Energy policy is typically evolutionary as opposed to revolutionary. We can look to historical policies to understand how we've inherited the policies governing our energy use today. But looking backward only tells us part of the story. In the face of climate change, we need to look ahead and instead envision a more revolutionary change to our energy systems and the policies that govern them. This class takes you on that journey to energy policies past, present, and future. We look at the political realities of addressing climate change at various scales of governance and work together to craft our own ideal scenarios of what a responsible energy future will be.
Economics Textbooks and Full Courses
Economics Textbooks and Full Courses Collection Resources (135)
This course is an advanced course in macroeconomics that seeks to bring students to the research frontier. The course is divided into two sections. The first half is taught by Prof. Ivn Werning and covers topics such as how to formulate and solve optimal problems. Students will study fiscal and monetary policy, among other issues. The second half, taught by Prof. George-Marios Angeletos, covers recent work on multiple equilibria, global games, and informational fictions.
From a technical perspective, economics is the study of how various alternatives or choices are evaluated to best achieve a given objective. The domain of economics is the study of processes by which scarce resources are allocated to satisfy unlimited wants. Ideally, the resources are allocated to their highest valued uses. Supply, demand, preferences, costs, benefits, production relationships and exchange are tools that are used to describe and analyze the market processes by which individuals allocate scarce resources to satisfy as many wants as possible. This increasingly narrow focus is the domain of modern, “neoclassical,” microeconomic analysis. This approach is typical of most economists and is referred to as orthodox economics.
The five basic questions that are asked in the study of the allocation problem are: 1) What to produce? 2) How many to produce? 3) How to produce? 4) When to produce? 5) Who gets it? Provisioning should seek to understand the nature of wants or objectives. Provisioning is the process of framing the approaches to the allocation problem.
The course is intended for people who would like a deeper understanding of the American housing finance system. The focus will be on providing necessary background knowledge rather than on evaluating specific policy proposals. Near the end of the course, participants will be encouraged to bring up policy issues and to discuss them in light of the information presented.
Applied Macro- and International Economics uses case studies to investigate the macroeconomic environment in which firms operate. The first half of the course develops the basic tools of macroeconomic management: monetary, fiscal, and exchange rate policy. The class discusses recent emerging market and financial crises by examining their causes and considering how best to address them and prevent them from recurring in the future. The second half evaluates different strategies of economic development. Topics covered in the second half of this course include growth, the role of debt and foreign aid, and the reliance on natural resources.
This is the first edition of the open text book Building a Competitive Investment Climate on First Nation Lands. This textbook is for students who are First Nation and tribal government employees or students who would like to work for or with First Nation and tribal governments. The purpose of this textbook is to help interested First Nation and tribal governments build a competitive investment climate. Work began on this text book in early 2012 with a generous grant from the Donner Canadian Foundation. Financial support was also provided by the First Nations Tax Commission and the Tulo Centre.
The purpose of this course is to trace the twin paths of capitalism and democracy through American history. This course is premised on the idea that capitalism and democracy are intertwined, though they have often conflicted with one another. It provides students with a brief introduction to the history of capitalism and democracy in Europe and then to explore how they evolved in North America between 1600 and the present. Upon successful completion of this course, students will be able to: define and identify the terms 'capitalism' and 'democracy' in a variety of different modern historical eras; identify and define the historical connections between capitalism and democracy and identify periods of tension between capitalism and democracy, explaining how they both strengthen and weaken one another; identify important events, personalities, and concepts related to American democracy and capitalism; identify and describe the emergence and development of both capitalism and democracy in the United States; identify and describe the different periods of American history as they relate to the concepts of capitalism and democracy. (History 312)
Subject addresses the evolution of the modern capitalist economy and evaluates its current structure and performance. Various paradigms of economics are contrasted and compared (neoclassical, Marxist, socioeconomic, and neocorporate) in order to understand how modern capitalism has been shaped and how it functions in today's economy. Readings include classics in economic thought as well as contemporary analyses. Subject stresses general analytic reasoning and problem formulation rather than specific analytic techniques. May not be used for economics concentration. One economics HASS-D subject may be used as an economics elective for the economics major and minor. This course examines the implications of economic theories for social and political organization in the context of the historical evolution of industrial societies. Among the authors whose theories will be discussed are Ayn Rand, Milton Friedman, Karl Marx, Max Weber, Joseph Schumpeter, and John Kenneth Galbraith. Emphasis will be placed on class discussion of specific texts. Students will be encouraged to ground their views in concrete textual and empirical material and to consider the implications of different arguments for the understanding of personal, political, and economic events today.
