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        Economics Student Handbook

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    • Courses in the Department of Economics combine abstract theory with concrete statistical analysis for a more nuanced and accurate understanding of important issues. Our classes offer the study of different schools of economic thought, explored for both historical context and modern importance.

      Please consult the New School Course Catalog for a full course list. Spring 2021 courses include:

      • Inequality and Varieties of Capitalism, GECO 5077 
        David Howell, Professor of Urban Policy 

        Over the last half century, many rich countries have experienced sharply rising income and wealth inequality, stagnant or declining real earnings, and increasing employment duality and precarity. With neoliberalism ascendant, shared growth has been in retreat – in sharp contrast to the early post-war ‘Golden Age’. But inequality and job quality trends over the last half century have been far from uniform across the advanced capitalist world. This course explores cross-country variations in equitable growth and what explains them. We begin with the facts: What are the trends and how do they differ? The second part of the course will relate these developments to the structures and dynamics of national capitalisms as described and debated in the social structures of accumulation, varieties of capitalism, and worlds of welfare capitalism literatures. With this empirical and theoretical background, the last part of the course focuses on explanations. Specifically, we ask: How compelling is the technology-driven skill mismatch account? If “inclusive” institutions matter, which ones? And if worker bargaining power is the answer, do we see evidence of a tradeoff between inequality/job quality and employment (unemployment) performance, or can a shared growth regime be complementary to full employment? 

      • Historical Foundations of Political Economy II, GECO 5105
        Clara Mattei, Assistant Professor of Economics 

        The class explores, through a historical and comparative perspective, the connection between leading trends of economic theory in the XXth century and applied policy-making. We will begin with a study of the concept of economic technocracy to delve into the examination of six noteworthy case-studies in the history of political economy. The first will be the connection between Institutionalism and America's Progressive Era labor reforms. Secondly will discuss the relationship between Marginalism and post-WWI policies, focusing in particular on the British and Italian case. In spite of the radically different political regimes, both in Italy and in England, the 1920s are characterized by austerity measures and the 1930s by interventionist policies. The role of J. M. Keynes' theories in this shift will be examined. With an eye to Latin America we will explore the importance of Structuralism and Dependency theory- stemming from the working of economists at ECLA (The Economic commission for Latin America)- for post-WWII industrial economic policies. We will then consider the Cold War period, studying the role of rational choice theory in the Johnson Administration (1963-69) and the Chicago economists in the Regan Administration (1981-89). The impact of Chicago ideas and monetarism on Pinochet's dictatorship in Chile (1973-1990) and on Argentina's new democracy (1983-1989) will be discussed. We will conclude with an examination of the influence of neo-institutionalism on the World Bank, in particular in its shift from an idea of structural adjustment to comprehensive development. Through this course Students acquire a thorough understanding of the main schools in the XXth century history of political economy. Chiefly, students develop critical tools to appreciate the importance of economic rationales and academic enterprises in the making of the world we inhabit.

      • Financial Institutions: Theory & Practice, GECO 5430
        Paulo dos Santos, Associate Professor of Economics

      • Graduate Econometrics, GECO 6181
        Jamme Moudud, Part-time Assistant Professor

        This course will involve a detailed understanding of the mechanics, advantages, and the limits/limitations of the “classical” linear regression model. Where relevant, questions of methodology will be discussed. The first part of the course will cover the theoretical and applied statistical principles which underlie Ordinary Lest Squares (OLS) regression techniques. This part will cover the assumptions needed to obtain the Best Linear Unbiased Estimates of a regression equation – also known as the “BLUE” conditions. Particular emphasis will be placed on the assumptions regarding the distribution of a model’s error term and other BLUE conditions. We will also cover hypothesis testing, sample selection, and the critical role of the t and F-statistic in determining the statistical significance of an econometric model and its associated slope or “b” parameters. The second part of the course will address the three main problems associated with the violation of a particular BLUE assumption: multicollinearity, autocorrelation, and heteroscedasticity. We will learn how to identify, address, and (hopefully) remedy each of these problems. In addition, we will take a similar approach to understanding and correcting model specification errors. The third part of the course will focus on the econometrics of time-series models including Granger causality, error-correction models, and co-integration.

      • Graudate Microeconomics, GECO 6190
        Ying Chen, Assistant Professor of Economics 

        The field of Microeconomics has been dominated by the neoclassical approach. This course offers an alternative perspective to study the behaviors of individuals and firms. Instead of methodological individualism, we focus more on coordinations among individuals and firms to understand why sometimes coordination fails and what institutions can be designed to assist coordination success. All of the mathematics required for the course will be covered in the assignments, readings, and discussion sessions.

      • Advanced Microeconomics I, GECO 6200
        Sanjay Reddy, Associate Professor of Economics

        This course surveys modern economic theory as it pertains to the allocation of resources over time in multi-agent societies. Particular attention will be paid to the formal mathematical expression of economic ideas such as the market, competition, interaction, technological efficiency, good allocations, distortions: in short, the ability to give a loose economic intuition a coherent logical meaning. In terms of an overview of the list of topics, the course develops modern microeconomic theory in the following order: the theory of the individual producer; the theory of the individual consumer; Kuhn-Tucker theory including basic results in the theory of linear programming; the two-sector model of general equilibrium; existence of competitive equilibria Pareto optimal allocations; intertemporal allocation; externalities and public goods; core allocations and Nash equilibria of games in normal form. The course will be self-contained from a mathematical point of view and will require only an elementary knowledge of calculus and linear algebra. However, it does presuppose a desire and ability for abstract reasoning.

