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ECON 24N: Social Choice & Market Design

The design of mechanisms for group decision making, addressing questions about how apartment mates should choose rooms and share the rent, how a government should select and pay its suppliers, how a town should elect a mayor, or how students and college ought to be matches to one another. The first three weeks include classic papers by two Nobel-prize winning scholars about matching students and about government procurement. We will ask questions such as: What are the provable properties of these mechanisms? Is it possible for individuals or groups to manipulate the mechanisms for their own advantage? The remaining weeks focus on group decisions that are guided by "voting" mechanisms, showing the inherent trade-offs and proving theorems about the incompatibility among some simple, desirable properties of mechanisms. The ideas treated in this class are being used today to design new mechanisms for voting, matching, auctions and other applications, based on an awareness of the formal properties that the mechanisms may have.
Terms: not given this year | Units: 3 | UG Reqs: WAY-SI | Grading: Letter (ABCD/NP)

ECON 25N: Public Policy and Personal Finance (PUBLPOL 55N)

The seminar will provide an introduction and discussion of the impact of public policy on personal finance. Voters regularly rate the economy as one of the most important factors shaping their political views and most of those opinions are focused on their individual bottom lines. In this course we will discuss the rationale for different public policies and how they affect personal financial situations. We will explore personal finance issues such as taxes, loans, charity, insurance, and pensions. Using the context of (hypothetical) personal finance positions, we will discuss the public policy implications of various proposals and how they affect different groups of people, for example: the implications of differential tax rates for different types of income, the promotion of home ownership in the U.S., and policies to care for our aging population. While economic policy will be the focus of much of the course, we will also examine some of the implications of social policies on personal finance as well. There will be weekly readings and several short policy-related writing assignments.
Terms: Spr | Units: 3 | UG Reqs: WAY-SI | Grading: Letter or Credit/No Credit
Instructors: Rosston, G. (PI)

ECON 45: Using Big Data to Solve Economic and Social Problems

This course will show how "big data" can be used to understand and solve some of the most important social and economic problems of our time. The course will give students an introduction to frontier research in applied economics and social science in a non-technical manner. Topics include equality of opportunity, education, income inequality, racial segregation, innovation and entrepreneurship, social networks, urban planning, health, crime, and political partisanship. In the context of these topics, the course will also provide a non-technical introduction to basic statistical methods and data analysis techniques, including regression analysis, causal inference, quasi-experimental methods, and machine learning. Optional sections will provide a more advanced treatment of these methods for interested students. Each week, the course will include a guest lecturer from a Silicon Valley firm or government agency who will discuss real-world applications of data science.
Terms: not given this year | Units: 4-5 | UG Reqs: WAY-AQR, WAY-SI | Grading: Letter or Credit/No Credit

ECON 47: Media Markets and Social Good

This class will apply tools from economics and related social sciences to study the functioning of media markets and their impact on society. The guiding question will be: when and how do media best serve the social good? Topics will include the economics of two-sided markets, media bias, polarization, social media, fake news, advertising, propaganda, effects of media on children, media and crime, and the role of media in corruption, protests and censorship. The course will give students a non-technical introduction to social science empirical methods, including regression analysis, causal inference, experimental and quasi-experimental methods, and machine learning.
Terms: Spr | Units: 5 | UG Reqs: WAY-AQR, WAY-SI | Grading: Letter or Credit/No Credit
Instructors: Gentzkow, M. (PI)

ECON 50: Economic Analysis I

Individual consumer and firm behavior under perfect competition. The role of markets and prices in a decentralized economy. Monopoly in partial equilibrium. Economic tools developed from multivariable calculus using partial differentiation and techniques for constrained and unconstrained optimization. Prerequisites: Econ 1 or 1V, and Math 51 or Math 51A or CME 100 or CME 100A.
Terms: Aut, Win, Spr, Sum | Units: 5 | UG Reqs: GER:DB-Math, WAY-FR, WAY-SI | Grading: Letter or Credit/No Credit

ECON 51: Economic Analysis II

Neoclassical analysis of general equilibrium, welfare economics, imperfect competition, externalities and public goods, risk and uncertainty, game theory, adverse selection, and moral hazard. Multivariate calculus is used. Prerequisite: ECON 50.
Terms: Win, Spr | Units: 5 | UG Reqs: WAY-FR, WAY-SI | Grading: Letter or Credit/No Credit
Instructors: Makler, C. (PI)

ECON 52: Economic Analysis III

Long-run economic growth and short-run economic fluctuations. Focus on the macroeconomic tools of government: fiscal policy (spending and taxes) and monetary policy, and their effects on growth, employment, and inflation. Prerequisites: ECON 50.
Terms: Aut, Spr | Units: 5 | UG Reqs: WAY-SI | Grading: Letter or Credit/No Credit

ECON 78N: Economic Policies of the Presidential Candidates (PUBLPOL 78N)

In nearly all polls, American voters rank the economy as one of their most important concerns. In the presidential election, much of the debate for voters will be on questions of economic policy. In this course, we will delve deeply into economic policy issues to understand options for government intervention and possible outcomes. We will combine economic analysis with political science methodology to understand efficient and implementable policy proposals.nnSpecific areas of interest will be taxation, budget, entitlement programs, economic regulation and competition policy, trade, demography, income inequality, and monetary policy. The course will incorporate other timely and salient policy issues as they arise during the course of the campaign. n nStudents will be expected to write a short paper and make an oral presentation to the class. A wide range of topics will be acceptable, including those directly related to campaign issues as well as other long-term economic issues facing the country.
Terms: not given this year | Units: 3 | UG Reqs: WAY-SI | Grading: Letter or Credit/No Credit

ECON 101: Economic Policy Seminar

Economic policy analysis, writing, and oral presentation. Topics vary with instructor. Limited enrollment. Prerequisites: Econ 51 and 52, 102B, and two field courses. Some sections require additional prerequisites.
Terms: Aut, Win, Spr | Units: 5 | UG Reqs: WAY-SI | Repeatable for credit | Grading: Letter (ABCD/NP)

ECON 102A: Introduction to Statistical Methods (Postcalculus) for Social Scientists

Probabilistic modeling and statistical techniques relevant for economics. Concepts include: probability trees, conditional probability, random variables, discrete and continuous distributions, correlation, central limit theorems, point estimation, hypothesis testing and confidence intervals for both one and two populations. Prerequisite: MATH 20 or equivalent.
Terms: Aut, Win | Units: 5 | UG Reqs: GER:DB-Math, WAY-AQR, WAY-SI | Grading: Letter or Credit/No Credit
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