Spring 2016 - 60480 - PA393K - Applied Microeconomics for Policy Analysis

This class will provide a synthetic introduction to the theory and practice of economics relevant to policy.  It will be taught from a classical, institutional and Keynesian perspective, mixing micro-and macroeconomic themes. The course will unfold in a sequence largely governed by the evolution of major issues in the history of economic thought. The sequence of topics to be covered will include: value; growth, distribution, development and technological change; theory of the firm, corporations and regulation; money and finance; national income accounting and basic Keynesian theory; expectations, uncertainty, animal spirits and non-linearity; deficits and public debt; international trade, capital flow and exchange rates; inequality; fraud and financial instability; and the oncoming economics of resource scarcity and climate change.  The goal of the course will be a broad exposure to theoretical and policy issues that have concerned leading political and policy economists over three centuries, ending with critical questions that confront the national and world economies today. There will be homework, a mid-term and a final exam.  Simple mathematics will be deployed freely, assuming basic calculus, proficient elementary algebra and geometry, and the ability to program and graph simple dynamic functions in a spreadsheet.  Students will be expected to reproduce technical arguments from their lecture notes; faithful reading and good note-taking skills will be highly rewarded. This is nominally a class under the rubric of "applied microeconomics" but the focus is quite different from that taken in other sections. Students seeking a course on neoclassical price theory, the theory of consumer choice, production functions, welfare economics and general equilibrium, cost-benefit analysis, etc., should choose one of the other sections.