The online version of the Caltech Catalog is provided as a convenience; however, the printed version is the only authoritative source of information about course offerings, option requirements, graduation requirements, and other important topics.
Ec 11. Introduction to Economics. 9 units (3-2-4); first, second terms. An introduction to economic methodology, models, and institutions. Includes both basic microeconomics and an introduction to modern approaches to macroeconomic issues. Students are required to participate in economics experiments. Instructors: Plott, Rangel.
BEM/Ec/SS 20. Scientific Writing and Oral Presentation in the Social Sciences. 6 units (2-0-4). For course description, see Business Economics and Management.
Ec 98 abc. Senior Research and Thesis. Prerequisite: instructor’s permission. Senior economics majors wishing to undertake research may elect a variable number of units, not to exceed 12 in any one term, for such work under the direction of a member of the economics faculty.
Ec 101. Selected Topics in Economics. Units to be determined by arrangement with the instructor; offered by announcement. Topics to be determined by instructor. Instructors: Staff, visiting lecturers.
Ec 105. Industrial Organization. 9 units (3-0-6); first term. Prerequisites: Ec 11 or equivalent. A study of how technology affects issues of market structure and how market structure affects observable economic outcomes, such as prices, profits, advertising, and research and development expenditures. Emphasis will be on how the analytic tools developed in the course can be used to examine particular industries—especially those related to internet commerce—in detail. Each student is expected to write one substantial paper. Instructor: Shum.
Ec 106. Topics in Applied Industrial Organization. 9 units (3-0-6); first term. Prerequisite: Ec 11; Ec 116 recommended. Topics include simulation of mergers in oligopolistic industries, valuation of intellectual property, price setting and concentration in the pharmaceutical market, and statistical analysis of combined tobacco and asbestos exposure. A term paper will be required. Not offered 2012–13.
Ec/Psy 109 ab. Frontiers in Behavioral Economics. 5 units (1.5-0-3.5); third term. Prerequisite: Ec 11. Behavioral economics studies agents who are biologically limited in computational ability, willpower and pure self-interest. An important focus is how those limits interact with economic institutions and firm behavior. This reading-driven course will cover new papers that are interesting and draw attention to a topic of importance to economics. Readings will cover lab and field experiments, axiomatic models of behavioral phenomena, and welfare. Each weekly discussion will begin with a 10-minute overview, then an inspection of the paper’s scientific machinery, judge whether its conclusions are justified, and speculate about the scope of its generalizability. It should help students as referees and as writers. Assignments are two 1000-word summary-critiques. Instructor: Camerer.
Ec 116. Contemporary Socioeconomic Problems. 9 units (3-0-6). Prerequisites: Ec 11 and PS 12 or equivalents. An analytical investigation of the economic aspects of certain current social issues. Topics: the economics of education, medical-care systems, urban affairs, and the welfare system. Not offered 2012–13.
BEM/Ec 118. Environmental Economics. 9 units (3-0-6). For course description, see Business Economics and Management.
Ec 121 ab. Theory of Value. 9 units (3-0-6); first, second terms. Prerequisites: Ec 11 and Ma 2 (may be taken concurrently). A study of consumer preference, the structure and conduct of markets, factor pricing, measures of economic efficiency, and the interdependence of markets in reaching a general equilibrium. Instructor: Saito.
Ec 122. Econometrics. 9 units (3-0-6); first term. Prerequisite: Ma 112 a. The application of statistical techniques to the analysis of economic data. Instructor: Sherman.
Ec 123. Macroeconomics. 9 units (3-0-6); third term. Prerequisite: Ec 11 and modest ability to program in Matlab or Mathematica. The role of time and uncertainty in understanding the behavior of economic aggregates such as investment, employment, and price levels. Emphasis is on representative-agent recursive equilibrium models. Topics include practical dynamic programming; job search, matching, and unemployment; asset pricing; monetary and fiscal policy; and taxation and insurance. Not offered 2012–13.
Ec/SS 124. Introduction to Empirical Process Methods. 9 units (3-0-6); second term. Prerequisite: Ec 122. Standard estimators (e.g., maximum likelihood estimators) of parameters in econometric models optimize smooth criterion functions. Inference is typically based on asymptotic approximations which exploit smoothness. New estimators have been developed that optimize non-smooth criterion functions, and for which standard analysis does not apply. This course develops tools needed to do asymptotic inference with such estimators—moment maximal inequalities for empirical processes (standardized averages). We show how to apply these methods to analyze various recent estimators. Instructor: Sherman.
Ec/SS 129. Economic History of the United States. 9 units (3-0-6); second term. Prerequisites: Ec 11 or SS 13. An examination of certain analytical and quantitative tools and their application to American economic development. Each student is expected to write two substantial papers - drafts will be read by instructor and revised by students. Instructor: Rosenthal.
