Honors Courses

 EC 2210 A/B - Principles of Mathematical Economics I

Economists use mathematical models to analyze and understand human behaviour, the effects of government policies, and a wide range of social problems. Mathematical Economics I—which covers topics in differential calculus, linear algebra, and optimization theory—provides students with a broad foundation in the methods that economists use to glean insights from mathematical models. Differential calculus equips students with the tools to model and understand how changes in distinct economic variables relate to each other. Linear algebra, meanwhile, provides a powerful framework for analyzing how multiple relationships between variables­ collectively shape economic outcomes. Furthermore, optimization theory considers how a wide range of problems may be mathematically specified and solved, thus providing a bedrock for the analysis of consumer decision making, business planning, and policy formulation. By developing their mathematical toolkits by taking ECON 2210, students will expand the range of insights they can gather using models of economic phenomena. Additionally, the technical and analytical skills honed by this class will be broadly useful to students in their academic and professional pursuits: these skills are directly applicable in other economics and mathematics classes, and they are prized by contemporary employers who increasingly value mathematical thinking.

EC 2220 A/B - Intermediate Macroeconomics I

Why are some countries rich and others are poor? How can we make all countries richer? In this intermediate Macroeconomics course, we will start with these essential questions. We'll study several theories of economic growth and look for evidence for these theories in real world data. We will then build up a series of analytical tools that we can use to study key economic questions. What determines people's wages? How do people choose how much to save? Do tax cuts stimulate economic growth? How do financial market failures affect economic outcomes and what can governments do about them? Throughout the course, the focus will be on how we can use economic tools to understand the complicated world around us.

EC 2221 A/B - Intermediate Macroeconomics II

What is the effect of government spending on the economy? How do taxes change people's actions with consequences for the whole economy? What determines the incentives for people to search for jobs and for firms to want to hire?  Why is inflation bad for the economy? 

These are the subjects of macroeconomics. The intermediate macroeconomics courses (EC2220-2221) tackle these questions and build the models economists use to think about the behavior of the economy as a whole. These courses provide you with a mental framework that you can use in economics, the analysis of public policy, business climate, and more. Our best students in the last years are now going to grad school in economics and business, public policy, and law school. 

EC 2222 A/B - Intermediate Econometrics I

This course opens doors to rigorous analysis and research in the economic realm. Embark on a journey to understand the foundations of probability and statistics in our introductory econometrics course. This course emphasizes the critical role of statistical theory and probability in economic analysis, equipping students with the skills and tools to model uncertainty, interpret data, and make informed decisions---all essential tools for any aspiring economist, data scientist, or social scientist.

EC 2223 A/B - Econometrics II

Unlock the power of data with honors econometrics to answer questions such as: Does higher education actually raise someone's wage? How much? Will inflation go up or down? These are examples of prediction, estimating effects, and testing hypotheses -- routine tasks for businesses, policy makers, and researchers. This course builds foundations for these tasks, focusing on parts that AI (like ChatGPT) are not yet good at, like modelling cause and effect.

EC 2260 A/B - Intermediate Microeconomics I

Economics is a science on relations among individuals. Such relations include contracts, conflicts, households, markets, networks, etc. Any such relation can be modeled into a game, where one picks a move as a best response to the move he expects his counterpart may pick, knowing that the counterpart’s move also results from her best response to his move that she expects him to pick. Calculations of such interactive reasoning constitute game theory, the mathematical foundation of modern economics. The cornerstone of such calculations is the mathematical method for an individual to decide on his best move. The course is a rigorous introduction to this decision-theoretic method.

EC 2261 A/B - Intermediate Microeconomics II

You might be used to the simple way most retail markets work: you visit the store, see a price, and buy as much as you want. But that's just a small part of economics. Governments procure services through contests, and sell oil-drilling rights through auctions. Employers offer complex contracts and promotions. Producers negotiate with retailers. Airlines adjust prices over time as flights get closer. Some companies even collude to raise their profits. We can study these mechanisms using game theory. This course teaches the most important tools you will need to model the vast universe of economic systems and institutions.

