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UPCES Economics Courses

Here you'll find the full list of UPCES courses related to Economics. Please note that course offerings are subject to change or cancelation based on faculty availability and student enrollment. All course subjects must be approved by your home institution for departmental credit.

Each course includes a detailed description, any cross-listed subjects, and a downloadable syllabus.

NOTE: UPCES students may pick no more than two Economics courses.

CEE Economic Growth and Development
[ECONOMICS, 3 credits]


Why are some countries poor and other countries rich? What are the factors of growth? What is the role of political and economic institutions in the development process? How can aid foster growth and development? These questions are of central interest not only for academics, but also for policy makers and international organizations shaping policies for sustained growth and development. Providing the answers is particularly relevant for any country undergoing a strong transition and development process, such as the former Soviet Union countries. It is however also important for the European Union, whose member countries vary significantly in their original economic environments. This course aims to address these questions in view of the theory and empirics of economic growth. This course is divided in two parts. The first part overviews the facts of growth and presents the main theories that try to account for them. Special attention is given to understanding the central role of institutions in this process. The second part of the course analyzes the role of foreign aid and also discusses the role of international organizations, such as the World Bank and the IMF. Throughout, the course puts emphasis on the growth experience across European and former Soviet Union countries.

Prerequisites: This course is mainly addressed to students with economic backgrounds, rather at an advanced stage of their studies. Intermediate microeconomics and basic calculus are prerequisites for this course. Knowledge of econometrics and intermediate macroeconomics is a plus. Students with little or no economic background are advised to consult the professor before enrolling.

Economic History and Long-Run Development
3 credits]


Our economic lives are constantly changing: Technological change, economic and political crises shaped the world since the industrial revolution during the last 200 years. Countries in Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) in particular experienced several upheavals during the last 150 years: The collapse of the Austrian-Hungarian Empire, weak political and economic institutions after World War I, ethnic cleansing after World War II, a centralized planning economy and the transition towards a market economy after 1990 are partially still visible in socio-economic figures today. A long-term perspective on the evolution of economic figures can also help to understand changes and obstacles today. The course bases on a broader understanding of economic development. Despite classical economic measures like GDP, inflation or population growth, we will also discuss so-called soft economic variables such as norms, culture, trust and social capital.

Economics of Transition
[ECONOMICS, 3 credits]


The course deals with main economic issues related to transition from centrally-planned economies of the Soviet bloc, Yugoslavia, and China to market economies. Compared to other similar courses, this course will be less descriptive and more analytical; we will use economic models and results of econometric studies where appropriate. We will also try to apply an experimental approach in order to provide the students with direct experience with asymmetric information markets and soft-budget constraints. The course tries to focus on aspects of transition which can be used to shed light on more permanent problems of economics systems and which can help reduce future exposure to similar errors.

The first part of the course deals with the theory of comparative economic systems, reviewing the theory of capitalism and analyzing the functioning of central planning and selected topics related to corporate governance under central planning (e.g. Yugoslavian self-managed firms). The second part provides an explanation of the gradual economic decline and main structural problems experienced by the former central planning countries, and it also focuses on main transition steps and their economic logic. We will also deal with basic theoretical models that attempt to explain problems experienced by transition economies. The last part will deal with the performance of firms and the role of corporate governance, ownership and institutions.

Environmental Economics in the Central European Context


The aim of this course is to introduce students to some basic economic principles and theories explaining environmental issues and problems today and to explore existing policies at the national, international, and global level. Students will learn about concepts such as externalities, the tragedy of the commons, enforcement as a public good, interventionist solutions to the externality problem such as taxes and marketable pollution permits, as well as non-interventionist solutions to the externality problem such as the Coasian solution and self-regulation. Students will also review the debate over the environmental Kuznets curve. Because experimental evidence nicely complements theoretic insights, field data, and simulating models, we will conduct in-class experiments and also review some research articles that draw on the experimental methodology.

The Housing Market in a Central European Context
[ECONOMICS, 3 credits]


This course will provide an introduction to the standard tools for the assessment of housing markets and house prices used in traditional economics, such as present value and structural models, but it will also discuss and compare institutional contexts among CEE countries. It will explore the effect of state interventions on the nature of housing systems in the CEE region, and the impact of changes in housing systems on the behaviour of market agents. The similarities and differences in market-based housing finance, housing subsidies, private and social renting among CEE countries will be discussed with a view to examining convergence and divergence trends. These trends will to some extent also be compared to US and other EU countries. The final part of the course will be devoted to tenure choice (renting or owning a dwelling) and a discussion of the psychological and sociological aspects of decision-making in a housing market that is characterized by a high level of uncertainty. Knowledge of the specific institutional context of the post-socialist housing transformation and the sociological and psychological aspects of housing market decisions will represent added value to the standard tools used in housing economics for the analysis of house price determinants and will provide a deeper understanding of housing markets in this part of the world.

For Economics majors only