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MPhil in Finance and Economics - Optional Modules

Optional Modules

  • 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.

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  • F520 : Behavioural Finance

    The goal of the course is to better understand human attitudes towards uncertainty in general, and financial risk in particular. The method to get there is to go beyond a pure behaviouralist approach, point to the difficulty of deciphering the psychology behind behaviour, to eventually land squarely in the domain of neurobiology. The approach promises more comprehensive insights than from a purely behavioural study (which makes humans look like a bug-plagued organism), and it bypasses difficult issues of awareness and consciousness (what if people don’t know what they think or feel?). Among others, the results are: novel insights into the role of emotions; an appreciation that neurobiology provides foundations for machine learning (and how the newest in computational neuroscience may yet revolutionise machine learning); a deeper understanding as to whether and how “smart drugs” (popular among students and professionals) work.

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  • F530 : Venture Capital and the Economics of Innovation

    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.

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  • 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.

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  • F550 : Applications of AI to Finance: alternative data, sentiment and NLP

    The course aims to provide a good level of competence around the main applications of AI in finance; the course has a very strong focus on real world applications students may encounter when working in the investment management industry.

    The course will train students to identify, manipulate and evaluate data-sets, including alternative data that are an increasingly important part of empirical work in finance. Students will also gain an understanding of NLP and its main applications in finance as well as develop an appreciation for the benefits and challenges of the latest generation of large language models (LLMs). The course will provide ample examples of how such techniques are applied in finance and will give students the possibility to practice using such techniques to address specific empirical problems both in the lectures and the class-work.

  • E200 : Principles of Macroeconomics I

    The purpose of this course is to introduce you to major questions and theories in neoclassical economics. The goal is to develop the “tools and tastes” necessary to understand the main models of economic growth and business cycle. First, it discusses the Solow-Swan model with exogenous technological progress and savings decision. We analyse the equilibrium of the model and the comparative dynamics around the steady state. Second, we study the microfoundation of consumption and then we study the business cycles phenomena and set up a simple model, which can generate some business cycle facts. Finally we look deeper into investment theory.

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  • R301a : Econometrics II: Time Series

    The time series part of the course will show how economic and financial time series can be modelled and analysed. Topics covered include ARMA models, state space models, trends and cycles, multivariate models and co-integration, nonlinear models and changing volatility.

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  • R301b : Econometrics II: Cross Section and Panel Data

    The cross-section and panel data part of the course will cover a broad range of topics in microeconometrics. Topics covered will be taken from random utility models in discrete choice, heterogeneity and endogeneity in binary choice models, program evaluation and treatment effects, fixed and random effects estimators for panel data, nonlinear and dynamic panel data models, machine learning, count data models, and an introduction to simulation methods (classical and Bayesian).

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  • S101 : Public Economics

    This course covers the foundations for optimal taxation based largely on the seminal work of Ramsey (1927) and Mirrlees (1971). The goal of the course is to familiarize students with basic empirical methods and theoretical models in applied microeconomics, with a focus on connecting theory to data to inform economic policy. Topics include efficiency costs and incidence of taxation, inequality, optimal income and commodity taxation.

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  • S130 : Economics of Ageing

    This course covers areas of active empirical research on the economics of aging. We will cover OLG, adverse selection, and life cycle savings and labor supply models as well as empirical evidence on these models. Specific topics include the role of savings incentives on individual and national savings, the annuities market, and the effects of public pensions and disability insurance programs on labor supply and savings.

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  • 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.

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  • S150 : Economics of Networks

    The course introduces students to the economics of networks. This area of research has emerged in the last two decades and it has introduced a set of tools for economists to incorporate network structure in the analysis of individual behaviour and economic outcomes. Topics covered include the formation of networks, the provision of local public goods, coordination, learning, trading, and financial networks. A central focus of the course is the interplay between theory and experiments.

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  • S170 : Industrial Organisation

    This course provides a rigorous treatment of the main concepts in industrial organisation. The course covers both theory and applications.

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  • S190 : International Trade

    This course covers the main theoretical models of international trade, impacts of trade policy, and how firms respond to changes in policy and technology. There is a heavy emphasis on examining the predictions of theoretical models through empirical analysis. We will be reviewing the methodologies in a variety of papers, many of which make use of panel data.

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  • S301 : Applied Econometrics

    This course has two components (i) empirical strategies for obtaining causal estimates, including randomized experiments, difference-in-difference, regression discontinuity, selection correction and instrumental variables and (ii) panel data estimation including fixed and random effects and dynamic panel data models. The focus is on empirical rather than purely theoretical issues.

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  • S500 : Development Economics

    This course is on development economics and deals with the economic problems of poor countries. It considers some of the main theoretical and analytical issues in development economics as well as the historical development process of now-developed countries. The topics covered are growth, development, poverty, inequality, education, technology, innovation, mutual insurance, finance, savings, weather, climate, health, pandemics, representative democracy, religion, social capital and conflict.

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