Do good-looking people earn more? Are 'Emily' and 'Greg' more employable than 'Lakisha' and 'Jamal'? Can cancer affect housing prices? Does living near a fast food restaurant cause obesity? Is corruption a cultural trait? This one-week core economics course will examine selected discoveries in applied microeconomics and explain them in easyâ€toâ€understand terms, introducing students to the techniques economists use to solve the riddles of everyday human behavior.
When you think of an economics course, you might guess that you would learn how supply and demand determine market prices, or how you can game the stock market to become a billionaire using clever economics theories. However, recent research in economics has answered interesting questions in many fields, the results of which can be observed in everyday life.
Each day, students will be introduced to different methods that are used in economics to identify causal effects in our everyday life. Some recent and interesting articles will be used to explain each method.
Students will learn how to analyze and interpret data, and test hypotheses using that data. They will also set up their own hypotheses and identify possible ways of testing them using the techniques learned in class. Part of class each day will be spent watching a popular documentary on the economic analysis of how humans respond to incentives, and we will apply what we learn in class to critique the arguments presented in the film. The culmination of the course will be a final project in which students will propose and present an original research idea that uses strategies and concepts covered in class. At the conclusion of this course, students will have a greater understanding of the research strategies economists use to solve important and interesting questions about human behavior.
Prerequisites: This course does not require any prerequisite economics courses but basic understanding of economics principles is helpful.