This course is an introduction to economics for non-majors and political economy, with an emphasis on the moral and ethical problems that markets solve, and fail to solve. Taught by Professor Michael Munger of Duke University, this course includes full length lectures, links to readings, and a sample final exam.
This is a course for those who are interested in the challenge posed by massive and persistent world poverty, and are hopeful that economists might have something useful to say about this challenge. The questions we will take up include: Is extreme poverty a thing of the past? What is economic life like when living under a dollar per day? Why do some countries grow fast and others fall further behind? Does growth help the poor? Are famines unavoidable? How can we end child labor - or should we? How do we make schools work for poor citizens? How do we deal with the disease burden? Is micro finance invaluable or overrated? Without property rights, is life destined to be "nasty, brutish and short"? Has globalization been good to the poor? Should we leave economic development to the market? Should we leave economic development to non-governmental organizations (NGOs)? Does foreign aid help or hinder? Where is the best place to intervene?
The Institute for Humane Studies has partnered with the authors of the textbook Common Sense Economics: What Everyone Should Know about Wealth Creation and Prosperity to help teach students why economic understanding is essential for life in today's society. With videos and quiz question corresponding to each element, this collection can be used as a study guide for "Part 1: Twelve Key Elements of Economics".
Describes how economic theory is linked to economic evaluation techniques like cost-benefit and cost-effectiveness analysis and to introduce students to many concepts that are specific to economic evaluation. Introduces students to the many varieties of economic evaluation to establish a common terminology. Discusses cost-benefit with a demonstration of how this type of evaluation is most clearly linked to economic theory. Explores other theories and concepts, including cost measurement, benefit valuation, and incremental decision-making. Finally, explores recommendations on performing economic evaluations that are made in the United States with a focus on how these are related to underlying economic theory and other concepts.
Curious about how the notion of place and space is affected by Social Media, or how the Web differs from location to location? Cyber-Geography in Geospatial Intelligence looks at the geographies of cyberspace, the geopolitics of cyberwar, and at techniques that might be employed in such conflicts. Wondering how this all relates to censorship on the Internet? This class explores ideas on governance and network architecture, the politics of censorship and hacking, and the politics of grassroots activism enabled by the internet. Students in this class will use a range of information systems, engage with the emerging landscape as defined by the geographies of the Internet, and will examine the impact as new technologies and intelligence intersect with one another.
Why are some countries rich and others poor? This fundamental question has been on the mind of economists since Adam Smith wrote "The Wealth of Nations" in 1776. This is a full course that covers all the major issues and developments in the field of development economics. Unlike typical college courses, we will take you to the frontier of the discipline, covering recent research as well as more established material. This course is non-technical and is accessible to a beginner. If you pass the final exam, you will earn our "Development Economics" certificate on your profile.
This course emphasizes dynamic models of growth and development. Topics covered include: migration, modernization, and technological change; static and dynamic models of political economy; the dynamics of income distribution and institutional change; firm structure in developing countries; development, transparency, and functioning of financial markets; privatization; and banks and credit market institutions in emerging markets.
At MIT, this course was team taught by Prof. Robert Townsend, who taught for the first half of the semester, and Prof. Abhijit Banerjee, who taught during the second half. On OCW we are only including materials associated with sessions one through 13, which comprise the first half of the class.
Course covers deterministic and stochastic dynamic optimization using dynamic programming analysis.
Deterministic optimization: maximum principle, dynamic programming, calculus of variations, optimal control, dynamic games. Stochastic optimization: stochastic optimal control and dynamic programming, Markov processes, Ito calculus, Markov games. Applications. Dynamical systems: local and global analysis and chaos. The unifying theme of this course is best captured by the title of our main reference book: "Recursive Methods in Economic Dynamics". We start by covering deterministic and stochastic dynamic optimization using dynamic programming analysis. We then study the properties of the resulting dynamic systems. Finally, we will go over a recursive method for repeated games that has proven useful in contract theory and macroeconomics. We shall stress applications and examples of all these techniques throughout the course.
