Undergraduate Courses [Expand All]
NOTE: The list below shows the courses that have been offered by the Department of Economics over the past five years. The vast majority of these courses will be offered in any upcoming academic year. However, a few of these courses might be dropped from our curriculum due to departures of specific faculty members. On the other hand, with the arrival of new faculty members we will be offering new courses that are not on this list.
180.101 Elements of Macroeconomics
An introduction to the economic system and economic analysis, with emphasis on total national income and output, employment, the price level and inflation, money, the government budget, the national debt, and interest rates. The role of public policy. Applications of economic analysis to government and personal decisions. Prerequisite: basic facility with graphs and algebra.
180.102 Elements of Microeconomics
An introduction to the economic system and economic analysis with emphasis on demand and supply, relative prices, the allocation of resources, and the distribution of goods and services; theory of consumer behavior, theory of the firm, and competition and monopoly, including the application of microeconomic analysis to contemporary problems.
Prerequisites: basic facility with graphs and algebra.
View course website/syllabus
180.171 Topics in Political Economy
Societies make their key economic decisions under the constraints imposed by their political institutions. This course studies the interaction between economics and politics in public policy design, with topics ranging from fiscal policy to international development. Some recurring questions include why inefficient policies get enacted and how different political institutions give rise to different policy outcomes.
180.201 Behavioral Finance
In recent years, the assumptions of traditional finance models that market participants are generally rational and prices of securities accurately reflect all available information came under challenge. The field of behavioral finance argues that financial markets are best understood with models in which at least some agents are not fully rational. In this course, we will examine behavioral finance models and their practical applications. This course is based on Harvard Business School cases. Recommended Course Background: AS.180.102
180.203 Faculty Research in Economics
This course will consist of a series of informal lectures by various professors in the Department of Economics. Each lecture will consist of a description of a professional research project which he/she has undertaken over the course of his/her profession career.
180.101 and 180.102
Instructor: Bruce Hamilton
180.215 Game Theory and the Social Sciences
Game theory is one of the few mathematical tools developed for the purpose of understanding social phenomena. This course provides an introduction to game theory with an emphasis on applications. Applications in economics, political science, business, military science, history, biology, theology and recreation will be covered.
Prerequisites: No prior knowledge of game theory is presumed and the required mathematical background is minimal (high school algebra is sufficient).
180.228 Economic Development
A review of the historical experience in presently developed economies, models of development, planning techniques, and development policies. The course is aimed at identifying major economic questions relevant to less developed economies and to showing how economic analysis can be used to further understanding of the obstacles to development and to formulate appropriate policies.
180.241 International Trade
Theory of comparative advantage and the international division of labor: the determinants and pattern of trade, factor price equalization, factor mobility, gains from trade and distribution of income, and theory and practice or tariffs and other trade restrictions.
180.242 International Monetary Economics
This course presents International Monetary Economics theory and applies it towards gaining an understanding of recent events and current policy issues. The theory presented in this course covers a broad range of topics including exchange rate determination, monetary and fiscal policy in an open economy (that is, and economy that trades goods and assets with the rest of the world), balance of payments crises, the choice of exchange rate systems, and international debt. The insights provided by these theoretical frameworks will enable us to discuss topics such as the current global financial crisis, global financial imbalances, the Chinese exchange rate regime, and proposed changes in the international financial architecture.
180.243 Memorandums of Misunderstanding
180.252 Economics of Discrimination
This course examines labor market outcomes by race and gender in the United States. There are several objectives: to apply economic theory to the labor market; to examine empirical evidence on earnings and employment outcomes, and to evaluate supply-side explanations for these outcomes; to consider the validity of several alternative economic theories of discrimination; and to assess the impact of public policies to combat discrimination. This course will also reinforce skills relevant to all fields of applied economics, including critical evaluation of the theoretical and empirical literature, and the reasoned application of statistical techniques.
180.261 Monetary Analysis
Analysis of money, banking, and government debt, with emphasis on coherent models with microeconomic foundations. Topics include barter and commodity money, monetary institutions in historical perspective, international monetary systems; portfolio theory, liquidity, financial intermediation, bank risk, central banking; debts and deficits, savings and investment, the temptation of inflation. The course aims at providing students with the means to analyze monetary questions and institutions.
View course website/syllabus
180.263 Corporate Finance
An introduction to the financial management of a corporation. How should a firm decide whether to invest in a new project? How much debt and equity should a firm use to finance its activities? How should a firm pay its investors? How do taxes affect a firm’s investment and financing decisions? What determines the value of a firm? The emphasis throughout the course is on the economic principles that underlie answers to these questions.
