Course Descriptions

The following is a list of the Applied Economics courses offered throughout the year. (To view the course description, touch on accordion tab by the title.)

For a syllabus of the following classes, view the Course Syllabus Archive page.

State-specific Information for Online Programs

Note: Students should be aware of state-specific information for online programs. For more information, please contact an admissions representative.

  • Prerequisite Courses

    440.304 - Math Methods for Economists

    This is a non-credit full-length course at half tuition, required of those students who have had only a single course in Calculus. It covers those parts of Integral Calculus, Multivariable Calculus, Optimization Theory, and Linear Algebra, which are necessary to pursue economics. For those required to take Math Methods, the course is treated academically as part of the Core. Thus, all rules applying to the Core apply to Math Methods. Prerequisite: A course in Calculus.

  • Core Courses

    440.601 - Microeconomic Theory

    Prerequisite: AS.440.304, Math Methods for Economists This course offers a systematic presentation of consumer theory, theory of the firm, and market equilibrium. Topics covered include constrained optimization, preferences and utility, exchange, production, pricing, market structures, and welfare economics.

    440.602 - Macroeconomic Theory

    Prerequisite: AS.440.304, Math Methods for Economists This course provides a systematic overview of the theory of aggregate output and employment, the rate of interest, and price level determination. Coverage includes the theories of consumption and investment, the demand and supply of money, inflation, unemployment, and economic growth. These topics are discussed in the context of contemporary empirical work on aggregative relationships.

    440.605 - Statistics

    This course provides a general survey of statistical methodology. Topics include probability and sampling, distribution theory, hypothesis testing, estimation (Maximum Likelihood and Method of Moments), and Analysis of Variance. It is also designed to provide the requisite background for 440.606 Econometrics. Prerequisite: a course in Calculus

    440.606 - Econometrics

    This course focuses on the application of statistical methods to the testing and estimation of economic relationships. After developing the theoretical constructs of classical least squares, common problems encountered when applying this approach, including serial correlation, heteroscedasticity, and multicollinearity, are discussed. Techniques for dealing with these problems are then examined. Models with lagged variables are considered, as is estimation with instrumental variables and two-stage least squares. Prerequisites: 440.605 Statistics.

  • Workshops

    440.011 - Forecasting in Organizations

    This course is required to earn the International Institute of Forecasters Certificate in Forecasting Practice, and introduces students to different types of forecasts including those used in government and the private sector. This is a non-credit mini-course, equivalent to a single class meeting, but with more homework. It is offered in early January, as part of the Spring schedule. Prerequisites: 440.615 Macroeconomic Forecasting, and 440.614 Macroeconometrics or 440.618 Microeconometrics.

    440.021 - Practicum in Applied Economics

    Internships or external projects applicable to the program curriculum qualify for the course. Permission of the student's advisor and of the Program Director is required before adding this non-credit course.

  • Electives - Quantitative Methods

    440.614 - Macroeconometrics [Time-Series Analysis]

    This course focuses on the practical uses of time-series econometrics in a macroeconomic context. The topics covered include autoregressive-moving average processes, non-stationary time series models, unit root tests, vector autoregression models, and cointegration analysis. Prerequisites: 440.602 Macroeconomic Theory and Policy; 440.606 Econometrics.

    440.615 - Macroeconomic Forecasting

    This course examines econometric approaches to forecasting macroeconomic activity. The approaches covered span single equation time series to large, complex, simultaneous equations systems. Different measures to assess the forecasting accuracy of these approaches are addressed. A discussion of these approaches and their relevance for policy recommendations is also covered. Prerequisites: 440.602 Macroeconomic Theory and Policy; 440.606 Econometrics.

    440.616 - Bayesian Econometrics

    The main goal of this course is to provide the students the alternative viewpoint of the Bayesian approach vis-à-vis the classical econometric approach based on the frequentist perspective. The course will present the basic principles of Bayesian inference, Bayesian Analysis of the linear regression model and extensions of the regression model, and the numerical methods used for Bayesian implementation. Modern Bayesian econometrics relies heavily on numerical simulation methods and computational algorithms. With the advancement of computing power and the advent of new simulation methods, simulation based Bayesian methods have become increasingly popular in practice with a large and growing number of applications. A significant part of the course will be devoted to explaining and demonstrating how numerical Bayesian methods, particularly, Markov Chain Monte Carlo (MCMC) methods, such as the Gibbs sampling and the Metropolis-Hastings algorithm, can be applied to estimate various interesting models in economics and finance. Students will develop practical experience with posterior simulation through hands on computer exercises involving computer programming. Prerequisites: 440.601 Microeconomic Theory, 440.606 Econometrics.

