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MPhil in Economic Research - Optional Modules

Optional Modules

  • S140 : Behavioural Economics

    This course offers an introduction to the behavioural approach to economics. Among the topic covered are behavioural game theory, intertemporal decision making, neuroeconomics, cognitive biases, decision-making heuristics and addiction. 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 (suspended for 2018-2019 and 2019-2020)

    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.

  • 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.

  • S500 : Development Economics

    The focus of this course is on community-based institutions and their role in the development process. The following topics will be covered: (i) mutual insurance (ii) business and labor networks, and (iii) institutional persistence. Selected papers from each topic will be covered in class.

  • S600 : Topics in Macroeconomic History

    The Module focuses on a selection of macroeconomic themes; economic cycles, broadly understood to encompass fluctuations in different timescales; financial crises; and exchange rate regimes.

  • 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.

  • 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

    The objective of this course is to present some major models and concepts of modern asset pricing. These models include the Capital Asset Pricing Model (with its associated Security-Market Line), the Consumption-Based Capital-Asset Pricing Model (again with its associated Security-Market Line), static and dynamic arbitrage pricing, the microfoundations of the stochastic discount factor, the Black-Scholes model (along with several of its elaborations covering various exotic options) and various fixed-income models (including the spot-rate models of Vasiček and Cox-Ingersoll-Ross, and the forward-rate model of Heath, Jarrow and Morton).

  • 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 arbitrage, carry trade, micro-structure of foreign exchange market, currency crises and contagion, sovereign risk, default and international borrowing.

  • F520 : Behavioural Finance

    In this course we examine how the insights of Behavioural Finance complements the traditional paradigm and sheds light on the behaviour of asset prices, corporate finance, and various Wall Street institutions and practices. Behavioural Finance combines behavioural and cognitive psychological theory with conventional finance to provide understanding how people make financial decisions. It represents a collection of different approaches which seek to explain the existing findings and puzzles. This typically involves relaxing the assumption of fully informed and rational agents.

    We start by briefly reviewing the efficient markets hypothesis, rational choice and expected utility theory. We will aim 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. We will consider alternative models of decision making, in particular Prospect Theory and the distinction between risk and Knightian uncertainty. We will then consider evidence from psychology on the biases that arise in individual decision-making and in particular the role of herding and investor sentiment. We review recent research on limits to arbitrage.

  • 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. Lectures explore the historic role of technological innovation in driving economic development and the complementary contributions of the state and of financial speculation to mobilizing resources for investment in the development and deployment of innovative technologies.

  • F540 : Topics in Applied Asset Management

    This course will provide a detailed understanding of the main issues in 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 and expectile regression methods and finally the importance of recognising regimes of predictability. The practical focus will be on equity markets but we will also consider FX and futures markets while studying carry and momentum strategies to some degree.