Course Detail


Senior Session


Required of all seniors majoring in economics. Students participate in colloquia on economic problems, theory, and policy; prepare projects on economic issues (see below); and take comprehensive examinations that include the ETS Major Field Test in economics, an oral exam and written examinations in economic theory and analysis.

Prerequisites: Economics 202, 203, and 205 or permission of the instructor. (Spring)

Group Projects: One part of the Senior Session experience requires each student to participate in a group project. Each student should register in one of five group projects described below. Space in each section is limited.

ECO 495A: Tax System Design for Peru
Group Advisor: Baker

Students will have the opportunity to develop a system of taxation for a country. You will start with a clean slate. It is incumbent upon your group to design a system of taxation that you feel is equitable and has a realistic chance of functioning. You will use Peru as your subject country. You have been hired as consultants by the Peruvian government to propose a revised system of taxation. You will research the country to learn about its history, culture, national budgets/priorities, and economy. You will determine the level of funding needed by the country to meet the goals established by its government. You will research various systems of taxation from which you can choose.

ECO 495B: Effective Altruism
Group Advisor: Fitz

Effective altruism acknowledges that many individuals want to help others while emphasizing the importance of finding the most effective ways to do good. As a result, this growing movement draws heavily upon the empirical findings of development economists. Through a debate of various causes (including, for example, direct cash transfers, deworming, malaria prevention, women's empowerment, or even asteroid prevention), this Senior Session will determine which charities are the best recipients of our marginal charitable donations.

ECO 495C: Greek Debt Crisis & the Euro
Group Advisor: Kumar

Our task will be to assess the future of the Euro. We will examine the lessons of the Greek debt crisis of 2015 and the vulnerabilities it has created for the Euro to serve as a common currency for nineteen Eurozone countries. We will explore these issues in sub-groups representing the Greek government, its troika of lenders, and the economists advising them. We will compile a report that addresses the problems of political economy, governance, and macroeconomic adjustment in the optimum currency areas framework, and present our findings to the class.

ECO 495D: Presidential Politics & Economics
Group Advisor: Ross

This group will identify three to five promising presidential candidates and study their proposed economic programs. In subgroups, we shall identify their policies in critical areas: macroeconomics, microeconomics (including migration), and equity. We will assess the consistency of each candidate's economic program and research any recent historical experience with their stated policies. Our work will conclude with presentations to the entire senior session (and invited guests) and a secret ballot indicating preference for the soundness of the candidates' economics.

ECO 495E: Boards of Directors, Information & Shareholder Value
Group Advisor: Stroup

How can shareholders induce CEOs and managers to act in their interests? This project will study policies aimed at improving corporate governance in America's public corporations. To do this, we will break into groups that will study corporate directors' dual role as strategic advisors and as monitors of the CEO and management. We will ask how several proposed policies affect the board's ability to create value in the merger and acquisition ("M&A") market by examining the details of recent takeover negotiations in which CEOs bargained over the price at which one company would be sold to another.