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ECON 284: Simplicity and Complexity in Economic Theory (CS 360)

Technology has enabled the emergence of economic systems of formerly inconceivable complexity. Nevertheless, some technology-related economic problems are so complex that either supercomputers cannot solve them in a reasonable time, or they are too complex for humans to comprehend. Thus, modern economic designs must still be simple enough for humans to understand, and must address computationally complex problems in an efficient fashion. This topics course explores simplicity and complexity in economics, primarily via theoretical models. We will focus on recent advances. Key topics include (but are not limited to) resource allocation in complex environments, communication complexity and information aggregation in markets, robust mechanisms, dynamic matching theory, influence maximization in networks, and the design of simple (user-friendly) mechanisms. Some applications include paired kidney exchange, auctions for electricity and for radio spectrum, ride-sharing platforms, and the diffusion of information. Prerequisites: Econ 203 or equivalent.
Terms: Spr | Units: 3-5
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