Economics

Undergraduate Courses in Economics

ECON:1100/6E:001 Principles of Microeconomics (4 s.h.)
Prerequisites: None
Microeconomics aims at providing students with the tools used by economists to analyze social issues. The focus is on (1) understanding how economic arrangements like the market allocate inputs among producers and goods among consumers, and how those allocations respond to changes in the economic environment; (2) evaluating the successes and failures of economic systems as they operate domestically and internationally; and (3) how government policies (regulation, spending, taxing, subsidies, borrowing) improve or worsen the economic well-being of the nation as a whole and of particular groups in the population such as consumers, farmers, workers, the poor, the rich, students, the retired.

ECON:1200/6E:002 Principles of Macroeconomics (4 s.h.)
Prerequisites: None
This course surveys the major social and political institutions that shape economic behavior: households, firms and the government. It analyzes the response of these sectors to current major economic difficulties including unemployment and inflation, declining rates of economic growth, the challenge of balancing the federal government's budget, and the role of the United States in a global economy. The goal of the course is to teach students to use the economist's lens to view the world more clearly.

ECON:1300/6E:029 First-Year Seminar (1 s.h.)
Prerequisites: None
Small discussion class taught by a faculty member; topics chosen by instructor; may include outside activities (e.g., films, lectures, performances, readings, visits to research facilities).

ECON:2800/6E:071 Statistics for Strategy Problems (3 s.h.)
Prerequisites: MATH:1380 (22M:017) and STAT:1030 (22S:008)
Continuation of STAT:1030; working knowledge of statistical techniques, scientific data-based approach to problem formulation and solution, statistical techniques in the context of real data analysis, assessment of defects in statistical analyses, using data for procedures, developing skill in communicating statistical results to audiences without knowledge of statistics.

ECON:2100/6E:104 Microeconomic Theory (3 s.h.)
Prerequisites: ECON:1100/6E:001 and MATH:1380 (22M:017), or consent of instructor
This course introduces students of economics to contemporary theories of the behavior of consumers, producers, and other economic agents; the role of markets in coordinating economic activity and the conditions required by those markets for efficient allocation of resources; market robustness and market imperfections; and strategic behavior of economic actors. This course is designed to give students the economic tools for the applied economics courses which follow it. Social Science and Science majors with first semester calculus background are encouraged to enroll.

ECON:2200/6E:105 Macroeconomics (3 s.h.)
Prerequisites: ECON:1200/6E:002 and MATH:1380 (22M:017), or consent of instructor
The main purpose of this course is to study economic activity at the national level. Aggregative economic models are developed to explain the observed behavior of gross national product, employment, interest rates, prices, and inflation. These models are then used to evaluate the efficacy of fiscal and monetary policy, and to study aggregate fluctuations, economic growth, and the effects of international trade in goods and assets. Some questions which are addressed are: 1) what are the effects of high government deficits? 2) Should monetary and fiscal policy be used to smooth fluctuations in aggregate economic activity? 3) Who is winning the debate between neoclassical macroeconomists and neo Keynesians? 4) What explains the wide divergence in rates of economic growth across countries? and 5) how are trade deficits, government budget deficits, and national savings related?

ECON:2250/6E:106 Advanced Microeconomics (3 s.h.)
Prerequisites: ECON:1100/6E:001 and MATH:1380 (22M:107), or equivalent (22M:025 preferred) or consent of instructor
Mathematical treatment of the economic theory of the behavior of consumers, producers, and other economic agents; the role of markets in coordinating economic activity and the conditions required by those markets for an efficient allocation of resources; market imperfections; and the strategic behavior of economic actors.

ECON:2300/6E:111 Personnel Economics (3 s.h.)
Prerequisites: ECON:1100/6E:001 and ECON:1200/6E:002, or consent of instructor
The course covers the basic elements of the analysis of labor markets. On the supply side of these markets, it addresses issues of occupational choice, choice between pursuing an education and joining the labor force, and the choice of an optimal retirement age. On the demand side it looks at optimal reward schemes and procedures for screening job applicants, among others. Impediments to the functioning of these markets and possible policy responses are identified. Examples of policy issues in the labor market are: Should there be anti scab rules? Should employers pay for their employees' health insurance? Should government mandate an apprenticeship system? What should be the extent of protection against racial and sexual discrimination in the labor market?

