The aim of this module is to familiarize students with various “hot” topics within economics and introduce basic modelling approaches to them. The course will cover a broad range of economic problems that have gained increased public attention recently and are actively researched areas within the discipline. The first half of the course covers headline topics within macroeconomics. During these lectures, we will analyse the potential causes of China’s economic slowdown, the positive benefits of international trade and the economic consequences of the US-China trade war. We also touch upon the recent economic downturns – the Great Recession and the COVID-19 global crisis – and study how economic networks can be modelled. Finally, we discuss the effects of climate change on economic activities and learn about instruments that help realign economic incentives to mitigate environmental harm. From lecture five, we move on to think about how microeconomic modelling can help us better understand current issues. We consider migration and development from the lens of a microeconomist. Then, we discuss firms’ competitive and anti-competitive behaviour in the market and how the market structure can incentivize innovations. Finally, we learn about a fledgling field within economics: how human nature underlies economic behaviour.
Module Leader:György Attila Ruzicska