Core Curriculum

The IDE program of study revolves around a core curriculum of six required courses, to which are added elective courses of each student’s choosing. The core courses are designed to provide students with rigorous academic training, as well as with tools that can be used in policy analysis. These semester-long courses are required of all students.


Econ 545 Economic Analysis, Micro

In contrast to a first-year Ph.D. course in Microeconomics, this course stresses applications, while still requiring a high level of analytical rigor.  Theory of the consumer and theory of the firm are taught with an eye towards using the theory to analyze policy proposals and non-standard market structures.  Game theory, market level analysis, and choice under uncertainty are also covered.

Econ 546 Growth and Macroeconomics

This course provides a rigorous framework for understanding the aggregate economy in both the short run and the long run. The first part of the course examines the causes and consequences of economic growth. The wealth of nations is built over long stretches of time, and what matters over this horizon are the real factors of production, including labor, physical capital, technology, resources, human capital, institutions, and geography. The second part of the class explores the demand side of the economy, both in a closed economy and in an open economy. The recent economic crises in the U.S. and Europe have spurred renewed interest among economists in understanding the connection between financial frictions, asset prices, labor markets, fiscal policy, and central banking. We will focus on the short- and medium-run responses of firms, households, the government, and the central bank, and test whether our theoretical predictions are consistent with recent empirical evidence.

Econ 558 Statistics and Econometrics

This course covers the elements of probability and statistics needed for regression analysis in the first few lectures.  We then move to a scalar treatment of econometrics and some applied work in Stata.  The course also has a self-contained treatment of linear (or matrix) algebra that is useful for econometrics.  The ultimate goal of the course is to produce students who can use econometric software for data analysis while having a solid basis in the theoretical concepts.  Exercises late in the course require the use of econometric software, and students also develop skill in interpreting and understanding regression output and how it pertains to economic and policy questions.

Econ 559 Development Econometrics

This course is a continuation of IDE Econometrics 558.  Emphasis is on methods of applied econometrics commonly used in development economics, and discussion of the interplay between empirical strategies with identification of the parameters or effects of interest.  Methods include development of panel data models, and difference-in-difference estimation frameworks, as well as examples of these from the development literature.  Standard evaluation pitfalls, such as regression to the mean, are presented as threats to these strategies, as well as methods to overcome such problems.  We also discuss regression discontinuity designs, and a brief treatment of matching methods.  We build on the robust standard error techniques discussed in 558, as well as how these considerations fit with the design and evaluation of randomized control trials.  We also discuss non-linear models, and the usefulness of linear methods in the context of models that are non-linear in the parameters.

Econ 591 Economics of Poverty Alleviation: Evidence from Experimental Evaluations

We focus on analyzing policies that succeed and fail — and why — in the fight against poverty in developing countries. The course also introduces fundamentals of behavioral economics and their application to policy and program design. We also discuss when and how to use experimental methods to evaluate ideas and programs. The interventions and policies we study apply to the broad range of households, small firms, and communities, with particular attention to microfinance, health, and education.  This course involves a substantial writing component, and is thus complementary to the analytical nature of many of the other core courses.

Econ 732 Advanced Economic Development

This course examines the models constructed by classical and modern economists to explain long-term economic growth in developing countries and the empirical relevance of these models to the present-day developing countries. Specific topics to be covered include: income distribution; foreign trade problems; population growth; savings behavior; and the role of government. This course will also include consideration of some or all of the following issues in development policy: employment and unemployment; poverty among the working poor; education and human resources policy; fiscal policies; and rural development.