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Senior Seminars Description


SPRING 2019

Economics Senior Seminar Description

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:

http://www.columbia.edu/cu/bulletin/uwb/

GU4911 (Sec. 1) Seminar in MICROECONOMIC Theory
Instructor: Prof Francois Gerard
Topic: Empirical Methods to Estimate the Causal Effect of Policies in Economics
This seminar satisfies the seminar requirement for the financial economics major.
The seminar will focus on the most common empirical methods used by economists to estimate the causal effect of some policy (e.g. a change in the minimum wage) on some outcome (e.g. employment). The following empirical methods will be covered: randomized control trials, difference-in-differences, regression discontinuities, event analyses, propensity-score matching, instrumental variables, etc. Each method will be motivated and illustrated by existing applications in behavioral economics, labor economics, public economics, development economics, environmental economics, etc. One textbook and a number of separate readings and podcasts will be assigned. Seminar students are expected to actively participate in class discussions, to make an in-class presentation of an existing empirical study, and to make an in-class presentation and write a term paper on an (extended) replication of another existing empirical study, using the data from the study.

GU4911 (Sec. 2) 
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: 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.

GU4911 (Sec. 4)
Instructor: Dr Samim Ghamami
Topic: OTC Markets
This seminar satisfies the seminar requirement for the financial economics major.
The financial crisis of 2007-2009 brought significant concerns regarding the role of over-the-counter (OTC) markets. Regulatory reforms have subsequently transformed OTC markets. This research seminar will first cover basics of OTC markets and the role of post-crisis regulation in these markets. We will then focus on studying financial contagion and central clearing in OTC derivatives markets.

GU4911 (sec. 5)
Instructor: Prof Graciela Chichilnisky
Topic: Topics in 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.

GU4911 (sec. 6)
Instructor: Prof Ingmar Nyman
Topic: Economics of Information
This seminar satisfies the seminar requirement for the financial economics major.
Information plays a key role in economic exchange. This course focuses on how economic relationships may suffer from some parties not having all the information that is relevant to their decision-making. We will see how these kinds of information asymmetries invite lying and cheating. We will also study how parties can structure their agreements to address the problems that such information asymmetries create..

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GU4913 Seminar in MACROECONOMIC Theory (Sec. 1)
Instructor: Dr. M. Cary Leahey
Topic: The Financial Crisis of 2007: Causes and Consequences
This seminar satisfies the seminar requirement for the financial economics major.
This course will involve a wide ranging discussion of the causes and consequences of the financial crisis of 2007. We will first put the 2007 experience into a broad historical perspective, discovering that financial markets, while necessary for modern capitalist economies, are fragile and sometimes break. In 2007, a combination of hubris, greed, debt, poorly understood financial innovation, and inadequate regulation and supervision contributed to the crisis and eventual “great” recession, the worst since the 1930s. We will learn how the crisis and recession were global in scope and how policymakers responded with varying degrees of success. We will compare the aftermath of the 2007 experiences with that of the ‘average” of other major disruptions, including the Great Depression. We will finish with a look at how the aftershocks of the 2007 crisis are contributing to the societal discomfort both in the U.S. and around the globe.

GU4913 (Sec. 2)
Instructor: Prof Edmund Phelps
Topic: Landmarks in Macroeconomic Theory
This seminar satisfies the seminar requirement for the financial economics major.
Sustained economic growth and its widespread rewards has needed a better understanding for many years, and now the long slide in almost all the economies of the West – the U.S. as well as Western Europe – presents a further challenge for macroeconomists. Labor force participation of men has been in a serious decline until recently, growth of wage rates started slowing in one country after another as early as the late ‘60s, and job satisfaction has been trending down for decades. These and related developments raise questions about the causation and the cure.
Standard economics – neoclassical and Keynesian – is fundamentally inadequate. The economy is not a machine that can be cranked up as desired: It is a living, organic entity, composed of all those who participate in it and their ideas and culture. This course will review and critique the stepping stones in the development of macroeconomics over the past century.
The second part of the course will take up dimensions of economic performance that lie outside both Keynesian economics and neoclassical economics: I am thinking of job satisfaction and, more broadly, the fascination and energy that came from the West’s “modern project” of exploration, creation and innovation, which was sparked in Britain and America around 1820 and wound down in the mid-20th century. This historic wave of innovation helps us to understand the key sources of endemic, pervasive innovation and the key forces operating to throttle innovation.

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. It is based on the view that individuals are rational actors: they process information in an unbiased way; they have fixed (exogenous) preferences over all possible choices they may face; and given their beliefs, they choose those actions that best satisfy their preferences. In contrast, new development economics is about societal and individual transformation.
At the simplest level, the new field takes account of the responses of a quasi-rational actor. Work in this field has led to advances in many kinds of policies that increase welfare—for example, to increase savings rates, immunization rates, learning, and productivity. This work shows that for specific behaviors that are inefficient, government can often design “nudges” to narrow the gap between individuals’ means and ends.
At a deeper level, new development economics is about moving to a new kind of society: modernity. It is based on a psychologically and sociologically more realistic agent—the quasi-rational, enculturated actor. How this actor thinks and what he wants are endogenous, shaped by the social structures and cultures that he has experienced or to which he has been exposed.
Controlled and natural experiments show how widely shared concepts, identities, and narratives are factors in the choices all of us make, and that they can be changed to make us better off. Behavioral insights into economic development help explain societal rigidities and give scope for new kinds of interventions to foster economic development.

GU4913 (sec. 4)
Instructor: Prof Tamrat Gashaw
Topic: Topics in Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) Based Investing
This seminar satisfies the seminar requirement for the financial economics major.
The purpose of this seminar is to study some topics in sustainable economics and finance/investing using current empirical researches in this area. In this seminar, topics such as corporate social responsibility, sustainable investing, performance of companies that pay attention to sustainability indicators, diversity in management/board, worker’s happiness, and pollution/environmental issues will be covered. In particular, questions like: 1) Do companies that pay attention to sustainability (triple-bottom line) outperform others or the market portfolio? 2) Can welfare be enhanced if Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) investing is followed? 3) Does resource scarcity in the long run imply companies to follow ESG based investing? 4) Does social pressure lead to ESG based resource allocation?.

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GU4918 Seminar in ECONOMETRICS
Instructor: Dr. 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 domestic 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.

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GU4921 POLITICAL ECONOMY Seminar
Open to Economics-Political Science majors only.

GU4950 ECONOMICS-PHILOSOPHY Seminar
Open to Economics-Philosophy majors only.

 

1022 International Affairs Building (IAB)
Mail Code 3308  
420 West 118th Street
New York, NY 10027
Ph: (212) 854-3680
Fax: (212) 854-0749
Business Hours:
Mon–Fri, 9:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m.

1022 International Affairs Building (IAB)

Mail Code 3308

420 West 118th Street

New York, NY 10027

Ph: (212) 854-3680
Fax: (212) 854-0749
Business Hours:
Mon–Fri, 9:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m.