Many classes in the Economics major are theoretical and train students in analytical thinking. We also offer a variety of classes that address gender, race and inequality. These include:
Econ 5: Economics for Everyone. This class explores key trends that have been taking place in the US economy and society over the last 50 years, such as globalization, automation, increases in market concentration and the decline in trade unions, as well as the resultant increases in income and wealth inequality. It also examines the way that structural processes, such as residential zoning and mortgage discrimination, affect outcomes by race and limit social mobility for various groups.
Econ 111: Theories of Development.This class applies theoretical and empirical tools from microeconomics to provide insights into problems confronting low-income countries today and to evaluate policies that are likely to be effective in improving well-being of poorest on globe. Topics include the definition of economic development, the role of institutions, contemporary models of development which incorporate market failures, and the role of international trade.
Econ 112: Policies for Economic Development. This class discusses strategies for economic development focusing on policies to address poverty and inequality, policies focused on education and health (especially Mexico’s successful Progresa program) and policies related to urbanization and migration.
Econ 113: Globalization and Gender. This class examines gender dimensions of economic development and globalization from perspective of feminist economics. This perspective implies foregrounding labor, broadly defined to include paid and unpaid work; examining gender differences in work; access to resources; and well-being outcomes; and how these are affected by macroeconomic policies and how gender inequalities are relevant for societal well-being. Since early 1980s economic globalization has been achieved on basis of common set of macroeconomic policies pursued in industrial and developing countries alike. These policies frame both gender-differentiated impacts of policy and initiatives that are implemented to reduce inequalities between men and women. Examination of impact of these policies on gender inequalities in developing countries.
Econ 130: Public Economics. In this course we study the involvement of the government in the economy. We ask whether there are economic rationales for government intervention, investigate how the government might best intervene to affect economic and social outcomes and assess the performance of all major government programs today. We cover environmental policy, drug policy, education interventions, redistributive programs, health care, social security and disability insurance.
Econ 131: Economics of Health and Healthcare. This class presents several detailed economic models, including models of addiction, demand for healthcare, demand for insurance, nonprofit behavior, and other models. Evaluation of quantitative information from course readings and development of better understanding of econometric concepts and results.
Econ 137: Introduction to Urban and Regional Economics. This class surveys a broad range of policy and theoretical issues that are raised when economic analysis is applied in urban setting. Topics include urbanization and urban growth, housing markets, location decisions of households and firms, transportation, urban labor markets, and local public sector. One of the most striking features of urban and suburban areas in the United States is segregation by race. We examine some of the processes driving this segregation as well as several implications.
Econ 140: Inequality: A Mathematical and Econometric Approach. This class seeks to understand how inequality has increased in U.S., how America differs from other rich countries, and what causes inequality. It does this by studying policies such as healthcare, crime, education, and immigration through application of explicit mathematical models and eclectic statistical techniques.
Econ 150: Labor Economics. This class studies the market for labor. It includes the analysis of government policies, union bargaining, and other constraints on competitive system of wage determination. It also discusses the determinates of wage levels and wage structure via human capital theory. Topics include labor supply decisions, household production decisions, life-cycle aspects of labor supply, short-run and long-run labor demand, monophony in labor market, quasi-fixed labor costs and labor demand, human capital, and other extended topics.
Econ 152: Women, Men and the Economy. Economics and Gender is an introduction to using the tools of economics to understand gender-related issues. The first part of the course will review economic models of the household, fertility, and labor supply and discuss how they help interpret long-term trends in marriage and divorce, fertility, and women’s labor-force participation. The second part of the course will review economic models of wage determination and focus on explanations of and policy remedies for earnings differentials between women and men. The final part of the course will focus on new research in economics on gender-related topics.
Econ 165: History of Capitalism in the American Economy. This class studies how capitalism–what economists call market economy with well-defined and protected civil rights and property rights–has contributed to America’s economic growth. This is a quantitative course, with analysis of how different features of capitalist economies impact economic growth, investment, consumption, and technical change, using computer simulations based on prominent historical examples.
Econ 173: Introduction to Social Entrepreneurship. This class offers a full-scale immersion into world of social entrepreneurship. Introduction to basics of business planning for social enterprises. Students are assigned in teams to work with participating social enterprises in Los Angeles area to implement new revenue-generating business plan for social enterprises to which they are assigned. Teams receive support from MBA student volunteers as advisers on how to work effectively together and how to resolve issues that arise with staff of assigned social enterprise.
Econ 189: Race in the Criminal Justice System. Incarceration rates in the US are incredibly high, and African-Americans are particularly affected. Blacks represent 13% of the general population and 38% of the jail and prison population. In this seminar, we discuss recent research done by economists to better understand the causes of racial disparities in criminal justice outcomes. We consider different steps involved in the administration of justice—from arrest to sentencing.
The department has also offered a number of Fiat Lux classes for freshmen on topics such as like “Missing Women: Facts and Controversies” and “Graduating from College in Recessions.”