    440.617 - Financial Econometrics

    [formerly 440.647] This course introduces students to the methods most commonly used in empirical finance. Key models and methods are ARCH, GMM, Regime-Switching Models, test of CAPM (Capital Asset Pricing Model), term structure models, and volatility models (implied, stochastic volatility). Students will also learn aspects of time series econometrics for both stationary and non-stationary variables at different time frequencies, with emphasis on financial variables. Prerequisites: 440.601 Microeconomic Theory and Policy; 440.606 Econometrics; 440.614 Macroeconometrics is recommended..

    440.618 - Microeconometrics [Cross-Section and Panel Analysis]

    [formerly 440.648] This course covers a number of advanced techniques frequently encountered in applied microeconometric analysis. Topics include generalized method of moments estimation, nonlinear regression, estimation with panel data, systems of regression equations and simultaneous equation models, maximum likelihood estimation and likelihood ratio tests, and limited dependent variable analysis (i.e. Logit, Probit, Tobit, etc.). Prerequisites: 440.601 Microeconomic Theory and Policy; 440.606 Econometrics.

    440.619 - Real Risk

    This course presents an alternative view of risk that emphasizes the probabilistic nature of external events that affect economic actors. Students will learn the theory and practice of probabilistic risk analysis to solve four classes of problems: portfolio allocation (as an introduction), early warning, risk index construction, and real options. We will leverage some familiar and some new analytic tools, including decision trees, Bayesian networks, fault trees, Markov processes, convex optimization, and Monte Carlo simulation. Prerequisites: 440.601 Microeconomic Theory and 440.605 Statistics. Corequisite: 440.606 Econometrics. 440.640 Financial Economics is recommended but not required.

    440.622 - Cost-Benefit Analysis

    [formerly 440.632] The objective of this course is to develop and apply an analytical framework for evaluating projects with an emphasis on publicly funded projects. Coverage includes the evaluation of benefits and costs over time, including in the presence of uncertainty, in the absence of market prices, and when income distribution objectives need to be incorporated into a project's evaluation. Prerequisite: 440.601 Microeconomic Theory and Policy. Corequisite: 440.606 Econometrics.

    440.624 - Computable General Equilibrium Modeling

    This course will provide an understanding of how to independently develop, modify, run and interpret Computable General Equilibrium (CGE) models. CGE models are widely used in the analysis of International Trade, Taxation, Environmental Policy, and other subjects. The specific objectives of this course are as follows: Students will (1) gain an understanding of the underlying economic theory behind CGE modeling; (2) learn how to gather data sources from publicly available information to build CGE models; (3) gain an understanding of the software General Algebraic Modeling Software (GAMS) to run the models; (4) learn how use and modify existing CGE programs for research purposes; (5) be able to write simple CGE programs in GAMS; (6) be able to analyze public policy with CGE models; (7) how to interpret results from CGE models; (8) understand possible extensions of CGE models for potential future research purposes. Analytical skills developed through this class will assist you in building your careers as researchers, public managers, and policy analysts. Prerequisites: 440.601 Microeconomic Theory, 440.602 Macroeconomics Theory. Corequisite: 440.606 Econometrics.

    440.629 - Survey Research Methods

    This course introduces students to the theory and practice of conducting surveys. Survey methods combines both social science—economics, sociology, and psychology—and quantitative methods—mathematics, statistics, and computer science—to develop a theory of how surveys can best be used to measure important aspects of the human condition. Key topics include sample design, weighting, data collection modes, administrative operations, questionnaire design, nonresponse, and estimation in surveys. Prerequisites: 440.601 Microeconomic Theory, 440.605 Statistics. Corequisite: 440.606 Econometrics.

