Senior Seminar Descriptions
Economics Senior Seminar Descriptions
Seminars listed below are only open to CC and GS undergraduate economics majors.
NOTE: All seminars will satisfy the FE major for this semester.
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 (www.columbia.edu/cu/bulletin/uwb/)
GU4911 (Sec. 1) MICROECONOMICS Seminar
Instructor: Dr. Sunil Gulati
Day/Time: Mon. 2:10pm – 4:00pm
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. 2) MICROECONOMICS Seminar
Instructor: Prof. Lena Edlund
Day/Time: Wed. 4:10pm – 6:00pm
Topic: Seminar in Gender Economics
This seminar will take a critical look at the family. We will discuss the social, biological and material origins of different family systems, as well as consequences thereof, with a particular focus on the status of women. Sample questions include: Why would sons be considered more valuable than daughters, and why more so in China and India than in the West? Despite similar levels of son preference, women’s status appears greater in China than India, is that correct and if so why? Medieval Europe and 20th century East Asia are prominent examples of growth miracles; what do they have in common? Is contemporary Western family post-patriarchal? #MeToo, why now? Is surrogate motherhood the future? Active class room participation and a term paper are required.
GU4911 (Sec. 3) MICROECONOMICS Seminar
Instructor: Prof. Tri Vi Dang
Day/Time: Tues. 10:10am – 12:00pm
Topic: Private Equity & Hedge Fund Investing
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. 4) MICROECONOMICS Seminar
Instructor: Prof. Isaac Bjorke
Day/Time: Tues. 2:10pm – 4:00pm
Topic: Behavioral and Experimental Economics
Traditional economic theory is built on the foundation that individuals know what they want, systematically act upon what they want, and therefore their behavior reflects their pursuit of self-interested goals. This seminar will explore a variety of modern theories that have challenged these assumptions including prospect theory, hyperbolic discounting, addiction, inattention, motivated beliefs, and others. The course will include readings that expose theoretical, experimental, and field data relating to each theory of economic behavior. In particular, we will discuss in great detail the “external validity” of each of these techniques. The first half of the course will consist of lectures that introduce innovations in behavioral economics while juxtaposing the traditional “homo-economicus”. Students will write a term paper summarizing the latest developments on a topic of their choice, or constructing a proper research proposal and experimental design.
GU4911 (Sec. 5) MICROECONOMICS Seminar
Instructor: Prof. Prajit Dutta
Day/Time: Mon. 4:10pm – 6:00pm
Topic: Economics of the Arts
The seminar will survey the art market. Readings will include exploration of the business model and common practices of for-profit art galleries and the primary and secondary markets for art sales. Art appraisals, auctions, art collectors and art as investment will be discussed in detail. Students will be required to attend an art auction.
GU4911 (Sec. 6) MICROECONOMICS Seminar
Instructor: Prof. Murat Yilmaz
Day/Time: Mon. 12:10pm – 2:00pm
Topic: Economics of Industrial Organization
This seminar will focus on a variety of topics within industrial organization, which is concerned with the study of imperfectly competitive market structures and strategic interaction among firms. The topics to be covered include but are not limited to price discrimination, product differentiation, dynamic competition under demand shocks, entry deterrence, and also some behavioral concepts that are widely incorporated into the study of industrial organization, such as loss aversion and inequity aversion. A reading list will be provided along with a few recommended textbooks. Each student is expected to give two presentations: one on a paper chosen from the reading list, and another on the student’s agreed-upon research topic. A term paper based on the student’s research topic is required. Active class participation during the lectures and presentations is expected.
GU4911 (Sec. 7) MICROECONOMICS Seminar
Instructor: Prof. Neal Masia
Day/Time: Thurs. 10:10am-12:00pm
Topic: Public Policy, Economics and the Healthcare Industry
The healthcare industry accounts for nearly 20% of GDP in the United States. This seminar will explore the links between major public policy events – for instance, healthcare reform or recent Medicare and Medicaid changes – and the financial prospects and implications for various healthcare industry sectors. Lectures will examine how current and potential public policy decisions impact the bottom line and the behavior of key industry sectors including pharmaceutical companies, hospitals, doctors, insurance companies, nursing homes, and others. Each student will conduct research on an industry sector and a live public policy or regulatory issue of their choosing. Students will be expected to use their quantitative and analytic toolkit to evaluate how a key government policy (or potential policy within the health reform context) is likely to affect the industry’s fortunes and behavior going forward, with implications for consumers, investors, and future policymakers.
GU4913 (Sec. 1) MACROECONOMICS Seminar
Instructor: Prof. Noémie Pinardon-Touati
Day/Time: Wed. 2:10pm – 4:00pm
Topic: Financial Policy and Regulation: Fostering Growth and Macroeconomic Stability
Well-functioning financial markets can foster economic growth and contribute to improving living standards. However, finance can also be a destabilizing force at the origin of deep economic crises. In this seminar, we will investigate how finance can affect macroeconomic outcomes and explore the tools policymakers have to encourage the development of finance while limiting the risk of financial instability. We will also investigate how the influence of finance in politics can distort these policy choices. Within each topic, we will briefly discuss the theory to guide us through the exploration of empirical research. Seminar students are expected to actively participate in class discussions, present a research paper in class, and write a term paper on an agreed upon topic.
GU4913 (Sec. 2) MACROECONOMICS Seminar
Instructor: Prof. Cary Leahey
Day/Time: Tues. 4:10pm-6:00pm
Topic: The Financial Crisis of 2007: Causes and Consequences
This course will involve a wide-ranging discussion of the causes and consequences of modern economic crises, most notably the financial crisis of 2007 and the pandemic crisis of 2020. We will first put the 2007 and 2020 experiences 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. In 2020, a self-induced economic lockdown reduced the pandemic health threat but caused an even deeper but shorter recession compared to 2007. The financial crisis has proven much different than 2007 with Wall Street doing much better than Main Street. We will learn how both situations were global in scope and how well economic policymakers handled them. We will compare economic and financial market performance with that of the “average” of other major disruptions, including the Great Depression. We will finish with a look at how the aftershocks of both crises are contributing to the societal discomfort both in the U.S. and around the globe.