Development Economics

Development economics is a branch of economics which deals with economic aspects of the development process in low income countries.  Its focus is not only on methods of promoting economic development, economic growth and structural change but also on improving the potential for the mass of the population, for example, through health and education and workplace conditions, whether through public or private channels.  Development economics involves the creation of theories and methods that aid in the determination of policies and practices and can be implemented at either the domestic or international level.  This may involve restructuring market incentives or using mathematical methods like inter-temporal optimization for project analysis, or it may involve a mixture of quantitative and qualitative methods.  Unlike in many other fields of economics, approaches in development economics may incorporate social and political factors to devise particular plans.  Different approaches may consider the factors that contribute to economic convergence or non-convergence across households, regions, and countries.

Ed Barbier        Jo Barbier        Alexandra Bernasek        Anita Pena         Ramaa Vasudevan

Graduate Courses:

ECON 760 Theories of Economic Development – Students will learn the microeconomic theory of development that is relevant to the poorest countries in the world. This will include the study of information based market failures, coordination failures, the role of institutions, and the role of the state, primarily in the context of predominantly rural agrarian based economies.  Dualism, interlinked credit and labor markets, dependency, migration and population will be examined as specific concepts/issues in these countries. Students also will learn how empirical research is undertaken using data from household surveys. They will read journal articles using household survey data that are representative of the current field and will complete a research study of their own (replicating a published study) using data from a household survey in a developing country. The importance of paying attention to gender in development will be emphasized throughout the course.

ECON 792E Macroeconomics of Development – This course focuses on the macroeconomics of economic development, covering theoretical, empirical and policy aspects of the field. It is designed as somewhat of a survey course, to give students a sense of current debates, methodologies, and areas for new research. In devising this syllabus we have presumed that students taking the course have completed the graduate-level macro course sequence, and therefore have a solid foundation in growth theory and empirics.


Environmental Economics

Recent research topics in the environmental field include theoretical work discounting future outcomes in the economics of climate change, empirical work tracking the health consequences of legacy lead pollution, and contingent valuation studies of rare cultural resources. In addition, environmental faculty have worked with faculty in the regional field to develop a computable general equilibrium model to analyze state-level policy questions related to the deployment of renewable energy sources in Colorado. Graduate students have been instrumental in many of these and other environmental research projects. The field benefits from a close working relationship with environmental economists in the Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics. We also benefit from The Center for Disaster and Risk Analysis, co-directed by Prof. Sammy Zahran.  The Center conducts research in a variety of disaster management areas, including environmental assessment and modeling.

Ed Barbier        Jo Barbier        Anders Fremstad        Terry Iverson        Sammy Zahran

Graduate Courses:

ECON 540 Economics of Natural Resources — Public natural resources policy, effect on resource use in private sector, optimal pricing of minerals, timber and fisheries, public project analysis.

ECON 541 Environmental Economics — Economics of environmental policy; partial equilibrium and general equilibrium models; pollution; natural environments; population and economic growth

International Economics

Our program in international economics gives students a foundation in both neoclassical and heterodox theories, empirical analyses and debates in international trade and finance, with particular focus on the policy or applied aspects of the field. In addition, international field course content and related faculty research are fundamentally centered on development policy issues, including topics such as the sustainability of global imbalances, foreign direct investment and development, and trade, growth and inequality based on class or gender.

Elissa Braunstein        Karen Gebhardt        Robert Kling        Ramaa Vasudevan

Graduate Courses:

ECON 640 International Trade Theory — Theory of international trade including comparative advantage, factor growth, market distortions, and commercial policy.

ECON 742 International Production and Monetary Theory — We will begin by looking at the actual functioning and historical evolution of the international financial markets and then go on to address both mainstream and heterodox approaches (including post Keynesian and structuralist theories)in open economy macroeconomics. The final segment of the course will address certain policy issues, in particular capital flows and financial crisis and the global imbalances in the world economy.


Political Economy

The department is one of the few in the country with a vibrant research program in political economy drawing on feminist, Marxist and broader heterodox traditions. Our research spans the investigation of the interaction between economic growth and income distribution; the development of gendered theoretical frameworks and empirical analyses of the causes and consequences of economic growth and development, and the political economy of money and international finance.

Alexandra Bernasek        Elissa Braunstein        Anders Fremstad        Daniele Tavani

Ramaa Vasudevan

Graduate Courses:

ECON 771 Political Economy of Race & Gender — Economic approaches to inequality based on race/ethnicity, gender, and class.

ECON 772 Marxist Political Economy — This course will survey the economic method of Marx and Marx’s critique of Political Economy. The themes of the course will include Marx’s analysis of Value, Money and Labor, the reproduction schemes and the circuits of crisis, capitalist dynamics and the theories of crisis and finally Marx’s analyses of credit and finance At the end of this course students would have become familiar with the approach and method of Marxian analysis, surveyed major issues and debates in contemporary Marxian political economy and critically assessed the relevance Marxian analysis to contemporary capitalism.

Public Economics

Major areas of public economics include the economics of public expenditure, of taxation to pay for that expenditure, and of policy and programs broadly-defined. Faculty and students of public economics at CSU are engaged in dynamic research in a wide array of timely public policy topics related to health, immigration, education, tax policy, and the welfare state, and often provide advice to policymakers at various levels of government. Courses and research often share commonalities and complementarities with other applied fields such as regional economics, environmental economics and economic development, and therefore the field is a natural one to combine with other major areas of study at CSU. Classes review classic and recent literature and aim toward expanding analytics to original research that is relevant to economic policy.

Harvey Cutler        Cher Li        David Mushinski        Anita Pena

Graduate Courses:

ECON 520 Public Economics I — Major topics include the welfare foundations of public economics, cost-benefit analysis, theory of public expenditure, state and local public goods, redistribution and welfare policy, education, and examples of intergenerational taxes and transfers in social insurance programs such as Social Security.

ECON 720 Public Economics II — Topics include the economics of heath and health care including programs such as Medicare and Medicaid, and taxation as means to finance public expenditures including optimal tax theory and applied examples of incidence (equity and distribution of tax burden) and of efficiency (effects of taxes on resource allocation).


Regional Economics

The basic question of regional economics is why does economic activity take place where it does? In addressing questions about why businesses and people choose to locate where they do, and why some places thrive and others don’t, we look at the influences of policy and rules, spatial dimensions of cost and utility decisions, and the importance of social and professional networks. Income determination is also an important area of study, (primarily in the US), looking at how economic growth is distributed and the role of growth in improving household well-being.

Harvey Cutler        Martin Shields        Stephan Weiler

Graduate Courses:

ECON 563 Regional Economics: Theory, Methods, and Issues — Tools and methods of regional economics, including supply, demand, and externality analyses. Applications to current urban and regional policy issues.

ECON 663 Urban and Regional Modeling — Methodological approaches in regional economics: general equilibrium, input-output, compatible general equilibrium models; social accounting matrices.