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Applied Economics

Module Code: EC415B

Module Title: Applied Economics

  • ECTS Weighting: 10
  • Semester/Term Taught: Michaelmas Term
  • Contact Hours: 22 hours of lectures and 5 hours of tutorials
  • Module Personnel: Lecturer - Ronan Lyons

Module Content

Overall, this module examines one of the most striking features of the world: cities. Cities account for a tiny fraction of land use but over half the world's population and almost all economic activity. They are at the heart of economic growth and development: the wealthier we have become, the more important cities have become. Therefore, as researchers and policymakers, we need to understand cities and the forces of agglomeration and clustering that sustain them.

During Michaelmas Term (Part A, Urban Development & Housing Markets), students will be introduced to seminal theories relating to city size and growth, and relating to housing markets. This will set the groundwork for applied research, focusing on two major cities. Working individually and in groups, students will summarize the existing literature on the economic development of both cities and phases and turning points in the cities’ development. Students will use this to identify research questions and gather the data required to answer these questions. There will be a reliance on continuous assessment and collaborative work during Michaelmas Term.

No prior knowledge of econometrics is required for this module. However, a willingness to learn how to read, understand and critique academic papers is.

Learning Outcomes

Part A – Urban Development & Housing Markets (Ronan Lyons)
Students that successfully complete this module will be able to:

  • Discuss the key theories and empirical facts around city growth and housing markets
  • Summarize the principal phases and turning points in a city’s development
  • Outline the key forces at work in shaping a city over time
  • Identify research questions to develop policy lessons from past episodes of a city’s growth
  • Gather relevant data to answer the research question

Recommended Reading List

A full reading list will be provided at the start of lectures. Here you can find some general background readings:

  • Ed Glaeser, Triumph of the City. Penguin, 2011.
  • Jane Jacobs, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, 1961.
  • Rosenthal, Stuart S., and William C. Strange. 'Evidence on the nature and sources of agglomeration economies.' Handbook of regional and urban economics 4 (2004): 2119-2171.
  • William A. Fischel, Zoning Rules! The Economics of Land Use Regulation. Lincoln Land Institute, 2015. (In particular for Part A; especially Chapter 5, but also Chapters 1, 4 and 9.)
  • The Handbook of Regional & Urban Economics (In particular for Part B). Chapters are available at the following link, – this will act as a useful starting point for many topics.

Module Pre Requisite


Assessment Details

The allocation of assessment marks will be as follows:

Michaelmas Term:

  • 40% for a literature review, which will include individual and group work and class presentations
  • 40% for data collation and analysis, which will rely on a combination of individual and group work
  • 20% for a research proposal and a reflective essay

Module Website