ECON 490 - Topics in Microeconomics
Fall 2022, Section 200 - Economics of Crime
Instruction Mode: Section 200 is  In Person (see other Sections below)
Subject: Economics (ECON)
Department: LSA Economics
See additional student enrollment and course instructor information to guide you in your decision making.


Enforced Prerequisites:
ECON 401 (completed with a minimum grade of C- or better); OR Graduate standing.
Advisory Prerequisites:
STATS 250, or ECON 249, or STATS 426, or ECON 451. Students are not permitted to elect the same topic multiple times.
May be elected four times for credit. May be elected more than once in the same term.
Primary Instructor:


This course applies economic theory and methods to the study of crime. We will use basic supply and demand principles to think about why, where, and when illegal behavior occurs, and what the government might do to reduce it. We will also explore the empirical literature to understand what incarceration and policing do, how illegal markets (and their regulation) work, whether policies outside of criminal justice matter, and how benefit/cost analysis informs decisions about crime prevention. By the end of the course, students will be able to use an economic framework to analyze illegal behavior, to read and evaluate an empirical paper, and to think critically about findings from the crime prevention literature. Although public discourse about crime often involves philosophical discussions about justice, this course will eschew such arguments, focusing instead on how individual decision-making under constraints helps to explain crime and its prevention.

Course Requirements:

Course grades will be based on quizzes, problem sets, exams, and a final group project that includes a presentation and a paper. The course will use some statistics and econometrics. Prior coursework in these areas is not required, since the key content will be covered in class. However, reading and generating graphs, manipulating and interpreting equations, and interpreting regression tables will be necessary to succeed in the course.

Intended Audience:

Please note that if you have taken Econ 327 or Econ 395 with Professor Heller, you can not receive credit for this course.

Class Format:

In Person


ECON 490 - Topics in Microeconomics
Schedule Listing
100 (LEC)
 In Person
TuTh 1:00PM - 2:30PM
200 (LEC)
 In Person
MW 1:00PM - 2:30PM
201 (DIS)
 In Person
F 12:00PM - 1:00PM
202 (DIS)
 In Person
F 2:00PM - 3:00PM

Textbooks/Other Materials

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Syllabi are available to current LSA students. IMPORTANT: These syllabi are provided to give students a general idea about the courses, as offered by LSA departments and programs in prior academic terms. The syllabi do not necessarily reflect the assignments, sequence of course materials, and/or course expectations that the faculty and departments/programs have for these same courses in the current and/or future terms.

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