Prerequisites: 180.101 and 180.102
180.266 Financial Markets and Institutions
Understanding design and functioning of financial markets and institutions, connecting theoretical foundations and real-world applications and cases. Basic principles of asymmetric information problems, management of risk. Money, bond, and equity markets; investment banking, security brokers, and venture capital firms; structure, competition, and regulation of commercial banks. Importance of electronic technology on financial systems.
180.276 Economics of the Internet
This course explores the Internet from an economist’s perspective, with the objective of understanding the effects on pricing and competitive behavior brought about by lower search and transaction costs in online markets. Unique features of information goods, product differentiation, market dynamics, reputation, and online auctions are among the topics examined. Dean’s Teaching Fellowship course.
180.289 Health Economics
Application of economic concepts and analysis to the health services system. Review of empirical studies of demand for health services, behavior of providers, and relationship of health services to population health levels. Discussion of current policy issues relating to financing and resource allocation.
180.301 Microeconomic Theory
An introduction to the modern theory of allocation of resources, starting with the theories of the individual consumer and producer, and proceeding to analysis of systems of interacting individuals, first in the theory of exchange, then to systems which include production as well.
180.101(can be taken concurrently with 180.101)-102 and Differential Calculus 110.106, or permission of instructor
180.302 Macroeconomic Theory
The course provides a treatment of macroeconomic theory including a static analysis of the determination of output, employment, the price level, the rate of interest, and a dynamic analysis of growth, inflation, and business cycles. In addition, the use and effectiveness of monetary and fiscal policy to bring about full employment, price stability, and steady economic growth will be discussed. Please see the course Blackboard site for further information.
180.101-102 (can be taken concurrently with 180.102) and Differential Calculus 110.106, or permission of instructor.
View course website/syllabus
180.303 The Global Finance Crisis
The course will first review the main causes of the crisis in financial regulation, monetary policy, as well as global financial imbalances. The prospects for economic recovery and the current challenges to fiscal and monetary policies will then be discussed. The third part of the course will focus on the long-run implications of the crisis for economic policy. The course will rely on mathematical modeling of key microeconomic and macroeconomic aspects of the crisis, in particular in the areas of banking and monetary policy.
Prerequisites: 180.301 and 302
180.307 Advanced Seminar in the Future of Finance
In this seminar, we will discuss broad ranging views on the future of finance. Most classes will involve presentations by and discussions with experts in the field on their perspectives regarding how finance will evolve in light of the current turmoil and rapidly changing conditions. We will place an emphasis on bringing in speakers with a wide range of views, including controversial vies. Speakers will come from the finance industry, government, and academics. The grade will be based on classroom participation and a term paper.
Prerequisites: 180.301 and EITHER 180.263 or 180.367.
Instructor: Faust, Jon
180.308 Financial Regulations in US
This course begins with the time of the great Framers and adopts a historical approach to U.S. financial regulations. By examining all major crises and the respective policy responses, the course will provide a narrative on the evolution of the regulatory landscape in America. Students will also be exposed to influential academic papers that address the essentiality (and even the redundancies and failures) of key aspects of financial regulations, including deposit insurance, bank capital and liquidity requirements, and supervisory rules. Dean’s Teaching Fellowship course. Recommended courses: AS.180.261, AS.180.266, AS.180.302
Prerequisites: AS.180.101 AND AS.180.102
180.310 Economics of Antitrust
This course explores the economic rationale for, and consequences of, antitrust laws. In addition to economic analysis, we will study landmark antitrust cases.
180.311-312 Economics of Uncertainty
In this course, we study economic phenomena that may be attributed to the existence of risk and imperfect information in the economy. Starting from the theory of individual decision making under uncertainty, we examine the role of insurance and financial markets in the allocation of risk, and the consequences of the failure of such markets in the presence of adverse selection and moral hazard. Market responses to the existence of asymmetric information are illustrated and analyzed.
180.314 Mathematical Economics
This course traces the extent to which modern economic theory, particularly as it pertains to the allocation of resources over time in multi-agent societies, is grounded in the language of mathematics. The course will explore how notions of existence, cardinality, stability and optimality of equilibria are formalized through the use of basic conceptual vocabulary of calculus, analysis and point-set and differential topology. Special attention will be paid to the formal mathematical expression of economic ideas and the ability to give a loose economic intuition a coherent logical meaning.
180.321 The Economics of Growing-Up
The goal of this course is to use economic models to investigate life events such as going to school, getting married, and having children. The course will focus on individual behavior and outcomes in six important stages of the life cycle: early childhood, schooling, adolescence, marriage and divorce, child bearing years, and retirement. While the course is designed to introduce students to a variety of economic theory and empirical techniques, the material is designed to prepare upper level students to write a proposal on an original research question.
