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First Year


Students take a total of four core courses during each semester of the first year. Courses meet twice a week, and recitation sessions for each class are held once a week. By the end of the year students will have completed a total of 27 credits (24 graded credits, plus 3 non-graded credits for the summer math camp).

A minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0 (B) is required for students to be able to take the two preliminary examinations in early June. These exams take place during the first full week of June: the microeconomics exam on Monday and macroeconomics on Friday (second attempts are available the first full week of August).

Fall of First Year

Mathematical Methods of Economic Analysis (Econ 3010)

This course provides mathematical tools that are often applied in economic analysis. Topics include convex sets and separating hyperplane theorems, static constrained optimization and the Karush-Kuhn-Tucker theorem, dynamic optimization and the contraction mapping theorem, affine representation of preferences, fixed point theorems and applications, probability theory and integration theory. A sample syllabus can be found here.

Econometric Theory I (Econ 3020)

The course is divided into two parts. The first provides an introduction to probability theory and mathematical statistics. We begin by studying probability spaces and random variables. We then study some special distributions –such as exponential, multivariate normal, chi-squared –and asymptotic theory. The second part of the course is devoted to the linear regression model. Here, our objective is to recover a finite-dimensional parameter using available data. We cover different estimation and testing procedures, and also, we discuss identification issues. Prerequisites: matrix algebra, multivariate calculus, basic probability and statistics. A sample syllabus can be found here.

Microeconomic Theory I (Econ 3030)

Microeconomic theory studies how individual economic units (households and firms) make choices given the alternatives available to them; it also studies how such choices interact in the market to determine prices and allocate resources. In the microeconomic theory sequence for first year PhD students in economics, we shall build the mathematical and theoretical foundations of the basic constrained optimization framework used in microeconomics. This course is the first one in the sequence. Topics to be covered will include: consumer preferences and choice, classical demand theory, choice under uncertainty, producer theory, and general equilibrium.  A sample syllabus can be found here.

Macroeconomic Theory I (Econ 3040)

This course focuses on the tools and models of modern economic growth theory. Next semester, Advanced Macroeconomic Theory 2 will include business cycle theory, as well as asset markets and fiscal and monetary policy. Modern macroeconomic theory is micro founded, and it uses models and mathematical tools to quantitatively explain stylized empirical facts. The objective of this class is to introduce students to the main theories concerning the central questions in economic growth. We will not only understand the motivation, intuition and implications of each model, but we will also learn the mathematical or numerical tools needed to solve these models. In addition, we will discuss the limitations of each model and the open research questions of the field to guide those students who will go on to pursue research on this area of study. A sample syllabus can be found here.

Spring of First Year

Econometric Theory II (Econ 3050)

Topics studied include functional form and structural change, specification analysis and model selection, general regression model, systems of regression equations, nonlinear regressions and nonlinear least squares, instrumental variable estimation, simultaneous equations models, estimation frameworks in econometrics, generalized method of moments, and maximum likelihood estimation. A sample syllabus can be found here.

Microeconomic Theory II (Econ 3060)

Topics studied include normal form games with complete information, Nash equilibrium, extensive form games, sub-game perfect equilibrium, Bayesian games (incomplete information games), Bayes-Nash equilibrium, perfect Bayesian equilibrium, repeated games, bargaining, signaling, auctions and mechanism design, principle-agent and moral hazard. A sample syllabus can be found here.

Macroeconomic Theory II (Econ 3070)

The class has two objectives. The first one is to study the basic conceptual and numerical tools needed to construct and solve dynamic stochastic equilibrium models. These tools include dynamic programming, recursive equilibria, alternative trading arrangements, etc. The second objective is to use this set of tools to discuss a few ‘classic’ macro topics such as business cycles, asset pricing, fiscal policy etc. A sample syllabus can be found here.

Empirical Methods (Econ 3080)

This course will cover empirical methods typically used in applied micro-economic research and is designed to help students learn how to apply the econometric techniques learned in the econometrics sequence. We will focus on techniques used in applied microeconomics to identify causal estimates. The course will cover data issues and distributional estimators in some detail along with matching and propensity scores, local regressions, instrumental variables, regression discontinuity designs, and inference issues. Many example will come from development, health, labor, public economics, and political economy. The course will focus also on the implementation of econometric techniques learning the basic tools of programming and coding using statistical software. The goal of this class is to provide students with the tools needed to become critical readers of empirical work and teach them techniques that they can apply to their own original research.  Sample syllabus