EC 2288 A/B - Economic Policy I

Are you ready to explore the dynamic intersection of economics and public policy? Look no further than our Economic Policy I (Microeconomic Policy) course. It offers a deep dive into the application of microeconomic concepts and tools to understand and evaluate the impact of public policies. Through a series of focused studies, students will analyze:

  1. Environmental Economics: From clean energy subsidies to pollution taxes, discover how we can safeguard our planet while boosting economic growth.
  2. Global Trade Dynamics: Ever wondered about the impact of export subsidies and quotas in international trade?
  3. Market Competition: Explore the economic drama behind mergers, antitrust laws, and price-fixing regulations.
  4. Resource Management: Delve into strategies for oil and gas extraction that harmonize economic prosperity with environmental stewardship.
  5. Healthcare Economics: Junk food bans and free vaccination programs—how do they shape public health and healthcare costs?
  6. Navigating Market Regulation: Price caps, supply management, and market interventions—these decisions impact us all.

By taking this course, students will develop the skills to analyze and influence the policies that impact daily life. Whether you’re aiming for a career in government, business, or academia, the insights gained from this course will be valuable.

EC 3320 A/B - Advanced Macroeconomics I

In Advanced macro, we spend time rigorously developing the neoclassical growth model. We discuss the importance of assumptions we make along the way and the implications of assuming various functional forms for utility and production. We then apply the model to economic growth and discuss the limitations of the model to account for differences in income across countries. Lastly, we extend the model to analyze business cycles, tracing out the impacts of transitory shocks on things like labor supply, capital stock, and output. Students who take this class will be well prepared for graduate work in economics.

EC 3324 F/G - Economic Development I

Why are some countries rich while others are poor? How can we explain the persistence of poverty among developing countries? In this course, each week we will explore a different topic concerning developing countries, ranging from the enduring impact of colonial institutions to the complexities of civil conflict and gender-related challenges. We will analyze current academic research that uses methods from applied microeconomics to answer these questions.

EC 3330 A/B - Advanced Money Theory

Financial markets, retail payments, monetary policy, banking, and interbank markets are fundamental to how modern economies work, but they are often poorly understood. This course uses monetary and financial theory, in an accessible way, to address some key questions in this area. What is money? Or is it even useful to think of assets in terms of their "moneyness?" How does monetary policy work? Why is inflation costly, and how should we control it? What is financial instability, and how has the Canadian financial system avoided it for centuries?

EC 3332 A/B - Financial Economics

How good are you at managing your money? How good are you at making decisions under uncertainty? Would you like to learn how to better manage financial resources? Financial economics is the branch of economics that studies the allocation of monetary capital over time and under uncertainty. Regardless of whether you want to pursue a career in finance or not, learning to identify risk-return trade-offs and to make optimal decisions in realistic, uncertain settings can greatly improve your personal and professional life. If you are considering a career in finance, this course will allow you to understand portfolio allocation strategies, valuations of financial assets, and trading strategies. This knowledge will help you prepare for CFA exams and a successful career in finance. You will also have a chance to apply your knowledge in practice using a real-time trading simulator. So, by the end of the course, you will feel comfortable understanding the basics of financial markets.

EC 3333 A/B - Economics of Derivatives

Would you like to learn how to manage and trade risk? Would you like to learn how to use the most widely traded financial contracts in the world to build more sophisticated investments? If the answer is yes, then this course is for you. Derivatives are financial assets with payoffs that depend on the values of other underlying assets. Examples include futures, forwards, options, and swaps. Derivatives are commonly used to manage risk, to speculate in financial markets, and to profit from misprising across markets. This course will allow you to understand the valuation of derivatives contracts and their use in the context of trading, risk management and corporate finance. You will also have a chance to apply your knowledge in practice using a real-time trading simulator. The derivatives market represents the largest financial market in the world and the use of derivatives in the financial industry and in corporations keeps increasing year after year. Therefore, if you are pursuing a career in finance or a CFA certification, you should consider taking this course.

