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MPhil in Economics - Optional Modules

Optional Modules

  • S140 : Behavioural Economics

    This course offers an introduction to the behavioural approach to economics. Among the topic covered are cognitive biases, decision-making heuristics, behavioural game theory, intertemporal decision making, addiction, and applications to labour economics and development. It is also hoped that it will include a brief survey of recent research in neuroeconomics, with an emphasis on its relationship to economic theories. The course includes both theoretical and empirical material, but a recurring theme is the importance of experimental findings both in the laboratory and in the field.

  • S150 : Economics of Networks

    Our choices and behaviour are shaped by whom we interact with. The choices of our friends are in turn shaped by their friends, whose choices are in turn influenced by their friends, and so on. Thus an individual’s choices are shaped by the overall network of relationships which obtain. Moreover, rational individuals who realize these effects have an incentive to make investments and create networks that are advantageous to themselves. In the last decade, these ideas have led to a burst of theoretical and empirical research on the economics of networks. The aim of this course is to provide a rigorous introduction to this body of research.

  • S170 : Industrial Organisation

    This course provides a rigorous treatment of the main concepts in industrial organisation. The course covers both theory and applications; some lectures will be devoted to empirical aspects.

  • S180 : Labour - Search, Matching and Agglomeration

    The aim of this course is to introduce students to the debate regarding job search, matching of workers to jobs/firms, learning, and agglomeration of workers within cities. It gives students a proper understanding of the current state of knowledge on the matching of workers to jobs, wage differentials between firms, the evolution of wages over the life cycle, and the city wage premium. Students learn how these concepts contribute to an understanding of observed regularities on the labour market. Finally, the discussed concepts give students a first handle on how institutions like minimum wages, unemployment benefits, and employment protection affect market outcomes.

  • S301 : Applied Econometrics

    This course will focus on (i) cutting-edge strategies for obtaining causal estimates without an experiment, with examples from labour, public finance, health, and education and (ii) panel data which includes modelling heterogeneity in panel data using fixed and random effect models, dynamic panels and discrete dependent variable panel models. The course will explore the pros and cons of using panel data, social experiments, regression discontinuity, register data, and instrumental variables to arrive at causal estimates. An emphasis will be placed on current best practices, with empirical examples ranging from the evaluation of social safety net programs, to the effect of educational policy reforms.

  • S500 : Development Economics

    The aim of this course is to introduce students to a range of topics in the analysis of economic and political problems facing developing countries. The course has two parts. One part discusses the ethical basis of quantitative indicators that are currently in use for displaying the progress and regress of economies. The other part discusses the functioning of markets characterized by imperfections of various kinds, especially those caused by information asymmetries; and issues in the political economy of development. Topics include: rural organization and institutions, such as sharecropping and interlinkage; credit markets in developing countries; the political economy of economic policy reform.

  • S600 : Topics in Macroeconomic History

    The Course has two parts, the first focuses on the role of markets, institutions and policies in macroeconomic fluctuations, focusing mainly on 19th century and the interwar period and mainly on the United States. Lectures will consider the implications of changes in the structure of labour and capital markets, the impact of international capital flows and international monetary arrangements, and the implications of changing conceptions of policy problems and responses. The second part focuses on two macroeconomic themes: economic cycles, broadly understood to encompass fluctuations in different timescales, and financial crises. Understanding why economic growth displays segmentations over time in frequencies that are longer than the business cycle will be evaluated, including the real business cycle framework of episodic “Great depressions”; Long Swings of Economic Growth or Medium-Term cycles; Kondratieff Cycles/Technological Cycles; General Purpose Technology Cycles.

  • S610 : British Industrialisation

    The course considers the processes by which Britain became the first nation to overcome growth constraints and embark on a path of sustained expansion of per capita income. It looks at the roles played by increased investment and labour supply to industrial activities and changed incentives, which improved the efficiency of agriculture and promoted the development of industry. But it also emphasises the roles of country-specific institutions, such as property rights, and national cultures, such as inheritance patterns and work roles for men and women, in understanding Britain's `exceptionalism'. The course covers key debates both on the causes of industrialisation and the consequences for the people who lived through it.

  • S620 : Institutions and Economic Growth in Historical Perspective

    This course provides an introduction to the main debates, conceptual tools, and empirical findings relevant to understanding how institutions – the “humanly devised rules of the game” – influenced economic growth between the medieval period and the Industrial Revolution. It brings together the theoretical assumptions about institutions adopted in the literature on economic growth on the one hand, and the empirical findings on these institutions by economic historians on the other. It does not assume any prior knowledge of either institutional economics or economic history. The topics covered include private- versus public-order institutions, property rights, contract enforcement, guilds, parliaments, serfdom, family and marriage patterns, institutional systems, and theories of institutions.

  • F300 : Corporate Finance

    The objective of this course is to present some major theoretical concepts of modern corporate finance. The ideas behind these theories and their rationale will be discussed, and related empirical research will be examined. The course will also acquaint students with the methodology used in corporate finance, in order to enable them to follow advances in corporate finance research on their own.

  • F400 : Asset Pricing

    This course takes place in the Lent (i.e. Spring) term. It consists of 9 two-hour lectures. A provisional list of topics to be covered is as follows:

    • Decision making under uncertainty
    • Concepts of risk and risk aversion
    • Portfolio theory
    • Static Asset Pricing
    • Dynamic Asset Pricing
    • Arbitrage Pricing
    • Stochastic Calculus
    • The Black-Scholes Equation
    • Options
    • Other Derivatives
    • Term Structure and Interest Rates

    This subject is built on microeconomic principles, and a solid understanding of microeconomics is therefore indispensable. A knowledge of linear algebra, calculus and probability theory is assumed throughout the lectures.

  • F500 : Empirical Finance

    This course is an introduction to some major topics in empirical finance. It aims to endow the student with an understanding of the current issues, methods, and conclusions of empirical research on financial markets. The focus is primarily on equity markets. There will be an emphasis on empirical results and their interpretation. Econometrics required background.

  • F510 : International Finance

    The aim of the course is to introduce students to classical and emerging issues in international finance, covering both modelling and empirical issues. Topics include international financial integration, risk and international portfolio allocation, carry trade, currency crises and contagion, micro-structure of foreign exchange market.

  • F520 : Behavioural Finance

    This course provides an overview of the behavioural finance literature. Behavioural finance tries to understand observed deviations from the predictions of the efficient market hypothesis with the goal of providing better insights into the functioning of financial markets. Typically this involves relaxing the assumption of fully informed and rational agents. Thus, aside from reviewing the behavioural finance literature the course also aims at providing a deeper understanding of why, and when, humans behave as boundedly rational agents on financial markets. To this end we will also study the relevant literature in psychology, behavioural economics, evolutionary anthropology as well as more traditional economics and finance.

  • F530 : Venture Capital in the Innovation Economy

    The course explores the political and economic context from which professional venture capital has evolved and evaluates the distribution and correlates of investment returns to venture capital.

  • F540 : Topics in Applied Asset Management

    This course will provide a detailed understanding of applied portfolio design and related topics in practical asset management and risk management. We first consider how to overcome the problems with the use of mean variance methods, which are industry standard. A range of alternative modern approaches will then be discussed. We will examine the role of the predictability in both expected returns and volatility for position sizing, the use of leverage, managing risk through vol targeting, directional prediction, volatility timing, the use of quantile regression methods and finally the importance of recognising regimes and the use of strategies that can hold both long and short positions. The practical focus will be on equity markets but we will also consider FX and futures markets while studying carry and momentum strategies. The impact of two behavioural issues, herding, sentiment may also be considered if time permits.