Brandeis academic calendar (spring 2008)



>Here is a list of sample topics

>Final paper due date has been changed to April 17th due to Brandeis' spring break.


Lecture Notes Update:

Lecture notes 1         Lecture notes 2          Lecture notes 3

Lecture notes 4         Lecture notes 5          Lecture notes 6

Lecture notes 7         Lecture notes 8          Lecture notes 9

Lecture notes 10       Lecture notes 11       Lecture notes 12       Lecture notes 13

Homework Assignments:

Homework 1 (due on Jan. 29)

Homework 2 (due on Feb. 12)

Homework 3 (due on March 27)


Jan. 15    Introduction and overview


Jan. 17     Measuring economic growth and development


                  Required readings:

                    > Perkins Chapter 1, Chapter 2 (excluding p.41-45), browse thru, pay attention to graphs                        and tables.

                    > Nominal vs. PPP GDP

                         "Measuring Economies." Economist Magazine, May 27, 2004.

                    > Shortcomings of traditional GDP measurement

                         Stiglitz, Joseph. "Good Numbers Gone Bad." Fortune, October 2006.    


                                Optional readings:

                                   On the question "Is economic growth desirable?"

                                      > "Happiness and Economics." Economist Magazine, Dec. 19, 2006.

                                      > "Happiness (and how to measure it)." Economist Magazine, Dec. 19, 2006.


Jan.22/24     A brief history of economic growth and development

                                Required readings:

                                   > Perkins Chapter 2, p.41-45 and Chapter 3, p. 60-62.

                                   On "Great Divergence"

                                       > "The Road to Riches." Economist Magazine, Millennium ed., 1999.

                                       > "Imperial China Fell Prey to A Lack of Pluralism." Financial Times, Sept. 17, 2003.


                                Optional reading:

                                   >On "great divergence"

                                      Brad DeLong's review on book "Great Divergence" by Ken Pomeranz, 2000.                                


Jan.29     Economic methodology and the framework of economic analysis

                                Required readings:

                                   >On incentives, the most important concept in economics

                                      Levitt Chapter 1, free online version (very fun to read)

                                                 Background reading on Steven Levitt and his "Freakonomics" (optional, read it if you                                                  want to know more about the book and the author)


Jan.31     Basic theories of economic growth I: Harrod-Domar (HD) model

                                 Required readings:

                                  > Perkins Chapter 4 (p.103-117)

                                  > Easterly Chapter 2            


Feb.5/7     Basic theories of economic growth II: Solow growth model

                                Required readings:

                                  > Perkins Chapter 4, p.117-133.

                                  > Easterly Chapter 3, p.47-54 (able students are encouraged to read the entire chapter)


Feb. 12     Special Topic: Economics of saving

                                Required readings:                                 

                                  > "The Economics of Saving: The shift away from thrift." Economist Magazine, April 7, 2005.

    Recommended readings:

      > David Malpass. "Running on Empty?", The American, 2007.  


Feb. 14   Population theory and the role of labor

                               Required readings:

                                  > Perkins Chapter 7 (p.237-263)

                                  > "Does Population Matter." Economist Magazine, Dec. 5, 2002.

                               Optional readings:

                                  > Malthus on population, the original excerpts . (Pay attention to the highlights in red)

   Recommended links: Gapminder


Feb. 19/21  Spring break


Feb. 26    Continue discussion on population theory


Feb. 28    The first mid-term exam


Mar. 4/6     Basic theories of economic development: Lewis two-sector migration model

                                 Required readings:

                                  > Perkins Chapter 4 (p. 136-146)

                                  > Spence, Michael. "Why China Grows So Fast ."Wall Street Journal, Jan. 23, 2007.


Mar. 11     Extension of growth theory: Endogenous growth model

                                Required readings:

                                  > "The Growth of Growth Theory." Economist Magazine, May 18, 2006.

                                  > Easterly Chapter 8: Tales of Increasing Returns


Mar. 13/18   Technology, Innovation, Human Capital and Economic Growth

                              Required readings:

                                  > Easterly Chapter 9: Creative Destruction: The Power of Technology


Mar. 20/25   How to establish counterfactuals

                                Required readings:

                                  >Levitt Chapter 4 (will be distributed before class)


Mar. 27, April 1/3   Institutions and Economic Development: Overview

                               Required readings:

                                > "Roots of Development." Economist Magazine, Oct. 3, 2002.

                                >"Why Economists Are Still Grasping For Cure to Global Poverty ."Wall Street Journal, Jan. 1, 2007.


April 8  Economic systems, government and economic development

                               Required readings:

                                  > Perkins Chapter 5: States and Markets

                                  > Easterly Chapter 11: Governments Can Kill Growth


April 10    The 2nd mid-term


April 15    Special Topic: Inequality and economic growth           

                                Required readings:

                                  > Perkins Chapter 6: Inequality and Poverty (Browse thru very quickly)

                                  > "Catching Up." Economist Magazine, Aug. 21, 2003.

                                  > "Rich Man, Poor Man: Globalization and Rise of Inequality ." Economist Magazine, Jan.18, 07.


April 17     Special Topic: Democracy and economic development

                                 Required readings:

                                  > Friedman, Milton. The Relation between Economic Freedom and Political Freedom, in                                       Capitalism and Freedom. University of Chicago Press, Chicago, 1962.

                                  >"Poverty and the Ballot Box: Why are poor democracies not better at ending poverty?"                                       Economist Magazine, May 12, 2005.


















  Course schedule for spring 2007