ECON:2330/6E:113 Health Economics (3 s.h.)
Prerequisites: ECON:1100/6E:001 and ECON:1200/6E:002, or consent of instructor
The purpose of this course is to learn about the health care sector of the U.S. economy and how to apply the tools of economics to analyze the structure and performance of this sector. It addresses such issues as, “Why is health care so expensive in the U.S.? Why do Americans spend a greater fraction of their income on health care, yet are no healthier than citizens of other developed countries? How even is the provision of health insurance and care across Americans, and why? What role do private health insurance and government policies play in determining what sort of health care is provided and who receives it? Would the U.S. be better off with a public health care system like those of Canada or Great Britain?"

ECON:2400/6E:117 Money, Banking and Financial Markets (3 s.h.)
Prerequisites: ECON:1100/6E:001 and ECON:1200/6E:002, or consent of instructor
This course studies the role of financial markets and money in the economy. It examines how interest rates are determined, how money is created by the banking system and the role of the Federal Reserve in the whole process. Issues like the banking crisis and the proper role of monetary policy will be examined in detail. The interaction between the goods sector and the financial sector, as well as the interrelationships between the domestic and the international financial sectors will be analyzed.

ECON:2420/6E:119 Policy Analysis (3 s.h.)
Prerequisites: ECON:1100/6E:001 and ECON:1200/6E:002, or consent of instructor
This course is divided into two general topics: (1) government expenditure theory and practice, and (2) taxation. The first part is concerned with these questions: Why have government? What is an efficient amount of government spending? How is efficiency measured? Does the political process cause too much or too little government spending? What are the efficiency implications of different policies to redistribute income? Questions addressed in the second part are concerned with financing government and primarily with taxation: What kinds of taxes are fair? Which taxes are most efficient in terms of their effects on economic behavior? What are the effects of reforming existing taxes or replacing them with different taxes?

ECON:2500/6E:125 Global Economics and Business (3 s.h.)
Prerequisites: ECON:1100/6E:001 and ECON:1200/6E:002, or consent of instructor
Current topics such as the North American Free Trade Agreement, high tech trade and growth, trade policies for developing countries, agricultural subsidies and the European Economic Community, trade and budget deficits, U.S. competitiveness, exchange rates and markets for foreign exchange, protection, and trade are covered in a course that emphasizes a unified approach to these topics. Basic models of international economies are developed and related to the above topics.

ECON:2510/6E:129 Economic Growth and Development (3 s.h.)
Prerequisites: ECON:1100/6E:001 and ECON:1200/6E:002, or consent of instructor
This course entertains the following questions: Why are some countries rich and other countries poor? Why is the population growing so fast in the power regions of the world? How have some countries managed to change from a traditional, rural agrarian society to a rapidly modernizing rich economy? Why have some countries begun to approach the living standard in the U.S.? What are the prospects for the former client states and republics of the former Soviet Union? Which of these countries prospers more quickly than others? Are their international policies that help more countries out of poverty?

ECON:2320/6E:133 Environmental and Natural Resource Economics (3 s.h.)
Prerequisites: ECON:1100/6E:001 and ECON:1200/6E:002, or consent of instructor
This course uses economic principles and theory to analyze environmental problems, issues and policies. It responds to the popular feeling that we are "running out of our finitely endowed resources," including the earth's capacity to absorb ever greater amounts of pollution—the waste products of production and consumption. It develops the normative concepts of efficiency and sustainability that economists use to evaluate and compare policy options, and seeks to explain how property rights and market forces can be harnessed to produce environmentally friendly results. Among the questions treated are: Is a law requiring every car to have a catalytic converter the best way to reduce exhaust emissions? Is a ban on ivory tusks the best way to protect elephants? How should we allocate scarce water in the western United States? Should the dirtiest polluters be the first ones required to "clean up their acts?" How should we protect the earth's ozone layer?

ECON:2340/6E:135 Regional and Urban Economics (3 s.h.)
Prerequisites: ECON:1100/6E:001 and ECON:1200/6E:002, or consent of instructor
"If you've ever wondered about enterprise zones, agglomeration economics, economic base studies or input-output analysis, this course covers these topics, and more.

ECON:2310/6E:141 Industry Analysis (3 s.h.)
Prerequisites: ECON:1100/6E:001 and ECON:1200/6E:002, or consent of instructor
The organization of American industries is the focus of this course. The class examines such issues as, "Why are some industries dominated by large firms, and others not? Which structure is more common? Why do some firms get to be so large? Why are some firms vertically integrated and others not? What are the consequences of alternative industry structures for the efficiency and innovativeness of the economy? What implications are there for antitrust and merger policy?" To answer these questions, we will use ideas from introductory economics combined with information about particular industries.

