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Final DRAFT - Econ 201a,
Global Economic Environment
Spring 2016, Wednesday evening
Dr. John W. Ballantine, Jr.
978 371-2652 (home, fax)
e-mail: [email protected]
Class meetings:
Office hours:
Global Economic Environment, Econ 201a
limit to 45 +/- students (9 – 10 groups)
Wednesday 6:30 pm to 9:15 pm
after or before class or by appointment (please email me and TAs)
Course description:
Global Economic Environment (GEE) is about how business decision-makers, politicians, and
policy-making institutions operate in our changing/conflicted global environment. The process of
globalization -- the interconnection of financial and goods / real markets, and information -brings together a series of disparate topics, cutting across many disciplines, particularly politics
and economics. We will look how people approached these issues over time and today through
case discussions, debates, readings, papers and problem sets.
We begin the class, with:
basic macro-economic concepts (GDP, inflation, money, growth) and
the theory of trade – why countries trade / the gains from trade. From here we will move to
foreign investment (FDI) and capital flows – how and why companies invest in other/foreign
countries…and then back to
financial crises (FX) and growth. A review of these topics will let us examine productivity,
growth, capital markets, and foreign exchange rates.
We will also look at the changing institutional arrangements governing the economy and the
broader policy issues that are part of the political debate – distribution of income, labor practices,
environmental impact, the role of the state, corruption, human rights, and, of course, our
economic well-being / current state of our global recovery / political crises. These issues will
form the focus of in our class debates and discussions around political economy
Student debates about current topics will take up much of our class time. This will give small
groups of students the opportunity to present information and arguments clearly, respond to other
perspectives / points of view (POV), and persuade your fellow students of the strength of your
debate position. The debates bring a lot of energy to our class discussions.
In addition to debates about economics and politics, students will be actively involved in case
discussions that contain confusing data. Students will learn to make recommendations with
incomplete information. Each student will also work on drafting short memos – how to present
recommendations and back up arguments with relevant data that are to the point.
By the end of the class, you should have a good sense of economic principles, be familiar with
economic data, be able to write strong memos, be eager to debate almost any topic with passion,
logic and humor, and be comfortable with case discussions.
GEE Spring 2016
GEE is FUN, challenging and exciting. Welcome Aboard!
Learning Goals:
Through a combination of cases, readings, debates, discussion, and research, GEE students will
gain a better understanding of the complexities of our global economy. Throughout the semester
the course will focus on the following learning goals.
1. Understanding of economic concepts:
- monetary policy, money supply, credit creation, money demand and inflation
- fiscal policy, multipliers; aggregate supply and demand, and economic growth
- National economic measures (GDP, etc); Balance of payments
- Trade theory, comparative advantage, FDI, capital flows,
- Financial markets, international financial flows, exchange rates, currency crises
- regulation and controls of global markets
- economic growth, productivity, and development
2. Appreciation of political economy
- different political systems and the role of institutions
- role of people, leaders and how various groups are represented in the state
- different perspectives / backgrounds and history of the key players
- rule of law and ways of “doing business”
- government policy, decisions and economic consequences
3. Development of professional skills
- case analysis and discussion
- debate positions / presentations, questions & answers,
- data analysis, graphs and presentation
- memo writing and written communication / recommendations
- team participation, leadership and group work
- research and bibliographic resources
4. Grasp of the complexities of globalization
- interaction of various forces / people / institutions
- principles of economic, politics, sociology, history, and culture
- complexity of change and the challenges facing our global economy
5. Be excited about learning
Course Structure
The schedule lays out the general structure of the course. We will cover four broad areas:
Macroeconomics / economic principles
Trade theory / foreign direct investment
Capital markets, crises and foreign exchange
Economic growth and development
GEE Spring 2016
These economic topics will be explored through a combination of readings, background material,
data analysis, and case discussions. The first 80 minutes of class will be spent:
first, discussing the economic theory / principles illustrated by the case. Our focus will be
on the intuition of economics through a quick economic principles lecture with slides (10
minutes) with the online text providing a more structured review.
