Rice Economics Fall 2014 Newsletter

New department chair rejuvenates one of the university’s most popular majors! RICE ECON Fall 2014 News and Views from the Economics Department at Rice Discover ECON @ Rice Public Finance: Tax Policy Course Discover our new courses, taught by two of our new faculty and a visiting professor, which will be offered in the Spring 2015 semester: ECON 432, Political Economics Professor Antonio Merlo Political Economy regards income redistribution, taxation, the production of public goods, and other actions of the public sector as determined by a political process simultaneously with the economic process of exchange and productions. This course investigates the connection between public policies and the political forces that shape them. ECON 462, Economics of Human Capital Professor Flávio Cunha This course covers both micro and macro aspects of human capital. We will study investments by parents in the education and other human capital of their children and how it links to the intergenerational transmission of inequality. The relation between human capital, population change, and economic growth is also emphasized. The course is quantitative and students will be require to understand and apply econometric techniques. ECON 420, International Trade Professor Eric Fisher (visiting from California Polytechnic State University) The course studies the economic relationships between countries. Topics include trade theory, tariffs and other trade restrictions, international finance, trade and development, and current policy issues. Advising Corner Advising Office Hours Tuesdays 12:30-2:00, George Zodrow, BKH 260 2:00-3:30, Peter Hartley, BKH 262 Fridays 12:30-2:00, Flávio Cunha, BKH 270 2:00-3:30, James Brown, BKH 250 Welcome to the inaugural issue of the Rice Economics Department newsletter. We plan to use our newsletter to keep our students up to date on new developments in the department, especially those related to undergraduate teaching and research. As you have probably heard, the department is currently both growing and improving at an unprecedented pace – changing in ways that will significantly enhance the educational experience of our undergraduate (and graduate) students. A key element of these developments is creation of the Rice Initiative for the Study of Economics (RISE), led by new department chair and world-renowned economics scholar Antonio Merlo. We have also hired a new program coordinator, Jessica Diaz, whose primary role is to provide additional support for undergraduate students. Feel free to come by our offices in Baker Hall and meet Jessica or consult with the members of the Undergraduate Committee. The program has already resulted in the hiring of five new internationally acclaimed scholars in the department, who will be teaching both existing and new courses in our undergraduate program. Moreover, an essential component of RISE is a renewed commitment, accompanied by the necessary resources, to provide our undergraduates with an exceptional learning experience that will prepare them for successful careers while providing them with a deep understanding of the economic forces that shape our ever-changing globalized environment. We intend to take a multi-faceted approach to fulfilling that commitment, including restructuring both of our majors (Economics (ECON) and Mathematical Economic Analysis (MTEC)) to better meet the needs of our students, improving existing courses and introducing new ones to provide coherent and comprehensive programs of study for a wide variety of career and learning paths, and taking additional steps to encourage undergraduate participation in our research programs, including those of our newest faculty members. Wishing you the best of luck in your studies and beyond the hedges, George Zodrow Director of Undergraduate Studies 1