ECON:3355/6E:143 Economic Business Forecasting (3 s.h.)
Prerequisites: 06E:001 (ECON:1100), 06E:002 (ECON:1200), and 06E:071 (ECON:2800)
How to develop and utilize forecasts; emphasis on modern statistical methods and software applied to quantitative forecasting problems; specific applications to business and economics include forecasting sales, market prices, inventory, macroeconomic factors (interest rates, exchange rates, levels of employment).

ECON:3350/6E:145 Transportation Economics (3 s.h.)
Prerequisites: ECON:1100/6E:001 and ECON:1200/6E:002, or consent of instructor
One out of every ten workers in the U.S. is employed in transportation. This interdisciplinary course on the economics of transportation draws on such fields as economics, geography, business administration, political science and planning to address the planning, public and private management, finance and taxation, and social and economic regulation of the transportation sector. All transport markets (intercity, rural, urban, and international) and all transport modes (rail, highway, air, pipelines and water transportation) are included in the scope of the course. Coverage of these areas is expected to acquaint the student with the role played by transportation in economies and societies.

ECON:2610/6E:158 American Economic History (3 s.h.)
Prerequisites: ECON:1100/6E:001 and ECON:1200/6E:002, or consent of instructor (economics majors) or ECON:1100 and HIST:2261 (non-economics majors)
This course explores topics in American economic history to show how the economic behavior of individuals determined the economic development of America. The course focuses on the roles of population and technology in the development of the eighteenth and nineteenth century economy. We will answer questions such as "Was America the land of opportunity for immigrants? Did the frontier provide equal opportunities for Americans? Why did industrial development vary across regions of the country? What caused the rise of big business and how did big business contribute to economic growth?" We will use basic tools of economic analysis to evaluate recent studies which answer the questions such as those listed above. This course should be of interest to historians with some knowledge of economics as well as to economists who wish to learn about history.

This course is cross listed as History course 16A:144. History majors need to take 6E:001 as a prerequisite.

ECON:2360/6E:160 Household Finance (3 s.h.)
Prerequisites: ECON:1100/6E:001 and ECON:1200/6E:002, or consent of instructor
Application of micro and macro-economics theory to the economic decisions of families and households. The course addresses both practical and theoretical issues in income generation, spending and saving decisions, risk management and asset allocation, investments and inter-generational wealth transfers.

ECON:2520/6E:164 Economies in Transition (3 s.h.)
Prerequisites: ECON:1100/6E:001 and ECON:1200/6E:002, or consent of instructor
This course studies the emerging markets in Asian and Latin America with an emphasis on the role that capital markets play in the development of these economies. It begins by examining two interdependent issues: To what extent does a nation's economic growth depend upon the development of its financial markets and institutions? What are the major factors affecting the evolution and functioning of financial systems? Some economists have argued that financial institutions play an important role in economic growth, but others have argued that the finance-growth relationship is not very important.

A number of countries in Asia (including South Korea, Taiwan, Malaysia, Thailand, India) and Latin America (including Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Mexico, Venezuela) provide excellent case studies to use in examining economic success, economic failure, the evolution of financial institutions and their impact on economic growth. These case studies, along with selected readings from economics and finance, are designed to give students an understanding of the relationship between economic growth and capital market development as well as familiarity with many facets of several Asian and Latin American economies.

ECON:2540/6E:165 Sports Economics (3 s.h.)
Prerequisites: ECON:1100/6E:001 and ECON:1200/6E:002, or consent of instructor
This course is a survey of the theory and literature of the economic issues relevant in professional sports. We will address such questions as, "Do large market teams have an advantage over small market teams? Should cities subsidize stadiums for baseball or football teams? What is David Ortiz's true value to the Boston Red Sox?" To answer these questions, we will use ideas from introductory economics (such as demand and cost curves) combined with additional economic theory, statistical evidence, and information about particular sports.

ECON:2900/6E:169 Topics in Economics (3 s.h.)
Prerequisites: ECON:2100/6E:104 and ECON:2200/6E:105, or consent of instructor
The content of this course varies from semester to semester, depending on the interests of the particular instructor. In the past, it has covered such things as the use of real-time electronic markets like the Iowa Electronic Market to predict the outcomes of political elections, and the regulation of securities, futures and options markets in the U.S. Announcement of course content will be made in the semester prior to the one in which the course is offered.

