Course Outline

Economic Concepts and Analysis

This strand of the course focuses on extending the analytical tools covered in Economics for Public Decisions, particularly the treatment of uncertainty and incomplete information and strategic behavior among agents. It will cover some or all of the topics below depending on the interests of the class and the pace of the semester. Please note that the order is preliminary.


A quick refresher on key tools that will be used extensively this semester.

Uncertainty and Incomplete Information

How agents react when faced with imperfect information, and the implications of that for efficiency and policy design.

  • Decisions under Imperfect Information
  • Irreversibility and Option Value
  • Policy Credibility
  • Dynamic Programming
  • Time Inconsistency
  • Risk Aversion
  • Expected Utility
  • Certainty Equivalent
  • Risk Premium
  • Efficient Risk Sharing
  • Moral Hazard
  • Incentive Compatibility
  • Principal-Agent Problem
  • Market Signaling
  • Loss Aversion

Measuring Impacts Across Groups or Over Time

Methods for assessing costs and benefits on groups that differ by demography, location, or point in time.

  • Intertemporal Externalities
  • Learning by Doing
  • Compensating Variation
  • Equivalent Variation
  • Risk Assessment
  • Value of a Statistical Life
  • Value of a Marginal Risk Reduction
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Peter J Wilcoxen, The Maxwell School, Syracuse University
Revised 07/15/2020