Understanding the 2021 Nobel Prize — from Correlation to Causation by Christian Ochsner,

Did you know that men who shave their beards every day live longer? This statement is true in terms of correlation, but there is no causal relationship at all. In fact, empirical research in economics and social sciences faces the challenge of distinguishing correlation from causation. The course introduces concepts of causal analysis in a non-technical way. These concepts were awarded the 2021 Nobel Prize in Economics. The focus will be on research settings and designs. Figures and graphs will help to train students to understand the intuition behind the respective concepts. We will read and understand research papers in the field of long-run development and political economy that focus on specific concepts of causal empirical analysis.


Climate Change Economics by Silvester van Koten,

Energy is a basic necessity of daily life and a vital input to industry in any society around the world. New technologies, especially renewable power generators such as wind and solar are changing the industry. Also, new climate policies have a growing influence on the economics and practical functioning of the energy systems, especially the electricity industry. Firstly, the course aims to give a deeper theoretical insight regarding economic externalities (such as global warming). A number of the classical economic instruments are presented, such as Pigovean taxes, cap-and-trade programs, subsidies and mandates. The theory addressed has broad applications, also in the field of public finance and public policy. Secondly, the course gives an overview of the economics of new potential decarbonization technologies, such as hydrogen, heat pumps, electric cars and gas as a transition fuel. Thirdly the most recent decarbonization developments will be discussed.


Energy Economics & Electricity Markets  by
Silvester van Koten, Ph.D.

This course, including the viewpoints of economic markets and economic regulation, aims to inform about various energy system topics. The focus will be on the supply side of the market, targeting the main properties of fossil and renewable energy sources. While the economics (supply, demand, and pricing) is the focus, special attention is also given to the security and strategic value of the different energy sources. Part of the course gives a broad background of knowledge on energy topics and issues. The other part uses economic tools and mathematical models to better understand the economic logic of energy. Such economic tools provide a way to systemize the abundance of information available on energy. This also helps to understand and appraise present policies regarding energy. Though our scope is general, attention is paid to some of the local settings for the EU, the Caucasus, Ukraine, Central Asia, and Russia.


Public Economics by Olga Popova, Ph.D.

This course covers the key concepts in public economics, a field of economics that studies the role of government in the economy. The course is designed to introduce seminal theoretical concepts and discuss the most recent empirical developments in public economics with the aim to understand: (i) why and how governments intervene in an economy, (ii) how individuals and firms react to these interventions, and (iii) what are the implications of those interventions for the overall welfare and economic development.

Public Economics

Education Economics by Miroslava Federicova, Ph.D.

The human capital of the population is a key determinant of labor-market success and economic growth. This brings the economics of education to the core of understanding individual and societal economic prosperity. This course introduces students to the key concepts and major issues of economics of education, placing emphasis on current empirical research in the field. Topics include: the basic theory of investments in education (human capital theory) and the role of early childhood education; the returns to education and the empirical problem of disentangling the return to education from the return to innate ability; the role of class size, peer effects and school expenditure, etc. After the course, students are expected to be able to read, understand and discuss current research in economics of education, as well as to contribute to the discussion about the current challenges in education.


Development Economics by Martina Miotto, Ph.D.

The goal of this course is to expose students to the newest developments in applied microeconomic research in development economics, particularly policy-oriented research. The topics covered will be especially close to the research agenda of the recent Nobel Prize Winners in Economics: Abhijit Banerjee, Esther Duflo, and Michael Kremer. A further focus of the course is on the study of infrastructure, firms and labor markets in developing countries. Overall, the course offers a thorough understanding of current-day research in development, with a special angle on poverty reduction and private market policies. The goal is to enable students to identify promising research questions in these fields (e.g. for future studies), and to help students prepare for a career as a practitioner in government and non-government development organizations.


Econometrics in a Nutshell by Ella Sargasyan, Ph.D.candidate

The course will introduce regression analysis and cover some of the most recent econometric techniques central to modern econometric practice. Successful students will gain a deeper understanding of the material discussed in other Distance Learning Program courses. They will be up to speed with Western European students at the same education level, making them more competitive in their further studies and on the labor market. At the end of this course students will understand basic econometric concepts, basic estimation methods, and methods for testing statistical hypotheses. They will be able to apply standard methods of constructing econometric models, process statistical information, obtain statistically sound conclusions, and give meaningful interpretation to the results of the estimated econometric models. In addition, students will gain real data processing skills, using econometric packages for building and estimating econometric models in R.


Modeling Macroeconomics: How Macroeconomists Understand and Predict the World by Daniil
Kashkarov, Ph.D. candidate

The aim of this course is to acquaint students with the general ideas behind structural macroeconomic modeling and how it can be applied to better understand real-world data, whether GDP fluctuations, evolution of lifetime income, or propensity to consume out of a monetary transfer. We will cover 2-3 basic macro models focusing on economic growth, the development of income and consumption inequality over the lifetime of individuals, and the differences in behavior of poor vs. wealthy households. For each model, we will define the decision problems of agents in a model (households/firms/government), acquire basic intuition on how a model works, and then describe how a model is calibrated to real data. The discussion of each model will conclude with a debate on how it compares with the real world and what it fails to explain.


