Courses

COR1-GB 1303 Firms and Markets

This course provides an intensive overview of the economic analysis of firms, industries, and markets. The overriding general constraint is the scarcity of resources. We examine the rationales for decisions by individual buyers and sellers, as well as how these decisions are aggregated through markets. Among other things, we explore the forms that competition can take, the role of industry structure, and the influences of government policies. The course is intended to provide you with tools and conceptual frameworks that you can use to better understand and analyze business decision-making and the market and government-policy environment within which businesses operate. In addition, the course develops analytical tools and logic that are useful in the study of finance, strategy, marketing, and other business areas. Some of the key concepts we will introduce include opportunity cost (which costs matter), economic incentives, optimizing within constraints imposed by scarcity, marginal analysis, strategic behavior (how to predict and respond to your rivals’ decisions), market efficiency (what does it mean for a market to work really well), externalities (spillover costs or benefits, beyond standard market exchange), and asymmetric information (what happens when others know something you do not).    

Offered: Fall, Spring, Summer
 


COR1-GB 2113 The Global Economy 

The performance of a business is inextricably tied to the country in which it operates. In this class, we will develop a framework to understand how institutions and markets shape macro-economic outcomes. By the end of this course, you will be able to interpret macroeconomic data such as unemployment rates, current account deficits, gross domestic product, and price indices, understand the fundamental determinants of long-term growth, grasp the nature of short-term fluctuations and their impact on markets, evaluate and critique the opinions of analysts and journalists, and assess short- and long-term business opportunities in different countries.    

Pre-requisite: Firms and Markets or equivalent  
Offered: Fall, Spring  
 


ECON-GB 2110 Health and Medical Care Business

By the end of the course, students will understand how economics is applied in healthcare and how various dynamics impact the changing environment of healthcare.  Students will gain perspective from numerous players in the market, including health insurers, physicians, hospitals and the government, and how each group makes cost-benefit trade off decisions.  We will also explore healthcare reform in the US and how different countries around the world manage healthcare.  

Pre-requisite: Firms and Markets or equivalent  
Counts towards: Health Care and Economics specialization  
Offered: Fall  
 


ECON-GB 2112 - Economics and Management of the Pharmaceutical and Biotechnology Industries  

This course offers the student an overview of the economic, managerial and policy issues that drive and challenge the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries. The objectives of the course will include: cost structure of these dominant market players; a focus on the management and economics of the powerful R&D process and its relationship to an ever-changing technological environment and innovation dominance; the explosive growth of the biologic and genomics markets, and; the interconnectivity of the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries. Discussion will also include the role of government regulation on these industries, as well as the ethical issues and challenges these industries face.  

Pre-requisite: Firms and Markets or equivalent  
Counts towards: Health Care and Economics specialization  
Offered: Summer
 


ECON-GB 2113 Value-driven Health Care  

Health care insurers, providers, and policymakers are increasingly pursuing strategies to increase “value” in health care. The objective of this course is to introduce key value-based health care strategies and to apply theory-based approaches to assess their design and evaluate their effects. The course will be divided into three modules. In the first module, we will discuss approaches to and challenges of defining and measuring value in health care. In the second module, we will discuss the centrality of payment structure and incentive design in health care in determining quality and costs. We will then discuss new contracting models and payment approaches intended to incentivize value-driven health care including accountable care organizations, payment bundling, and patient-centered medical care. In the third module, we will cover new models of health care delivery and assess their value propositions. This course will cover issues across the health care delivery spectrum including inpatient, outpatient, long term care, and prescription drug markets. Particular focus will be placed on the tradeoffs between efficiency and equity in the pursuit of value, the role of big data and technology in facilitating new value-driven initiatives, the importance of evaluation and evidence-based decision-making, and the effect of secular trends including aging demographics and consolidation/common ownership across the health care system. While background knowledge in health care institutions may be helpful, it is not necessary for this course as necessary context will be provided during the lectures and through readings.  

Pre-requisite: Firms and Markets or equivalent  
Counts towards: Health Care and Economics specialization  
Offered: Fall  
 


ECON-GB 2156 Beyond Behavioral Economics  

In recent years, there has been an explosion of interest in studying how people make economic choices. Behavioral economics has become a major field in the social sciences. Large numbers of “biases” and “noise” in which individuals deviate from rational behavior have been identified, often through experiments. But less attention has been paid to what is meant by “rational” behavior. In this course, we will study why and how rational behavior in a world of uncertainty cannot be equated with traditional optimizing behavior. Using examples from economics, law and politics, we will explore how people do and should take decisions under uncertainty. Our brains do not function like computers, and for good reason. Successful evolution has given us the capacity to cope with extraordinarily complex situations. The course will use a number of case studies to illustrate decision taking in both business and law.    

