Peter Hans Matthews

Charles A. Dana Professor of Economics

 work(802) 443-5591
 Sundays 7:30 PM - 9:30 PM in Wilson Cafe, Tuesdays 9:30 AM - 11:30 AM in Warner 305 or by appointment
 Warner Hall 305C


I joined the Economics Department in the fall of 1995, shortly after completing my Ph.D. at Yale, where I worked with John Geanakoplos, David Weiman and Benjamin Polak. I have a BA (First Honors) from McGill University in Montreal, Canada and an MA from Queen’s University at Kingston, also in Canada. I teach courses in macroeconomics, labor economics and economic theory, and do research in behavioral economics and radical political economy.

I am married to Carolyn Craven, a development economist and award-winning children's book author. We share our old Vermont house with our remarkable twin daughters, Emma Laurel and Catriona Mari, now thirteen, and three cats.



Course List: 

Courses offered in the past four years.
indicates offered in the current term
indicates offered in the upcoming term[s]

ECON 0150 - Intro Macroeconomics      

Introductory Macroeconomics
An introduction to macroeconomics: a consideration of macroeconomic problems such as unemployment and inflation. Theories and policy proposals of Keynesian and classical economists are contrasted. Topics considered include: banking, financial institutions, monetary policy, taxation, government spending, fiscal policy, tradeoffs between inflation and unemployment in both the short run and the long run, and wage-price spirals. 3 hrs. lect. SOC

Fall 2015, Fall 2016

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ECON 0250 - Macro Theory      

Macroeconomic Theory
Macroeconomic theory analyzes whether the market effectively coordinates individuals' decisions so that they lead to acceptable results. It considers the effectiveness of monetary, fiscal, and other policies in achieving desirable levels of unemployment, inflation, and growth. The theories held by various schools of economic thought such as Keynesians, monetarists, and new classicals are considered along with their proposed policies. (MATH 0121 and ECON 0150) 3 hrs. lect.

Fall 2018, Spring 2019, Spring 2020

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ECON 0280 - Game Theory      

Game Theory
Game theory is general in scope and has been used to provide theoretical foundations for phenomena in most of the social and behavioral sciences. Economic examples include market organization, bargaining, and the provision of public goods. Examples from other behavioral sciences include social dilemmas and population dynamics. In this course students will learn the basics of what constitutes a game and how games are solved. (ECON 0155 and MATH 0121 required; ECON 0255 recommended) 3 hrs. lect.

Fall 2015

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ECON 0370 - Intro to Public Economics      

Introduction to Public Economics
This course serves as an introduction to the study of the government's role in modern market economies. In particular, we will explore the design and impact of government expenditure programs and taxation systems on the welfare and behavior of its citizens. We will consider the following questions: When is government intervention in the economy appropriate? What is the most effective form of intervention? What effects do government policies have on incentives for firms, individuals, and others in the private sector? In this course we will cover a wide range of issues in public economics with a primary focus on current policy debates in the United States, employing standard empirical and theoretical tools used in public economic research. Selected topics include: income taxation, social security, regulation of pollution and other externalities, public goods such as national defense and education spending, welfare programs, inequality, health insurance and other social insurance programs, redistribution, the indirect consequences of taxation, tax evasion, as well as applications of behavioral and experimental economics to these areas. (ECON 0255) 3 hrs. lect. SOC

Spring 2019

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ECON 0401 - Inequality and Justice      

Poverty, Inequality and Distributive Justice
This seminar will explore recent theoretical and empirical research on socioeconomic inequality. The definitions, causes and consequences of inequality at both the individual (micro) and national and international (macro) levels will be considered. (ECON 0211 and ECON 0255) 3 hrs. sem.

Fall 2016, Fall 2018, Fall 2019, Spring 2020

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ECON 0480 - Labor Economics      

Labor Economics
This seminar will explore the economics of labor markets from both theoretical and empirical perspectives. Topics covered include: labor force participation, wage determination, welfare and minimum wage policies, education and on-the-job training, compensating differentials, dual labor markets, inequality and discrimination, unions, immigration, employment relations, and household bargaining. (ECON 0255 required; ECON 0211 strongly recommended)

Spring 2017

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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.

Fall 2015, Winter 2016, Spring 2016, Fall 2016, Winter 2017, Spring 2017, Winter 2018, Fall 2018, Winter 2019, Spring 2019, Fall 2019, Winter 2020, Spring 2020

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ECON 0701 - Senior Research Workshop I      

Senior Research Workshop I
In this first semester, students will design and begin their projects. Emphasis will be on designing a novel research question (while making the case for its importance) and an appropriate strategy for answering it. This requires immersion in the academic literature on the topic. General research principles and tools will be taught in class, as a group, while those specific to individual projects will be covered in one-on-one meetings. By the end of the term, students will outline their plan for completing the project, including demonstrating that it is a feasible research question for which the necessary information (e.g., data or source materials) is available or can be generated by the student (e.g., lab or other experiment). (Approval required)

Winter 2016

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ECON 0702 - Senior Research Workshop II      

Senior Research Workshop II
In this second semester of the senior research workshop sequence, the focus is on the execution of the research plan developed in ECON 0701. Most instruction is now one-on-one but the workshop will still meet as a group to discuss and practice the presentation of results in various formats (seminars, poster sessions, et cetera) to the rest of the workshop and others in the college and broader communities. Feedback and critiques from such presentations will be incorporated into the project, which will culminate in a research paper in the style of an economics journal article. (ECON 0701; Approval required)

Spring 2016

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INDE 0800 - Ind Scholar Thesis      

Winter 2019, Spring 2019, Winter 2020, Spring 2020

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IPEC 0500 - Independent Project      

Independent Project
(Approval Required)

Fall 2015, Winter 2016, Spring 2016, Fall 2016, Winter 2017, Spring 2017, Winter 2018, Spring 2018, Winter 2019, Spring 2019, Winter 2020, Spring 2020

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IPEC 0700 - Intl.Pol.&Economics SR. Thesis      

Senior Thesis
(Approval Required)

Fall 2015, Winter 2016, Spring 2016, Fall 2016, Winter 2017, Spring 2017, Winter 2018, Spring 2018, Winter 2019, Spring 2019, Winter 2020, Spring 2020

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Program in International Politics & Economics

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