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HSS Graduate Courses


SS 201 abc. Analytical Foundations of Social Science. 9 units (3-0-6); first, second, third terms, 2021-22. This course covers the fundamentals of utility theory, game theory, and social choice theory. These basic theories are developed and illustrated with applications to electoral politics, market trading, bargaining, auctions, mechanism design and implementation, legislative and parliamentary voting and organization, public economics, industrial organization, and other topics in economics and political science. Open to Social Science graduate students only.
Instructors: Echenique, Saito, Pomatto
SS 202 abc. Political Theory. 9 units (3-0-6); first, second, third terms, 2021-22. Course will introduce the student to the central problemswh of political theory and analysis, beginning with the essential components of the democratic state and proceeding through a variety of empirical topics. These topics will include the analysis of electoral and legislative institutions, legislative agenda processes, voting behavior, comparative political economy, and cooperation and conflict in international politics. The student will be sensitized to the primary empirical problems of the discipline and trained in the most general applications of game theoretic reasoning to political science. Open to Social Science graduate students only.
Instructors: Hirsch, Katz, Lopez-Moctezuma
SS 205 abc. Foundations of Economics. 9 units (3-0-6); first, second, third terms, 2021-22. This is a graduate course in the fundamentals of economics. Topics include comparative statics and maximization techniques, the neo-classical theory of consumption and production, general equilibrium theory and welfare economics, public goods and externalities, the economic consequences of asymmetric information and incomplete markets, and recursive methods with applications to labor eco-nomics and financial economics. Open to Social Science graduate students only.
Instructors: Echenique, Tamuz, Pourbabaee
SS 210 abc. Foundations of Political Economy. 9 units (3-0-6); second, third terms, 2021-22. Prerequisites: SS 202c, SS 205b. Mathematical theories of individual and social choice applied to problems of welfare economics and political decision making as well as to the construction of political economic processes consistent with stipulated ethical postulates, political platform formulation, the theory of political coalitions, and decision making in political organizations.
Instructors: Gibilisco, Hirsch
SS 211 abc. Advanced Economic Theory. 9 units (3-0-6); second, third terms, 2021-22. May be repeated for credit. Advanced work in a specialized area of economic theory, with topics varying from year to year according to the interests of students.
Instructors: Echenique, Pomatto, Saito
SS 212 abc. Experimental Economics. 9 units (3-0-6); first, second, and third terms, 2021-22. Prerequisites: SS 201abc, SS 202abc, SS 205 abc, SS 222 abc or with permission of the instructor. This three-quarter sequence is designed for advanced Social Science Ph.D. students with the aim of introducing students to the methodology of modern experimental economics and to provide an in-depth overview of the contributions of experimental methods to a wide variety of fields. The specific topics covered, which will vary from year to year, include but are not limited to individual decision making, preference and belief elicitation, game theory, social learning, bargaining, labor economics, public finance, auctions, voting and elections, competitive markets, networks, matching, mechanism design, coordination/communication, and information aggregation. The focus will be on theory-based experiments and how the dialog between theoretical analysis and laboratory data feeds each other, thereby leading to new avenues of theoretical and experimental research.
Instructors: Sprenger, Nielsen, Agranov
SS 213 abc. Financial Economics. 9 units (3-2-4); first, second terms, 2021-22. Mathematical finance: Pricing financial derivatives, risk management, and optimal portfolio selection. Methods of stochastic, Ito calculus for models driven by Brownian motion. Asset pricing theory: Mean-variance theory, information economics, continuous-time finance and differential equations, intertemporal consumption-based asset pricing theories, recent developments in intermediary-based and behavioral asset pricing theories. Behavioral finance: Empirical facts about asset prices, investor trading behavior, and firm behavior. Psychology about investor preferences and beliefs. Behavioral finance models that explain empirical facts. Trading strategies implemented by hedge funds. Prescriptive behavioral finance that aims at helping individuals and institutions to make better financial decisions.
Instructors: Cvitanic, Jin
SS 218. Neuroscience Applications to Economics and Politics. 9 units (3-0-6); first term, 2021-22. Topics in behavioral, affective, and social neuroscience that inform how individuals make economic decisions. Applications of neuroscience ideas and methods to understanding choice under risk and uncertainty, temporal discounting and self-control, advertisement and preference formation, habit, addiction, and judgment bias.
Instructor: Camerer
SS 222 abc. Econometrics. 9 units (3-0-6); first, second, third terms, 2021-22. Introduction to the use of multivariate and nonlinear methods in the social sciences. Open to Social Science graduate students only.
Instructors: Shum, Sherman, Sherman
SS 223 abc. Topics in Theoretical and Applied Econometrics. 9 units (3-0-6); second, third terms, 2021-22. Prerequisites: SS 222 abc; may be repeated for credit. The courses in this sequence cover advanced methods and tools in econometrics, as well as their applications to a variety of topics in economics, including industrial organization, dynamic choice, information economics, political economy, market design, and behavioural economics.