Economics is traditionally divided into two parts: microeconomics and macroeconomics. The purpose of this course is to provide you with a fundamental understanding of the principles of macroeconomics. Macroeconomists study how a country’s economy works and try to determine the best choices to improve the overall wellbeing of a nation. Typical topics include inflation (the overall level of prices), employment, fiscal policy (government taxing and spending), and money and banking (interest rates and lending policies). Individuals and firms need to consider how macroeconomic events will affect their own prosperity. To better define macroeconomics, consider its distinction from microeconomics. Imagine you are attempting to figure out how the price of a certain good has been determined. Microeconomics would focus on how supply and demand determine prices, while macroeconomics would study the determination of prices at all levels. To test particular policies and ideas, or to find out the causes of good macroeconomic performance, we need to have some measure of overall economic activity. For this reason, macroeconomics uses aggregates (totals) to measure key concepts such as national income, output, unemployment, inflation, and business cycles (periodic expansions and contractions of economic activity). By studying macroeconomics and understanding the critical ideas and tools used to measure economic data, you will have a better perspective on the issues and problems discussed in contemporary economics. This course will ask you to think critically about the national and global issues we currently face. It will also introduce the tools and principles you need to draw your own conclusions in an informed manner.
This course will introduce the student to the history of the world's major civilizations from medieval times to the early modern era. The student will learn about the pivotal political, economic, and social changes that took place in Asia, Africa, the Americas, and Europe during this period. By the end of the course, the student will understand how many different civilizations evolved from isolated societies into expansive, interconnected empires capable of exerting global influence. Upon completion of this course, students will be able to: Think critically and analytically about world history in the medieval and early modern eras; Identify and describe the emergence, decline, and main features of the Byzantine Empire; Identify the origins and characteristics of the European medieval period and describe the rapidly changing forces at work in society, the economy, and religion during this time; Identify the origins of the Aztec and Inca civilizations and assess how these empires affected socio-economic development in the Americas; Identify the origins of the Tang and Song dynasties in China and assess the impact of these empires on Chinese government, society, religion, and economy during what scholars refer to as the 'golden age'; Identify the origins of the Mongol Empire, which dominated much of Asia in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries. Students will analyze the nature of this empire created by nomads; Identify the reasons for a changing balance in the world economy in the 1400s and analyze why Europe superseded Asia as the most dominant civilization on the globe; Assess how and why the European Age of Discovery had such a large impact on the New World, Africa, the Middle East, and Asia; Identify the origins and characteristics of the Renaissance and describe its impact on European civilization as a whole; Identify the origins of the Reformation and Counter-Reformation in Europe and assess how this movement altered the social, political, and religious fabric of Europe; Identify the origins of colonial Brazil and New Spain. Students will also be able to assess the impact of Spanish and Portuguese colonization on the New World, Africa, and Europe; Identify the origins of the Ottoman, Safavid, and Mughal empires and assess the unique characteristics of these dynasties and their impact upon Asia and the world; Identify the origins of the Atlantic slave trade, assessing how this forced migration of peoples affected Africa, Africans, Europe, and the New World; Analyze and describe the Asian trading world, the Ming dynasty in China, the ĺÎĺĺĺŤwarring states,' and early modern eras in Japan; Analyze and interpret primary source documents from the medieval period to the early modern era using historical research methods. (History 221)
If you are an entrepreneur, one of your priorities, in addition to building your company, is ensuring you have enough money at the right times. Early Stage Capital will consider a broad range of questions that entrepreneurs deal with on this front, including the following: What should your strategy and your priorities be in raising early stage capital? What are the market norms and standards in structuring VC deals? What are the critical negotiating strategies and tactics? How will your company be valued? How can you obtain the optimal valuation for your new venture? What are the critical elements in the relationship between venture capitalists and entrepreneurs? How is the "venture model" evolving? Is it broken? What is the impact of Super Angels and micro VCs? These are key questions that face all entrepreneurs in 2010, particularly first-time entrepreneurs. This course aims to prepare you for these decisions, as either a potential entrepreneur or venture capitalist. Using live interactions with leading figures in the venture finance community, most of the class sessions will analyze fundamental strategies of the venture-capital investment process and the critical importance of the relationship between entrepreneur and investor. As well, we will have a tactical focus on demystifying the legalities and jargon of the term sheet and the "A round" financing process. Significantly for 2010, we will also frequently consider the rapid and arguably fundamental change in VC today as the "lean startup" model threatens much of the traditional role and value of the venture investor. Disclaimer: The websites for this course and the materials they offer are provided for educational use only. They are not a substitute for the advice of an attorney and no attorney-client relationship is created by using them. All materials are provided "as-is", without any express or implied warranties.