Econ 256b. Economics of Strategy

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W/F 4:00 - 5:15 pm
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This course aims to serve two purposes. First, you will learn how to think systematically about competition and strategy by using microeconomics. Second, you will learn how to conduct sensible data analysis at the individual firm level, using statistical tools in Excel and Stata.

Goals: You will analyze real data with economic theory and statistical methods. Data become meaningful with the help of logical thinking; mathematical fantasies become reality when fleshed out with careful empirical analysis. Combining these pieces of knowledge is challenging and rewarding, because the act and process of modeling and estimation embody the intellectual discipline of economics as well as a set of useful skills for personal and professional lives.

Structure: Wednesday sessions are lectures; Friday sessions are in-class exercises. In Wednesday lectures, I will teach key economic concepts and provide background knowledge for the understanding of the research papers. In Friday exercises, you will engage in data analysis using Excel and Stata under my guidance. No separate discussion sections are planned.

Materials: You will “get your hands dirty” with the datasets, the models, and the methods that I have been using in my own recent projects, and hence the course materials represent the cutting edge of academic research rather than old textbook examples. Before Coming to the First Class: You should skim through the following research papers, which constitute the core of this class and are available on my personal website at

Prerequisite: Introductory Microeconomics, but some familiarity with Statistics and Econometrics will be helpful

Undergrad Course Category: 
Industrial Organization