Instructors: Shum, Xin
SS 224. Social Science Data. 9 units (3-3-3); first term, 2021-22. This course provides broad coverage of empirical methods in the social sciences. This includes both methods of data collection and practical aspects of data analysis, as well as related issues of survey design, experimental design, techniques for handling large datasets, and issues specific to the collection and analysis of field and historical data. This course also provides students with hands-on experience with data. Open to Social Science graduate students only.
Instructor: Alvarez
SS 228 abc. Applied Empirical Methods in the Social Sciences. 9 units (3-0-6); first, third terms, 2021-22. Course covers methods used in contemporary applied empirical work in a variety of social sciences. Topics covered include (a) maximum likelihood, Bayesian estimation, management and computation of large datasets, (b) reduced form methods like instrumental variables (IV), difference-in-differences (DID), natural experiments, event study and panel data methods, and (c) structural estimation. Emphasis is on the application of tools to substantive social science problems rather than statistical theory, in areas including political science, political economy, corporate finance, and accounting. Application focus will vary with instructor interests.
Instructors: Katz, Ewens
SS 229 abc. Theoretical and Quantitative Dimensions of Historical Development. 9 units (3-0-6); second, third terms, 2021-22. May be repeated for credit. Introduction to modern quantitative history. The tools of economic and political theory applied to problems of economic, social, and political development in a historical context. Second and third terms will be graded together. A pass/fail will be assigned in the second term and then changed to the appropriate letter grade at the end of the third term.
Instructors: Hoffman, Rosenthal
SS 231 abc. American and Comparative Politics. 9 units (3-0-6); first, second terms, 2021-22. Prerequisites: SS 202 abc, or permission of the instructor. An advanced graduate Social Science sequence in American and comparative politics. The sequence will focus on political institutions and behavior, introducing students to the important theories of American and comparative politics. Students will learn how historical, observational, and experimental data are used in American and comparative political analysis.
Instructors: Katz, Alvarez
CNS 251. Human Brain Mapping: Theory and Practice. 9 units (2-1-6); second term, 2021-22. A course in functional brain imaging. An overview of contemporary brain imaging techniques, usefulness of brain imaging compared to other techniques available to the modern neuroscientist. Review of what is known about the physical and biological bases of the signals being measured. Design and implementation of a brain imaging experiment and analysis of data (with a particular emphasis on fMRI).
Instructor: O'Doherty
Psy/Bi/CNS 255. Topics in Emotion and Social Cognition. 9 units (3-0-6); third term, 2021-22. Prerequisites: NB/Bi/CNS 150 or instructor's permission. Emotions are at the forefront of most human endeavors. Emotions aid us in decision-making (gut feelings), help us remember, torment us, yet have ultimately helped us to survive. Over the past few decades, we have begun to characterize the neural systems that extend from primitive affective response such as fight or flight to the complex emotions experienced by humans including guilt, envy, empathy and social pain. This course will begin with an in-depth examination of the neurobiological systems that underlie negative and positive emotions and move onto weekly discussions, based on assigned journal articles that highlight both rudimentary and complex emotions. The final weeks will be devoted to exploring how the neurobiological systems are disrupted in affective disorders including anxiety, aggression and psychopathy. In addition to these discussions and readings, each student will be required to write a review paper or produce a short movie on a topic related to one of the emotions discussed in these seminars and its underlying neural mechanisms.
Instructor: Mobbs
SS 260. Experimental Methods of Political Economy. 9 units (3-3-3); first, second, third terms, 2021-22. Survey of laboratory experimental research related to the broad field of political economy. Topics: the behavior of markets, organizations, committee processes, and election processes. Emphasis on experimental methods and techniques. Students will design and conduct experiments. May be repeated for credit with instructor's permission.
Instructor: Plott
SS 281. Graduate Social Science Writing Seminar. 9 units (3-0-6); first term, 2021-22. Only open to advanced graduate students in social science. How can social scientists write in a style that makes someone actually want to read their papers? This seminar combines writing exercises with help in planning a professional social science paper and with extensive comments on drafts.
Instructor: Rosenthal
SS 282 abc. Graduate Proseminar in Social Science. 3 units (1.5-0-1.5); first, second, third terms, 2021-22. Course for graduate students in social sciences. Students present their research and lead discussion of material relevant to their research program. Open to Social Science Graduate Students only.
Instructors: Lopez-Moctezuma, Gibilisco, Staff
Psy 283 abc. Graduate Proseminar in Social and Decision Neuroscience. 3 units (1.5-0-1.5); first, second, and third terms, 2021-22. The course involves student presentations of their research, reading and discussion of recent research in social and decision neuroscience, and development of professional skill such as scientific writing and speaking, research ethics, writing grants and peer review. This course is only open to graduate students in the Social and Decision Neuroscience, Computational and Neural Systems and Social Science PhD programs.
Instructors: O'Doherty, Rangel, O'Doherty
SS/Psy/CNS 285. Topics in Social, Cognitive, and Decision Sciences. 3 units (1.5-0-1.5); first, second terms, 2021-22. The goal of this course is to introduce graduate students to current research questions in cognitive sciences, political science, and economics. Select faculty will present their research background, methods, and a sampling of current studies. Background readings and pdf of presentation will be provided.
Instructors: Mobbs, Pomatto