Rice Economics Fall 2015 Newsletter - Page 2

NewCourses Fall2015 PRINCIPLES OF ECONOMICS (ECON 100) Introduction to the basic concepts of microeconomics and macroeconomics. MATHEMATICAL ECONOMICS (ECON 308) Emphasizes logical clarity and mathematical rigor in Economics, along with the ability to follow and construct mathematical proofs. BEHAVIORAL ECONOMICS (ECON 210) Examines behavioral economics, which seeks to insert more behavioral realism into economic theory. ECONOMIC FORECASTING (ECON 418) Application of econometric techniques to problems in macroeconomics and financial economics. INTERNATIONAL ECONOMICS & FINANCE (ECON 422) Studies the economic relationships among countries. COMING NEXT SPRING GAME THEORY, ECON MAJORS (ECON 300) Advanced level analysis of topics in microeconomics designed for students in the ECON major. GAME THEORY, MTEC MAJORS (ECON 305) Advanced level analysis of topics in microeconomics, focusing on mathematical modeling and designed for students in the MTEC major. WORLD ECONOMIC HISTORY (ECON 365) Study and analysis of world economy focusing on the economic expansion of Western countries between the 14th and 21st centuries. RESEARCH IN ECONOMETRICS (ECON 497) Capstone course for MTEC majors whose primary interest is in econometrics. HONORS PROGRAM UPDATE BILLY ROGERS Class of 2015 HONORS PROGRAM IN ECONOMICS (ECON 498/499) Investment Banking Analyst PROFESSOR ROBIN SICKLES J.P. Morgan The Economics Department is now offering a two-semester Honors Program structured to provide students with advanced research skills. The program will be supervised by Professor Robin Sickles who will meet with all students during the semester, lead discussions, make assignments, guide research, observe and critique presentations, and grade final papers – in some cases with input from other faculty members who are also providing guidance and supervision for individual student research projects. To enter the Honors Program, students must have a GPA > 3.67 in all courses taken toward fulfilling their departmental requirements, must have completed all of the new core requirements (some exceptions will be granted this year; see Professor Sickles), must have completed the 400-level course or courses most closely related to their area of research, and must receive the approval of the instructor. Students who matriculated before 2015 are eligible for the old honors program, but cannot enroll in ECON 498/499 unless they switch to either the new ECON or the new MTEC program. Please consult our website for further details. Have you met Professor Cunha? New faculty member brings pathbreaking research to Rice Flávio Cunha, Associate Professor of Economics Research Interests: Labor Economics, Economics of Education, Health Economics, Economic Development and Growth, Policy Evaluation Professor Cunha received his PhD from the University of Chicago in 2007 and taught at the University of Pennsylvania before joining the economics faculty at Rice. His areas of expertise are labor economics with special emphasis on human capital formation. He was recently awarded the Econometric Society’s Frisch Medal for “Estimating the Technology of Cognitive and Noncognitive Skill Formation,” a paper published in Econometrica that he wrote with Professor James Heckman and Professor Susanne M. Schennach. How did you first get interested in economics? My first job was at a bank when I was thirteen years old. I really enjoyed my job and so this fact made me interested in acquiring a better understanding about finance and banking. What drew you to study human capital as an area of research? Human capital plays an important role in determining long-run economic growth and it also affects inequality and poverty. So, it is an important policy issue. Scientifically speaking, it is an area in economics where you RICE ECON GRADUATE RICE ECON asked Billy how he is doing and if he had any tips for current students. His response: An investment bank like J.P. Morgan advises companies on financial issues including mergers & acquisitions and capital markets activity like issuing stock or bonds. As an analyst, my role can vary from day to day, but I’m generally responsible for working on financial models in Excel or putting together presentations. The job can be demanding and stressful, but the amount of responsibility analysts are given makes it a valuable learning experience, even if it can feel like drinking from a firehose sometimes. My advice to current students would be to get a subscription to the Wall Street Journal (only $1/week for students) and read it as much as possible. What you will learn about economics and business will complement your classwork and help you figure out what interests you and what you want to do after graduation. can work on theory, you can analyze existing or collect new data, and combine theory to data. In layman’s terms, tell us about your current research and the impact you hope it achieves. My current research aims to understand why certain families invest so little in their children, especially when they are young. It has been known for 20 years now that the amount of words that disadvantaged children hear in the first three years of their lives is about half of what middle-class children hear, and this affects their development and school readiness. The puzzling part is that families don’t have to pay to talk to their children, so this is not explained by differences in income, so the typical types of tools economists would use (for example, change prices or income), will probably not work in this case. My current research aims to document how much of the difference in investments is due to difference in parental beliefs about