      • Advanced Macroeconomics II, GECO 6203
        Willi Semmler, Arnhold Professor of International Cooperation and Development

        This course extends the theoretical and empirical study of the foundations of macroeconomic theory by providing a critical theoretical and empirical analysis of the problems of business cycles, economic growth, employment, income and wealth distribution and macro policies. We will focus on theory and empirical work of different traditions of dynamic macroeconomics. Topics covered include the empirical evidence on the old and new growth theory, business cycle models in the equilibrium and disequilibrium traditions, empirical work on the Phillips curve and unemployment, labor market dynamics and inequality, the financial market-real linkage, the role of banking and asset price fluctuations for economic activity, recent theoretical and empirical work on monetary and fiscal policies, and open economy dynamics. Suggestions of other topics in macroeconomics are welcome. Students will be encouraged to develop their own research, and an emphasis will be placed on empirical work in macroeconomics using regime change models.

      • Further Topics in Advanced Political Economy, GECO 6214
        Duncan Foley, Leo Model Professor of Economics and Director of Graduate Studies

        This course will be in three major parts. The first part will cover Marx’s theories of value, surplus value, exploitation, competition, and capital accumulation including their relation to the long-period method of Adam Smith. The second part will look at theories of alternate socialist institutions to organize production and distribution, with a brief introduction to some of the historical and institutional literature on actual socialist experiments in the Soviet Union and China. The third part will survey issues connected with the “revisionist” branch of Marxist thinking centering on the theory, history, and practice of social democracy.

      • Money and Banking, GECO 6264
        Paulo dos Santos, Associate Professor of Economics; Director of Undergraduate Studies and Departmental Faculty Advisor for Economics

        This course discusses the salient, critical contributions to our understanding of money, the nature of banking, and the functioning of monetary and credit systems. Discussions are divided into six substantive parts: (1) A discussion of contract-theoretic, functional, and logico-historical characterizations of the nature and functioning of financial intermediaries, particularly money banks; (2) a discussion of the historically defining and enduringly relevant debates on monetary theory and policy in early-nineteenth-century Britain; (3) a detailed examination of three influential contributions to our understanding of what money is—by Marx, Menger, and Wicksell; (4) a detailed discussion of the Walrasian or Neoclassical-Synthesis approaches to money advanced by Hicks and Patinkin; (5) a comparative examination of contemporary heterodox contributions to analysis of money, including Chartalist, Nominalist, and neo- Marxian theorizations; and (6) a concluding discussion on the question of international settlements, world money, and the distinct difficulties created by the post-Bretton Woods international monetary system.

      • Labor Economics I: Labor Development and Gender, GECO 6270
        William Rodgers, Senior Fellow at SCEPA and Professor of Public Policy at Rutgers University

        Labor Economics I is a graduate survey course in labor economics. The course aims to survey the classic topics in labor economics to prepare students to engage in original research and teach labor economics in several economic traditions. The successful student will be able to distinguish between several schools of thought in labor economics: neoclassical, institutionalism and radical political economy. Specific objectives include understanding modern research methods in labor economics and the dominant and heterodox models of labor markets. Students will be able to explain the most important labor market outcomes using various analytical frameworks including ones that assume varying degrees of market power, full employment, and constraints on choice. Some labor union history, regulatory issues will also be covered. Modern capitalism distributes resources in such a way that living standards, not only in terms of material wellbeing, but also in terms of security, dignity, safety, and longevity, have never been more unequal. We cover how markets, institutions, and rules affect the power balances between capital and labor, employers and workers and determine the value of people’s time and life, and working conditions and wages and salaries.

      • Advanced Econometrics II, GECO 6282
        Feridoon Koohi-Kamal, Visiting Associate Professor of Applied Political Economy

        This course builds on Advanced Econometrics 1 and seeks to familiarize students with a set of Bayesian methods recently developed for estimating and evaluating linear and non-linear macroeconomic models. In particular, the course will focus on Bayesian filtering methods such as Kalman filtering, unscented Kalman filtering, and particle filtering, which allow us to estimate non-linear models with unobserved variables and time-varying parameters. These methods will be applied to post-Keynesian Stock-Flow Consistent models, Dynamic Stochastic General Equilibrium models, and Dynamic Stochastic Disequilibrium models. Each topic will be covered in theory sessions as well as in application sessions. The course will be held in seminar style. Active student participation will be encouraged by appropriate assignments on the required readings. Students are expected to apply the methods discussed in small-scale projects and finish a research paper until the end of the term. Students will be encouraged to use this paper for their dissertation.

      • Economics, Ethics & Political Theory, GECO 6300
        Sanjay Reddy, Associate Professor of Economics

        This course surveys ways in which economic analyses are illuminated by considerations in ethics and in political philosophy, and vice versa. It includes a discussion of relevant debates in welfare economics, social choice theory, theories of justice, professional ethics, and other areas.

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