Paige-Wright Professor of Economics
Paul M. Sommers is Professor of Economics at Middlebury College. He received his Ph.D. from the University of California at San Diego (1976). Professor Sommers has written on economic growth, economic demography, public finance issues, and the economics of professional team sports. He is the editor of Welfare Reform in America: Perspectives and Prospects (Kluwer-Nijhoff) and Diamonds Are Forever: The Business of Baseball (The Brookings Institution). He is also the author of the Instructor's Manual for Edwin Mansfield's Microeconomics: Theory and Applications.
For the last 37 years Professor Sommers has taught courses in "Economic Statistics," "Microeconomic Theory," and "The Economics of Sports." He is recipient of an Outstanding Teacher Award at the University of California at San Diego (1981) and he shared first prize in a national essay contest on welfare reform sponsored by the Institute of Socioeconomic Studies (1985).
He is a member of the American Economic Association and the Atlantic Economic Society. He has contributed roughly 190 articles to professional journals, many of which are statistical studies in applied economics. He has done some consulting for law firms in Vermont and Washington, D.C.
Courses offered in the past four years.
▲ indicates offered in the current term
▹ indicates offered in the upcoming term[s]
ECON 0155 - Intro Microeconomics ▲
An introduction to the analysis of such microeconomic problems as price formation (the forces behind demand and supply), market structures from competitive to oligopolistic, distribution of income, and public policy options bearing on these problems. 3 hrs. lect.
ECON 0210 - Economic Statistics ▹
Basic methods and concepts of statistical inference with an emphasis on economic applications. Topics include probability distributions, random variables, simple linear regression, estimation, hypothesis testing, and contingency table analysis. A weekly one-hour lab is part of this course in addition to three hours of class meetings per week. (ECON 0150 or ECON 0155) Credit is not given for ECON 0210 if the student has taken MATH 0116, MATH 0310, or PSYC 0201 previously or concurrently. 3 hrs. lect., 1 hr. lab
Fall 2010, Fall 2011, Fall 2012, Fall 2013, Fall 2014
ECON 0255 - Micro Theory
Microeconomic theory concentrates on the study of the determination of relative prices and their importance in shaping the allocation of resources and the distribution of income in an economy. We will study the optimizing behavior of households in a variety of settings: buying goods and services, saving, and labor supply decisions. We will also examine the behavior of firms in different market structures. Together, the theories of household and firm behavior help illumine contemporary economic issues (discrimination in labor markets, mergers in the corporate world, positive and negative externalities, for example). (MATH 0121 and ECON 0155) 3 hrs. lect.
ECON 0485 - The Economics of Sports ▲
The Economics of Sports
This is a survey course of topics illustrating how microeconomic principles apply to the sports industry. Topics covered will include the industrial organization of the sports industry (notably, issues of competitive balance and the implications of monopoly power), the public finance of sports (notably, the impact teams have on host municipalities), and labor issues related to sports (including player worth and discrimination). The prerequisites for this course are meant to ensure that students can both understand fundamental economic concepts and present the results of econometric research as they apply to the sports industry. (ECON 0210 and ECON 0211 and ECON 0255) 3 hrs. sem.
Spring 2010, Spring 2011, Spring 2013, Spring 2014
ECON 0500 - Individual Special Project ▲ ▹
Individual Special Project
If you choose to pursue an area that we do not offer or go in depth in an area already covered, we recommend the Individual Special Project option. These ECON 0500 proposals MUST be passed by the entire department and are to be submitted to the chair by the first Friday of fall and spring semester, respectively. The proposals should contain a specific description of the course contents, its goals, and the mechanisms by which goals are to be realized. It should also include a bibliography. According to the College Handbook, ECON 0500 projects are a privilege open to those students with advanced preparation and superior records in their fields. A student needs to have a 3.5 or higher G.P.A. in Economics courses taken at Middlebury in order to pursue an Individual Special Project. ECON 0500 does not count towards the major or minor requirements.
Spring 2010, Fall 2010, Winter 2011, Spring 2011, Fall 2011, Winter 2012, Fall 2012, Winter 2013, Spring 2013, Fall 2013, Winter 2014, Spring 2014, Fall 2014, Spring 2015
ECON 1017 - Stats and Sports Statistics
The Application of Statistics to Sports
The central problem of quantitative analysis in any social science is trying to explain the complex and multivariate character of individual human and institutional behavior. The problem of quantitative research, in turn, is that of finding a statistical method that yields a useful approximation of reality. The objective of this course is to give students with an interest in athletic games an opportunity to apply the tools of statistical analysis to the study of several sports topics of their own choosing. (MATH 0116 or ECON 0210 strongly recommended)
Winter 2011, Winter 2014