ECON 316: Intermediate Microeconomics

Microeconomics studies how individuals make economic choices. We ask questions like: How does a consumer decide what/how much to purchase? What is the lowest price at which a business will remain open? Will firms replace employees with machines if the minimum wage increases? Do concentrated markets (e.g., airlines, Amazon) harm consumers? What is the efficient amount of pollution? What role should government play in providing resources for public goods like parks? Over the course of this semester, we will derive models of constrained choice that enable us to examine fundamental tradeoffs faced by individuals and firms when making these types of economic decisions.

Offered most Fall and Spring semesters.

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ECON 405: Industrial Organization

Industrial organization (IO) studies how firms behave in markets. The field has theoretical foundations in comparative analysis and game theory. Most work in the field models strategic decision-making among firms to understand how their interactions affect profits, consumer welfare, and economic efficiency. This class is divided into three sections. The first covers the basic theory underlying modern empirical industrial organization, focusing on classical static IO models. The second section briefly reviews the history of empirical IO and covers workhorse empirical methods for analyzing market outcomes. The last will examine recent papers that synthesize the material covered in class, including trends in competition policy and market concentration in the tech industry.

Offered most Spring semesters.

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ECON 642: Agricultural Economics II (Iowa State)

Econ 642 is meant to prepare you to be a productive researcher in agricultural economics. The course covers advanced topics in agricultural economics, emphasizing market power, market integration, demand and supply analysis, stochastic models, and agricultural policy. In most modules, we begin by introducing foundational theoretical models. We then focus on testing theory using modern econometric and simulation techniques. Over the semester, we will review a variety of empirical techniques with an emphasis on causal inference. The course begins by discussing imperfect competition in agricultural markets. We then review market integration, including testing for market integration in the presence of transaction costs and market power. The course then discusses demand estimation, production function estimation, decision-making under price and production uncertainty, and commodity market analysis. Other topics that may be covered at the end of the semester include environmental regulation of agricultural markets, the economics of biofuel mandates, and the economics of climate change and agriculture.

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