  • Electives - Applied Macroeconomics

    440.630 - Monetary Economics

    [formerly 440.610] Among the topics covered in this course are money demand and money supply, inflation and the optimal quantity of money, the monetary policy transmission mechanism, the term structure of interest rates, strategies of monetary policy and optimal monetary policy, the time inconsistency problem in monetary policy, and monetary policy targets and rules. For each topic covered, the theory, policy relevance, and empirical evidence are presented and discussed. Prerequisites: 440.602 Macroeconomic Theory and Policy; 440.606 Econometrics.

    440.631 - Finance and the Macroeconomy

    [formerly 440.621] This course explores the role of the financial sector in the overall macroeconomy. It begins by reviewing various financial instruments and markets, with a focus on their economic function. The course then examines the challenges to monetary and fiscal policy that arise because of macro-financial linkages. Further, a number of analytical tools for assessing financial stability and vulnerabilities to macro shocks are presented. Several case studies are used to illustrate real-world situations facing policymakers. Prerequisites: 440.601 Microeconomic Theory and Policy; 440.602 Macroeconomic Theory and Policy. Corequisites: 440.606 Econometrics; 440.640 Financial Economics, or equivalent.

    440.632 - Topics in Macroeconomics and Finance

    [This course aims to develop a better understanding of the linkages between the banking system and the broader macroeconomy. Particular attention will be paid to the role of banks and the banking system in propagating and perpetuating the recent financial crisis. Specific topics include the functioning of the banking system in a basic general equilibrium macro model, the Diamond-Dybvig model of bank runs; an empirical look into the economic cost of banking crises, central bank intervention in the face of a banking failure, the link between sovereign debt and the banking system, and the European debt crisis and the response of the ECB. Prerequisites: 440.601 Microeconomic Theory, 440.602 Macroeconomic Theory. Corequisites: 440.606 Econometrics; 440.640 Financial Economics

    440.634 - Economic Growth

    [formerly 440.624] Examines contemporary theories of economic growth and empirically applies them to panels of present day developing and industrialized countries, and to the historical evolution of individual countries and groups of countries. Topics include neoclassical growth models, population and growth, the economics of ideas, endogenous growth models, aid and growth, and policy and growth. Prerequisites: 440.601 Microeconomic Theory and Policy; 440.602 Macroeconomic Theory and Policy. Corequisite: 440.606 Econometrics.

    440.639 - International Finance (Open Economy Macro)

    [formerly 440.619] This course provides an overview of open economy macroeconomics, and international financial markets and policies. The focus is on exchange rate determination, the importance of the balance of payments for both the domestic economy and the economies of other countries, international capital flows, the impact of internal debt on the balance of trade, and the interaction and potential conflicts between domestic and international economic policy objectives. Prerequisite: 440.602 Macroeconomic Theory and Policy. Corequisite: 440.606 Econometrics.

  • Electives - Financial Economics

    440.640 - Financial Economics

    [formerly 440.642] Finance treats the transfer of resources across time and the transfer of risk among economic entities. The aim of this course is to develop the microeconomic theory relevant to these types of transactions. A set of underlying economic principles is applied to the determination of the value of basic financial instruments such as stocks and bonds, as well as to more complicated derivative securities, such as futures and options. Valuation concepts, in turn, allow for the analysis of various issues of interest to policy makers as well as portfolio managers and investors, such as the term structure of interest rates, portfolio theory, the capital structure of the firm, and risk management. Prerequisite: 440.601 Microeconomic Theory and Policy. Corequisite: 440.606 Econometrics.

    440.641 - Financial Intermediation & Financial Markets

    [formerly 440.620] Examines why financial intermediaries exist, how they co-exist with financial markets, and how they have been forced to switch from accepting deposits and making loans to using derivatives to manage risk. Shows how risk management differs between bank-based and market-based economies. Analyzes the economic consequences of financial market imperfections, especially for credit market equilibrium and rationing. theories of bank runs and systemic risk; and how different financial systems and governments can cope with financial crises, financial fragility, and credit market frictions. Prerequisite: 440.601 Microeconomic Theory and Policy. Corequisite: 440.606 Econometrics.

    440.643 - Economics of Investments and Financial Management

    This course develops a deeper understanding of financial markets in the context of portfolio theory. In addition to understanding how financial markets operate and relate to the broader economy, students will develop skills to analyze investment decisions and manage investment portfolios. Students will learn the efficient market hypothesis (EMH), criticisms and implications of EMH for investment strategies, modern portfolio theory and practice, and tools for evaluating performance. Throughout the course, several financial models will be analyzed especially as they relate to real-world asset allocation decisions. Prerequisite: 440.601 Microeconomic Theory. Corequisites: 440.606 Econometrics and 440.640 Financial Economics.

