363-1160-00L  Economics by its Nobel Prizes

SemesterAutumn Semester 2021
LecturersA. Fabre
Periodicityyearly recurring course
Language of instructionEnglish


AbstractWho are the 86 laureates of the economics “Nobel prize”, and what are their scientific contributions? This course will present the major concepts, theories and results in modern economics, through an overview of the work of a selection of economics “Nobel prize” as well as Leontief prize laureates.
Objective•Have an overview of the discipline of economics in all its diversity.
•Know the main school of thoughts in economics, such as Keynesian, neoclassical and neokeynesian macroeconomics, behaviorism, institutionalism, empiricism.
•Understand major concepts of various fields within economics such as macroeconomics, microeconomics, public economics, econometrics. These concepts include (but are not restricted to): preferences, utility, social welfare, discounting, factors of production and their marginal products, potential output, the paradox of thrift, the Phillips curve, the natural interest rate, rational expectations, Nash equilibrium, incentive-compatibility, Pigouvian taxes, asymmetry of information, market efficiency, market imperfections, the equity-efficiency trade-off, risk aversion, loss aversion, capabilities, common goods, endogeneity, instrumental variable.
•Name major post-war economists, talk about their main contributions, and situate them in the history of economic thought.
•Be able to have a critical understanding of some articles in journals like the Financial Times, and to skim-read peer-reviewed articles in economics.
Content• Target group: The course will be open to master students as well as PhD students. There is no prerequisite apart from being curious about economics and the society.
• Relevance: As the content of the course is voluntary broad, the course will teach concepts relevant for many different types of interests. Indeed, economics is connected to various other domains (politics, finance, management, statistics, psychology...) and concepts from economics may be applied in a variety of contexts. Besides, the course will help students think about important contemporary issues (public debt, fairness of tax redistribution, the role of government, climate change...). More generally, the course will be valuable for the students' general culture.
• Outline: Each lesson will present the theories, concepts and results introduced by a few major economists, grouped by theme and school of thought, and loosely following a chronological order. About half of economics “Nobel prize” laureates will be presented, as well as several recipients of the Leontief prize (an annual award to outstanding economists who “address contemporary realities and support just and sustainable societies”). The fourteen lessons will cover: Keynesianism; libertarianism; neoclassical macro; neokeynesian macro; foundations of micro; game theory; behavioral micro; micro of organisations and contracts; public economics; econometrics; finance; economics and society (i.e. institutions, development, well-being, environment); development (through Leontief prize winners); macroeconomics (also Leontief).
• Expectations: Students are expected to retain two to three key concepts in each lesson. Readings between the lessons will help them to do so. Students will also have to read, digest, and situate an entire book or peer-reviewed economics article.
• Course assessments: Some lessons might begin with pop quizzes to check whether students have integrated key concepts of the previous lessons. Assessment may also include an individual essay or a presentation in class. This will consist of a contextualised summary of a highly cited economics writing (article or book), preferably from an economist studied in class. By dispensation, this final work could instead deal with several writings (instead of one), or describe a specific approach, theory or controversy in economics.
• References (for an updated list, go to sites.google.com/view/adrien-fabre/teaching):
o Dostaler, Gilles, Economic Thought Since Keynes: A History and Dictionary of Major Economists, (Routledge, 2005)
o Karier, Tom, Intellectual Capital: Forty Years of the Nobel Prize in Economics (Cambridge University Press, 2010)
o Macpherson, David A. & Spencer, Roger W. (eds) Lives of the Laureates, Seventh Edition: Thirty-Two Nobel Economists, (MIT Press, 2020)
o Vroey, Michel De, A History of Macroeconomics from Keynes to Lucas and Beyond (Cambridge University Press, 2016)
o Giocoli, Nicola, Modeling Rational Agents: From Interwar Economics to Early Modern Game Theory (Mass: Edward Elgar Pub, 2003)