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

ECON 301 Labour Economics

Teaching period: Semester 1 2024

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: Neha Agarwai

Course Outline: ECON301 – Semester 1 2024 (PDF)

ECON 302 International Trade

Teaching period: Semester 2 2024

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 2 2024 (PDF)

ECON 303 Economics of Developing Countries

Teaching period: Semester 1 2024

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 1 2024 (PDF)

ECON 306 Economics of Health and Education

Teaching period: Semester 2 2024

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 2 2024 (PDF)

ECON 308 Public Economics

Teaching period: Semester 1 2024

The role of government in society is examined using the tools and methods of microeconomics. Topics include welfare economics, public goods, externalities, optimal taxation and voting models.

This paper examines the ways governments could intervene to address market failures. You will learn about key policy issues through the language of economic theory, vivid real-world examples and research processes that generate major empirical findings. Topics will vary according to student interest, and may include externalities, public goods, social insurance programs, taxation, fraud and /or surveillance capitalism. Students will be introduced to the kind of real-world issues about economic regulation that are dealt with by economic consultancy firms and government agencies.

ECON308: prerequisites, restrictions, fees and timetables

Paper Coordinator: Daniel Neururer

Course Outline: ECON308 - Semester 1 2024 (PDF)

ECON 316 Open Economy Macroeconomics

Teaching period: Not offered in 2024

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

ECON317 Urban and Regional Economics

Teaching period: Not offered in 2024

Applies methods of microeconomic analysis to understand urban and regional land development patterns. Analyses a variety of urban and regional public policy issues, such as regional economic development, land-use and transportation policy, and the provision of local public goods and services.

ECON317: prerequisites, restrictions, fees and timetables

Paper Coordinator: Paul Thorsnes

Course Outline: ECON317 - Semester 1 2023 (PDF)

ECON 318 Behavioural Economics

Teaching period: Semester 1 2024

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 1 2024 (PDF)

ECON 319 Game Theory

Teaching period: Semester 2 2024

Examines strategic decision making with interacting decision makers. Topics include strategic form games, extensive form games, repeated games, games with incomplete information and evolutionary game theory.

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 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 action that someone takes may not only have consequences for herself, but also for others, and vice versa. On the one hand we need to form beliefs about actions taken by others in order to know what action to choose oneself. On the other hand, we may influence decisions taken by others via our own decisions. 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.

ECON319: prerequisites, restrictions, fees and timetables

Paper Coordinator: Ronald Peeters

Course Outline: ECON319 – Semester 2 2024 (PDF)

ECON 371 Microeconomic Theory

Teaching period: Semester 2 2024

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: Peter Gibbard

Course Outline: ECON371 – Semester 2 2023 (PDF)

ECON 375 Econometrics

Teaching period: Semester 2 2024

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: Alfred Haug

Course Outline: ECON375 – Semester 2 2024 (PDF)

ECON 376 Macroeconomic Theory

Teaching period: Not offered in 2024

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 1 2023 (PDF)

ECON 377 Mathematical Economics

Teaching period: Semester 2 2024

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 Üngör

Course Outline: ECON377 – Semester 2 2024 (PDF)

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