Course Descriptions

ECON 601      Energy Economics I 

This course introduces the energy sector to students, discusses key aspects of energy supply, demand and pricing, and is foundational for the MEECON degree. Topics include optimal extraction of depletable resources, trade of energy commodities, storage, end-use demand and energy efficiency, and the relationship between economic activity, energy and the environment.

ECON 602      Microeconomics of the Energy Sector 

This course will cover the basic microeconomic concepts needed to successfully complete other courses in the program. It will focus on applying those concepts to contemporary and important issues in the energy sector. Topics covered will include the basis of demand and supply analysis, market equilibrium and different market structures, international trade, investment and capacity expansion, risk and the fundamental concepts underlying finance, and economic analysis of public policy including environmental policy.

ECON 603      Applied Econometrics for Energy Markets

Students will be introduced to basic concepts in statistical analysis and how to use statistical tools to analyze economic data and test economic theories. The course includes a laboratory session where students practice using the tools discussed in lectures with data that is particularly relevant to the energy industry. 

ECON 604      Energy Economics II

This course builds on the material presented in Energy Economics I. It provides a deeper exploration of a variety of topics in energy modeling, with attention given to data analysis and the approaches taken for solving market-oriented problems faced in the energy sector. Topics include optimal extraction of depletable resources, game theoretic approaches to OPEC behavior, national oil company behavior, models of storable energy commodities, energy demand by end-use sector, energy security and fundamental drivers of commodity prices.

ECON 605      Taxation in the Energy Sector 

This course examines the effects of various taxes and tax-like instruments on the energy sector. It introduces basic principles of taxation and applies them to federal and state taxes assessed on oil and gas and other natural resources, including effects on production and investment decisions and the consumption of energy. Special topics include resource rent taxes, international tax issues faced by energy MNCs including transfer pricing and income shifting, excess profit taxes, production sharing agreements, and environmental taxes, as well as an overview of general equilibrium modeling of the economic and distributional effects of energy taxes.

ECON 606      Corporate Finance for the Energy Sector

This course examines the investment decisions of corporations, the valuation of stock, bonds and options investments by individual investors, and the implications of investor decisions for corporations, and specifically the manner in which they finance investments. The examples and case studies discussed in class will focus on the energy industry. The investment project evaluation techniques discussed in this class are used throughout the energy industry, and both the benefits and shortcomings of these models will be explored.

ECON 607      The Economics of Energy and the Environment

Environmental economics examines the optimal supply of environmental goods and services, such as clean air, clean water and wilderness areas, using an economic perspective. As will be explained in the course, markets, legal institutions, and political and voluntary activity can all be used to affect the supply of environmental amenities, but government action can be essential for achieving a desirable outcome, particularly when the environmental feature is not priced in a market setting. This course will focus on environmental issues of particular relevance to the energy industry and the types of policy actions that have been implemented in attempt to address the associated concerns.

ECON 608      Risk Management in the Energy Industry

This course introduces quantitative risk management techniques often employed in the energy industry. It covers topics such as real options, value at risk, conditional value at risk, and expected shortfall, as well as the use of derivatives for trading and hedging various risk exposures. The course is methodologically self-contained and provides students hands-on experience with state-of-the-art software to measure and manage risk-adjusted returns of heterogeneous asset portfolios. 

ECON 610      Energy and the Macroeconomy

The course will discuss the various connections between energy and economic activity at the regional, national, and international level. Special emphasis will be paid to issues related to the importance of energy in economic activity, the role of energy shocks in economic fluctuations, innovations in energy supply as drivers of regional economic growth, and the role of energy commodities in transportation and international trade. The effects of various policies on these factors will also be explored.

ECON 611      Geopolitics of Energy 

Energy is the world’s largest business and a strategic requirement of the modern nation-state. It is a source of power in international relations and a major influence on national politics and institutions. This course examines global trends in the production and use of energy, its impact on governance and the environment, and the geopolitical issues around energy security and trade. These include the interests of big exporters in the Middle East and demand centers in Asia, and the technological trends reshaping energy landscapes and preferences in North America and Europe.