Pre-requisite: Global Economy or equivalent  
Counts towards: Economics specialization
Offered: Fall  
 


ECON-GB 2190 Emerging Economies  

This course covers the economic development and market structure of various emerging economies. We will cover many of the most important emerging markets in the world. Asia, especially China and India, receives a strong focus given its size and pivotal role in the world economy. However, the markets of Latin America, Africa, Eastern Europe and the Middle East all receive coverage. Emerging markets are now responsible for the lion’s share of world GDP growth. Success in them is critical for the strategies of multinational firms. Similarly, they are an important part of most investment portfolios. What are the key challenges facing emerging markets today? What are the key drivers for economic growth in different countries? What is their future potential and how are they likely to evolve over the next few decades? How will demographic trends impact the attractiveness and growth prospects of these markets? What role does the government, especially the state-owned sector, play in their economies? More generally, how does politics impact markets, especially for foreign firms operating there? How do financial markets and corporate governance vary by country and what impact do they have on firm strategies? Why are conglomerates more common in emerging markets and what role do they play? How do consumer behavior and product markets vary by income and region?  These are the main questions we will entertain during the term.  

Pre-requisite: Global Economy or equivalent  
Counts towards: Economics specialization  
Offered: Winter  
 

 


ECON-GB 2313 Data Bootcamp  

Data Bootcamp is about nuts and bolts data analysis. You will learn about economic, financial, and business data, and enough about computer programming to work with it effectively. Applications include some or all of: leading economic indicators, emerging market country indicators, bond and equity returns, stock options, income by zip code, long tail sales data, innovation, diffusion curves, and many others. We will use Python, a popular high-level computer language that is widely used in finance, consulting, technology, and other parts of the business world. “High-level” means that it is less painful than most, as the hard work is done by the language. However, it is a serious language with extensive capabilities. Data analysis means primarily graphical descriptions that summarize data in ways that are helpful to managers. Bootcamp is a reminder that gaining expertise takes work.    

Counts towards: Economics specialization  
Offered: Fall, Spring  
 


ECON-GB 2317 The Making of Economic Policy in the White House  

This course shows students how economic policy gets made, and should get made, at the highest levels of federal government. It draws upon almost fifty years of economic policy-making, and the challenges that have confronted the men and women who have sat in positions of power in the Treasury, the Office of Management and Budget, the Council of Economic Advisers, and the National Economic Council. These challenges include the breakdown of the Bretton Woods system and the transition to a predominantly floating exchange rate world, the era of rampant inflation, the collapse of the Soviet Union and the transition to market economies, the shock of 9/11, the financial crisis of 2008, and the Great Recession that followed. Lectures and discussions will lead to in-class exercises, in which students will role-play as advisers to US presidents from Richard Nixon to Donald Trump. What is it like to sit in the Oval Office and discuss policy with the president? To know that your input into his decisions will impact millions of people? To know that the wrong advice could be calamitous? Students will learn how to analyze policy problems and design solutions, taking into account the multi-dimensional aspects of making federal policy and the many constraints upon those decisions, including of course the influence of Congress. As part of the learning process, students will also have the opportunity to hear from guest speakers who have worked at the very top of economic policy-making in the executive branch of government, and played a role in the policy-making process through their work in the media.    

Counts towards: Economics specialization  
Offered: Fall  
 


ECON-GB 2345 The Business of Platforms, Networks, and Two-Sided Markets    

We will analyze the business of platforms, such as Uber, Airbnb, and credit cards, that bring together two sides of a market (drivers and riders; landlords and tourists; merchants and consumers). In platforms, there are positive feedback effects. The more riders use Uber, the more drivers it attracts, and vice versa. Feedback effects result in high market concentration and high profits. Often, smaller platforms are marginalized or exit the market. We will study the factors and strategies that lead to success and profitability in platforms and apply them to Uber, Airbnb, credit cards, eBooks, cell phones, computer operating systems, and other industries.  

