The following is a list of classes that I’ve taught at the University of Chicago and their reading lists.
Econ 190 – Economics for Everyone
There are some classes you’ll only find at UChicago.
The field of economics has generated a powerful set of insights which have fundamentally shaped the modern world. Because modern economics puts such a heavy stress on mathematical rigor, the most interesting economic ideas often get pushed to the background. Steven Levitt and John List created this course to make the beauty and power of economic thinking available to everyone. In this course, we will explore these big economic ideas, without the math. Stripping economics down to its core, students get answers to questions like why people make seemingly odd choices and why Uber has surge pricing. We will discuss what it means to think like an economist, how you can use economic thinking to make the world a better place (or to take advantage of your friends and enemies, if you prefer), and also how sometimes thinking like an economist can get you into trouble.
Econ 198 – Introduction to Microeconomics
This course will provide the student with an understanding of economics-both how to use it in your everyday life and how economists make use of the main principles to test theory, speak to policymakers, and find facts. In particular, you will become familiar with the intuition underlying the cornerstones of economics: how incentives affect behavior (via an understanding of individual optimization), demand and supply, and equilibrium. In addition, the course will expose you to current microeconomic research.
Experimental Economics (Spring 2010)
Taking a course in experimental economics is a little like going to dinner at a cannibal’s house. Sometimes you will be the diner, sometimes you will be part of the dinner, sometimes both.
If you take a laboratory course in the physical sciences, you get to mix smelly chemicals, or monkey with pulleys, or dissect a frog, but you are always the experimenter and never the subject of the experiment. In the market experiments conducted in this class, you and your classmates will be the participants in the markets as well as the scientific observers who try to understand the results.
It is hard to imagine that a chemist can put herself in the place of a hydrogen molecule. A biologist who studies animal behavior is not likely to know what it feels like to be a duck. You are more fortunate. You are studying the behavior and interactions of people in economically interesting situations. And as one of these interacting economic agents, you will be able to experience the problems faced by such an agent first hand. We suspect that you will learn nearly as much about economic principles from your experience as a participant as you will from your analysis as an observer.
Environmental Economics (Spring 2009)
This course will provide the student with the necessary tools to be an avid consumer of an area of the environmental economics literature and eventually a producer of the literature. Thus, it will provide a summary of recent findings and discuss future research agendas. There is no official text, but weekly readings will be discussed in class. We will focus on empirical work, but at times will discuss theoretical studies.
Experimental Economics (Winter 2009)
A short article about this class from the University of Chicago Magazine.