asked to carry out analysis of data using the methods covered by the course, and will also learn to critically analyze empirical studies that implement these methods.

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ECON 82400
Applied Macroeconometrics

The goal of this course is to develop students' understanding of the current literature on applied time series econometrics and the tools used for that. Emphasis will be on univariate and multivariate models with stationary and nonstationary time series and applications. The course will cover topics in time series econometrics such as autoregressive moving average, vector auto regression, structural vector autoregression and vector error correction models. Students will learn to apply these tools to examine questions in macroeconomics, finance and international finance.

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ECON 82800
Panel Econometrics

This course provides a theoretical and empirical overview of econometric techniques that may be used when studying panel data. Panel data are pooled observations of a cross-section of units such as individuals, households, firms, states, or countries, over time. The number of pooled observations per unit does not have to be the same, but that case does present some further complications. When feasible, the theoretical discussion of econometric techniques will be illustrated with empirical studies that use those same techniques. The techniques can also be used when cross-sectional data consist of groups, for example by city, state, and so forth, rather than of pooled data over several years. 

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ECON 82900
Spatial Econometrics

This course provides an introduction to spatial econometrics. Spatial econometrics is concerned with the spatial aspects present in cross-sectional and space-time observations. Space is interpreted not merely in a geographic sense but also in an economic or sociological sense.

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ECON 83000
Financial Markets & Instruments

This course provides an introduction to the quantitative analysis of prices and consequently the risk and return of risky assets.  This analysis of asset pricing lies at the heart of virtually all of financial economics. There are currently two approaches towards pricing: absolute (like CAPM and APT) and relative (like Black-Scholes). The first approach is more ambitious since it tries to relate prices to fundamentals. This course will seek to provide a thorough overview of the current state of the art approaches towards asset pricing and will cover both theoretical and empirical work by leading experts in the field. The development of the material is mathematical, but the main objective is to develop intuition, discover empirical predictions and ultimately develop some original research ideas.

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ECON 83600
Financial Theory & Engineering

The course provides an introduction to the pricing of financial derivatives and is logically split into two parts. The first part deals with basic finance theory and the mechanics of derivative markets and instruments. The second part focuses on the mathematical concepts that are used to price these derivatives.

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ECON 84100
Economic Development I

Theories and policies of economic growth and structural transformation in less developed countries; problems of development and solutions in the real and financial sectors, in the domestic and foreign sectors; as well as economic liberalization and stabilization in developmental process.

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ECON 84200
Economic Development II

This course examines the microeconomic aspects of development economics,
with an emphasis on labor markets and human resources in developing countries.  Among the topics to be discussed are sectoral (or occupational) choice, wage determination, human capital and education, migration, population, health and nutrition, and gender issues.  These topics are addressed both in isolation and in the context of the “core” development economics topics of income distribution, poverty, credit allocation, investment, agriculture, globalization, and so forth.

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ECON 85600
Inequality, Economic Opportunity, And Public Policy

Income inequality has risen to the top of the public policy agenda in the United States and many other countries, and this course intends to help students critically understand the public policy implications from a perspective grounded in economic theory and careful empirical analysis.

The course will help students to more deeply understand the facts and empirical studies of causal relationships between inequality and opportunity in a way that will allow a critical understanding of public policy responses. Facts, drivers, and policies motivate the study of three types of inequalities and their implications for intergenerational economic mobility: top-end inequality, middle inequalities, and low income and poverty.

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ECON 86100 
International Trade Theory & Policy

This course covers the main theories of international trade, emphasizing their empirical implications. Besides more traditional theories, based on differences in technology or in factor endowments, we study in detail the more recent theories that emphasize endogenous varieties and firm-level heterogeneity. While the emphasis is on the mechanics of the models we also discuss issues related to data, identification, estimation, and testing.

