The unifying theme of this course is best captured by the title of our main reference book: Recursive Methods in Economic Dynamics. We start by covering deterministic and stochastic dynamic optimization using dynamic programming analysis. We then study the properties of the resulting dynamic systems. Finally, we will go over a recursive method for repeated games that has proven useful in contract theory and macroeconomics. We shall stress applications and examples of all these techniques throughout the course.
The main reference for the course is (hereafter, SLP):
Stokey, Nancy L., and Robert E. Lucas, Jr., with Edward C. Prescott. Recursive Methods in Economic Dynamics. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1989.
We will follow SLP's exposition as closely as possible, departing only to add more recent developments and applications when needed.
Although some homework assignments will seek to introduce you to solving problems numerically, numerical methods are not a main part of this course. I highly recommend Kenneth Judd's book Numerical Methods in Economics (Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 1998) as a complement of the material of this course.
The course grade will be based on problem set homework (30%) and a final exam (70%).
TA sessions are once a week and will be used mainly to go over problems and some additional material not covered in the lectures.