ECON:4100/6E:171 Antitrust Economics (3 s.h.)
Prerequisites: ECON:2100/6E:104 or LAW:8146/091:208
This course covers topics in antitrust policy from the viewpoints of both law and economics. The topics to be covered may change from semester to semester, but include such things as (1) how can market power be measured? (2) how should we treat price cuts that threaten other firms' profitability? (3) to what extent and under what conditions should firms be allowed to merge? and (4) what sorts of restrictions should firms be able to place on the buyers of their products? In each case, the current state of antitrust law will be explored, and its consequences evaluated through the use of economic theory.

This course sometimes is cross-listed as College of Law course 91:201 and in those cases will include both undergraduate students and law students, but law students and non-law students will be have their exams graded separately and thus will not compete with each other for grades.

ECON:2370/6E:172 Law and Economics (3 s.h.)
Prerequisites: ECON:2100/6E:104 and ECON:2200/6E:105, or consent of instructor
This course examines the consequences of different legal rules using economic theory, with emphasis on American common law of property, contract, torts and the corporation. It asks such questions as, “How can liability rules give people the incentive to avoid accidentally injuring others? How should contracts be enforced? How can the law make corporate management act in the best interests of stockholders? How should the law deal with competing land uses by neighbors?"

This course is cross-listed as College of Law course 91:295 and will include both undergraduate students and law students, but law students and non-law students will be have their exams graded separately and thus will not compete with each other for grades.

ECON:3500/6E:173 International Economics (3 s.h.)
Prerequisites: ECON:2100/6E:104 and ECON:2200/6E:105, or graduate standing
The focus is the same as in ECON:2500, but it is covered at a more rapid pace using more sophisticated techniques.

ECON:3400/6E:174 Monetary Economics (3 s.h.)
Prerequisites: ECON:2100/6E:104 and ECON:2200/6E:105
The focus of this course will be current issues in monetary and macroeconomics. In the first part of the course the role of money in alternative macroeconomic frameworks will be analyzed in some detail. Topics in second part of the course will vary, but could include topics such as the proper procedure for conducting monetary policy in an uncertain environment, the stability of the demand for money, or rules versus discretion in monetary policy. In the third part of the course students will give short presentations of preliminary versions of their term papers.

ECON:3300/6E:175 Labor Economics (3 s.h.)
Prerequisites: ECON:2100/6E:104 and ECON:2200/6E:105, or consent of instructor.
This course examines questions such as the following: What determines whether an individual supplies labor in the market? Why have women entered the labor force in such large numbers? Why have so many older men left the labor force? Who goes to college, and of those who graduate, who goes on to law school, medical school, business school, or graduate school? Why do some occupations pay more for their workers than competing occupations pay for comparably skilled employees? When can workers leaving one profession to enter another profession raise the average quality of both professions? Why are corporate executives paid so much? What do unions do? Why are there so many poor in America 30 years after the War on Poverty? Why does the delivery of public education appear so ineffective in reducing poverty?

ECON:3420/6E:176 Public Sector Economics (3 s.h.)
Prerequisites: ECON:2100/6E:104 and ECON:2200/6E:105, or consent of instructor
"Taxes are what we pay for civilized society." Oliver Wendall Holmes, Jr., 1904. "Read my lips. No new taxes." George Bush, 1988. Americans have always held strong opinions about taxes. And well they should. Federal, state, and local taxes now average about 30 percent of Gross National Product. Our objective in this course is to answer several questions about the U. S. tax system: Is it fair? Does it discourage saving? Working? Does it put U.S. businesses at a competitive disadvantage in the new "global" economy? How can it be improved? Are taxes too high? Answers depend on tax policies in other countries since, in today's highly integrated global economy, the effects of a nation's tax system do not stop at its borders. We first study the basic concepts and theory needed to analyze the effects of taxes and then read and critique several studies of taxation in the U.S. and other countries.

ECON:3310/6E: 177 Industrial Organization (3 s.h.)
Prerequisites: ECON:2100/6E:104, or consent of instructor.
This course uses modern theories of industrial organization to study the behavior of firms. The course starts with theories of imperfect competition and then explores how strategic behavior and dynamic behavior of firms changes industrial outcomes. The outcomes are relevant to antitrust policy and government regulation of business, and the interactions of these policies and firm behaviors are examined. Topics include such questions as, "If Casey's charges less for gas than other small town stations, is Casey's charging predatory prices? If there are 4000 sellers of credit cards, and 75 million buyers, are credit cards sold competitively? Should Pepsi be allowed to make a deal with a university so that only Pepsi machines are placed on campus? Do health and safety regulations help consumers?"

