Political Economy I explores the major social science paradigms for analyzing relations among state, economy, and society. Through readings, lectures and discussion of original texts in political liberalism and individualism, neo-classical economics, Marxism, sociological and cultural theories, and neo-institutionalism, the seminar examines the fundamental assumptions on which our understanding of the social world and our research are based.
This course applies microeconomic theory to analysis of public policy. It builds from the microeconomic model of consumer behavior and extends to operation of single and multiple markets and analysis of why markets sometimes fail. We will study empirical examples to evaluate theory, focusing on the casual effects of policy interventions on economic outcomes. Topics include minimum wages and employment, food stamps and consumer welfare, economics of risk and safety regulation, the value of education, and gains from international trade.