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ECON 86200
International Macroeconomics and Finance

This course will cover recent topics in international finance, and international macroeconomics. The reading list is intended to give a general overview of possible empirical issues in the field and encompasses more topics than can be covered in a single semester. The lectures will go through selective recent papers or book chapters, which are mostly provided below or will be added to the list as we go along. The goals of this course are: (i) to provide an overview of the field and issues, and give you the tools to analyze the impact of real and financial international linkages on the national economies; and (ii) to prepare you to do original research in the field. The emphasis of the course is empirical. Readings and lecture notes will be posted on Black Board. 

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ECON 87100
Labor Economics I

This course focuses on the working of labor markets and their interaction with various institutions. As much of the analysis in labor economics relies on an understanding of supply and demand of labor, we will first lay a foundation of these concepts. During and following this discussion, we will address various topics, such as the impact of the welfare system; labor as a "fixed" input; market equilibrium and job search; occupational safety and health; compensating wage differentials; and earnings risk.

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ECON 87200
Labor Economics II

This course surveys selected topics in labor economics, with a focus on human capital. Topics include:  returns to education, school quality, signaling, experience and job mobility, migration and immigration, labor demand, minimum wages, technological change and the wage structure, and discrimination.  The course focuses on both theoretical models and empirical estimates, with particular attention paid to the identification of causal effects.  Work in the class includes an empirical replication study of a published paper
and a final exam.

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ECON 87400
Economics of Health

This course emphasizes the distinction between health as an output and medical care as one input into the production of health. This distinction leads to a discussion of models of the production of health and the demand for health. Within the context of these models, the demand for medical care is treated as a derived demand for a factor of production. Approaches to optimal infant and child health, the health-schooling causality controversy, and the economic determinants of such unhealthy behaviors as cigarette smoking and alcohol abuse also are covered. In addition, more traditional topics in a course on the economics of health are discussed. These include the demand for and supply of various types of medical care services, the demand for health insurance, and the effects of insurance on the demand for medical care.

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III. Requirement to Advance to Candidacy

ECON 88000
Research Methods and Writing in Economics

This seminar serves two purposes. First, it examines aspects of professionalism in the economists' world. This has various angles: (i) the art of writing effectively; (ii) the ability to conduct a useful literature survey; (iii) the art of reporting statistical information; (iv) the skill of effective presentation. To gain insights, students will make short presentations about these topics, summarizing material found in assigned readings. Second, in this seminar, students work on a research paper on their topic of interest. This is not to be done in isolation: through the presentations that each student makes, this course provides a forum for feedback and joint learning, while at the same time offering a place to build effective presentation skills. The paper must be a new project, not a continuation of a project (i.e., term paper, a literature survey or a research project) from a previous semester, although it may be related to previous work. Therefore, at the start of the semester, the first order of business is to define the project. This is done in coordination with both the instructor and a faculty member in the field under which the project is headed. At completion, the paper may become a part of the dissertation; if suitable, it may be submitted for publication. During the semester, students make three presentations about their research project, reflecting the progress made towards completion of the project.

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IV. Other/ Not Field Courses


ECON 81500
Special topics in Macro Theory (Within-National Inequalities: From Pareto to Piketty)

The central subject of the class is income inequality. Inequality has become a much more important topic in the press, social networks and academic publications over the last three or four years. This resurgence of interest is particularly striking in the United States where, because of the ideological dominance of the Chicago school of economics, the topic was considered irrelevant and “soft.” It was thought that only people mistrustful of markets or personally envious would care about inequality. Growth would ultimately improve everybody’s standard of living.

This position was a sharp departure from almost 200 years of economics’ concern with the questions of distribution, which Ricardo thought should be “the principal topic in political economy.” The Chicago model of economics has obviously been proven false as it bequeathed the West the sharpest economic crisis since the 1930s. To better understand inequality, it is necessary to review the historical evidence, and empirical and theoretical work on the topic. It is also important to realize that –despite the fact that it was during several decades an “underground topic”—there exists an important and sizeable body of knowledge.

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