ECON:3600/6E:179 History of Economic Thought (3 s.h.)
Prerequisites: ECON:2100/6E:104 and ECON:2200/6E:105, or consent of instructor
The focus of this course is the evolution of economics, the queen of the social sciences. Economics has a long and illustrious past. We study the path-breaking ideas of the great architects of the subject—Adam Smith, David Ricardo, John Stuart Mill, Leon Walras, Alfred Marshall, John Maynard Keynes—along with the objections of their major critics, including Thomas Malthus, Karl Marx, and Thorsten Veblen. The course will be of interest to anyone who knows something of contemporary economics and is curious to know where it came from and to think about where it might be headed.

ECON:3320/6E:183 Natural Resource Economics (3 s.h.)
Prerequisites: ECON:2100/6E:104, or consent of instructor.
Economics of natural resources; interaction between economic theory, empirical evidence, and public policy; land, water, fish, trees, minerals; externalities.

ECON:4800/6E:184 Introduction to Econometrics (3 s.h.)
Prerequisites: STAT:3120/22S:120, or equivalent
Econometrics is the application of statistics to problems in empirical economics. It provides the tools for testing whether economic theories are consistent with real world observations and for using the theories to make predictions of how economic policy measures or changes in other factors would affect the economy. This course is taught in a computerized classroom where each student sits at a microcomputer. Using real data, students will learn and use econometric methods for testing theories and making predictions. The empirical problems that are investigated vary from year to year. Here are some examples of problems investigated in past years: How well can stock prices be predicted? Does speed on the highway kill? Why did ridership on the Iowa City bus system decrease steadily through most of the 1980's? How much is increased automobile fuel economy worth? This course is required for economics majors seeking the B.S. degree.

ECON:3850/6E:187 Mathematical Economics (3 s.h.)
Prerequisites: ECON:2100/6E:104 and ECON:2200/6E:105, or consent of instructor
This course addresses aspects of mathematical economics, the modeling of economic behavior with advanced mathematical tools. The content of the course may vary depending on the interests of the particular instructor. In the past, it has covered such things as optimization theory and game theory.

ECON:3900/6E:189 Advanced Topics in Economics (3 s.h.)
Prerequisites: ECON:2100/6E:104 and ECON:2200/6E:105, or consent of instructor
The content of this course varies from semester to semester, depending on the interests of the particular instructor. In the past, it has covered such things as the use of real-time electronic markets like the Iowa Electronic Market to predict the outcomes of political elections, and the regulation of securities, futures and options markets in the U.S. Announcement of course content will be made in the semester prior to the one in which the course is offered.

ECON:3870/6E:190 Federal Reserve Challenge (3 s.h.)
Prerequisites: ECON:2100/6E:104 and ECON:2200/6E:105, and consent of instructor
This course allows students to use what they have learned in their economics courses to do what the Federal Reserve economists do every day; study the real U.S. economy, make forecasts and policy recommendations, and defend their views to academic and professional economists. Develop analytical skills, work as a team, and build presentations.

ECON:3999/6E:194 Honors Seminar (1,2,3 s.h.)
Prerequisites: Business honors standing and consent of business honors director
This course is in preparation for writing Senior Honors Thesis. Typically taken during junior year. Consent of instructor required.

ECON:4999/6E:195 Honors Thesis in Economics (3 s.h.)
Prerequisites: BUS:3999/6B:194 or ECON:3999/6E:194, and admission to the Tippie College of Business honors program.

ECON:4050/6E:196 Readings and Independent Study in Economics (ARR)
Prerequisites: Consent of instructor
This offering serves those students who wish to pursue topics not adequately covered by existing courses. Typically, a student with a topic in mind will prepare a draft outline of a study plan and present it to appropriate faculty members for refinement and approval.

ECON:4900/6E:199 Academic Internship
Participation in approved internship program (e.g., Washington Center Internship). Offered on S-F basis only for undergraduate.
Prerequisites: Consent of instructor

Internship in Economics (0 s.h.)
For more information and to obtain special permission, contact the Career Center, C310 Pomerantz Center (PC), (319) 335-1023.