Teaching At Oxy
All materials are free to use for anyone interested!
This course provides a foundation in microeconomic theory. The core objective of microeconomic theory is to understand how aspects of our society like prices and wages, wealth and poverty emerge from the decisions of individual actors in society, such as people, firms, and governments, and the institutions through which they interact. To do this, we will use math to describe the decisions made by people and firms, and to explore their interactions in various market structures and settings.
Mathematical modeling allows us to draw conclusions that follow rigorously from our initial assumptions, but to do so we need to make assumptions that ignore the complexities of human beings and human societies. As we learn these models, we will think carefully about what they leave out and how they can be made better.
My lecture notes for Intermediate Microeconomics are available here: Link
Lecture Videos available here: Link
In-Class Exercises: Link
Problem Sets: Link
Labor Economics (Recent Evaluations)
This course provides an overview of the theoretical and empirical study of labor markets. Labor markets are important because the provide most people with the great majority of their income, and because human time, effort, and ingenuity are the most important inputs in the production of most products. As a result, a good understanding of labor markets can help us understand a broad set of important topics, from poverty and inequality to economic growth.
In addition, markets for labor are different than other kinds of markets, and so need to be understood with unique extensions of standard economic theory. Human beings (suppliers of labor) have varied interests, objectives and preferences, have differences in skills (brought about in part through intentional effort and investment) and are subject to prejudice and discrimination. In part because of this, markets for labor often function differently from markets for wheat, or stocks, or shoes—finding a job is often a costly match-making exercise more than a simple equilibration between supply and demand.
In this course, we explore economic theory and empirical evidence on labor markets. In doing so, we will debate and discuss important policy questions, like the design of welfare programs, the effect of immigration and minimum wages on wages and employment, and the role of discrimination in labor markets (and how it can be combatted), and will gain insight into important life decisions, like whether to go to graduate school or how to choose a job out of college. While labor economics is an incredibly rich and well-developed field of study, the questions we will be considering are still actively debated, and we will learn to evaluate theory and evidence critically, with an eye toward how questions can be resolved and approaches can be improved.
Intergenerational Mobility, Families, and Communities (Recent Evaluations)
Despite a widespread desire to provide equality of opportunity to all people in the United States, family background has an enormous effect on the way children grow up and the opportunities available to them in adulthood. Family income can explain more than a third of a child’s future adult income, and all aspects of family background can explain half to two thirds of a child’s future income, education, and wealth. In this class, we explore economic theories and evidence explaining the inheritance of advantage, with a particular emphasis on understanding the role of the family, the role of neighborhoods and communities, and the role of discrimination. We will also discuss the role of public policy in increasing intergenerational mobility and reducing social and economic disadvantages, both in the United States and around the world.
Teaching Before Oxy
General Mills Award for Exemplary Graduate Student Teaching, Cornell University School of Industrial Labor Relations, 2017
Louis Walinsky Fund in Economics in Honor of Professor Herbert Joseph Davenport Outstanding Teaching Award, Cornell University, 2014
Cornell Prison Education Program: Instructor, Introduction to Microeconomics (Econ 2200): Fall 2017 (4.13/5) (link to full evaluations)
"I will never forget Jorgen Harris, he took every reasonable effort to make sure I learned the material. Professor Harris is first class."
"Jorgen was great. He clearly knew his material, is very personable, does a great job explaining things."
"Jorgen is an engaging and very informative instructor."
"Jorgen Harris is pretty awesome, high energy & enthusiastic about the subject."
Cornell University: Teaching Assistant, Economics of Employment and Wages (Econ 2400) Spring 2017 (4.96/5) (link to full evaluations)
"Office hours were always very helpful in solving the problem sets. Jorgen is an exceptional TA who always responded in office hours and to emails with kindness, and very clear and understanding answers to questions. He will reply to emails with questions even on the weekends very quickly. Amazing TA and really helped me master and understand the material."
"Jorgen made analogies to real life examples. He's always been there for his students. He met with me even on his own time. He didn’t just give answers, critical thinking was valued highly in our discussions. Material was broken down very well."
"Jorgen was so enthusiastic and kind that I felt comfortable asking for help and never felt dumb for asking for help. He also explained concepts very clearly and was willing to re-explain many times."
"Even though a large group of students always come to Jorgen's office hours, he always makes sure that the entire audience has a holistic understanding of the course material."
"Jorgen was the most capable, helpful and kind TA I've had."
Cornell University: Teaching Assistant, Graduate Microeconomic Theory (Econ 6100): Fall 2014 (4.82/5) (link to full evaluations)
"Jorgen is an overall amazing TA-- he gave me advice that I think about at least a couple times a week. Knowing that someone sympathetic and really smart was grading my exams was really helpful for my high anxiety levels about first year. Jorgen is the kind of person I would go to to talk about any problem (econ or otherwise) and he'd have something really insightful to say. Great guy and great class."
"Jory is so patient when answering question. So good teacher himself."
"Explanation and ways of approaching the Q questions helped prepare me for the difficult questions in the exams."
"Jorgen was willing to go over many practice problems and address our questions in depth."
University of Chicago: Teaching Assistant, Economics of Urban Policy (Econ 26600): Spring 2010 (link to full evaluations)
"Jorgen was a really great TA. Friendly, approachable, always willing to meet with us outside of his office hours or willing to just talk if you run into him. Very enthusiastic about urban econ. He`s also really good at explaining things and helping us figure out how to do our term papers. He'd be a great teacher I think."
"Jorgen was absolutely AMAZING. seriously the best ta I've ever had. He responded to emails really quickly, and met with me outside of his normal office hours."
"Jorgen's great. You can always count on him to answer your e-mails or meet with you when you`re in trouble. He's also good at explaining things intuitively - that matters."