Innovation Economics by Taras Hrendash, Ph.D.

This course will cover selected topics on Economics of Innovation. It will help students to answer the most common questions about economic aspects of innovations: Why do firms innovate and why do they strive to be first in a race of research and development? How is the intellectual property of innovators protected and what are the costs and scope of such protection? Where can innovative start-up firms get money to finance their projects? How can employees be motivated to produce innovative outputs? How do innovative ideas spread and foster creation of new knowledge? The contents of this course are based on insights from macro- and microeconomics, contract theory and corporate finance. Previous knowledge in these subjects will be beneficial, but is not required.


Financial Markets by Gabriela Kuvíková, Ph.D.

This course aims to provide a basic understanding of today’s changing landscape of financial markets and institutions with a broad scope and emphasis on general principles. Students will study the key fundamentals of financial markets and learn how financial markets and financial institutions work. We will discuss interest rates and their role in valuation, learn about efficient market hypothesis and exchange rate determination, explore money and capital markets, identify various players in the financial institutions industry, and take a closer look at risk management in financial institutions.


Health Economics by Eva Hromadkova, Ph.D.

This course provides an introduction to Health Economics. As such, it will cover the production and demand for healthcare, how the determinants of demand and supply affect the costs of various types of healthcare services and the individual, family, and market investments in health. The field uses the tools of microeconomics and econometrics to examine both theoretically and empirically a number of topics, including the role of health insurance, healthcare in developing countries, and risky behavior.


Introduction to Data Science by Vahan Sargsyan,

This course provides an introduction to data science as a profession and focuses on the theoretical methodologies of the most widely applied machine learning models. The main topics covered include: data preparation (data mining, cleaning and exploring strategies), statistical modeling with the application of appropriate machine learning methodologies (data segmentation, predictive analytics), and mathematical evaluation (test-train split and accuracy measures).


Labor Economics by Jakub Grossmann, Ph.D.

This course aims to provide students with the basics of labor economics. Theoretical models will be linked to real-life examples, making the course beneficial for subsequent studies and professional life. The tentative list of topics includes labor demand and supply, wages (equilibrium wages, hedonic wages, etc.), human capital, discrimination in the labor market, and unemployment.


Behavioral Economics by Aleksandr Levkun,

This course aims to provide students with the basics of main behavioral theories and empirical methods commonly used to test theoretical predictions. The list of topics includes social preferences, time inconsistency, prospect theory, behavioral finance, attention and information acquisition, and other behavioral heuristics and biases. Upon successful completion of this course, students should be able to understand the conceptual framework of behavioral economics and its tools, recognize behavioral biases and apply insights from psychology when predicting or analyzing economic decision-making.)


Game Theory by Alexandr Levkun, Ph.D.

This course aims to acquaint students with the basics of game theory that allows studying strategic situations. By strategic situations or games, we understand general interactions in which actions of each agent affect the well-being of other agents. Game theory provides an analytic framework and a toolkit for studying such interactions and generating predictions about agents’ behavior. We will cover abstract game theoretic tools for studying static and dynamic games and consider applications of the main ideas from economics and political economy.


Environmental Economics by Vladimir
Otrachshenko, Ph.D.

This course introduces major concepts in the field of environmental economics. It is designed to help students understand theories related to natural resources and make use of microeconomic and statistical analysis. This course will also focus on valuation techniques for environmental goods used in the real world by analysts and policy makers. There is a growing demand in economics and public sectors for individuals with quantitative skills who can understand and apply these techniques, analyze results, and produce reports. By the end of this course, students will be able to analyze economic problems related to environmental goods using rigorous valuation techniques.


Ethics and Finance by Laure de Batz, Ph.D.

Ethics and finance: complementary or conflicting terms? In this highly interactive course, you will dig into the most notorious financial crimes to try and better understand what can possibly drive anyone of us into cheating investors and possibly ruining one’s career. The course aims to raise your awareness and scrutiny to possible ethical challenges firms, managers and employees face when thinking about financial laws and enforcement, with an economic perspective and illustrated with real-life and up-to-date examples. The scope of unethical financial behaviors covers mostly market abuses, with price manipulation, insider trading, and communication of false information (in particular accounting frauds). This course should contribute to a better understanding of how ethical issues play a role in finance, how they may conflict with firms’ strategies, and how managers’ and employees’ decisions can impact financial markets and investors’ wealth. The goal of this course is to prepare students for potential ethical dilemmas they might face along their careers. Upon successful completion of this course, students will be able to challenge and put into perspective the financial behavior of firms (financial institutions and listed firms in particular) in terms of ethics, from an economic perspective.