EC 3344 A/B - Labour Economics I

Have you ever thought about why you are at university? Are you hoping that going to university will mean access to better jobs with higher wages? In labour economics there are two theories for why education matters to future labour market outcomes - a signalling theory and a human capital theory. The signalling theory postulates that employers see education as a signal that university graduates have high abilities. So they pay more for workers with university degrees. Human capital theory states that students learn and acquire important skills in university which then leads to higher wage jobs/careers. Taking a labour economics course will do both for you. It will signal to future employers and post-graduate programs that you are a high-ability student who can successfully analyse policy-relevant issues. It will also help you learn to apply economic modelling and mathematical models to studying labour market trends and problems like growing wage inequality, immigration, and discrimination.  

EC 3350 F/G - Economics of Human Behaviour

This course applies an economic approach to study major economic and social problems, beginning with a careful examination of rapidly rising income inequality over the past few decades. What drives this inequality and its evolution over time? What roles do the family, schools, and labour markets play? How do different policies impact inequality and overall productivity?  Next, the course zeroes in on earnings differences by race/ethnicity and gender.  What role does labour market discrimination play? What is the nature of discrimination, and does it matter?  How can societies best eliminate these persistent earnings gaps?  Finally, the course explores the enormous social costs of crime and policy alternatives aimed at reducing crime. What explains the high rates of crime among some subpopulations or the enormous differences across locations? To best fight crime, is it better to hire more police, lengthen prison sentences, or spend more on schools and training or jobs programs?

Throughout the course, economic theories are used to understand the incentives faced by and decision processes of individuals, firms, and governments that are central to these issues.  Empirical evidence is then brought in to evaluate and distinguish between theories before discussing appropriate policy responses informed by both the evidence and economic theory.

EC 3352 A/B - International Trade

An old joke goes, if you ask 10 economists the same question, you’ll get 11 opinions. But not, apparently, when it comes to international trade. Economists overwhelmingly agree that trade is beneficial for a country overall. The general public is more skeptical, to say the least. Why are economists so convinced about the benefits of international trade, and why do many well-informed non-economists seem to disagree? In Econ Principles classes, you learn about comparative advantage – differences across countries that lead to mutual gains from international trade – an idea that was formalized over 200 years ago.

Econ 3352 is about going beyond this basic principle to explore the reasoning behind the arguments for and against greater openness to international trade. You’ll learn the ins and outs of economic models that combine the microeconomic principles of consumer and firm decision-making with the macroeconomic analysis of interactions across different markets and sectors, an interconnectedness that is crucial for studying international trade. Beyond simply grasping the benefits of trade through comparative advantage, you’ll gain an appreciation for how trade can help some and hurt others in society, what policymakers can do to balance these gains and losses, and why such a seemingly straightforward economic principle leads to complex questions about trade agreements, industry protection, and even labor and environmental laws.

EC 3362 A/B - Empirical Industrial Organization

One key takeaway from principles classes is that supply and demand determine the price of any good in the marketplace. In turn, consumer preferences determine demand; costs and firms' competitive conduct determine supply. In Empirical Industrial Organization, you will learn how to combine real data with various theoretical models of firms' competitive conduct and empirical models of demand to quantify the degree of market power in an industry. The knowledge acquired in the course has real-world applications like determining the profit-maximizing price a firm should set or analyzing how a potential merger between two firms will affect prices and, therefore, consumers.

