Course code:



MA - Intermediate/Advanced

Class size limit:


Meets the following requirements:

  • HS - Human Studies

Lab fee:


Typically offered:

Every other year

Economics is slowly expanding from equilibrium-based, atomistic optimization, through dyadic strategic interaction, to the consideration of networks and complexity. At the same time, it is beginning to incorporate more complex human motivations beyond simple optimization as means of explaining economic outcomes. This course captures these trends by the study of the economics of cooperation, networks, and trust. We will focus on four major ways of understanding cooperation: individual optimization, strategic optimization, institutions, and embedded social relationships (networks), and we will apply cooperation to the contexts of commonly held resources (such as fisheries and climate), networks and strategic alliances, and formal economic organizations (cooperatives). After an introduction to the relevant issues and an examination of the standard neoclassical approach of optimization (with cooperation as part of the choice set), we will enrich our understanding of group cooperation through the examination of social capital, tacit knowledge, and common pool resources. We will then have a brief exposure to game theoretic approaches to conceptualizing strategic behavior, along with graph theory as a means of conceptualizing networks. With these tools in hand, we will examine the role of networks in economic contexts such as the networks of Emilia Romagna, the Mondragón complex, and worker-owned businesses in the United States and Canada. This course will be of interest to students interested in business and organizational management, natural resource management, sociology, community development, globalization, social movements, economic democracy, and a host of other topics. Evaluation will be based on participation in classroom discussions, several major assignments, and responses to reading questions. We will collaboratively decide on a final project; possibilities poster presentations, a community presentation, or a jointly produced research or policy paper.


One course in college or IB economics.

Always visit the Registrar's Office for the official course catalog and schedules.