Course Descriptions

Fall Semester

ECO 615 – Advanced Microeconomic Theory

ECO 615 is the first microeconomic theory course in Miami's MA program. The course begins by illustrating formal analytical methods within consumer theory and decision-making under uncertainty. We then move to producer theory, encompassing competition and market (monopoly) power, and equilibrium analysis. The course concludes with an exploration of game theory and related models of oligopolistic markets. Students are expected to have a working knowledge of both calculus and linear algebra and will be instructed in the construction of comparative statics. Problem sets applying these skills are applied throughout the semester.

ECO 617 – Advanced Macroeconomic Theory

ECO 617 is the first macroeconomic theory course in Miami’s MA program. The course begins with an overview of time series economic tools including Markov & ARMA models, VARs, and filtering techniques. We then provide an introduction to consumer theory while developing the tools of dynamic programming. These tools are further developed in the firm problem and in the development of growth models. The semester concludes with introductions to the Real Business Cycle model and the New Keynesian sticky price model. Students are expected to have a working knowledge of both calculus and linear algebra and will be trained to perform quantitative exercises in mathematical computing programs. Throughout the semester, problem sets will require the use of Matlab, a computing program with practical applications across numerous disciplines. In the business cycle section of the course, students will be trained in Dynare, a package used to estimate, solve, and simulate DSGE models.

Eco 511—Advanced Empirical Methods: 

This is a required course for MA students. The primary goal of this class is to prepare those students for conducting thorough and rigorous empirical analysis, the center piece of their MA theses. The topics include matrix algebra of OLS, instrumental variable, difference-in-difference estimator, regression discontinuity design, panel data model, event study, and probit/logit model. Statistical packages of stata or R is used in this class.

ECO 514 – Mathematical Economics

ECO 514 acts as a first semester support class to the theoretical content covered in the MA program. The first third of the course considers economic applications to optimization. We then discuss a variety of linear algebra concepts and dynamic programming techniques that apply to both micro, macro, and econometrics. Finally, the last third of the course adapts probability theory techniques to common applications in microeconomics and econometrics.


Spring Semester

ECO 515 – Topics in Microeconomics

ECO 515 is a microeconomics topics course in the second semester of Miami’s MA program. Currently, Dr. Riley Acton teaches the course with a focus on reading and understanding cutting-edge empirical research in labor economics and related fields. The course begins with an overview of the field of labor economics, including the contributions its researchers have made to empirical economic analysis and causal inference. Students then explore seven relevant policy topics (e.g., the minimum wage, paid family leave, and student loan access) in-depth. For each policy topic, we begin by understanding the theoretical economic framework that motivates policy intervention and then turn to assessing the empirical evidence on the policy’s impacts. Through the lens of these policies, students are also exposed to a variety of core labor economics concepts including labor supply, labor demand, labor market discrimination, and human capital formation. In addition, students choose their own policy topic of interest to study throughout the semester, which culminates in a professionally written policy memo and in-class presentation. 

ECO 517 – Topics in Macroeconomics

ECO 517 familiarizes students with dynamic stochastic general equilibrium (DSGE) models and their various uses in macroeconomics. The course starts with a review of the real business cycle (RBC) model and its quantitative evaluation using MATLAB/Dynare. As a first extension, we discuss financial frictions that arise from information asymmetries between borrowers and savers, incorporate these financial frictions into the RBC model, and study their implications for aggregate dynamics. A second extension concerns the modeling of environmental policy over the business cycle in so-called environmental DSGE (E-DSGE) models. As a third extension, we analyze a simplified version of the RBC model that addresses the interaction between economic decisions and epidemics (like the Covid-19 epidemic). At the end of the class, students will have gained first-hand experience with how the DSGE methodology allows macroeconomic researchers to study various questions of interest. The course concludes with students presenting a series of seminal macroeconomic papers in the DSGE literature.

Eco 671 - Topics in Applied Econometrics: 

ECO 671 is an advanced course in econometrics. Students who are successful in this course will be well prepared to conduct empirical research across a broad range of fields, although the tools are used most frequently in applied microeconomics. The course provides a “user’s guide” to many popular econometric techniques, with a heavy focus on implementation and interpretation. Topics may include matching, instrumental variables, dynamic difference-in-differences, and regression discontinuity. We will end the class with an overview of cutting-edge “machine learning” methods that are increasingly used in applied econometrics, covering regularization (e.g., LASSO, ridge regression) and classification (e.g., random forests, nearest neighbor algorithms). Throughout, we will use the open-source software R. 

Eco 672 - Applied Time Series Analysis: 

This is a required course for MA students. The topics include difference equation, Markov Chain, ARIMA model, ARCH/GARCH model, Unit Root, Vector Autoregression, and Cointegration. Statistical package of R is used in this class.