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Economics 300-level papers

Economics at Otago offers a selection of papers at 300-level.

ECON 301 Labour Economics (S2)

Labour economics studies how labour markets work. The labour market is undoubtedly the most important market that impacts directly on almost all of us for a significant period of our lives. This paper uses some elementary microeconomic and macroeconomic theory to increase our understanding of labour demand, labour supply and labour market outcomes.

It addresses issues associated with changes in participation rates, the effect of minimum wage rates, the impact of unions, income inequality, labour market discrimination, unemployment (its causes and consequences) and an historical analysis of New Zealand’s labour market legislation.

ECON301: prerequisites, restrictions, fees and timetables

Paper Coordinator: Arlene Ozanne

Course Outline: ECON301 - Semester Two 2017

ECON 302 International Trade (S2)

This paper explores the pattern of international trade, the effects of international trade on an economy and the effects of trade policy. Standard trade models are developed and applied to current issues such as the growing importance of intra-industry trade, the effects of government intervention, recent moves towards liberalising international trade and the "food miles" debate.

ECON302: prerequisites, restrictions, fees and timetables

Paper Coordinator: Murat Ungor

Course Outline: ECON302 - Semester Two 2017 

ECON 303 Economics of Developing Countries (S1)

In New Zealand income per capita is $US27,250, virtually everyone can read and write and, on average, people can expect to live for 80 years. In India income per capita is $US820, more than a third of the population cannot read and write and average life expectancy is 64 years. Most of the countries that make up the world economy have more in common with India than with New Zealand. These countries (where more than two-thirds of the world's population live) are known as the Third World.

This course is about these countries. The course analyses various models that seek to explain why it is that most of the world's economies appear to be trapped at low standards of living for most of their citizens. We will also analyse what policies, if any, are likely to encourage the economic development of these countries. The approach followed will be to relate the theoretical literature to the real world experience of developing countries.

ECON303: prerequisites, restrictions, fees and timetables

Paper Coordinator: Stephen Knowles

Course Outline: ECON303 - Semester One 2017

ECON 306 Economics of Health and Education (S1)

After social welfare, health and education are the largest areas of government spending in most modern economies, including New Zealand (where together they account for more than 10% of GDP).

This paper is about the economic analysis of the health and education sectors, with particular emphasis on government policy concerning them. This affords a special opportunity for the application of a wide range of microeconomic concepts and techniques (some covered in ECON201) to significant real-world issues, such as health rationing, the 'value of life' and 'user-pays' (e.g., student fees) in education.

ECON306: prerequisites, restrictions, fees and timetables

Paper Coordinator: Paul Hansen

Course Outline: ECON306 - Semester One 2017

ECON 308 Public Economics (S2)

This course uses intermediate microeconomic theory to analyse the role of the state in a market orientated economy. The first part of the course examines equity and efficiency principles, market failures and their solutions as well as public choice mechanisms. The second part of the course examines taxation and economic efficiency as well as tax evasion. After studying the course, students are expected to know the main theoretical concepts and models used in public sector economics.

ECON308: prerequisites, restrictions, fees and timetables

Paper Coordinator: Andrew Coleman

Course Outline: ECON308 -Semester Two 2017

ECON 316 Open Economy Macroeconomics (S1)

This course examines macroeconomic and monetary aspects of international economics, including the balance of payments, the foreign exchange market, international monetary systems, external debt, and the effectiveness of monetary, fiscal and exchange rate policy in an open economy.

ECON316: prerequisites, restrictions, fees and timetables

Paper coordinator: Alan King

Course Outline: ECON316 - Semester One 2017

ECON 318 Behavioural Economics (S1)

Economic models often presume (at least implicitly) that decision-makers are rational, self-interested, fully informed, and endowed with perfect foresight. It is not difficult to find violations of each of these precepts in real-world economic behaviour, and the study of the "limits to rationality" has become a vibrant and rapidly growing field within economics. This paper will focus on developing theoretical models that capture some of the more "psychological" phenomena observed in the marketplace. In the process we will review relevant theories from within economics, as well as evidence from other disciplines such as social psychology, anthropology, and neuroscience.

ECON318: prerequisites, restrictions, fees and timetables

Paper coordinator: Trent Smith

Course Outline: ECON318 - Semester One 2017

ECON 351 Special Topic: Game Theory (S2)

Do you get a good deal when you purchase a TV from a store that gives a "lowest price guarantee" or when you reserve a hotel room through an online travel agency (such as Expedia) that promises to refund you the difference when your hotel is booked for a lower price later? If you want to understand the forces at play in these situations, then you need to understand strategic interaction.

No firm, government or person operates in a vacuum. The actions that we take do not only have direct consequences, but they may also have indirect consequences because others react to them and change their behaviour in response. If we recognise this, then we may attempt to influence the actions taken by others in a way that works to our advantage. That is, we engage in strategic thinking.

This paper provides an introduction to strategic thinking, and when you take it, you will learn to recognise and analyse strategic situations. The applicability of this methodology is unlimited, and the paper will touch on many potential applications, which include business pricing, auctions and political decision making.

ECON351: prerequisites, restrictions, fees and timetables

Paper Coordinator: Dennis Wesselbaum

Course Outline: ECON351 - Semester Two 2017

ECON 371 Microeconomic Theory (S2)

A well-trained graduate in medicine can predict that a poorly chosen drug will lead to severe complications and knows why; a well-trained graduate in architecture can predict that a poorly designed building will be unpleasant to work in and knows why. Similarly, a well-trained graduate in economics should be able to predict that a poorly designed tax system will be costly to society or that competitive supply of insurance under adverse selection may be inefficient, and know why.

Building on ECON271, this paper provides the student with the tools of modern microeconomic analysis that characterise and distinguish economics as a discipline. It covers consumer and producer theory.

ECON371: prerequisites, restrictions, fees and timetables

Paper coordinator: Nathan Berg

Course Outline: ECON371 - Semester Two 2017

ECON 375 Econometrics (S2)

Econometrics makes use of statistical methods for estimating economics relationships, testing economic theories, selecting economic models, and evaluating government and business policies.

This paper examines the theory and application of linear estimation and testing techniques in the context of multiple regression and dynamic and simultaneous equation models. Topics will include least squares estimation, the Gauss-Markov theorem, generalised least squares, autocorrelation and heteroscedasticity, multicollinearity, the identification and estimation of simultaneous equation systems, dynamic modelling, maximum likelihood estimation, and an introduction to panel data methods.

ECON375: prerequisites, restrictions, fees and timetables

Paper coordinator: Dorian Owen

Course Outline: ECON375 - Semester Two 2017 

ECON 376 Macroeconomic Theory (S1)

This course follows a modern approach to macroeconomic theory by building macroeconomic models from microeconomic foundations. Following an introductory section of the measurement of the economy and business cycles, we build a single-period, general equilibrium model of the closed economy. The model is extended to a multiple period setting in which the roles money and investment are considered. Variations on the model are used to explore theories of the business cycle, monetary policy, banking crises, and unemployment.

ECON376: prerequisites, restrictions, fees and timetables

Paper coordinator: Dennis Wesselbaum

Course Outline: ECON376 - Semester One 2017

ECON 377 Mathematical Economics (S2)

The mathematical tools and concepts used in advanced economic theory. Integrates mathematics and economics to highlight the insights mathematics can bring to economic analysis.

The principal aims of the course are to introduce students to the basic mathematical methods and to show their application in economic analysis.

ECON377: prerequisites, restrictions, fees and timetables

Paper coordinator: Murat Genç

Course Outline: ECON377 - Semester Two 2017

Economics papers at other levels

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