Senior Seminars Description

economics senior Seminar Descriptions

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

PLEASE NOTE: ALL PREREQUISITES (ECON UN3211, UN3213, UN3412) 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:

GU4911 (sec. 1)
Instructor:Prof Tri Vi Dang
Topic: Private Equity & Hedge Fund Investing
** This seminar is ONLY OPEN 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.

GU4911 (Sec. 2) Seminar in MICROECONOMIC Theory
Instructor: Dr 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.

GU4911 (Sec. 3)
Instructor: Prof Jagdish Bhagwati
Topic: Globalization: Assessing the Critiques
This seminar satisfies the seminar requirement for the financial economics major.
The topics will include social and economic critiques, but looking at them intensively and analytically, instead of in populist terms, whether pro or con, as is often done even by well-known economists who should have higher standards of professionalism and integrity. The financial (and economic) crisis and its implications for Globalization--- again, there are some who say that this is the end of Globalization as We Knew It --, and the populist fascination with the top 1% (an arbitrary cut off point that makes no sense), will also be included.  After 3 classes by Professor Bhagwati, students will pair up & prepare papers for presentation and discussion. Grades will be awarded on the basis of the final, revised papers, plus attendance. If you do not plan to attend regularly, you should not take the seminar, as many are turned away owing to space caps.
Special Note: Students will be expected to buy the Paperback edition of Professor Bhagwati's In Defense of Globalization and his small OUP book titled, Termites in the Trading System.  In addition, readings will be suggested in the class on immigration, environment etc.  Professor Bhagwati's website has collections of his articles on these subjects, which can be downloaded. His website is: .

GU4911 (Sec. 4)
Instructor: Prof. Lena Edlund
Topic:  Seminar in Gender Economics
This seminar will take a critical look at the institutions governing family formation over time and across cultures. We will discuss their social and economic origins as well as consequences. Sample questions include: Why were married women's property rights expanded in 19th Century America? Why has so many of the economic development success stories come out of East Asia? Why are honor killings, for a long time a Muslim society phenomenon, appearing among Hindus in India? Why is Monogamy the dominant marriage form? Active class room participation and a term paper required.

GU4911 (sec. 5)
Instructor: Prof Bentley MacLeod
Topic: Economics, Law and Public Policy
This seminar satisfies the seminar requirement for the financial economics major.
"Commerce and manufactures can seldom flourish long in any state which does not enjoy a regular administration of justice, in which the people do not feel themselves secure in the possession of their property, in which the faith of contracts is not supported by law, and in which the authority of the state is not supposed to be regularly employed in enforcing the payment of debts from all those who are able to pay."   Adam Smith, The Wealth of Nations, Book V, Chap. III.  Introduction:  As the quotation from Adam Smith makes clear, economic development cannot occur in the absence of a stable legal system. The purpose of this course is two-fold. First, the course reviews some of the modern developments in economics that are relevant for the study of institutions. Second, it uses these tools to explore the structure of the law, and its impact upon economic performance. The goal is to provide a foundation for the understanding of legal institutions that goes beyond national boundaries, and can help better understand the challenges that rapid economic growth and globalization pose for policy makers.


GU4911 (sec. 6) 
Instructor: Prof Graciela Chichilnisky
Topic: Globalization and its Risks
This seminar satisfies the seminar requirement for the financial economics major.
The world is being transformed by dramatic increases in flows of people, goods and services across nations. Globalization has the potential for enormous gains but is also associated to serious risks, both political and economic. Economic gains are related to industrialization and international commerce where industrial nations dominate, while the economic risks involve the global environment, poverty and the satisfaction of basic needs that affect in great measure the developing nations. Economic gains and risks are linked to a historical division of the world into the North and the South: the industrial and the developing nations. Political risks include global terrorism. Key to future evolution are: (1) the creation of new markets that trade privately produced public goods, such as knowledge and greenhouse gas emissions, as in the Kyoto Protocol; (2) the updating of the Breton Woods Institutions into new global institutions, involving the creation of a Knowledge Bank and an International Bank for Environmental Settlements.


GU4913 Seminar in MACROECONOMIC Theory (Sec. 1)
Instructor:  Prof Ozge Akinci
Topic: Topics in International Finance
This seminar satisfies the seminar requirement for the financial economics major.
This seminar course will cover a broad range of topics in international finance, including theoretical and empirical contributions on foreign exchange rate determination and on 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 particular, we will discuss recent empirical literature on the role of global financial conditions in the determination of exchange rates, 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 the course with a review of policy responses to financial crises, including capital controls, monetary policy and macroprudential policy.

