Obie Porteous
Office
Warner 313
Tel
(802) 443-5550
Email
oporteous@middlebury.edu
Office Hours
Mondays 3:30-5:00 PM (Zoom), Wednesdays 1:00-2:30 PM (Zoom), or by appointment

Obie Porteous joined the Economics faculty as an Assistant Professor in the fall of 2016. He does research in the fields of International Trade and Development Economics, with a focus on sub-Saharan Africa. He is particularly interested in how trade policies and trade barriers affect incentives and outcomes for local firms and consumers in developing countries and how these effects then help or hinder long-term structural transformation and economic growth. He teaches courses in international economics in the Economics and International Politics & Economics majors.

Originally from California, he completed his B.A. at the University of Chicago in 2003. After brief stints in economic journalism and at the World Bank, he worked for the international humanitarian organization Action Against Hunger (ACF) for five years in Tajikistan, Uganda, D.R. Congo, Pakistan, and Indonesia, before returning to the US to pursue his Ph.D. at the University of California-Berkeley, which he completed in 2016.

Courses Taught

Course Description

Economics of Africa
Sub-Saharan Africa is home to some of the poorest and some of the fastest growing economies in the world. In this course, we will explore the opportunities for sustained, inclusive economic growth in sub-Saharan Africa, the challenges that must be overcome in realizing these opportunities, and the policy options for overcoming these challenges. Topics may include demography, institutions, infrastructure, agriculture, urbanization, climate change, health, natural resources, mobile technology, trade, and regional integration. Students will be exposed to relevant economic theory and recent empirical economic research on Africa. (ECON 0150 and ECON 0155)

Terms Taught

Fall 2018, Fall 2019, Spring 2022

Requirements

SAF, SOC

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Course Description

International Economics: Theory and Policy
This course provides an overview of international trade and finance. We will use economic theory to help us understand how and why countries interact in the global economy and evaluate the effects of different trade, exchange rate, and macroeconomic policies. Topics covered will include the reasons for trade, the winners and losers from trade, trade policies, trade agreements, exchange rates, the balance of payments, causes of and solutions to financial crises, and the role of the WTO and IMF. ECON 0240 does not count towards the ECON major or minor requirements. (ECON 0150 and ECON 0155) 3 hrs. lect.

Terms Taught

Fall 2018, Spring 2019, Fall 2019, Spring 2020

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Course Description

International Economics
International trade and financial flows are increasingly important in today’s interconnected world. In this advanced course we will use tools from introductory and intermediate courses to help us analyze the causes and consequences of these flows. We will investigate why countries trade, what they trade, who gains (or loses) from trade, and the motives and effects of trade policies. We will then consider the monetary side of the international economy, including the balance of payments, the determination of exchange rates, and financial crises. This course is not open to students who have taken ECON 0240 or IPEC 0240. (ECON 0150 and ECON 0255) 3 hrs. lect.

Terms Taught

Spring 2019, Spring 2020, Fall 2021

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Course Description

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.

Terms Taught

Fall 2018, Winter 2019, Spring 2019, Fall 2019, Winter 2020, Spring 2020, Winter 2022, Spring 2022, Fall 2022, Winter 2023, Spring 2023

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Course Description

Growth and its Limits
What is economic growth? Is it limited in a world of finite resources? In this seminar we will explore these questions from a multidisciplinary perspective, drawing on readings from 18th century philosophers to 21st century research on climate change and artificial intelligence. Particular attention will be paid to the role of demography, agricultural productivity, and fossil fuels. We will develop simple mathematical models of growth and seek out relevant data to help inform our discussions and writing. 3 hrs. sem.

Terms Taught

Fall 2022

Requirements

CW, SOC

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Course Description

International Economics: Theory and Policy
This course provides an overview of international trade and finance. We will use economic theory to help us understand how and why countries interact in the global economy and evaluate the effects of different trade, exchange rate, and macroeconomic policies. Topics covered will include the reasons for trade, the winners and losers from trade, trade policies, trade agreements, exchange rates, the balance of payments, causes of and solutions to financial crises, and the role of the WTO and IMF. IPEC 0240 does not count towards the ECON major or minor requirements. (ECON 0150 and ECON 0155) (formerly ECON 0240) 3 hrs. lect.

Terms Taught

Fall 2021, Fall 2022

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Course Description

Senior Thesis
(Approval Required)

Terms Taught

Fall 2018, Winter 2019, Fall 2019, Winter 2020, Fall 2020, Winter 2021, Fall 2021, Winter 2022, Fall 2022, Winter 2023

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