Peter Matthews
Office
Warner 302
Tel
(802) 443-5591
Email
pmatthew@middlebury.edu
Office Hours
Tuesday, 10-12 PM, Online via appointment https://calendly.com/petermatthews/zoom-office-hours) and Thursday, 7:30 -9:30 PM, in person @ Waner 302, or by appointment
Additional Programs
Economics International Politics and Economics

I came to Middlebury in the fall of 1995, soon after the belated completion of my PhD, written at Yale under the supervision of John Geanakoplos. I was born and raised in Montreal, and have a BA (First Honours) from McGill, and an MA from Queen’s. I am the Charles A. Dana Professor of Economics at Middlebury and Distinguished Visiting Professor at Aalto University in Helsinki, Finland. In 2017/8 I was the Fulbright Distinguished Chair at the Hanken School of Economics, also in Helsinki. At Middlebury, I teach courses in poverty and inequality, labor and public economics, macroeconomics and game theory, and do research in behavioral economics, labor economics, political economy, inequality and philanthropy.

I am married to Carolyn Craven, a development economist and award-winning children’s book author, and we share our old Vermont home with three cats and, from time to time, our now adult twin daughters, Emma Laurel and Catriona Mari.

Courses Taught

Course Description

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.

Terms Taught

Fall 2018, Spring 2019, Spring 2020, Spring 2021, Fall 2021

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Course Description

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.

Terms Taught

Fall 2022, Spring 2023

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Course Description

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.

Terms Taught

Spring 2019

Requirements

SOC

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Course Description

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.

Terms Taught

Fall 2018, Fall 2019, Spring 2020, Fall 2020, Spring 2022

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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, Fall 2020, Winter 2021, Spring 2021, Fall 2021, Winter 2022, Spring 2022, Fall 2022, Winter 2023, Spring 2023

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Course Description

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)

Terms Taught

Fall 2022

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Course Description

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)

Terms Taught

Spring 2023

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Course Description

Terms Taught

Winter 2019, Spring 2019, Spring 2021, Spring 2022, Spring 2023

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Course Description

Independent Project
(Approval Required)

Terms Taught

Winter 2019, Spring 2019, Winter 2020, Spring 2020, Winter 2021, Spring 2021, Winter 2022, Spring 2022, Winter 2023, Spring 2023

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Course Description

Senior Thesis
(Approval Required)

Terms Taught

Winter 2019, Spring 2019, Winter 2020, Spring 2020, Winter 2021, Spring 2021, Winter 2022, Spring 2022, Winter 2023, Spring 2023

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