EC 3364 F/G - Industrial Organization I

Dive into the fascinating world of Industrial Organization. In this course, you’ll unravel the strategic behaviors of firms, the structure of markets, and the mechanisms of competition and regulation. You’ll study advanced pricing strategies like versioning, block pricing, and even explore the art of creating ‘damaged goods’ to shape consumer choice. Plus, you’ll get to grips with non-pricing strategies such as entry deterrence, product differentiation, and strategic mergers. You will also learn how governments tackle anti-competitive practices like price fixing and scrutinize major mergers. Whether you aspire to be a policy maker or a business leader, this course will give you the analytical tools to identify, analyze, and solve complex economic puzzles that firms and industries face.

EC 3366 A/B - Economics and Law 

Embark on a journey through the course ‘Economics and Law’, an interdisciplinary field that applies economic principles to the analysis of law. It examines how laws influence human behavior, and how laws can be designed to achieve economic efficiency. The course covers topics such as property rights, contract law, accident (tort) law, and the economics of crime and punishment. (No prior knowledge of law is required.) It aims to provide students with tools to analyze legal issues through an economic lens, considering factors like incentives, costs, and benefits. It’s a way of looking at the legal system not just from a legal perspective but also from an economic one, to understand how economic principles can inform better legal decision-making.

Here are possible issues to be addressed in the course:

  1. Mandatory Air Conditioning: Imagine the City of London enacts a bylaw mandating that all landlords provide air conditioning to their tenants. Could this regulation be beneficial to the society?
  2. Pollution and Property Rights: Consider a factory whose emissions harm nearby residents.
    If property law protects the factory’s right by allowing the factory to continue to pollute, would the resulting outcome be necessarily inefficient?
  3. Contractual Obligations Amidst Disaster: A buyer’s anticipation for custom-made furniture is dashed when the manufacturer’s facility is destroyed by fire, halting production. Should contract law obligate the manufacturer to recompense the buyer for the unfulfilled promise, or does unforeseen disaster excuse them from liability?

Through the lens of economics, students will unravel the complexities of these scenarios, recognizing the profound influence of economic principles in shaping rules and laws.

EC 3382 A/B Advanced Microeconomics I

This course is about game theory. A “game” is any situation that involves several interacting decision-makers (who are called “players”). We are surrounded by games -- we play them at work, at home, in school, in traffic, and so on. In this course we learn how to formulate a strategic situation as a game, how to find best possible strategies in games, and how to predict behaviour of rational players in games. Everyone who takes this course participates in several experiments that involve making decisions under uncertainty and playing games with classmates. This helps to learn whether people always behave rationally, how to adjust optimal strategies against players who are not fully rational, and to what extent predictions of game theory are useful in real-life games.

EC 3388 A/B - Applied Econometrics I

Making informed decisions requires more than just good data. You need the right tools to interpret and extract meaningful insights from that data. You may have valuable information, but without the proper tools to decipher it, you're left wandering aimlessly---like having a treasure map without knowing how to read it. Similarly, in today's data-rich world, the ability to analyze data is essential for success. This course will equip you with the necessary econometric tools to transform raw data into actionable insights. Whether you’re making business decisions, shaping public policies, or just trying to understand the world around you, understanding causation will empower you to anticipate the consequences of your actions and make better choices.

EC 3399 F/G - Special Topics in Economics and Economic Policy

Have you ever wondered how governments make decisions? In this course, you’ll analyze why governments choose to spend – or not spend – on insurance programs (like disability or unemployment) designed to protect the most vulnerable in society. Using real examples from global research, you will explore who has the power to influence these policies and why.

EC 4400 E - Senior Research Seminar in Economics

Do foreign students make housing more expensive? How much do regulators influence the stock prices of pharmaceutical companies? How does wording in your online dating profile affect your chances of good match? These are just a few topics investigated by students who have taken this course.  Under faculty guidance, this course offers a unique opportunity for students to engage in independent and original research, allowing them to select their own research questions and develop methodologies to address them. You will navigate the research process, from formulating clear research questions to conducting thorough literature reviews and designing robust research plans. Through a series of written reports, presentations, and feedback from your peers and the faculty team, you will improve your ability to communicate your findings effectively and critically evaluate your own work as well as that of your peers.