Friday, January 23, 2009

Second Term Curricula

Okay, a couple of weeks into the second term, here's what I can tell you. Three courses, as opposed to the four of the introductory term. There's no follow-on to 'Math for Economists', but it's not uncommon to take Measure & Integration from the math department. The ambitious first years take it, and some second years, particularly the econometricians and the micro theory guys. I have officially wimped out on doing it.

Micro. Three parts. Game theory, from notes, as the prof considers the MWG treatment undergrad level. Asymmetric information for the second unit. Welfare/public choice/mechanism design to round it out. Bolton and Dewatripont's 'Contract Theory' is the recommended source after MWG.

Macro. Two parts. First is all business cycles. Basically just DSGE, and is being taught from papers, as opposed to a text. Second part is labour-macro, which will mostly be search theory. That's what I'm really looking forward to, you'll likely hear a lot about that half of the course as a consequence.

Metrics. Remains the weakest point. Not venturing out from Wooldridge. In the first term, the professor did a mad rush through the last month, covering ten chapters inside four weeks, but it seems like we'll be revisiting most of that material again. Being taught by a business school prof and is taken with the first year business school PhD's - but the econ crowd trounces them pretty solidly. The mathematical backgrounds are just so different.

Programming is becoming a standard requirement, Matlab being the tool of choice. The econometrics assignments will all require matlab programming, as will the macro. Matlab specifically because it doesn't have any high-powered statistical routines, so one is forced to attack things from scratch. Weekly assignments in each course, as usual.

POSTSCRIPT: I finished reading Kevin Major's 'As Near to Heaven by Sea', which is a very anecdotal history of Newfoundland, in constrast to the Prowse volume, which has more footnotes than any textbook I've seen. When I finish that one, expect a few posts on Newfoundland history. I went through a couple of years of grade school with one of his kids.


Shock Minus Control said...

ugh. Exactly why I am fully satisfied with my MA and have no illusions (delusions?) about a PhD. Good luck.

Chris S said...

Ok - from your entry, I'm guessing you might find this anecdote interesting.

I came from an undergrad honours science, physics and computing degree. So - there is some math back there.

I start my MBA, and in one of the first few classes, we're doing some basic supply and demand background. Our prof shows a sample with equations for the two curves, and asks "What next?"

I start to reply, "We take the del cross product of the ..."

"STOP!" orders the prof. I stop - a little startled, I admit. The prof sighs.

"I'm an engineer myself. I know what you were doing. It would work just fine. But today we're just going to solve two equations with two unknowns, ok?"