GU4913 (Sec. 2)
Instructor: Prof Namvar Ethan
This seminar satisfies the seminar requirement for the financial economics major.
Topic: Real Estate Finance and Development

This seminar teaches the fundamentals of real estate finance and development. We will use a series of lectures and short case studies to introduce students to the full range of financial analysis skills and analytical processes for evaluating private and public investments in real estate. We will cover all major property types and land uses, as well as all stages of the development process, including site selection, market analysis, financial feasibility, design and legal considerations, construction, lease-up, operations, and the sale of the final product. Every student in the class is expected to make an in-class presentation, participate in discussions, and to write a research paper.

GU4913 (sec. 3)
Instructor: Prof Joseph Stiglitz and Dr. Karla Hoff
Topic: Behavioral Insights into Economic Development
This seminar satisfies the seminar requirement for the financial economics major.
What is development economics about?  Standard development economics is about increasing GDP per capita through improvements in markets, technology, and public goods under the assumption that individuals are rational—unbiased, with fixed preferences.  In contrast, new development economics is about societal and individual transformation.  At the simplest level, new development economics takes into account the responses of a quasi-rational actor, for example, the effect on savings of giving individuals a salientsafe place to keep money for a specificalient  purpose , and(such as a mosquito net) that they write down on the passbook in which they record deposits, or the effect on cognitive performance of publicly revealing a student’s stigmatized social identity.  The standard model would predict no effects in both examples.  But, in fact, a large-scale randomized experiment in Kenya showed that the first intervention sometimes gives a false analysis:  providing individuals a very simple informal technology for savings would not matter, but in fact it raisedincreased savings substantially.  Randomized experiments in the U.S., India, China, and Slovakia in Kenya showed that; nor would priming an individual’s social identity, but in fact it decreased the cognitive performance ofamong stigmatized groups, but not of other groups in the US, India, China, and Slovakia.  For these narrow questions, there is a lot of evidence that government can design “nudges” to narrow the gap between individuals’ means and ends.

At a deeper level, development economics is about moving to a new kind of society:  modernity.  It takes into account a quasi-rational,n enculturated actor with endogenous preferences.  His whose cognition reflects the patterns of the societies to which he has been exposed.  Controlled and natural experiments show how widely shared mental models (identities, norms, and narratives) are factors in economic behavior, and also shows that they and can be changed to improve welfare.  We will discuss implications for development policy.

GU4913 (sec. 4)
Instructor: Dr. Waseem Noor
Topic: Topics in International Trade
This seminar satisfies the seminar requirement for the financial economics major.

This seminar will discuss the impact of international trade and the winners and losers from increased globalization.  Over the past 50 years, due to the influence of international organizations and through multi-lateral negotiations, countries have successfully lowered tariff barriers and significantly increased trade.  This has led to overall greater global prosperity and has also led to regional and class disparities.  ●  Although protectionist voices have always been prevalent, over the past couple of years these perspectives mostly nationalist in nature have won elections in major industrial economies like the US and UK, as well as economically emerging countries like India and Brazil.  This seminar will focus on the rise of protectionism and will try to understand the underlying causes.  ●  Topics will include: What are the reasons for countries to trade?  Does trade boost growth?  Who primarily benefits and loses from trade globally and within countries?  Why are anti-trade and anti-globalization arguments coming from both conservative and liberal parties?  ●  By the end of the seminar, students will be able to discuss these relevant topics, will have gained familiarity conducting original research, and will have produced a paper that may illustrate their research skills to prospective employers and/or graduate admissions committees

GU4918 Seminar in ECONOMETRICS (Sec. 1)
Instructor:  Prof Seyhan Erden
Topic: Topics in Macroeconomics and Finance
This seminar satisfies the seminar requirement for the financial economics major.
This is an applied econometrics seminar focusing on macro and financial econometric applications about D60domestic and international markets and stock exchanges. The Great Recession of 2008 clearly verifies the need for a deeper examination of links between volatility in financial markets and fluctuations in macroeconomic aggregates. In this seminar, we criticize and improve empirical papers that examine this link. We study models on macroeconomic series and their forecasts as well as their mutual predictive power on equity and bond markets. We learn about ARIMA (Autoregressive Integrated Moving Average), VAR (Vector Autoregression) VECM (Vector Error Correction Models), volatility models such as ARCH (Autoregressive Conditional Heteroskedasticity process of Engle and many of its extentions). Additional topics include capital asset pricing models (CAPM), spurious regression, Structural VAR models, TAR (Threshold Autoregressive Models), Factor Models, IRFs (impulse response functions) and FEVD (forecast error variance decomposition). Students will learn how to conduct – and how to critique – empirical studies in financial and applied time series econometrics and related fields. Students are expected to choose a topic from a list of research topics provided by the professor and write a paper using econometric methods we discuss in this seminar.