Economic Reasoning: Models, Metrics, and Metaphors (PEC2260.01)

Robin Kemkes

This course will explore ways of knowing in economics. How do economists use mathematical models, collect and analyze data in the field and lab, and employ rhetoric to describe and address contemporary economic issues? We will begin with an introduction to the broad philosophical questions surrounding our understanding of economics as a social science. From there, we will establish the mathematical basis of the neoclassical model and welfare economics, covering constrained optimization, production functions and elasticity of demand and income. Next we will explore a range of methods, quantitative and qualitative, by analyzing journal articles in the fields of development economics, environmental economics and labor economics as entry points into research design and econometric topics. Finally, do stories lend credibility to theoretically complex models? We will examine how economists use metaphor and storytelling to persuade each other and the public. To do well in this course, students should have a basic understanding of algebraic manipulation and familiarity with graphs coming into the course.

Prerequisites: None.
Credits: 4
T 2:10pm - 4:00pm; F 2:10pm - 4:00pm
Maximum Enrollment: 20
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