Introduction to the methods of estimation in economic research. The first part of the course develops the primary method employed in economic research, the method of least squares. This is followed by an investigation of the performance of the method in a variety of important situations. The development of a way to handle many of the situations in which ordinary least squares is not useful, the method of instrumental variables, concludes the course.
180.335 Topics in Econometrics
180.336 The Art and Science of Economic Forecasting
Will sketch out a strategy for anticipating economic turning points. Business cycle basics, monetary policy/financial market/real economy interactions will be reviewed. Long-term growth issues will be explored.
Prerequisites: 180.101-102, 180.302 or permission of instructor
View course website/syllabus
180.337 Financial Econometrics
This course introduces models for financial time series and the necessary techniques to estimate and test these models. In particular, how the Efficient Market Hypothesis can be tested, how the ARCH model can be estimated and tested and how realized volatility models can be used to predict volatility. The course also covers risk management and option valuation.
180.351 Labor Economics
In this course students extend their knowledge of economic theory as it applies to the labor market, examine earnings and employment outcomes, and assess the efficiency and equity impacts of several governmental programs. In lectures and readings a continuing focus will be on the methodologies and statistical techniques labor economists employ. In the second part of the course students will have an opportunity to use both economic theory and empirical evidence to analyze in depth topics such as discrimination, inequality, and the impact of immigration and globalization on the labor market.
180.355 Economics of Poverty and Inequality
Covers the theories and evidence developed by economist for the analysis of income inequality and poverty. The first half of the course discusses economic theories of inequality as well as motivations for why society should care about inequality and poverty, and also covers concepts and detailed statistical measures. The second half of the course considers theories and evidence for different explanations: human capital, intergenerational transmissions, neighborhoods, family structure and discrimination. Solutions and government policies to reduce inequality and poverty are discussed.
Prerequisites: Microeconomic theory (180.301). Knowledge of statistical analysis up to the level of simple regression is also helpful.
180.365 Public Finance Analysis
Analysis of the revenues, expenditures, and debts of the federal government including their impact upon aggregate economic activity and on the allocation of resources.
Investment securities and their markets, especially the stock market. The relations between expected return and risk. The determination of security prices. Financial portfolio selection. The assessment of the performance of managed portfolios.
Prerequisites: 180.301 and Statistics 111-112 or permission required
180.368 Managerial Economics and Business Strategy
Seminar on quantitative concepts, decision-making, and strategy in business organizations. Overall context is ‘value’ – how it is measured and maximized long term. Microeconomic theory of the firm, competitive analysis, corporate finance.
180.369 Research in Economics of Financial Markets
In this course, we undertake a semester-long research project from beginning to end. Students will gain advanced knowledge of the functioning of financial markets, will be able to apply their econometrics technique, and will develop a deep understanding of the process of creating research. The course is not based on lectures. Rather, the class will decide on a research question, and students will work together to develop a workable hypothesis and undertake the necessary research to test that hypothesis and provide new insight onto the issue. Grading is based on participation, periodic drafts of the research in project, a final paper, and a final presentation. This course counts toward the “writing intensive” requirement.
In past semesters, we have analyzed the workings of new issues (IPO) markets, examined long-term patterns in M&A activity, measured the impact of technology on trading costs, and studied the impact of the 2008 ban on short selling in financial stocks.
Prerequisites: micro theory, econometrics or by permission Interested students should contact Fohlin with any questions at email@example.com
180.370 Financial Market Microstructure
How financial markets work in theory and practice: role of organization and regulation on asset price formation. We examine market liquidity, transactions costs, volatility, trading profits.some emphasis on behavioral finance.
180.371 Industrial Organization
Investigation of firm behavior in markets characterized by imperfect competition. Imperfect competition lies in between monopoly and perfect competition and characterizes most major industries in modern capitalist economies. Central issues to be covered in the course include what determines the intensity of competition? What determines the extent of entry and exit? How is it that some firms consistently dominate their industries?
Prerequisites: 180.301 or permission of instructor
180.373 Corporate Restructuring
The objective of this course is to familiarize students with financial, legal and strategic issues associated with corporate restructuring process. Main focus of the course is on the restructuring of financially distressed firms. The course surveys a variety of restructuring methods (out-of-court workouts, exchange offers, prepackaged bankruptcies, Chapter 11 bankruptcies, insolvency practices in other countries) available to troubled firms. A small portion of the course is concerned with restructuring employee contracts and equity claims (equity carve-outs, spin-offs, tracking stock).
Prerequisites: 180.301. (Additionally 180.366 would be extremely useful but is not required.)
180.375 Economics of Electronic Commerce
This course examines how online markets function. We want to identify their unique features and try to understand their implications for competition and welfare. Questions include – How does the form and intensity of competition differ between online markets and conventional markets? How has online markets affected search? How do online auctions function and what determines their outcomes? What are the forces determining market dynamics? Is there a first-mover advantage? What is the role and source of technological innovation? The format will be a blend of lecture and roundtable discussion.
