Course Descriptions

Economics 53 - Macroeconomics

This is an introductory course in Macroeconomics. The course includes a mixture of theory and a discussion of economic institutions, practices, and policy. Topics include but are not restricted to fiscal and monetary policy, theories of business cycles, economic growth, interest rate determination, causes of recessions and inflation, employment and unemployment, changing markets, and international trade. There are no prerequisites. [Typically offered in the Spring].

Economics 104 - Financial Economics

A survey of modern U.S. financial institutions and sources of capital, including the stock markets, bond markets, money markets, and real estate. Extensive discussion of financial assets traded in these markets, how the markets and these assets have changed over time, and how they contribute to capital formation in the United States. Theories of interest rate determination and asset valuation. A free online book is used in this course (see below). [Typically offered in the Fall].

Economics 136 - Financial Markets and Modelling

Note: This is an advanced course that requires advanced math skills and the ability to program in Python. This course also has a prerequisite of Economics 104 or an equivalent course. This course also has a mandatory attendance requirement.

This advanced course introduces students to the world of derivatives and financial modelling. We explore the different classes of derivatives like put and call options and futures contracts, and their designs and applications. We will discover how the use of certain derivatives can mitigate or even eliminate certain types of business risk. We will discuss and develop algorithmic trading strategies. Topics to be covered include a review of measures of risk and volatility and the statistical means to make estimates of those measures, including the use of Fourier Transforms. Throughout the course we explore a series of value and pricing models, such as the classical Black-Scholes-Merton model but also more modern and experimental models. Students are introduced to numerous realistic problems and case studies. [Typically offered in the Spring].

HSSA10 - The Economics of Oil and Energy

An introductory second-semester freshman course devoted to improving writing skills and critical analysis of a subject chosen by your teacher. Because I am an economist, I thought that first-year students might be very interested in the economics of oil and energy. There is a lot to be learned here and this subject is very topical and important. We will begin by reading texts on energy use and review a lot of current data on energy websites, such as that maintained by the Energy Information Agency of the U.S. Government. We will use that data in part to confirm or disavow some of the claims that are made in the books that we are reading. Most weeks we will have class discussions of the material read and try to arrive at a general understanding of the status quo and later in the semester begin to explore options for change in the future. From time to time I will give a lecture about some aspect of energy economics and our teaching assistant and I will also give some lectures about writing. [Always offered in the Spring, but not offered in Spring 2017].

Social Sciences 147 - Enterprise and the Entrepreneur

Do you believe in a Koz that you want to promote? Do you have what it takes to run your own business? What role is played by the entrepreneur in our market economy? We discuss all of this and more. This is a course where the student plays a very active role, including getting up on your feet to promote your causes and pitch your ideas. In the second half of the course you have to work as part of a team, building and promoting your own organization. There are no prerequisites for this course. This course can be regarded as an economics course in satisfying our department's requirements. This course does not satisfy the departmental writing requirement. [Typically offered in the Fall].