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2016 Syllabus

Editing then pasting. Please be patient!

Economics 244, Spring 2016

Location and hours:

We have one on-campus speaker in Weeks I, II and IV. We will adjust class schedules to take advantage of their presence. For the initial 3 days we will meet as per the registrar. Not all days will involve four hours of class time. Some will, some (when speakers are here) may involve more once lunches and dinners are included.

Huntley 220 MTWRF 10:10a-12:10p and 1:25p-3:25p


I read 5 books the past 3 days trying to find something timely and that meshes with our speakers and Detroit schedule.

  • I have one text (Rudi Volti) that I ordered from the publisher to make sure we have sufficient copies in time for the first day of class. I will sell those to you at no profit to myself.
  • I have one additional provisional text by Bill Vlasic There should be lots of cheap online used copies available.


This course will be offered Spring 2016. We spend one week in Detroit (6 days including travel) during the 3rd week of classes (May 8-13, 2016).

This course is built around visiting speakers and the firms / people we visit in Detroit. It therefore varies a lot in content from year to year. Typically the first week develops background; the second and fourth weeks include on-campus speakers; the third week is travel. We visit factories, R&D facilities, corporate HQs, journalists and museums [the last filling interstices in the schedule] and also drive around the city of Detroit.

Tentative speakers this Spring include David Ruggles, a “downstream” specialist who currently consults with dealerships and financial institutions involved in automotive lending, and Thomas Klier, an economist at the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago. We will likely also have 3-4 alumni as speakers.

For more information come see me in Huntley 125B, the office right next to the handicap entrance door. Given classes, conferences, and office hours at Lexington Coffee, it’s best to email in advance to make sure I will be there….

Finally, the budget for the course will be $700 to cover double-occupancy lodging in Detroit (Sun night – Thursday night) and transportation costs. Some but not all meals on the road will be with speakers with the cost covered by the course. The hotel provides breakfast, but you will need to some money for meals and incidentals, plus books. If the budget is in good shape (fully loaded vehicles, even numbers of men and women so that all rooms are doubles) then I will cover more meal expenses while we are on the road.

Output for the course includes presentations, class presentation and structured blogging. It is intensive; in Detroit we put in 12-hour days, and we meet extra hours with on-campus speakers. It is in general NOT compatible with PE courses, perhaps with the exception of scuba diving, which in the past met only on Saturdays.