    440.645 - Behavioral Economics & Finance

    This course treats key topics in behavioral economics and finance. Class time will be divided between lecture and discussion of assigned readings. The first half of the course class will focus on behavioral economics, exploring theory, experimental tests, and empirical results that call into question the rational paradigm. The second half of the course will focus on applications in financial economics, including investor behavior, asset pricing, and corporate finance. Prerequisite: 440.601 Microeconomic Theory and Policy. Corequisite: 440.606 Econometrics.

    440.646 - Economics of Derivatives

    This course provides students a thorough introduction to the theoretical and practical aspects of forwards, futures, options, and swaps. Derivatives are important tools in financial markets, and students will learn how to price, value, and use them from a practical perspective. This course is particularly important for students seeking to work in finance. Topics covered include no arbitrage-based pricing, the pricing of forwards and futures, interest rate products and commodities, valuation based on market prices, and option pricing and strategies. Prerequisite: 440.601 Microeconomic Theory. Corequisites: 440.606 Econometrics and 440.640 Financial Economics.

  • Electives - Applied Microeconomics

    440.650 - Environmental & Resource Economics

    [formerly 440.640] Beginning with the concept of sustainability, the course develops a framework for an economic assessment of environmental problems including the notion of market failure, valuation of environmental resources, and policy design issues associated with using alternative economic incentives and instruments. The second part of the course examines principles of the economically efficient management of non-depletable and depletable (e.g., fossil fuels, natural ecosystems) resources. Various applied settings are used to demonstrate the principles developed in the course. Prerequisites: 440.601 Microeconomic Theory and Policy. Corequisite: 440.606 Econometrics.

    440.653 - Economics of the Labor Market

    This course develops the theory and empirics of labor markets by focusing on several leading institutional structures of both labor supply and labor demand. This theory is then applied to issues such as wage determination, wage rigidity, training and retraining programs, and the skills and wage distribution, as well as government policies that correct inefficiencies in labor markets. Prerequisites 440.601 Microeconomic Theory and 440.602 Macroeconomic Theory. Corequisite: 440.606 Econometrics.

    440.656 - Political Economy

    [formerly 440.616] This course examines how rational choice methodology (including Game Theory and Neoclassical Economics) can be applied to analyze issues related to political economy. Topics include the origin of state, economic origins of political regimes, different models of voting and their outcomes and different aspects of federalism. This course also explores how political economy influences economic development and public debt. Prerequisite: 440.601 Microeconomic Theory and Policy. Corequisite: 440.606 Econometrics.

    440.658 - Industrial Organization

    [formerly 440.638] In this course, the focus is on the study of markets and the laws and regulations used to ameliorate some of their imperfections, especially the problems caused by market structure and market power. Many economic models used to explain how markets work and what is necessary for market power to exist are investigated. Subsequently, the course explores how regulators and private litigants try to eliminate or control market power, particularly through antitrust law, with respect to price fixing, mergers, and market dominance. Regulatory issues pertaining to such industries as telecommunication, transportation, electrical power, health, safety, and the environment are covered. Prerequisite: 440.601 Microeconomic Theory and Policy. Corequisite: 440.606 Econometrics.

    440.659 - Law and Economics

    [formerly 440.639] Techniques of microeconomic theory and game theory are applied to analyze the effects of various laws on individual decisions and on the allocation of resources. Subject areas covered include the theory of public choice, the economics of property rights, contract law, and tort law. Topics include the efficient breach of contract, the determination of damages, the economics of patents and copyrights, optimal liability rules for environmental and other torts, economics of family law, bankruptcy law, zoning law, antitrust law, and the legal process. Prerequisite: 440.601 Microeconomic Theory and Policy. Corequisite: 440.606 Econometrics.

    440.661 - Public Economics

    This course analyzes the determinants and properties of government expenditures and social regulation. The first part of the course is generic: It addresses efficiency and equity in income redistribution; the provision of public goods; coping with externalities, addiction and risk; and voting and bureaucracy, and taxation. The second part of the course is particular: It examines health policy, education policy, statutory pensions, and welfare policy in a comparative international context. Prerequisites: 440.601 Microeconomic Theory; 440.602 Macroeconomic Theory. Corequisite:; 440.606 Econometrics.

