For fall 2017, there are several great courses for the financial econ. minor. The required investments course (180.367) and the regularly offered monetary analysis elective (180.261) will be taught. Two elective courses that have not been taught regularly are also worth a look.
Edi Karni will teach the economics of uncertainty and information (180.309). This course will provide a fascinating exploration of the economic foundations of decisionmaking under uncertainty and in the face of asymmetric information.
Desription, 180.309: In this course we’ll discuss the theory of decision making in the face of risk, the theory of risk aversion and its applications to financial and insurance markets. Building on the theory of individual decision making under risk, we will study the economic implications of asymmetric information, the type of market failures produced by adverse selection and moral hazard problems, and the models that were advanced to analyze these problems, including incentive contracts, screening and signaling equilibria.
Kevin Heerdt will teach a brand new course on the history and future of the hedge fund industry (180.280). Kevin is a long-time CFE supporter and has been an active participant in and a keen observer of the tumultuous growth and periodic shakeouts in the hedge fund industry over the past 25 years. Kevin has spoken regularly in my class through the years and, based on that, I’m pretty sure this will be a great course.
Description, 180.280: The precursors to modern hedge funds began more than 50 years ago, but in the 1990s the hedge fund, or alternative investments, industry began a period of rapid growth and evolution. With growth came controversy. Some argue that hedge funds, by allowing immense amounts of capital to be rapidly and freely deployed, play a vital role in pushing prices toward the efficient markets ideal. Others claim that hedge funds may accentuate speculative price dynamics, threatening the stability of the financial sector. While many hedge funds claim to offer outstanding returns to investors, data suggest that many clients end up paying high fees for unspectacular results. This course examines these and other controversies, while tracing the history of the alternative investments industry over the last 25 years.
Note: As of this posting, the FE minor elective list in SIS had not been updated, but SIS should reflect the new options shortly.
Finally, our ‘reality roundtable’ course—finance and the macroeocnomy (180.372)—will be offered as usual. In this course, we meet once a week to discuss current issues affecting finance and the world economy with faculty, visitors, and grad. students. Note: This is a 1-hour, S/U course, similar to the typical intersession course. This class is limited to 8 undergraduates; give me an email if you are interested or stop by the Daily Grind in Brody (TTh, 10-11) to chat about it during my office hours.