Second the case discussion with involve understanding the DATA exhibits / issues: read
the cases, think about the questions on the syllabus, and look at the data.
Third, the class will break into separate Role Plays to understand the perspective of
various players involved in the case. I will provide a description of the role play before
our case discussion and an online student forum to discuss the roles. The role plays are a
dynamic and somewhat confusing part of the class, however, it will engage everyone in
the case discussion.
Once the class is underway, we will Debate some of the key issues confronting decision makers
throughout the world. We will discuss the debate issues and divide into small teams to debate
the issue during the second half of the class (60 + minutes). See details later in the syllabus.
This is a reading, discussion, writing, and research intensive course with a good deal of prepared
work that will be passed in on a regular basis. See the schedule: eight assignments during the
semester, plus two debates OR, 12 assignments including the debate paper. TAs will be
available for assistance with the material (not the answers, but how to approach).
Course material:
Required: Course packet, use Harvard Business school web site, see HBS registration
instructions on next page 5 with link. Or
Background text online: Krugman and Wells, Economics (KW), or Feenstra and Taylor (FT)
available on LATTE,
Debate material will be posted on latte as background for your debates. The debate teams are
expected to go beyond this material as they prepare the debates.
Please read Financial Times or The Economist to keep current with our changing world.
You are responsible for obtaining the materials prior to each class. Additional material will be
made available on the course latte web site or passed out in class.
Come to class PREPARED
There are NO prerequisites for the course and ALL IBS students are expected to take a global
political economy class at IBS. Many students have some familiarity with economics and the
business press.
GEE Spring 2016
Course grades will be determined according to the following schedule:
Case write-ups
Problem sets
(4 short online)
Debates, two (2) (groups of 4)
Final debate paper (groups of 2 or 3 students)
Class participation
DUE DATES (see class schedule and latte)
Written assignments (10 including final debate paper and global essay):
Case write-ups are due during the week -- Uploaded to LATTE -- marked on the syllabus:
A. Class 2 (Wednesday Jan 27) - Globalization CHALLENGES
from YOUR perspective, 1-2 page with some supporting data / example
Class 3
Class 5
Class 8
Class 12
Sunday Feb. 7, country data down load memo
Sunday Feb 28, small group case
Sunday March 20, individual case
Sunday April 17, individual case
Problem set / online quizzes (4):
During the semester there will be four (4) short take home (online) problem sets to make sure
that you have an understanding of the economic concepts that are illustrated through the case
discussions / readings. The problem sets will be drawn from the online economics text (KW,
FT) and cases. You will have one week after the case discussion to prepare for the quizzes.
The quizzes/problem sets will be taken and scored online (due on Sundays).
B. class 4
problem set1 Sunday, Feb14 (practice)
2. Class 6
3. Class 10
4. Class 13
problem set 2, Sunday March 6
problem set 3, Sunday April 3
problem set 4, Sunday April 24
GEE Spring 2016
NAME cards: Students should keep name cards up throughout the semester,
and sit in the same seat!
NO computers should be open in class, except for debates / case material. (No
email, facebook, OR WEB cruising)
Pay attention to class discussion and PARTICIPATE!
Teaching Assistants:
The TAs will read all the assignments and put initial grade on the written assignment that I will
also read (two readings), they will also keep track of class participation and be available for
additional out of class assistance. Email contact through GEE latte site.
Our GEE TAs are:
 Alyssa Abel
 Trang Do
 Song Peijue
 Peter Walton
Instructions to Access the Harvard Business Course Materials Online:
Course link at HBS: link to course packet
Thank you.
For technical assistance, please contact the Harvard Business Publishing Tech Help line at 800
810-8858 (outside the U.S. and Canada, call 617 783-7700): or email
[email protected] Our business hours are 8 am - 8 pm ET, Monday-Thursday, and 8
am - 7 pm ET on Friday.
