Senior Seminars Description

FALL 2015
economics senior Seminar Descriptions

Seminars listed below are only open to CC and GS undergraduate economics majors.

PLEASE NOTE: ALL PREREQUISITES (Econ W3211, W3213, W3412) must be successfully completed before the seminar may be taken—not after and not concurrently, otherwise the seminar will not count towards the major. Check the CC/GS bulletin for all seminar prerequisites and details. 

DAYS, TIMES and CLASSROOMS can be found on the Registrar's DIRECTORY of CLASSES website:

W4911 (Sec. 1) Seminar in MICROECONOMIC Theory
Instructor: Prof Sunil Gulati
Topic: Sports Economics
This seminar will focus on an economic analysis of the sports industry.  Topics covered will include economics of sports leagues, the labor market for professional athletes, sports marketing and broadcasting, economic impact of teams & stadiums and antitrust policies. A number of guest speakers from the sports world (including the professional leagues and media industry) will be featured. One textbook and a number of separate readings will be assigned. Seminar students are expected to actively participate in class discussions, make an in class presentation of selected readings and of original work and write a term paper on an agreed upon topic.

W4911 (Sec. 2)
Instructor: Dr Neal Masia
Topic: Public Policy, Economics and the Healthcare Industry
This seminar satisfies the seminar requirement for the financial economics major.
The healthcare industry accounts for nearly 20% of GDP in the United States and significantly more than that share of total government spending.  This seminar explores how major public policy events - for instance, "Obamacare," recent changes to Medicare and Medicaid, and various tax policies - impact critical healthcare industry sectors, patients, and taxpayers.  After a few sessions reviewing the structure of the US healthcare system and payment environment, each week we will discuss the current policy and business landscape in a key industry sector, including pharmaceuticals, hospitals, doctors, insurance companies, nursing homes, and others.  Students conduct independent research over the course of the semester on a public policy issue of their own choosing, culminating in a presentation to the class and a research paper. Students are expected to employ their quantitative and analytic toolkit to evaluate how a key government policy (or potential policy within the health reform context) is likely to impact consumers, investors, taxpayers, and future policymakers.

W4911 (Sec. 3)
Instructor: Prof Tri Vi Dang
Topic: Hedge Fund Investing

** This seminar is ONLY OPENED to FINANCIAL ECONOMICS MAJORS, and satisfies the financial economics seminar requirement . **

This seminar course discusses the economics of professional asset management with special focus on private equity and hedge fund investing. The aim of this seminar is to provide the students with the analytical skills and conceptual frameworks necessary to significantly deepen their understanding of asset management. The first part of the course examines how private equity funds and hedge funds as the two most prominent alternative investment vehicles are raised and structured. The second part of the seminar discusses the deal making of private equity managers as well as various investment strategies of hedge fund managers.

W4911 (sec. 4)
Instructor: Prof Caterina Musatti
Topic: Poverty, Inequality and Mobility
This seminar examines the nature, causes and effects (both individual and social) of poverty, inequality and income (im)mobility in the US and in other rich nations. Over the semester we will address questions like: What is poverty? Who are the poor? Is poverty transmitted from parents to children, like a genetic disease? If so, why? How important are parental income and wealth in shaping a child's future? Is the American dream alive and well? Why is inequality increasing in rich nations? Are public programs the answer or the question?

W4911 (sec. 5)
Instructor: Prof Michael Riordan
Topic: Microeconomics in Theory and Practice
This seminar satisfies the seminar requirement for the financial economics major.
The seminar format combines readings, class discussions, and lectures to demonstrate how microeconomic analysis sheds light on contemporary policy issues for health care, financial, and telecommunications markets.


W4913 Seminar in MACROECONOMIC Theory (Sec. 1)
Instructor:  Dr. Ozge Akinci
Topic: International Financial Markets, Financial Crises and the Policy Responses
This seminar satisfies the seminar requirement for the financial economics major.
The abrupt end of the credit boom in the United States in 2008 had widespread financial and economic ramifications.  Rising credit risks and intense risk aversion pushed credit spreads to unprecedented levels.  Heightened systemic risks, falling asset values, and tightening credit precipitated a sharp slowdown in global economic activity.  This seminar will explore the linkages among international financial markets, surges and retrenchments in capital flows, booms and busts in credit and asset prices, and the real economy in the context of dynamic open economy macroeconomic models.  We will then take a closer look at recent empirical literature on the international transmission of global risk shocks, the characteristics of capital flows and their relation to global factors, credit and asset price boom-bust cycles, and financial crises.  We will conclude with a review of policy responses to financial crises, including capital controls, monetary policy and macro-prudential policy.

W4913 (Sec. 2)
Instructor: Prof Richard Clarida
Topic: International Monetary Economics
This seminar satisfies the seminar requirement for the financial economics major.
This seminar will focus on monetary policy in open economies with particular focus on the inter relationship among exchange rates, capital flows, fiscal policy, and monetary policy.  Format will combine lectures/ class discussion, and student presentations.  Requirement for the course will be a term paper on the post crisis monetary policy of a major central bank as well as class presentation of the paper.

W4913 (Sec. 3)
Instructor: Dr Mauro Roca
Topic: International Financial Markets
This seminar satisfies the seminar requirement for the financial economics major.
The purpose of this seminar will be to study some topics on international macroeconomics with an emphasis in the functioning of financial markets. In particular, we will focus on the interaction between key macroeconomic variables and asset prices. After getting acquainted with the modern theoretical frameworks, the discussion will center around the empirical evidence and its several "puzzles."  The discussion will aim to answer questions of the following type: Do current account balances affect exchange rates? Are FX carry trades consistent with macroeconomic fundamentals? Is the yield curve determined by inflation expectations, the policy interest rate, or both? How important are fiscal conditions in determining sovereign credit spreads?


Instructor: Prof Jushan Bai
Topic: Panel Data Econometrics
Panel data consist of repeated observations over time for individuals.  Here individuals may be workers, firms, households, countries, etc.  Panel data econometrics uses cross-sectional and temporal variation within such a data set to conduct empirical research. Topics  include structure of panel data, pooling cross sections across time, two-period panel data analysis, unobserved heterogeneity, endogeneity, instrumental variables,  fixed effects and random effects, multiple-period panel data models, dynamic panel data models, and policy analysis with panel data.