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Massive Change: Finance and Economics

The pervasiveness and the speed of change are increasing in almost every imaginable way, along with their implications.  The central prism throughout this course is change: across time, societies, and circumstances.  We draw from economics and finance, from other social sciences, and from history.  The course focuses on ideas and concepts and not on methods and techniques.  Among the topics are the following: (i) An overview of 500 + years of coevolution of finance and economies. (ii) A taxonomy of the sources of massive changes. (iii) Predictability and unpredictability.  Fallibilities of forecasters.  Incentives of forecasters.  Noise.  (iv) Wealth of nations.  Growth, hyper - growth, and stagnation.  Low income traps; middle income traps; other traps. (v) Economic and financial crises.  Bubbles and busts.  Frameworks for understanding crises.  (vi) Demographic and related transitions.  Exploding, stagnant and declining populations.  (vii) Some classical perspectives on change; for example, Braudel, Kuznets, Marx, Polanyi, and Schumpeter.

Course Code

PBPL 28678




UChicago Undergraduates
Visiting Undergraduates


Public Policy

Class Day(s)

Mon Wed Fri

Class Start Time


Class End Time


Primary Instructor

Raaj Sah


Session I

Start Date

End Date


  • Eligibility: current high school sophomores and juniors, 14 years and older (unless clearly stated otherwise); current College undergraduate students; and visiting undergraduate students.
  • The Priority application deadline is February 2. Students who apply by the Priority application deadline will have their $50 application fee waived. Any applications received after the Priority deadline will be admitted using rolling admission and will require a $50 application fee. 
  • International students who will require a visa to attend, applications will be considered no later than April 2 in order to allow enough time to complete the visa application process.
  • Rolling admissions: courses fill quickly, so submit your complete application as soon as possible.

Additional Details

  • Prerequisite: ECON 20100 or PBPL 22200
  • enrollment limit is 25

Cost & Aid

Tuition is $4,085 per course. (Full-time registration is two courses taken during the same session.)
Additional fees apply; housing and dining costs not included.

Complete Cost & Aid Information (including housing and other fees) for high school students can be found here.
Complete Cost & Aid Information (including housing and other fees) for undergraduates can be found here.