COURSE schedule on following pages and more detailed instructions in Course Syllabus
Supplement posted on Latte.
GEE Spring 2016
Academic Honesty: All students are expected to be familiar with and abide by the academic
honesty policies of Brandeis.
Academic Integrity:
The University has request that course syllabi include the following passages:
“Academic integrity is central to the mission of educational excellence at Brandeis
University. Each student is expected to turn in work completed independently, except
when assignments specifically authorize collaborative effort. It is not acceptable to use the
words or ideas of another person – be it a world-class philosopher or your lab partner –
without proper acknowledgement of the source. This means that you must use footnotes
and quotation marks to indicate the source of any phrases, sentences, paragraphs or ideas
found in published volumes, on the internet or created by another student.
“Violations of University policies on academic integrity, described in Section Three of the
Rights and Responsibilities, may result in failure in the course or on the assignment, or in
suspension from the University. If you are in doubt about the instructions for any
assignment in this course, it is your responsibility to ask for clarification.
“If you are working in groups that I have authorized, I will expect your answers to
resemble those of your partners; otherwise I expect you to do your work separately from
your friends, classmates, family members, and so on. You are not permitted to have
anyone other than your professors help you on written assignments outside of class. If you
have questions on the type of help you may receive, please ask me before you seek help
from someone.” 1
We will check your essays and papers through TURNITIN for academic
honesty. I will also expect that the work you submit is your work; however,
you may consult and work with others on problem sets and memos.
NONETHELESS, you are expected to follow the class instructions regarding
group work and consult with TAs if you have questions.
If you are a student with a documented disability on record at Brandeis University
and wish to have a reasonable accommodation made for you in this class, please
see me immediately.
Shawn McGuirk, Kara Curcio, and Carrie Klugman, “Information for your Syllabi,” Memoradum to Faculty,
Department of Student Development and Conduct, Brandeis University, August 1, 2004.
GEE Spring 2016
SIMPLE Course Schedule below, with detail in syllabus supplement (latte)
Topic, Case and Material
Assignments (due Sundays)
January 13
Class 1 - Introduction and Institutions
 International Institutions / Bretton Woods
 Videos and articles
January 27
Class 2 - Monetary Policy
 German Hyperinflation
 Readings and KW text
Globalization essay (2-3)
due in class (upload latte)
Wednesday Jan. 27
February 3
Class 3 – Fiscal Policy
 Obama case
 Readings and KW text
Group country memo with
data graphs
Sunday Feb. 7
February 10
Class 4 – Government growth
 China Unbalanced
 Readings and KW text
Practice problem set 1
Sunday Feb. 14
February 24
Class 5 – Trade
 Corn Laws
 Readings and KW text
Group case memo 2
Sunday February 28
March 2
Class 6 – Fair Trade / Protection
 Cambodia
 Readings and KW & FT text
Problem set 2
Sunday March 6
March 9
Class 7 – Institutions and FDI
 South Africa
 Readings and KW&FT
March 16
Class 8 – Productivity / Growth
 India
 Readings and FT
March 23
Class 9 – Financial crises
 1933 Banking
 Readings and KW
March 30
Class 10 – FX crises
 Korea / Asia 1997
 Readings and FT
April 6
Class 11 – Financial / FX crises
 Greece and
 Readings and KW
Individual case 3
Sunday March 20th
Problem set 3
Sunday April 3
GEE Spring 2016
April 13
Class 12 - Regional Growth
 Eurozone
 Readings
Individual case memo 3
Sunday April 17
April 20
Class 13 – Crises
Problem set 4
Sunday April 24
Greece and Eurozone Today
DEBATE 9 & 10
May 8
May 11
Sunday May 8
Email or mail to John at
268 Fiske Street
Carlisle MA 01741
Wednesday May 11