180.385 Evolution and Economics
This course provides an introduction to evolutionary theory and its applications to modern economics. We start by introducing formal models of the driving forces of evolution: mutation, selection, and survival of the fittest. Next we investigate how these forces have shaped human preferences and behaviors that are typically taken as given in economic models. Finally, we discuss the evolution of social systems like the economy we live in.
180.389 The Social Policy Implications of Behavioral Economics
Economists increasingly incorporate insights from psychology into models of rational decision-making. Known as “behavioral economics”, this line of research considers how, for example, emotions, rules-of-thumb, biased beliefs and time inconsistent preferences influence how we make choices. Behavioral economics has begun to play a role in policy discussions on topics as diverse as: obesity, media coverage, subprime mortgages and voting patterns. Behavioral models are certainly novel, but do they help us to design superior social policies? With the goal of preparing students to address this question, this course (1) provides a thorough overview of the main contributions of behavioral economics, highlighting departures from more traditional economic models and (2) emphasizes how behavioral economic models might (or might not) improve how we think about social policy.
180.390 Health Economics and Developing Countries
Benefits of good health and its costs. Health demand and supply in poor countries. Welfare economics of Public Health.
180.393 Economics of Africa
Discussion of the economic experience of post-colonial Africa emphasizing topics rather than a historical narrative: agriculture, manufacturing, trade, population, education, health, public finances among others. Students are responsible for a research paper, topic choice and paper development in close consultation with the instructor, students to give a class presentation on paper findings. Course qualifies as writing intensive for the writing requirement.
Prerequisites: 180.228 or permission of the instructor.
180.502 Independent Study in Economics
Independent work on selected topics may be arranged by agreement between a student, a faculty member, and the department.
180.521 Senior Thesis
Students enrolled in this fall-semester course will do preliminary work on the Senior Honors Thesis. The tasks are to find an area of research, begin working with a thesis advisor, and develop a thesis topic and research plan for the thesis itself. By the end of fall semester the student and advisor should be able to make a firm determination as to the feasibility of the proposed thesis. NOTE: It is in the nature of research that some topics ultimately prove to be infeasible. With that in mind, it is possible to enroll in, and receive credit for, Research in Economics without subsequently enrolling in 180.522 Senior Honors Thesis.
Senior Standing, 180.334 (may be waived by the thesis advisor, depending upon the topic). (Note: This course cannot be counted as one of the 5 elective courses required for the Major in Economics)
180.522 Senior Honors Thesis
This course is a continuation of 180.521 Research in Economics. Under the supervision of the thesis advisor, students will complete the Senior Honors Thesis. CAUTION: Many research ideas that appear to be promising do not work out. It is possible to start a Senior Honors Thesis which in the end proves to be infeasible. BE SURE that you have enough credits to graduate without 180.522. Also be sure to have a serious progress discussion with your thesis advisor before the spring-semester drop deadline.
Senior Thesis Guidelines (PDF)
Prerequisites: Senior Standing, 180.521, 180.334(may be waived by the thesis advisor, depending upon the topic). (Note: This course cannot be counted as one of the 5 elective courses required for the Major in Economics)
570.428 Problems in Applied Economics
This course brings the principles of economic theory to bear upon particular problems in the fields of economics, finance and public policy. Micro, macro and international problems, from both the private and public sectors, are addressed. A heavy emphasis is placed on research and writing. Students learn how to properly conduct substantive economic research, utilizing statistical techniques and lessons from economic history. Findings are presented in the form of either memoranda or working papers. Exceptional work may be suitable for publication through the Johns Hopkins Institute for Applied Economics, Global Health, and the Study of Business Enterprise.
570.470 Applied Economics & Finance
This course focuses on company valuations, using the proprietary Hanke-Guttridge Discounted Free Cash Flow Model. Students use the model and data from financial statements filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission to calculate the value of publicly-traded companies. Using Monte Carlo simulations, students also generate forecast scenarios, project likely share-price ranges and assess potential gains/losses. Stress is placed on using these simulations to diagnose the subjective market expectations contained in current objective market prices, and the robustness of these expectations. During the weekly seminar, students’ company valuations are reviewed and critiqued.
Prerequisites: 660.203 – Financial Accounting
570.487 Financial Market Research
This course investigates the workings of financial, foreign exchange, and commodity futures markets. Research is focused on price behavior, speculation, and hedging in these markets. Extensive research and writing is required. Exceptional work may be suitable for publication through the Johns Hopkins Institute for Applied Economics, Global Health, and the Study of Business Enterprise.