ECON 495 Senior Seminar

An intensive application of economic analysis to issues chosen by the instructor in consultation with students during the course. The course emphasizes the development of analytical writing team-work and presentation skills and is meant to be an opportunity for students to apply their economic training to specific topics. Complete descriptions of the seminars offered in a given year will be mailed out to students prior to the Spring registration. Senior status is required for this course. Students who will be off campus in the fall of their senior year must contact the department chair by the end of their junior year to arrange a substitute senior seminar. 

Section 1 - Austrian Economics: 

This seminar investigates an alternative approach to economics the Austrian School of Economics which emphasizes methodological individualism and subjectivism. The Austrian School traces its roots back to the works of the Spanish Scholastics of the sixteenth century and stress the importance of the individual private property limited government and the organizing power of the free-market. Students will read from authors such as Menger Mises Hayek Rothbard and Hoppe and evaluate various properties of a state-planned economy versus a decentralized free market economy. 

Section 2 - Open Economy Macroeconomics

In this section of Economics 495 we will build a theoretical framework and read empirical studies that allow us to understand many interesting questions in international macroeconomics: What is the role of monetary and fiscal policy in open economies? What are the tradeoffs between fixed and flexible exchange rates? How and why did the European Union evolve?  How does the international financial system work? How do financial crises emerge and what can we do about them?  Should we be concerned about balance of payment imbalances? A variety of class formats will be used, including mini-lectures, classroom discussions, and student presentations. Students write several short papers, participate in the analysis of Harvard Business School Cases and make an individual final presentation based on their final paper. Prerequisites: Economics 272 (may be taken concurrently) and Economics 251.

Section 3 - Firm-level International Trade and Investment

This seminar studies firm behavior in the international economy and how it is influenced by government regulations and international trade agreements. Topics discussed include the decision to export, foreign direct investment, outsourcing/offshoring, GATT/WTO and various trade agreements. We use modern trade theory to analyze firm decision-making and also learn how firms engage in international commerce from empirical studies and business case studies.  Prerequisites: Economics 272 (may be taken concurrently) and Economics 250.  May not be taken by any student who has taken or is planning on taking Economics 352.

Section 4 - Health Economics

This seminar provides an overview of health economics, covering the demographic and socio-economic determinants of health and the design and implementation of health care systems in both domestic and global contexts.  Students will apply economic theory to model demand for health and health care, cost-effective intervention choices, the value of a statistical life, and optimal health insurance. Using this grounding, students will read state-of-the-art empirical research on recent policies such as the Oregon Medicaid Experiments, the Affordable Care Act, and pay-for-performance programs in developing countries. Prerequisites: Economics 272 (may be taken concurrently) and Economics 250. 

Credits

4

Prerequisite

ECON 272 (may be taken concurrently) and either ECON 250 or ECON 251 Section 1: ECON 272 (may be taken concurrently) and ECON 250. May not be taken by any student who has taken or is planning on taking ECON 309. Section 2: ECON 250 (ECON 272 is helpful) May not be taken by any student who has taken or is planning on taking ECON 326. Section 3: ECON 272 (may be taken concurrently) and ECON 250. Section 4: ECON 272 (may be taken concurrently) and ECON 250. May not be taken by any student who has taken or is planning on taking ECON 302.