ECON 490 Course Descriptions

2020/2021 Winter Session

*Note: Subject to change*

If you require assistance with ECON 490 course registration, please email Undergraduate Student Support  (vse.undergrad@ubc.ca).

Updated: June 16, 2020

Please see the following link for the ECON 490 COURSE FORMAT

 

Term 1

This section introduces students to research in health economics. The course will be divided into two parts. The first part will discuss some interesting research done in health economics such as research on childhood obesity and review some statistical techniques students have learnt previously in Econ 325 and 326 which are important to the completion of a major research paper. In the second part, students will apply their knowledge acquired in this section to a research paper related to health economics. Students will present their findings to the class in a 15-20 minute presentation during the final few weeks of the course. The final paper will be due at the end of term.

This course will be dedicated to International Macroeconomics. There are two parts to the course.

In the first part we will review the key concepts in the field of International Macroeconomics and Finance and discuss different topics and questions at the frontier of the field. These will include questions related to international capital flows, global imbalances, purchasing power parity and law of one price deviations, exchange rate predictability and international policy coordination, policy spillovers among developed and developing countries, etc. We will also review econometric and statistical tools and discuss data sources. An important component of the course will be a critical evaluation of research ideas.

In the second part of the course students will undertake a research project on the topic of their interest. This work is intended to apply the concepts, ideas and tools discussed in class and in previous courses to answer questions in International Macroeconomics and Finance. The end goal is to present the findings in a research paper and communicate them in an in-class presentation.

In this course, students will familiarize themselves with the study of economic inequality from the perspective of applied economics, development and economic history. Among other things, they will get to know about relevant dimensions of inequality and explore how inequality changes along different stages of development of a country. We will look at the impact of inequality on both developing and developed countries, as well as the intrinsic and functional aspects of this phenomenon. An important part of the course will be devoted to uncover the historical origins of inequality. Next to developing their understanding of econometric tools, students are expected to learn how to measure inequality in the data and compare the degree of economic inequality across countries and time. Most importantly, they will look at the drivers and multifaceted consequences of inequality. The ultimate goal of this project module is to give students a solid foundation for selecting their own research topic in this area.

This is a topics-based (inequality) research course in economics. This research course should culminate your economics training at UBC. This does not mean that this will be the last economics course you take, but one where all of what you have learned so far comes into play. It should challenge you, as all research courses do, but hopefully also reward you, and entice you to take more advanced economics research courses in the future.

This course is built around a key problem: how do we take a question and use our economic tools to answer it?  This may seem elementary, but it can be surprisingly challenging!  We tackle this problem in the context of applied economic research.  We will do four things in this course:

  • Explore the tools, models, and skills necessary for answering questions
  • Discover how to formulate a good question about a topic that inspires you.
  • Learn how to answer your question in a convincing way.
  • Practice communicating your results through writing and speaking.

Along the way we tackle a number of important topics, like the connection between theory and applied work, causality, and building economic models. However, the focus always will be on taking an idea you care about and building a research topic around it; a process your instructor will guide you through in 1-on-1 meetings.  The best ideas come about because you are passionate about them!

This section emphasizes methodology (how do we conduct and carry out research) as opposed to topic (studying economic development economic, for example).  This gives you, the student, a great deal of flexibility in terms of the question and topic you tackle.  Emphasis in-class will be on microeconomic applications, but students with broader interests are also encouraged to attend.

The course format will be a mixture of lectures, small-group discussions, computer labs, and presentations.  We will review some necessary background in early lectures, then learn some new and commonly used models specific to your topics.  We will get also get hands-on practice with real data through interaction in computer labs, and learn how to use statistical software (STATA in class, but R or Python is also OK).

We will also learn how to communicate our results clearly both in written form, and in presentations.  Evaluation will be primarily based on (i) in-class participation, (ii) oral presentations, and (iii) your research paper.  The paper itself has several, smaller, “lead-up” assignments to help you build up to the final paper while getting feedback and assistance along the way.

This semester will also have a community engaged learning (CEL) option, in which students undertake a project motivated by a community partner, in lieu of completing their own project.  This option is will include the opportunity for a group format this term; interested students should contact the instructor for more details early in the term.

For more information, and a draft syllabus see: https://jonathanlgraves.arts.ubc.ca/econ-490-information/

This goal of this course is to provide students the tools necessary to write an independent empirical research paper. I will provide a discussion of recently published papers that illustrate the empirical methods used in current research. The course will also provide you with an introduction/refresher of STATA coding along with some assignments that will help you familiarize yourself with common empirical techniques. The course will also provide one-on-one meetings to discuss your work in progress. Possible topics for your research projects include education, health, gender, labor markets, immigration, racial bias, urban economics, and voting, though you are free to choose any applied microeconomics topic that interests you.

Term 2

This section of Econ 490 will focus on the Economics of Migration, which as a subfield of Labour Economics follows a long tradition based on empirical analysis.

The course will begin by discussing the important questions in the Economics of Migration: the economic integration of immigrants to their host country, the impact of immigration on outcomes in the host country, the issue of self-selection of immigrants, and the effects of emigration on the home country, including the impact of remittances, among other topics. Several current policy issues that directly affect migration, including recent travel restrictions, will be discussed. The sources of data used to address these questions and the relevant econometric techniques, learnt previously in Econ 325 and 326, will be reviewed. The discussions of the substantive issues will feature both lectures and seminar-style interactive learning. The applications of the econometric techniques will involve a hand-on approach in the computer lab (virtual or in-person). The students will then undertake their own research project on a migration topic and at the end of the course present their findings in both a research paper and an in-class presentation.