Ec/SS 130. Economic History of Europe from the Middle Ages to the Industrial Revolution. 9 units (3-0-6); third term. Prerequisites: Ec 11 or SS 13. Employs the theoretical and quantitative techniques of economics to help explore and explain the development of the European cultural area between 1000 and 1850. Topics include the rise of commerce, the demographic transition, the industrial revolution, and changes in property rights and capital markets. Each student is expected to write nine weekly essays and a term paper. Not offered 2012–13.
Ec 131. Market Design. 9 units (3-0-6); first term. Prerequisites: Ec 11 or equivalent. This course studies the design of markets, focusing on efficient organization, and the incentives created, both for the parties involved in the exchange and the agent providing the exchange platform. Applications include single-sided auctions, quote- and order-driven double auctions, combinatorial auctions, private markets such as dark pools. Students will be asked to identify a resource allocation and information extraction problem that could efficiently be solved with markets. They will be given access to double auction software facilitating implementation. Work in teams of two will be allowed. The project should lead to a 3000 word report. Not offered 2012–13.
Ec 132. Auctions. 9 units (3-0-6). Prerequisite: Ec 11. The course covers basic topics in auction theory (private and common value auctions, revenue equivalence, reserve prices, budget constraints, risk aversion, etc.) and discusses more advanced theory such as mechanism design, multi-unit auctions, and interdependent valuations. Experimental studies of auctions will be reviewed where appropriate. The course will also discuss practical considerations that arise when designing auctions to sell licenses in a particular industry. Not offered 2012–13.
Ec/CS 133. Electricity Markets. 9 units (3-0-6); first term. Prerequisites: Ec 11 or Ec 172. This in depth introductory course provides an overview of the industry focusing on the linkages between power system engineering, markets, and regulatory policy. We will analyze the fundamentals of various electricity markets including locational marginal pricing, bilateral, day-ahead, real-time, capacity, emissions markets and risk markets. We will identify the basic components, design, and operation of electric power systems. We will examine how markets should be designed to be consistent with the engineering fundamentals of electric power systems. We will discuss sensors, metering devices, communication, and computation required to enable markets to functions. Not offered 2012–13.
Ec 135. Economics of Uncertainty and Information. 9 units (3-0-6); first term. Prerequisites: Ec 11, Ma 2b. An analysis of the effects of uncertainty and information on economic decisions. Included among the topics are individual and group decision making under uncertainty, expected utility maximization, insurance, financial markets and speculation, product quality and advertisement, and the value of information. Instructor: Agranov.
Ec 140. Economic Progress. 9 units (3-0-6); second term. Prerequisites: Ec 11 and Ma 2; Ec 122 recommended. This course examines the contemporary literature on economic growth and development from both a theoretical and historical/empirical perspective. Topics include a historical overview of economic progress and the lack thereof; simple capital accumulation models; equilibrium/planning models of accumulation; endogenous growth models; empirical tests of convergence; the measurement and role of technological advancement; and the role of trade, institutions, property rights, human capital, and culture. Instructor: Border.
Ec 145. Public Finance. 9 units (3-0-6). Prerequisite: Ec 11 or equivalent. An intermediate-level course on the economics of the public sector. Material is chosen from welfare economics, public expenditure theory and practice, taxation theory and practice, federalism, and public choice theory. Not offered 2012–13.
BEM/Ec 146. Organization Design. 9 units (3-0-6). For course description, see Business Economics and Management.
Ec/PS 160 abc. Laboratory Experiments in the Social Sciences. 9 units (3-3-3); first, second, third terms. Section a required for sections b and c. An examination of recent work in laboratory testing in the social sciences with particular reference to work done in social psychology, economics, and political science. Students are required to design and conduct experiments. Instructor: Plott.
PS/Ec 172. Game Theory. 9 units (3-0-6). For course description, see Political Science.
PS/Ec 173. Cooperation and Social Behavior. 9 units (3-0-6). For course description, see Political Science.
Ec 181. Convex Analysis and Economic Theory. 9 units (3-0-6); first term. Prerequisites: Ma 2 ab, Ec 121 a. Introduction to the use of convex analysis in economic theory. Includes a rigorous discussion of separating hyperplane theorems, continuity and differentiability properties of convex and concave functions, support functions, subdifferentials, Fenchel conjugacy, saddle-point theory, theorem of the alternative, and linear programming. Emphasis is on the finite-dimensional case, but infinite-dimensional spaces will be discussed. Applications to the theory of cost and production functions, decision theory, and game theory. Instructor: Border.
BEM/Ec 185. Political Economy of Corporate Governance. 9 units (3-0-6). For course description, see Business Economics and Management.
Ec 190. Undergraduate Research. Units to be arranged; any term. Prerequisite: advanced economics course and instructor’s permission. This course offers advanced undergraduates the opportunity to pursue research in economics. Graded pass/fail. Instructor: Staff.