Our required and elective courses seek to provide our students with a solid foundation in heterodox economics. We also encourage students to propose classes that they would like to see taught in our program.
This course covers major theories and debates in the tradition of radical political economy. Topics include debates over economic methodology, value theory, historical materialism, modes of production, the labor process, the dynamics of capitalist production/competition/concentration, crisis theory, financialization, and primitive accumulation. This course will be fairly theoretical in order to prepare students for more applied topics classes. Theoretically, course readings will draw eclectically from non‐ neoclassical traditions, including Marxian, feminist, and Institutionalist Economics. Class, race, and gender will not be treated as topics, but rather as entry points into course topics throughout the semester. Given the literary traditions of Political Economy, students will compose extensive written assignments.
This course will give an overview of the core macroeconomic terminology, data and concepts used by scholars and policymakers, and the most important debates over macroeconomic policy. It will provide students with the tools to examine and interpret events in the global economy, and to critically evaluate arguments in current macroeconomic policy debates. The goal is to prepare students to be critical readers of the business press and active participants in economic policy debates, as well as to prepare them for further graduate study.
Theory of consumer behavior and of the firm; market and multimarket equilibrium and stability; and varieties of imperfect competition are covered. Coverage includes theories of consumer and producer behavior in the context of a variety of real world problems. Applied examples will be drawn from fields including: information economics, environmental economics, economics of regulation, industrial organization, law and economics, natural resource economics, public finance, labor economics and regional and urban economics. For each sub-discipline covered, the most important economic model will be discussed and a review of the major research studies, techniques and empirical evidence will be undertaken.
This course develops the fundamental mathematical skills required to pursue model building in all areas of microeconomic and macroeconomic theory, econometrics, and such applied fields as labor, international, financial, and development economics. Subjects covered include matrix algebra, the comparative statics of models involving several variables; constrained optimization of functions of several variables, and introductory dynamics. This course stresses the interaction of conceptual understanding and extensive problem solving as the key to mastery of mathematical reasoning.
The purpose of this course is to help students acquire the basic skills
for policy-oriented quantitative research in economics. It is intended to prepare students both for continued graduate study in economics or other social sciences, and for the sort of quantitative work typically performed in advocacy and research organizations. The course is designed to (1) develop the concrete skills needed for statistical analysis in public-policy settings; (2) encourage students to think about how to use quantitive data to convincingly answer real-world questions; and (3) help students become informed, critical consumers of quantitative economics research.
The purpose of this course is to help students become comfortable and creative as empirical economic researchers. It will introduce a series of statistical techniques and models by observing life in the trenches, i.e., working through how practitioners have approached various quantitative problems and used econometric techniques to address substantive questions. In addition to regression-based approaches, we will explore other techniques such as variance decomposition and principle component analysis. Throughout the course, the focus is on real-world data, and on the kind of concrete questions that arise in policy, businesses, journalistic and similar contexts. A major focus of the class is on communicating statistical results in ways that are illuminating, persuasive, professional and rigorous. Coursework will make use of a major statistical package, which students will learn.
The goal of this course is to complete a serious research paper based on your training in the MA program and independent research. Students are responsible for creating a meaningful and feasible topic and identifying the appropriate research methods. We will engage in substantial peer review throughout the research process.
The term “community economic development” is used to refer to two different things: scale (economic development at the neighborhood level) and approach or philosophy (local community control over economic development). We will look at both. As the course title suggest, our focus will be economic development rather than any number of other important dimensions of development. While we’ll touch on some specific techniques, our main emphasis will be on broad planning skills of analysis and problem-solving. We will primarily use US examples, but will occasionally look at other countries to flesh out ideas or make comparisons. In the preparation of reports students will engage in peer-editing. Special emphasis is placed on marginalized communities, and African American experiences.
This course introduces broad themes in economic history by exploring a small number of topics in depth. Topics include the transition from feudalism to capitalism; U.S. slavery, the emergence of wage labor, and the southern regional economy; the rise of the large- scale firm; and instability, depression, and structural change in the twentieth-century world economy. Particular emphasis will be placed on the development of economic and political institutions.
Critical appraisal of the microeconomic principles of asset valuation under certainty and uncertainty; the various forms of risk and risk management; the theoretical and policy macroeconomic and overall social implications of conventional asset valuation and risk management; capital asset pricing and arbitrage pricing.
This course provides an introduction to the political economy of the Middle East and North Africa in the 20th and 21st centuries. The course also supports students to cultivate the methodological and theoretical skills necessary to critically assess and analyze information pertaining to the region. Through critical reading, lectures, informed discussions, as well as in the writing of reading reflections and essays, students are encouraged to develop both their understanding of the major trends in the political economy of the Middle Eastern and North Africa and their skills of political analysis more generally.
The goal of this course is to introduce students to feminist economics as well as expose them to economic and other social science theories including Historical Womanist theory, stratification economic theory, intersectional theory, and the Black Political Economy framework in order to provide students with tools to understand how both sexism and racism interact to place black women in the U.S. at the nexus of multiple forms of oppression and disenfranchisement. Students will also learn about the ways in which black women have organized and resisted marginalization by gender and race.
Law and Political Economy (LPE) is an intellectual tradition that traces its roots to the approaches of the Original Institutional Economists (OIE) and American Legal Realist of the early twentieth century, having established itself as a powerful alternative to the neoclassical orthodoxy during the interwar period. President Roosevelt’s so-called “Brains Trust” included authors from OIE and Legal Realist traditions. Over the past several years, by drawing on insights from other critical traditions including of course heterodox economics but also the economic sociology of law and Critical Studies, LPE has become an important challenge to Law and Economics. Law and Economics is a major subfield in neoclassical economics and plays a central role in mainstream domestic and international economic policy debates. The current course uses the LPE framework to analyze money, finance, and central banking. It will explore a wide range of topics including the sub-prime mortgage crisis of 2007/08, power and race, Modern Monetary Theory and public finance, and international money. The final part of the course will deal with public development banking in the current context.
Rival ideas about property rights and liberty are at the heart of the ways in which market economies are legally structured. However as Abraham Lincoln said: “We all declare for liberty; but in using the same word we do not all mean the same thing . . . The shepherd drives the wolf from the sheep’s throat, for which the sheep thanks the shepherd as a liberator, while the wolf denounces him for the same act as the destroyer of liberty . . . Plainly the sheep and the wolf are not agreed upon a definition of the word liberty” (Address at the Sanitary Fair, Baltimore, Maryland, April 18, 1864). This ambiguity, which speaks to a central controversy in capitalism in regards the nature and distribution of property relations, is illustrated in this course via the study of the legal foundations of corporations. From the scandal regarding Cambridge Analytica and Facebook regarding the harvesting of private information for commercial and political purposes to the controversies about gun control, the political activism of the National Rifle Association, and the significance of Citizens United we are continuously confronted by the centrality of corporate governance in the society. And of course broader questions regarding the economic regulation of corporations (e.g. with respect to environmental, taxation, or labor laws) have been central to political debates since colonial times.