This page lists the different courses I’ve taught, and some general guidance about what they cover and why you might consider taking one of these courses. You can find past syllabi for my courses by contacting the VSE reception desk (email@example.com).
ECON 102: Principles of Macroeconomics (New for 2023)
ECON 102 is our first course in macroeconomics for undergraduates. What is macroeconomics? I like to explain it in a word: systems. Macroeconomics is about how many small, individual interactions, shaped by policies, social norms, and institutions combine together to create massive, systematic impacts in the world around us: From how resources are produced and consumed, to which nations are rich or poor, to the consequences our the planet and the societies in which we live. We focus on how the tools of economics help us to find better ways of understanding these kinds of complex systems, and how economics fits into our broader understanding of the world.
ECON 221: Introduction to Strategic Thinking (Also back!)
ECON 221 is an introductory course for students thinking about majoring (or minoring) in economics, and would like to see more advanced topics and techniques. This course deals with strategic thinking, specifically game theory. It is non-technical, and does not require calculus, but still covers advanced topics in both the theory and application of strategic thinking. A particular emphasis is placed on understanding the unifying role of beliefs in modeling economic thinking.
ECON 226: Making Sense of Economic Data
ECON 226 is an introduction to statistical thinking in economics, centered around understanding how economists use different kinds of data to answer questions. It covers many basic statistical concepts from an applied point of view, and makes a good introductory course for students intending to major in economics but worry about struggling with the statistical requirements. Also introduces students to applied data analysis and statistical software.
- This course has undergone a major redesign for 2021, to emphasize hands-on skills using R, and to make it more accessible to students while being less repetitive if you have taken (or will take) other intermediate econometrics courses.
ECON 326: Introduction to Econometrics II (New title in 2023!)
ECON 326 is a second course in econometrics, for students majoring in economics. It builds on the fundamental statistical and econometric tools taught in ECON 325 (Introduction to Empirical Economics), but with a focus on building models and using them to analyze real-world data. This course primarily focuses on regression models (especially ordinary least squares) but also teaches students about the economic approach to data analysis, including identification and causal modeling. I teach this course using modern datascience frameworks, including Jupyter notebooks and R.
- We previously called this course “Methods of Empirical Research in Economics” but we renamed it to better reflect its position in our degree program.
ECON 398: Introduction to Applied Economics
ECON 398 is designed to help third year students bridge the gap from regular coursework into applied research. It’s non-technical, and requires only basic statistical knowledge, but it still covers useful applied econometric tools from a causal point of view. An excellent preparatory course for students taking ECON 490/494/499, especially if they feel unprepared for doing applied work. We place an emphasis on using statistical software.
ECON 490: Seminar in Applied Economics
ECON 490 is actually one of several seminars for senior BA students; it is designed to be a “capstone” course, which demonstrates and summarizes what you’ve learned in your degree. In my section, students complete an applied research project on a topic of their choosing, including data analysis and presentation. I help students through this process, providing suggestions, advice, and support as they develop their ideas into a final project. Many years, I offer a community engaged learning option, where you work on a real-world problem supplied by a community partner. In my opinion, this is one of the most valuable courses you can take at UBC!
- You can find more information about ECON 490 on my dedicated resource page.
PPGA 500A: Economics for Public Policy (Part 1) (New for 2023!)
PPGA 500a is the first half of the Masters of Public Policy and Global Affair program’s economics sequences. It focuses on microeconomic models and concepts useful for policy analysis, including supply and demand, choice, and strategic decision making. We also discuss a number of “standard” economic policies, such as taxes, and learn how different economic models explore different effects of these policies. The emphasis of this course is on the role of economic incentives in understanding the effects of policies, and how models can help us better understand those effects.
Older Courses Taught
These are older courses, which I am no longer actively teaching (although I miss them!).
ECON 421: Introduction to Game Theory and Applications
This course (ECON 421) is actually the “advanced” game theory course we offer at UBC. Intended for economics majors, particularly those intended on going to graduate school, it is an introduction to the game theoretic approach to modeling economic situations. This course focuses on important areas in strategic thinking, including static games, dynamic games, and the role of information and beliefs. This course is relatively technical (read: math), but places an emphasis on modeling real-world situations (and case studies), with the goal of developing students who are fluent in the “language” of game theory.
- If you are wondering how technical your background needs to be, here is an example of the “pre-class” assignment I give to students, to give them a sense of how challenging the math is this course might be.
ECON 406: Topics in Microeconomics
This course (ECON 406) is a “topics” class, where we cover a selection of subjects. I (usually) use this course as a way to pilot new course ideas. Past subjects have included markets and information, causal models, microeconometrics, advanced game theory, and policy evaluation.
Vancouver Summer Program: International Trade and Finance
This course is part of the Vancouver Summer Programs, as one of the units in the Faculty of Arts. It introduces students to the characteristics of the international economy, focusing on understanding the principles of international trade and international financial markets. This course will give students a full grounding in the structure and function of international trade in the global economy. The focus will be on the world trading system, but many specific examples will be given describing the experience of particular countries and regions. The course will also survey the main features of international financial markets, including the workings of the foreign exchange market, and how they break down.
(Last updated: 2023-08-03)