Courses

Economics/LER 440 - Labor Economics (undergraduate level)
Professor: Darren Lubotsky

This course focuses on theoretical and empirical analyses of wage and employment determination. Topics include labor supply and demand, education, health, income inequality, intergenerational mobility, discrimination, crime, and immigration. By the end of the course, students should have a basic familiarity with the stylized facts and institutions of the labor market, and understand the theoretical and empirical tools used to analyze labor market and public policy issues.



Economics 440 - Economics of Labor Markets -Spring Semester
Professor: Ron Laschever

This course focuses on theoretical and empirical analyses of investment in human capital, and wage and employment determination. Topics include labor supply and demand, education, social interactions, income inequality, intergenerational mobility, discrimination, crime, and immigration. By the end of the course, students should have a basic familiarity with the stylized facts and institutions of the labor market and will be able to understand the theoretical and empirical tools used in labor economics, which, in turn, can be applied to the study of virtually any public policy issue.



Economics/LER 540 - Labor Economics (Ph.D. level)
Professor: Darren Lubotsky

This course explores some of the basic techniques, data sets, and empirical practices in the field of labor economics. The course focuses on a limited set of topics at an in-depth level. Recent topics include the economic returns to education and related education policy issues, changes in the structure of wages in the United States, and immigration to the United States. Two additional key goals of the course are to develop students’ presentation skills and research projects.



Economics 545 - Economics of Health, Education, and Human Capital
Professor: Elizabeth Powers

This course focuses on issues of fertility, investments in child quality (including education and health), the returns to schooling, and health behaviors.



Finance 434 - Employee Benefits - Fall Semester
Professor: Jeff Brown

The objective of this course is to provide students with an understanding of terminology, concepts, practices and current issues in the field of employee benefits with a particluar emphasis on public and private retirement plans and health care plans. This field is rapidly growing in importance for both employees and employers, and is undergoing significant changes. Students completing this course will be able to utilize their own employee benefit plans more wisely, help employers adapt such plans to meeting business conditions, and make informed public policy decisions regarding employee benefits and social insurance programs.



Finance 580 (for masters students) - Environmental Regulation of Business - Fall Semester
Professor: Don Fullerton

This course will study the economic impacts on businesses and individuals from public policies that address natural resources and the environment. We welcome those in MBA or MSF programs, or MS in Agricultural Economics. We will start with the concepts of externalities, public goods, property rights, market failure, and social cost-benefit analysis. Within this framework, we will consider a few additional problems such as information, uncertainty, and risk analysis. In addressing each pollution problem, we compare public policy responses such as administrative regulation, marketable permits, tax incentives, and direct subsidies. The course will study models that enable us to analyze the economic impacts of such regulations, including effects on output, costs, investment, R&D, and the amount of pollution. Also, distributional effects include who bears the burdens and who gets the benefits. Other specific topics include "carbon finance" and "environmental accounting."



Finance 580 (for PhD students) - General Equilibrium Analysis of Environmental Tax Policy" - Fall Semester
Professor: Don Fullerton

This course is about how to build and use analytical general equilibrium models to do research. The primary examples are drawn from environmental tax policy, but the method is equally useful for analysis of non-tax policies and other problems in public economics, trade, development, and other fields. We will replicate and extend existing G.E. models with general production and demand functions that are differentiated to find closed-form solutions for the incidence of the tax, including changes in all factor prices, input quantities, outputs, prices, and welfare of each group. Such models can be used to analyze the effects of tax or environmental policy on pollution, poverty, growth, trade, and welfare. Using few sectors, they focus on general concepts, forming a foundation for more detailed computational models.



Finance 580ST - Strategic Thinking - Spring Semester
Professor: Charles Kahn

This course provides a systematic approach to strategic thinking. The first part of the course applies game theory to the analysis of business decisions. It uses these concepts to understand how businesses interact strategically and to develop general principles for such interaction. The second portion of the course introduces incentive mechanisms. In order to cope with the strategic behavior of other parties (employees, customers, investors, suppliers and competitors) businesses are organized so as to channel strategic behavior through incentive mechanisms. We will examine some basic incentive devices and see some of the principles of their design. While the course provides grounding that is particularly valuable for work in corporate finance and business strategy, it also pulls examples from public policy and economics.



LAW 647 - Federal Income Taxation - Fall Semester
Professor: Richard Kaplan

This course provides a survey of the federal income tax. The materials focus upon the following problem areas: (a) the constitutional, statutory, and judicial standards for determining gross income; (b) determination of allowable deductions for both business and nonbusiness expenses; (c) methods of accounting for income and deductions; (d) determination of gain or loss upon the sale or other disposition of property and the classification thereof as ordinary income or loss, or capital gain or loss; and (e) the identification of the taxable person in situations where attempts are made to split or shift the burden of the income tax within family groups.



LAW 670 - Elder Law - Spring Semester
Professor: Richard Kaplan

This course covers such areas as income tax provisions of special interest to senior citizens, Social Security, pension plan distributions, Medicare and Medicaid coverage, long-term care and nursing home admission, powers-of-attorney regarding health case proxies and financial/legal matters, guardianship, and ethical considerations in advising elderly clients. The emphasis in this course is on understanding federal statutory provisions that affect the care, comfort, and financial security of persons as they live longer to permit informed advising and sensitive planning. Policy implications of these various uncoordinated laws are also considered at some length.



LAW 689 - Law and Economics - Fall Semester
Professor: Dhammika Dharmapala

This class provides an introduction to the economic analysis of law, with applications to various areas of law, including property, contracts, torts, corporations and crime.



LAW 798 - Seminar in Federal Tax Policy - Fall Semester
Professor: Richard Kaplan

This seminar will examine the major approaches to the formulation of federal tax policy, including their political and economic ramifications. Particular consideration will be given to: tax simplification efforts and the tax legislative process; base-broadening and its potential for lowered rates; the concept of “tax expenditures” in the federal budget; and the phenomenon of taxpayer noncompliance. Current legislative proposals and significant recent legislation will be examined as well. Students are expected to prepare a research paper on some currently vital tax policy issue and to present such paper for discussion.



LER 590-N - Health, Savings, and Family Issues in the Workplace (Masters level)
Professor: Darren Lubotsky

A substantial part of employees’ compensation comes in the form of non-wage benefits, such as health insurance and retirement plans. Moreover, these fringe benefits are a primary source of health insurance coverage and retirement funds for most workers. The goal of this course is to introduce some of the major features of employee benefits, including what choices are available to firms in the provision of benefits, what choices firms can offer their employees, and what are the incentives and consequences created by these different choices. The course will also discuss timely public policy issues, such as Social Security reform, health insurance reform, and family-leave policy.



LIR 545 - Economics of Human Resources -Spring Semester
Professor: Ron Laschever

This course examines topics in industrial relations and human resources management from a labor economics point of view. While industrial relations are studied extensively by sociologists and psychologists, economists have made important contributions starting in the 1960s, and especially in the last two decades. Applications of Human Capital Theory and other economic frameworks have grown into a subfield of labor economics sometimes referred to as personnel or human resources economics.