M104 | Contemporary Economic Policy Issues


3:30 pm - 5:00 pm


1/24, 1/31, 2/7, 2/14, 2/28 & 3/7 (no class 2/21)

Six Sessions 

This course is offered online via the easy-to-use Zoom program.

Economics plays a central role in the functioning of every aspect of society. It plays this role primarily through the actions of governments at the federal, state, and local levels. Given the centrality of its role, this course will address a set of prominent policy issues where economics is at their core. We will explore these issues in detail, including their origins as policy matters, the underlying data and evidence, and what policy levers are available to deal with them. The focus will be on what the economics profession collectively understands to be true about the issue. The course begins with an overview of the U.S. economy. Subsequent lectures will be standalone, taught by a subject matter expert – all of whom have a Ph.D. in Economics.

Session One, Jan 24: The US Economy with Jon Haveman, National Economic Education Delegation

Jon Haveman, Ph.D., is the founder and Executive Director of the National Economic Education Delegation (NEED). Prior to starting NEED, Dr. Haveman was a principal at Marin Economic Consulting, a founding principal at Beacon Economics, and the Director of the Economy Program at the Public Policy Institute of California. He has been a Senior Economist with the President's Council of Economic Advisers, an economist with the Federal Trade Commission, and held a faculty position in the Business School at Purdue University.  He holds a Ph.D .and Master of Science in Economics from The University of Michigan and a Bachelor of Science in Economics from the University of Wisconsin. 

Session Two, Jan 31: Climate Change Economics with Sarah Jacobson, Williams College

Sarah Jacobson is an Associate Professor of Economics at Williams College. She completed her Ph. D. in Economics at Georgia State University and her Bachelor of Science in Engineering at Harvey Mudd College. She is an environmental and behavioral economist who studies environmental regulations and interactions between preferences and institutions, using laboratory experiments, applied theory, and observational data. Themes in her research include regulatory incentive structures, punishment, deterrence, charity donations, reciprocity, rationality errors, and situations in which social preferences yield inefficient outcomes. She also designs games for teaching topics in environmental economics. Sarah engages extensively with efforts to promote diversity, inclusion, and equity in the economics profession through initiatives within Williams, the mentoring programs of the American Economic Association, and the Northeast Agricultural and Resource Economics Association (NAREA). She also does some writing and speaking on inclusion and on professional development. 

Session Three, Feb 7: Monetary Policy with Geoffrey Woglom, Amherst College

Geoffrey Woglom is Professor of Economics emeritus at Amherst College where he taught for over 40 years.  During his career he has been a consultant at the Federal Reserve Board and the International Monetary fund and held visiting positions at Harvard, Cambridge, LSE and Nanjing universities. 

Session Four, Feb 14: Cryptocurrencies and the Future of Money with Geoffrey Woglom, Amherst College

No class Feb 21

Session Five, Feb 28: Federal Debt with Geoffrey Woglom, Amherst College

Session Six, Mar 7: Healthcare Economics with Veronika Dolar, SUNY - Old Westbury

Veronika Dolar was born in Slovenia, obtained her international baccalaureate (IB diploma) in Italy at the United World College of the Adriatic, graduated summa cum laude from the University of Western Ontario in Canada, and received her Ph. D. from the University of Minnesota.  Dr. Dolar also worked at the Bank of Canada and taught at numerous universities and colleges including Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, OH and St. Olaf College in Minnesota.  Her current research interests include health economics focusing on eating decision, nutrition and obesity, labor economics focusing on the minimum wage, as well as economic education.  Dr. Dolar joined the department of Politics, Economics, and Law at State University of New York at SUNY Old Westbury in the fall of 2017 where she is teaching Introductory Micro- and Macro-economics, Health Economics, Labor Economics, Public Finance and Public Policy, and a new course in Food and Wine Economics.

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