Economics

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Courses

These courses have been identified as relevant to Data Science and will allow you to practice skills learned in the minor for your course of study. These courses cannot be used as electives for the Data Science minor.


The course is intended to provide a broad-based introduction to numerical and data-science methods commonly used in economics. The course will first introduce students to the R programming language, assuming no prior experience. Subsequent lectures, using R, will provide students an opportunity to apply this knowledge to real-world data to achieve an economic objective. The methods used in these applications will include (but are not limited to): collecting, cleaning, merging, processing, and visualizing data, descriptive analysis, optimization, and supervised/unsupervised statistical learning. In addition, the course has an experiential component that connects students with industry leaders in economic applications of data science through a series of on-campus events.


How does a risk averse individual allocate their funds? Students begin by defining and measuring risk, making connection to their microeconomics training. They then develop and use asset pricing models to explore the interplay between risk and return. Finally, students use these tools to develop a mean-variance optimal portfolio allocation. Students are introduced to basic quantitative tools and participate in myriad practical applications.


This course applies microeconomic techniques to study the allocation of resources in professional and collegiate sports, the determinants of an athlete's salary, racial discrimination, gender wage differentials, and the economic impact of sports within the local community. The course engages students with real-world sports stories and incorporates empirical research and statistical analysis to test different economic theories.


This course uses basic microeconomic theory and recent empirical studies to examine the causes and consequences of gender differences in economic outcomes. Topics covered may include family formation and dissolution, fertility decisions, human capital investment, labor force participation, the gender earnings gap, and occupational choice.


Building upon the foundation developed in ECON 425, students take part in each of the five steps of the asset allocation process (explore, explain, predict, allocate, and protect) by addressing the following questions. How does the modern financial economist acquire, clean, and transform data? What drives asset returns? Can we forecast returns? How do we form a portfolio in the presence of risk? How do we assess and manage risk?


This course covers empirical and numerical techniques for the study of market power and market failure. The covered methods are commonly applied in antitrust and regulatory policy analysis, economic consulting, and quantitative marketing studies.


Get your hands dirty with health data. Learn the econometric tools necessary for empirical analysis of health-related outcomes and behaviors. Use economic theory to construct hypotheses and use econometrics to measure effects of individual, organizational, and public policy determinants. Empirically analyze detailed data to understand medical care demand, health behaviors, and health production. Interpret statistical findings using health-related applications.


This course will apply and build on existing economic theory and econometric skills to study education policy. Topics include education production, teacher quality, and investment in education, with a particular emphasis on recent policies aimed at reducing inequality. Students will learn how to conduct and how to critique empirical studies in economics of education.


Analysis and interpretation of selected problems and policy issues. Content varies, but attention is given to such topics as trade barriers, trade patterns, floating exchange rates, and international monetary policy.


A theoretical and empirical analysis of current social problems involving individuals and their jobs. Included are such topics as poverty, discrimination, and working conditions.

Research Opportunities

The Herbert Brown Mayo Award for Summer Research


Post Date

December 6, 2021

Description

Herbert Brown Mayo is a long-time friend of Carolina Economics.  In recent years he gave a gift to the Economics Department to fund undergraduate student research in the areas of financial economics and financial markets.  That gift has triggered a flood of student creativity in the years that followed.

How to apply? 3-step process: (1) Two students select a topic of research. (2) Identify a faculty advisor for mentorship. (3) Write a proposal about your research and submit it to the Admin Associate in GA 107.

Archive of research papers by year, with links to the research paper if available.

Contact

Admin Associate in GA 107

Matthew Guest Summer Fellowship


Post Date

December 6, 2021

Description

Matthew, an alumni of Carolina Economics, and Paige Guest, established the fund in 2012, in memory of Matt’s father. The fund is designated to support experiential learning opportunities for undergraduate students. Examples of the potential uses of these funds will be summer research fellowships and internships for economics majors, undergraduate faculty-mentored research, research expenses associated with writing honors theses, and travel assistance for research, competitions or academic conferences.

How to apply? 3-step process: (1) Two students select a topic of research in any area of economics. (2) Identify a faculty advisor for mentorship. (3) Write a proposal about your research and submit it to the Admin Associate in GA 107.

Archive of research papers by year, with links to the research paper if available.

Contact

Admin Associate in GA 107

Senior Honors Program in Economics


Post Date

December 6, 2021

Description

The Department of Economics honors program offers outstanding economics students the opportunity to work closely with an individual faculty member on a specialized research topic of the student’s choice during the senior year. Completing a successful honors thesis is the only way to graduate with honors or highest honors in economics at UNC.

Students writing an honors thesis are required to take ECON 691H in Fall and ECON 692H in Spring.

During the fall semester, students will find a thesis advisor, develop an economics-related research topic, collect data, and prepare a thesis proposal consisting of the review of literature and theoretical and/or empirical models.

In their spring semester, students whose research proposals are accepted will take ECON 692H. During this course, students will complete their thesis, receiving honors or highest honors status after an oral defense in front of a faculty board. Anyone can browse a list of past Honors theses at the Honors Thesis Archive.

How to apply to the Honors Program:

Students with a 3.5 grade point average in economics courses and 3.5 in all University course work are eligible to apply for this two-course program (ECON 691H and 692H). However, the selected students generally have a higher grade point average than 3.5.

In addition to GPA, we also consider previous economics courses students have taken. It is required to earn high grades in ECON 400 (or a substitute in statistics), ECON410, ECON420, and in at least one 400- or 500-level field course in economics.

Students are encouraged to take ECON 470 or ECON 570 Econometrics before their senior year, though can still qualify for the honors program by taking econometrics in the Fall of their senior year. Familiarity with and access to a statistical analysis program such as STATA is also highly recommended.

If you would like to be considered for the Honors Program in your senior year, please fill out the application form.

Contact

Klara Peter

Tracks, Concentrations, and Certificates

The DATA (Data-Acumen-Theory-Application) Science Credential in Economics

Practical and Marketable Skills. Introduction to programming languages (e.g., R/Python) commonly used in applications of data
science, and practical data skills: collecting, scraping, cleaning, merging, processing, and visualizing data, descriptive analysis, optimization, and supervised/unsupervised statistical learning.

Synergy, Application, and Experience. Gain experience in combining these data skills with a foundational knowledge of economics to
frame and solve economic questions using real data from finance, industry, government, health, environment, among others.

Credential Requirements:

  1. Three Courses: ECON 390, ECON 470, and ECON 573 or ECON 575.
  2. Seminars: attendance at seminars of invited speakers from industry (e.g. Airbnb, Zillow, WestJet) to learn about the practice of economics and data science and to provide opportunities for career networking.