    440.663 - Development Microeconomics

    [formerly 440.623] This course analyzes the constraints on households and policy makers in developing countries using econometric tools. Empirical micro-economic studies of behavior and policy outcomes under different types of market failures are drawn upon. Topics include inter alia inequality, fertility, education, health, poverty, nutrition, and failures in land, labor, credit and insurance markets. Prerequisite: 440.601 Microeconomic Theory and Policy. Corequisite: 440.606 Econometrics.

    440.665 - International Trade (Open Economy Micro)

    The first part of the course examines the causes of trade, the sources of the gains from trade, and the domestic and international distribution of those gains. In addition, it introduces the politico-economic causes of trade policy and addresses the theory and empirics of trade and growth. The second part examines in detail the instruments and consequences of trade policy, namely tariffs and quantitative restrictions, and their modern manifestation as anti-dumping and safeguard measures. The causes and consequences of trade policy, too, are linked to contemporary empirical evidence. Prerequisites: 440.601 Microeconomic Theory and Policy; 440.602 Macroeconomic Theory and Policy. Corequisite: 440.606 Econometrics.

    440.666 - Regional Economics

    Regional economics is a relatively new formal branch of economics which recognizes the crucial importance of geography in the workings of a market economy. By incorporating variables of space and geography into traditional economic models, it has great relevance to real world phenomena and policy questions. We examine the effects of market forces on spatial variables such as the location choices of households and firms; land use policy; labor market agglomeration; urban poverty; the development of transportation infrastructure; and urban and rural housing markets. The roles of natural resources, demographic base, location of industries, and factors determining regional growth and development will also be considered. Prerequisite: 440.601 Microeconomic Theory and Policy. Corequisite: 440.606 Econometrics.

    440.667 - Urban Economics

    This course develops a framework to analyze how cities operate and how to improve them. The first part of the course addresses basic questions about cities: Why do cities exist? What makes some cities more costly than others? What determines housing prices? The second part of the course examines specialized topics including residential segregation, economic development programs, and suburbanization. Prerequisites: 440.601 Microeconomic Theory and 440.606 Econometrics.

    440.672 - Economics of Health Care

    [formerly 440.641] This course explores the economics of the health care system in the United States by examining the demand for health care services, the behavior of health care providers, the influence of government policies, and the relationship between health care services and population health levels. Established health care systems and their potential for change in both the United States and other countries are considered in the context of current policy concerns. Prerequisites: 440.601 Microeconomic Theory and Policy; 440.606 Econometrics.

  • Electives - Analytical Methods

    440.684 - Game Theory

    [formerly 440.644] Game theory is a mathematical tool developed for the purpose of understanding not only the interaction of economic market participants, but overall observed social phenomena as well. This course provides an introduction to game theory with applications to economics. Moreover, the course presents an approach to modeling a social situation as a game and develops techniques for solving the game in order to gain insight into individual behavior. Topics include repeated games, games with incomplete information, and the experimental testing of hypotheses. Prerequisite: 440.601 Microeconomic Theory.

  • Electives - Student Research

    440.692 - Thesis

    Students may undertake their own research project for credit as an 11th program course. Prior to proposing a project, interested students must have clearly identified a research topic, and a mentor who is familiar with their prospective inquiry, and is willing to provide guidance and oversee the project. The mentor must be faculty teaching at the Johns Hopkins University. Students then submit a formal proposal for review and approval to the Independent Research Committee, to be received no later than one month prior to the beginning of the term in which the student plans to enroll in the course. Students must meet with the mentor and the faculty advisor periodically for discussion of the project’s progress, and must complete a research paper, to be approved by the mentor and the Committee. The best papers will be made available to the public on Hopkins’ electronic research repository JScholarship. Instructions for applying to enroll and meeting the standards of the course are available. Enrollment of the student can only be undertaken by the Program Director. Candidates must plan on using two semesters to successfully complete an Independent Research project. Prerequisites: All four Core courses and Microeconometrics or Macroeconometrics, and one or more Applied Economics courses in the substantive area of the proposed research, plus a strong academic record (at least B+ average) in at least eight program courses, are absolute minima. Admission is by selection.