Department of Economics
Towson, MD 21252-0001
Telephone: 410-704-2951; Fax: 410-704-3424
E-mail: jegger at towson dot edu Office: 101-D Stephens Hall
What and where I've studied:
History of Economic Thought, Industrial Organization, Monetary Economics (Ph.D., NYU 1985); Monetary Economics, Economic History (MA, SMU 1972 and all Ph.D. requirements except dissertation 1974); Finance (MBA, SMU 1970); Electrical Engineering (M. Engr, Cornell 1968); Engineering Physics (BS, Cornell University 1967)
What I teach, with some comments:
Microeconomic Principles, Economics 201 (MWF, MW). Everything that happens in the social world -- from specifics like Bill Gates's wealth, the rate of growth of GNP, and where you can get Doc Marten boots to general features like the evolution of societies -- is caused by individuals' choices. Economics, the science of choice, offers a simple set of logically integrated concepts like value and cost that make the process of choice much easier to understand. This course is your introduction to it. For Chapter 1 of our textbook, click here; for Chapter 1 of the 2009 Workbook, click here. Here's an older syllabus: Economics 201, Spring 2007.
Intermediate Price Theory, Economics 309. Microeconomic theory ("price theory") is economic theory. Other courses apply it to particular matters of interest, such as human labor, sports, or natural resources; even macroeconomics --- with its issues like inflation and unemployment --- is properly approached only through microeconomics. This course builds on Economics 201 or 203 and much of it simply reinforces and strengthens your understanding of what you learned there, but it also develops a few techniques characterizing modern neoclassical microeconomic theory that are often omitted in good Principles courses.
Honors Microeconomic Principles, Economics 203. This course replicates 201, with additional readings delving more deeply into some concepts. It is available only by permit.
Statistics for Business and Economics I, Economics 205. Beginning with descriptive statistics and Darrell Huff's famous lessons in "how to lie with statistics," this introductory course proceeds through probability and probability distributions to inferential statistics (trying to infer, in a respectable and trustworthy way, something about a population when all we can really know about is a sample of it), culminating with an introduction to simple linear regression. To see how to use McClave, Benson, and Sincich's data CD, click here.
History of Economic Thought, Economics 321. Economics itself is continually changing. Your other courses are snapshots of what it is today, but that is not what it was 50 or 200 years ago, nor what it will be 50 years from now. Rather than focus on our subject's present state, this course offers a dramatic sense of the historical and philosophical causes and effects of the evolution of economics, sampling writers such as Smith, Marx, Veblen, Hayek, Keynes, Mises, and Friedman.
Industrial Organization, Economics 330. A business's choices are both effects and causes of its industry's competitive environment: effects of today's, and causes of tomorrow's. Competition is best conceived as an active process of entrepreneurial rivalry involving pricing strategies, product differentiation, advertising, and other tactics. This competitive process, and the legislative environment in which it thrives, are the focus of this course.
Government and Economic Life, Economics 331. When anyone claims markets or governments are succeeding or failing, he or she is relying on some standard. This course is a search for the proper standard. Should we try to specify the optimum end-state, or the correct process? Do we use some form of utilitarianism, or a theory of natural rights? Prior to 2008, about one third of the course applied these controversies to the theory and history of the effect of antitrust legislation on competition. Since then, Ayn Rand’s novel Atlas Shrugged has been accorded a greater role in the course, antitrust has been shifted to Industrial Organization (Economics 330), and — in general — the role of the philosophy and moral foundation of capitalism has been expanded.
Masterworks in Economics (Independent Study), Economics 495.002. This course, open to a maximum of three students, requires the thorough reading of a classic book in economics and the submission of a paper (fifty page minimum, typed and footnoted) that convinces me the student actually read and thought about the entire book. Works chosen by the students in recent years include Smith's The Wealth of Nations, Mill's Principles of Political Economy, and Mises's Human Action (each about a thousand pages). Prerequisites are Economics 321, 309, and 310, and consent of instructor. This is for serious, advanced, economics students only!
The Economist's Perspective, SOSC 603. This course, for graduate students in the Master of Science in Social Science program, offers an introduction to economic reasoning at a level and scope appropriate for those who have graduated from college but somehow missed effective training in economics. Covering subjects conventionally grouped in both microeconomics and macroeconomics, the course aims to fill in gaps and improve one's ability to understand (and perhaps to teach about) human society and why and how it works.
Some of my recent work that students may find interesting:
"Alexander Hamilton, Economist," a public lecture presented April 26, 2006 as part of the traveling exhibition "Alexander Hamilton: The Man Who Made Modern America."
"W. H. Hutt: The Classical Austrian," in Randall G. Holcombe, ed., Fifteen Great Austrian Economists (Auburn AL: Ludwig von Mises Institute, 1999): pp. 195-204.
Review of Richard P. F. Holt and Steven Pressman, Economics and its Discontents: Twentieth Century Dissenting Economists, Journal of the History of Economic Thought 21, 4 (1999): pp. 463-5.
Review of Klaus H. Hennings, The Austrian Theory of Value and Capital: Studies in the Life and Work of Eugen von Böhm-Bawerk, forthcoming in Journal of the History of Economic Thought.
Sabbatical lecture, "Utilitarianism, Natural Rights, and Evolution: Reconciling the Political Philosophies of Austrian Economists Mises, Rothbard, and Hayek." Delivered at Towson University on April 19, 1996.
Review of Frank Machovec, Perfect Competition and the Transformation of Economics, The Cato Journal 15, 2-3 (1995-6): pp. 277-281.
"Monetarism," in Peter J. Boettke, ed., The Elgar Companion to Austrian Economics (Aldershot: Edward Elgar, 1994): pp. 565-571. A brief encyclopedia entry; macro or Money and Banking students might find it interesting.
"The Free Market
and the Standards By Which It is Judged," Advances
in Austrian Economics (Greenwich CT: JAI
Press, 1996): pp. 179-195. This provocative piece was originally
delivered at Towson as a University Lecture in 1994.
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