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Core Curriculum

The IDE program of study revolves around a core curriculum of five required courses, to which are added elective courses of each student’s choosing. The core courses are designed to provide students with rigorous academic training, as well as with tools that can be used in policy analysis. These one semester-long courses are required of all students.

Econ 545 Microeconomics

In contrast to a first-year Ph.D. course in Microeconomics, this course stresses applications, while still requiring a high level of analytical rigor.  Theory of the consumer and theory of the firm are taught with an eye towards using the theory to analyze policy proposals and non-standard market structures.  Game theory, market level analysis, and choice under uncertainty are also covered.

Econ 558 Econometrics

This course covers the elements of probability and statistics needed for regression analysis in the first few lectures.  We then move to a scalar treatment of econometrics and some applied work in Stata.  The course also has a self-contained treatment of linear (or matrix) algebra that is useful for econometrics.  The ultimate goal of the course is to produce students who can use econometric software for data analysis while having a solid basis in the theoretical concepts.  Exercises late in the course require the use of econometric software, and students also develop skill in interpreting and understanding regression output and how it pertains to economic and policy questions.

Econ 546 Growth and Macroeconomics

This course provides a rigorous framework for understanding the aggregate economy in both the short run and the long run. The first part of the course examines the causes and consequences of economic growth. The wealth of nations is built over long stretches of time, and what matters over this horizon are the real factors of production, including labor, physical capital, technology, resources, human capital, institutions, and geography. The second part of the class explores the demand side of the economy, both in a closed economy and in an open economy. The recent economic crises in the U.S. and Europe have spurred renewed interest among economists in understanding the connection between financial frictions, asset prices, labor markets, fiscal policy, and central banking. We will focus on the short- and medium-run responses of firms, households, the government, and the central bank, and test whether our theoretical predictions are consistent with recent empirical evidence.

Econ 559 Development Econometrics

This course is a continuation of IDE Econometrics 558.  Emphasis is on methods of applied econometrics commonly used in development economics, and discussion of the interplay between empirical strategies with identification of the parameters or effects of interest.  Methods include development of panel data models, and difference-in-difference estimation frameworks, as well as examples of these from the development literature.  Standard evaluation pitfalls, such as regression to the mean, are presented as threats to these strategies, as well as methods to overcome such problems.  We also discuss regression discontinuity designs, and a brief treatment of matching methods.  We build on the robust standard error techniques discussed in 558, as well as how these considerations fit with the design and evaluation of randomized control trials.  We also discuss non-linear models, and the usefulness of linear methods in the context of models that are non-linear in the parameters.

Students must take one of the following two courses:

Econ 547 Social Networks and Economic Development

The objective of this course is to study the emerging literature on social networks and economic development. Both theoretical and empirical research papers are covered, at a level that is suitable for the advanced undergraduate or graduate student. The course is divided into three sections: (1) Labor Markets and Migration: how community networks support their members in the labor market and how they support their spatial and occupational mobility during the process of development; (2) Commitment: how communities use social ties to solve commitment problems in developing economics, both in theory and in practice; (3) Inter-Group Interactions: community networks do not operate independently, and a nascent literature is starting to investigate the nature of these group interactions. Time permitting, we examine the role played by networks in the diffusion of information at the end of the course.

Econ 732 Advanced Economic Development

In this course IDE students write their “thesis” - a research project, which is maybe the part that IDE students enjoy the most about IDE. Students are guided by the faculty teaching this course and present and discuss their work in sections. This course examines the models constructed by classical and modern economists to explain long-term economic growth in developing countries and the empirical relevance of these models to the present-day developing countries. Specific topics to be covered include: income distribution; foreign trade problems; population growth; savings behavior; the role of government. This course will also include consideration of some or all of the following issues in development policy: employment and unemployment; poverty among the working poor; education and human resources policy; fiscal policies; rural development.