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William Pyle

Frederick C. Dirks Professor of International Economics

 work(802) 443-3240
 By appointment
 RAJ B03 B


I am a professor in Economics and an affiliate of Middlebury’s programs in International Politics and Economics and Russian and East European Studies.

My research focuses on the evolution of markets and market-supporting institutions in post-socialist countries, most particularly Russia. Currently, I am involved in projects relating to land rights, business associations, and deposit markets. In recent years, my research has received support from the National Council on Eurasian and East European Research and the International Research and Exchanges Board and I have held visiting researcher positions at the Bank of Finland’s Institute for Economies in Transition and the Higher School of Economics’ (Moscow) Institute for Industrial and Market Studies.

I teach courses in microeconomics, institutional economics and the economics of the post-socialist transition.

I have a B.A. in History from Harvard College (magna cum laude), an M.A. in Russian and East European Studies from Indiana University and a Ph.D. from Duke University in Economics.

I live in the town of Middlebury, just a short walk from the College, with my wife, Silvia, and two sons, Matias and Lucas.



Course List: 

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

ECON 0232 - The Chinese Economy      

The Chinese Economy
In this course we will explore the economic development of China up until the present day, giving particular attention to the socialist era and the post-1978 reforms. Specific topics to be covered will include growth and structural change, the urban-rural divide, the state’s ongoing role in the economy, demography, and the country’s integration into the global economy. (ECON 0150 orECON 0155; or by approval) 3 hrs. lect. AAL NOA SOC

Fall 2017, Fall 2018, Fall 2019, Fall 2021

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ECON 0255 - Micro Theory      

Microeconomic 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.

Spring 2018, Fall 2018, Spring 2022

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ECON 0301 - CSPW: Economic Journalism      

Calderwood Seminar in Public Writing: Economic Journalism*
Drawing on core courses in the major, students will strengthen their understanding of economic analysis and develop their writing skills by addressing contemporary economic issues in a journalistic format. In a series of weekly assignments, including book reviews, op-eds, and coverage of recent research articles, students will translate the language of formal economics into pieces that are both interesting and accessible to educated non-economists. Most class sessions will be organized as workshops devoted to critiquing the economic and expository content of student work. (ECON 211 and ECON 250 and ECON 255) 3 hr. sem. CW SOC

Spring 2019

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ECON 0430 - Post-Communist Econ Transition      

The Post-Communist Economic Transition
This seminar will use the “natural experiment” of the post-communist transition to better understand the origin and consequences of various economic and political institutions. Drawing on research related to China and Russia as well as other formerly communist economies in Europe and Asia, we will explore such themes as property rights reform, the finance-growth nexus, contract enforcement institutions, and the economic consequences of corruption and different political regimes. (ECON 0210 or MATH 0310 or MATH 0311 and ECON 0240 or ECON 0250, or by approval) CMP

Spring 2018, Spring 2019, Fall 2019

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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 2017, Winter 2018, Spring 2018, Fall 2018, Winter 2019, Spring 2019, Fall 2019, Winter 2020, Spring 2020, Fall 2021, Winter 2022, Spring 2022

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FYSE 1499 - Witnessing Collapse      

Witnessing Collapse: The Soviet Union and the End of the Twentieth Century
A half century ago, in the midst of the Cold War, few envisaged that the Soviet Union would soon be no more. How did those living under Soviet rule experience the surprising collapse of their seemingly unchangeable world?   How did their lives change for the worse, how for the better, between 1970 and 2000?  How do people today, in Vladimir Putin’s Russia, remember the upheaval? In this course we will explore, from the bottom up, the demise of the Soviet Union, focusing on lives, dreams, and beliefs of ordinary individuals living through times of extraordinary economic, political, and cultural change. CW EUR SOC

Fall 2017

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IPEC 0500 - Independent Project      

Independent Project
(Approval Required)

Fall 2017, Winter 2018, Spring 2018, Fall 2018, Winter 2019, Spring 2019, Fall 2019, Winter 2020, Spring 2020, Fall 2020, Winter 2021, Spring 2021, Fall 2021, Winter 2022, Spring 2022

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

Senior Thesis
(Approval Required)

Fall 2017, Winter 2018, Spring 2018, Fall 2018, Winter 2019, Spring 2019, Fall 2019, Winter 2020, Spring 2020, Fall 2020, Winter 2021, Spring 2021, Fall 2021, Winter 2022, Spring 2022

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