Pre-requisite: Firms and Markets or equivalent  
Counts towards: Economics specialization  
Offered: Spring 
 


ECON-GB 2346 Growth in the Developing World and the Global Economy  

The course deals with the recent (post-war) sustained high growth in the developing world and its likely evolution and impact in the future. How are these kinds of growth rates possible? What are the structural, economic, political, and policy underpinnings? What accounts for the absence of growth in a substantial part of the developing world? Attention will be given to the evolving global landscape surrounding this growth. What is the impact of this widening pattern of growth? Are there natural brakes that may slow the process down or make it difficult for the non-G20 developing countries and their 1/3 of the world population to start or sustain high growth? The class will attempt to identify and assess the impact of important global trends and challenges. Included in the latter will be governance issues. We will spend a little time on the impact of the 2008-2009 crisis, the transmission channels, and lessons learned from the vantage point of developing countries.  

Pre-requisite: Global Economy or equivalent  
Counts towards: Economics specialization  
Offered: Fall  
 


ECON-GB 2355 Behavioral Economics: Decisions and Strategies  

Behavioral economics is an emerging subfield that integrates insights from psychology into economic models of behavior. This course is intended to inform managers, analysts and consultants of the psychological processes and biases underlying our decision making, with an emphasis on how to incorporate such insights into business strategies. Successful business strategies depend on a thorough understanding of how consumers and producers make decisions. However traditional models which are founded on the assumption of perfect rationality have serious limitations. Rather than making decisions in the manner predicted by these models, consumers and producers often use myriad rules and processes that result in sometimes counterintuitive decisions. For instance, consumers have an exaggerated tendency to select compromise or middle options when making choices, overpay for warranties, buy products they do not use, and do not buy products that they later wish they had. Similarly, producers overpay for acquisitions, persist in investing in losing projects, hire the wrong people, and design products that result in consumer dissatisfaction. This course will provide a broad overview of important results from behavioral economics that clarify how consumers and producers really make decisions and investigate how these results can be leveraged to design original and more effective business strategies.    

Pre-requisite: Firms and Markets or equivalent  
Counts towards: Economics specialization  
Offered: Spring, Summer  
 


ECON-GB 2360 Sports Economics  

This course applies microeconomic theory and econometric analysis to sport, and it explores some public policy issues that have arisen in the design of sports competitions. In addition, it applies the tools of behavioral finance to sports betting markets. This is a unique opportunity to understand why there has been an unprecedented rise in the number of economists using sports data to explain or test theories about the wider business world. The course is divided into four main parts: The Structure of Sports Leagues, Labor Market Issues, College Sports, and the Market for Sports Betting. By the end of the course students will be able to comment intelligently on the economic issues of sport which regularly appear in the news media and they will be able to offer insights into the parallels between betting on the ball game, gambling at the ponies, and purchasing stock in a favorite firm on the NYSE.    

Pre-requisite: Firms and Markets or equivalent  
Counts towards: Economics specialization  
Offered: Spring, Summer
 


ECON-GB 2362 Economics of Creativity and Innovation  

In this course, we will examine why some people, industries, and countries are more innovative than others. Course topics will include, but are not limited to the effects of patents, copyrights, immigration, social inequality, and education. The focus will be on policies made at the federal, state, and local levels, and on the implications of these policies for creative individuals in business, the arts, as well as science and invention. Discussions will touch upon the goals of policies and the extent to which the intention, implementation, and ultimate effects of policies align with these intentions. Students will learn to independently evaluate evidence on the effectiveness of alternative policies. They will be able to identify environments and policies that encourage innovation and creativity. Class sessions are a mixture of lectures, a guest lecture, and student presentations of existing research.  

Pre-requisite: Firms and Markets or equivalent  
Counts towards: Economics specialization  
Offered: Fall   
 


ECON-GB 2374 Healthcare Markets  

In this course, we will apply the tools of economic analysis to study how medical care is produced and financed, in both the private and public sectors. Our emphasis will be on the United States, with a brief treatment of health systems in other developed and less developed countries.  

Pre-requisite: Firms and Markets or equivalent  
Counts towards: Health Care and Economics specializations  
Offered: Spring  
 


ECON-GB 3145 Money and Modern Capitalism: Law and Business  

The 2008 financial crisis showed that, although a market economy is the most efficient means yet devised to raise living standards, our system of money and banking is its Achilles heel. Why is that? In this seminar we explore the fundamental nature of money and banking and its evolution over time, the challenges posed by radical uncertainty about the future for macroeconomic theory and policy, the role of central banks, and some of the recent and not-so-recent proposals for reform of the system.  

Pre-requisite: Global Economy or equivalent  
Counts towards: Economics specialization  
Offered: Fall