This course examines theories of how consumers and producers behave and interact in markets. Topics include consumer preferences, budget constraints, utility maximization, cost minimization, profit maximization, perfect competition, and market power. This course uses calculus to solve consumer and producer optimization problems. In doing so students will gain a better understanding of how markets and market participants work, as well as a foundational toolkit for understanding microeconomics.
This course is one half of the two-course Economics Ph.D. field sequence in public economics. This course focuses on the expenditure/government program side of public economics; the other course focuses on the revenue/taxation side.
In addition to learning about government programs and the many effects of government interventions in markets, this course is designed to help you transition from being a consumer of research to a producer of research.
A main focus of the course is reading and presenting economics papers on topics in public economics, broadly defined. Major projects include writing referee reports and drafting and presenting a research proposal.
This course empirically analyzes the causes and consequences of crime and the criminal justice system using the tools of economics. A main focus of the course is reading and discussing empirical research papers in the economics of crime literature. Topics include the effects of incarceration on the incarcerated, the impacts of policies intended to deter crime or reduce recidivism, racial disparities in the criminal justice system, and the causes and consequences of domestic violence. Major projects include creation of a data portfolio examining one of several sources of national crime data using tables, graphs, and statistical relationships and a group presentation on a major episode or issue in U.S. crime policy.