This course is built around a key problem: how do we take a question and use our economic tools to answer it?  This may seem elementary, but it can be surprisingly challenging!  We tackle this problem in the context of applied economic research – working with real data as part of a community engaged learning project.  We will do four things in this course:

  • Explore the tools, models, and skills necessary for answering questions
  • Discover how to formulate a good question about a challenging economic problem.
  • Learn how to answer your question in a convincing way.
  • Practice communicating your results through writing and speaking.

Along the way we tackle a number of important topics, like the connection between theory and applied work, causality, and building economic models. However, the focus always will be on building a research question to address a real, practical, economic problem; a process your instructor will guide you through in 1-on-1 meetings.  The best results come about because you are passionate about them!

This section emphasizes methodology (how do we conduct and carry out research) as opposed to topic (studying economic development economic, for example).  Emphasis in-class will be on microeconomic applications, but students with broader interests are also encouraged to attend.

The course format will be a mixture of lectures, small-group discussions, computer labs, and presentations.  We will review some necessary background in early lectures, then learn some new and commonly used models specific to your topics.  We will get also get hands-on practice with real data through interaction in computer labs, and learn how to use statistical software (STATA in class, but R or Python is also OK).

We will also learn how to communicate our results clearly both in written form, and in presentations.  Evaluation will be primarily based on (i) in-class participation, (ii) oral presentations, and (iii) your research paper.  The paper itself has several, smaller, “lead-up” assignments to help you build up to the final paper while getting feedback and assistance along the way.

This semester will be a community engaged learning (CEL) format, in which students undertake a project motivated by a community partner.  This will include the opportunity for a group format this term; if you would like more information about the CEL format and our partner, you should contact the instructor for more details closer to the start of the term.

For more information, and a draft syllabus see: https://jonathanlgraves.arts.ubc.ca/econ-490-information/

This is a course in which students are expected to learn how to apply standard economic tools to real world issues by working on an individual research project under the close supervision of the instructor. These economic tools include (but are not limited to) what students have learned in Econ 301 (Microeconomic Theory), Econ 302 (Macroeconomic Theory), Econ 355 (International Trade), Econ 356 (International Finance), and statistics/econometrics courses.

Students are expected to successfully complete a research paper by the end of the quarter on an economic issue related to either a region/area of interest, or an international economics question of interest to the student.

A successful research paper must satisfy the following three conditions: (a) a clear issue; (b) a well-defined and consistent approach to answer the question; and (c) a clear conclusion which follows from a solid economic analysis.

The grade will depend on how successfully the research paper meets the above criteria. The paper should NOT exceed 15 double-spaced pages using standard 12 point font.

While my research interests are centered in international economics, macroeconomics and macro-development, in this course I am open to issues in all areas of economics as long you are able to articulate a clear economic question in that area.

Course Outline (subject to change) available at the following link:  https://econ2017.sites.olt.ubc.ca/files/2020/06/pdf_outline_Amartya-Lahiri_Econ490Outline2020.pdf

In the first week of Econ 101 you were taught that the household is the fundamental unit of the economy. Despite that emphasis, in economics we often overlook the structure of the household and how households make important decisions that can impact all areas of both the macro and microeconomy. Family economics examines how families make choices in regards to their time spend working and going to school, number of children born, savings and spending, where to live and whether to live alone or with others. These decisions have implications that influence aggregate output, human capital accumulation, labour force participation, fertility rates, migration patterns, and health and welfare of current and future generations. The decisions of families are rapidly changing over time and vary widely between demographic and geographic groups, meaning that there is an abundance of interesting research topics in this area.  This term students will be working in small groups to conduct research using Statistics Canada General Social Survey: The Familyn.

The main goal of this course is to help students write a research paper in public economics and policy. To do so, the course is divided into two parts: (1) it will expose students to a set of topics in public economics, and (2) it will provide them with econometric tools to analyze data and make statistical inference. Students will learn necessary tools to evaluate a research paper, and will have individual meetings to discuss how to apply these tools to pursue their own research ideas. Near the end, students will have a chance to present their research paper. Possible topics include local public finance, innovation policies, taxes and transfer programs.

The goal of this course is for each student to  write an independent empirical research paper. To get there, you will need to (1) choose a topic in applied microeconomics about which you are passionate, (2) formulate a research question around that topic, (3) find an appropriate micro dataset to answer your research question, (4) conduct independent data analysis in STATA, and (5) communicate your findings via a presentation to your classmates. I will guide you through that process with a discussion of published papers that illustrate the questions and empirical methods used in current research, an introduction (or refresher) in STATA coding, a series of assignments to keep you on track, and one-on-one meetings to discuss your work in progress. Possible topics include education, health, gender, labor markets, immigration, racial bias, urban economics, and voting, though you are free to choose any applied microeconomics topic that interests you.

Introduction: There is hardly any form of learning that is more satisfying than researching, debating a topic and then corroborating your hypothesis with empirical evidence. In this section you are required to work on a research paper under the supervision of the instructor. The broad themes for this section of Econ 490 are Gender, Population and Health.

The course would require you to form a researchable question from topics like gender differences in decision-making, division of labor within the family, and public policies that affect the status and health of women and children. We will draw from various development and health literature from Africa, Asia and Latin America. This course emphasizes conceptual, modeling, and empirical skills widely used in economic analysis and its application to the data from developing world.

The first few sessions would be in a lecture format learning the recent theory and empirical evidence related to various topics in the field. The next few sessions would be in an interactive class setting where students will use STATA (econometric software) to formalize their research question.