ECON 612      Management of Public Policy Issues by Energy Companies

This course demonstrates how energy companies set up processes for identifying and managing the public policy issues that have significant impact on the energy industry. The course demonstrates how these companies engage with various stakeholders to achieve their public policy objectives – namely, best practices in government relations, media relations, community relations and interaction with NGOs. The course also includes analysis and discussion of a variety of case studies to illustrate key points on topics such as political risk assessments, public policy management, international, federal, state and local and regulatory government relations, interaction with NGOs, successful community relations, the role of corporate social responsibility in achieving public policy objectives, and the role of social media in the public policy arena.

ECON 613      International Trade in Energy 

Energy commodities are extensively traded between countries and the opportunity to buy or sell energy commodities using foreign markets has a profound effect on domestic energy markets. This course explores the concept of comparative advantage, including a discussion of the welfare effects of international trade and the determinants of the amount of trade between countries. It will also discuss the many ways that governments can alter international trade through various policy mechanisms. The course will end with a discussion of the very important role of international capital flows in financing energy projects, determinants of those flows and how they are affected by government policies.

ECON 614      The Political Economy of Oil in Developing Countries 

This course evaluates the political and economic determinants of oil and gas policies in developing countries and their impact on world markets, the interaction between states and oil companies, the challenges of oil wealth management, and the causal links between resource dependency, development, institutions, and political regimes. Questions to be discussed include: Why are national oil companies and resource nationalism so prevalent in the oil sector? What options do governments have to attract private oil investment? Why is there such a significant variation in domestic pricing policies? Is there a “resource curse”? Although the main focus is on oil production, natural gas is also analyzed, and both are compared to other natural resources. Regionally the focus is on Latin America, but other important producing regions are also discussed, in particular: the Middle East, Africa, China, and the former Soviet Union.

ECON 615      Social Studies of Energy 

This course investigates the ways in which energy production and consumption impacts social life. By studying the implementation and use of renewable and on-renewable energy infrastructures in different parts of the world, the students will develop a contextual, self-reflexive and critical lens that will help them make decisions in later stages of their careers.

ECON 620      Industrial Organization and the Energy Sector 

Industrial organization focuses on the degree of competitiveness in markets, which has several dimensions. This depends not only on the actual number of competing firms in a market but also on whether it is easy for firms to enter or exit in response to price movements. The course will discuss monopoly, oligopoly, the underlying sources of monopoly power in energy industries and how the industries can be restructured to isolate the monopoly elements from the more competitive ones. Other topics include price discrimination, vertical control, mergers and acquisitions, and strategic behavior between firms. Examples will focus on the energy industries including the “network” industries that are prevalent in this sector. 

ECON 621      The Economics of the Electricity Industry 

This course discusses the determinants of the cost of electricity in different types of networks, the effects of organizing the industry in different ways, the need to encourage sufficient investment in reserve capacity to keep electricity networks operating satisfactorily, and the use of information technology to allow for new ways of pricing electricity, operating the network and coordinating supply and demand. The course will also discuss the effects of the electricity system on the demand for other energy commodities that are used as inputs to electricity generation.

ECON 622      Transportation Economics

The transportation sector is a major source of energy demand in modern post-industrial economies and of future demands in emerging economies. Transportation economics recognizes that people and goods flow over networks at certain speeds. Network effects, demand peaks, and choices between dissimilar modes of transport make estimating the demand for transportation facilities difficult. Forecasting the demand for energy in the transportation sector involves modeling household choices (including where they live and work, what types of transportation they use, how they shop, and many others), economic growth and demographic transition, decisions of governments to support public and private transportation infrastructure development, and the introduction of new technologies into this very dynamic sector.

ECON 699      Internship- Energy Economics 

Practical work experience for students who have completed all course work.