PPE Core Classes
The following four classes are mandatory.
PPE 201/Econ 13: Strategic Reasoning (Dillenberger)
This course is about strategically interdependent decisions. In such situations, the outcome of your actions depends also on the actions of others. When making your choice, you have to think what the others will choose, who in turn are thinking what you will be choosing, and so on. Game Theory offers several concepts and insights for understanding such situations, and for making better strategic choices. This course will introduce and develop some basic ideas from game theory, using illustrations, applications, and cases drawn from business, economics, politics, sports, and even fiction and movies. Some interactive games will be played in class. There will be little formal theory, and the only pre-requisite is some high-school algebra and having taken Econ 1.
PPE 202/PSCI 236 : Public Policy Process (Lapinski)
This course integrates economic, ethical and political perspectives. It examines competing theories, models, and analytical frameworks for understanding policymaking. The course will focus on: 1. How public problems are framed and described; 2. What criteria are useful in developing and assessing policy choices; and 3. How policy choices and outcomes are mediated and influenced by individuals, organizations and political institutions.
PPE 203/Psych 165: Behavioral Economics and Psychology (Dana)
This course applies psychological research to economic theory, investigating what happens when agents have human limitations and complications. The effects of limited cognitive capacities, willpower, and self-interest will be considered. The only pre-requisite is having taken Econ 1.
PPE 204/Phil 228: Philosophy of Social Science (Weisberg/Bicchieri)
Prequisites: Econ 1,2, Phil 8 and PPE 201. This course is about the foundations of contemporary social science. It focuses on the nature of social systems, the similarities and differences between social and natural sciences, the construction, analysis, and confirmation of social theories, and the nature of social explanations. Specific topics may include structuralism and functional explanation, methodological individualism, qualitative vs. quantitative social theorizing, positivist and radical critiques of the social sciences, rational choice, game theory, evolutionary modeling, and agent-based modeling. In addition, the course will examine questions about objectivity in the social sciences. As part of this course, students will be expected to construct and analyze simple computational models of social phenomena.