Course Catalog

Take the renowned Be Your Own Economist® course your own way. Choose any course module for only $4.99 or the entire course (all 13 modules) for just $49.00

We also offer CPE eligible Special Modules.

1 - Housing
The recent recession began in residential real estate and spread throughout consumer demand. This module will examine the causes of the real-estate slump and the path to recovery. In order to investigate them you will: Learn how the Federal Reserve's actions contributed to the real-estate bubble and collapse + Use charts to identify trends in housing starts, new-home sales and existing-home sales + Go to the web to retrieve recent data for these indicators + Update the charts using data obtained from the web
2 - The Federal Reserve and Interest Rates
Provides a thorough grounding in the Federal Reserve's (the Fed's) influence on interest rates - broadly referred to as monetary policy - and interest rates' sway over borrowing and spending's surges and setbacks. Once you understand the Fed's motivations in determining monetary policy, this module will examine how the Fed executes that policy. In order to stay in touch with the Fed's actions you will go to the Fed's web site to retrieve the Beige Book as well as Open Market Committee announcements and minutes and use charts to analyze Federal Reserve policy and interest-rate developments.
3 - The Federal Deficit
Everyone is aware that the federal government's tax revenues do not cover its expenditures and that the federal government must borrow funds in order to cover this shortfall. Consequently the federal government has a large outstanding debt. That raises a number of issues covered by this module. How did the federal government get into this jam? How can it get out of it? Should we care? What is the deficit's impact on the economy generally and on employment and inflation in particular? To help answer these questions you will use the web to obtain federal receipts/expenditures/deficit data and evaluate current fiscal policy and its impact on the economy and inflation in the light of historical experience.
4 - Consumer Demand
The recent recession began in residential real estate and spread throughout consumer demand. It hit retail hard and devastated automobile manufacturing. This module will examine the trail that began with the real-estate slump, wound its way through consumer confidence and led to auto sales. In order to investigate consumer demand and its recovery - you will: Use charts to identify the most important trends in consumer confidence, auto sales and consumer credit, go to the web and retrieve recent data for these indicators, and update the charts using data obtained from the web.
5 - The Stock Market
The stock market is a good measure of the economy because it reflects the value of owning America's businesses. This module introduces the forces that drive the stock market. To better understand them you will: Analyze the S&P 500, the stock-market average used by most investment professionals, explore the relationship between the S&P 500 and corporate earnings, learn to retrieve from the Web and apply the latest data on stocks, earnings and the P/E - the key ratio between them.
6 - Profits and Profit Margins
This module will investigate the 2003 - 2007 stock-market boom, the 2008 meltdown and the following recovery. In this module you will learn how to track profits and profit-margin data on the web so that you can stay ahead of today's and tomorrow's stock-market developments as well as ask the right questions regarding profit and profit-margin sustainability.
7 - Output, Efficiency and Costs
This module will direct you to the Web sites required to track output, efficiency and costs so that you can understand the forces shaping profits and profit margins. In order to accomplish this you will: Learn how output changes affect productivity, prices and profits + Identify the most important trends in output, efficiency and costs + go to the Web to retrieve recent data for GDP, industrial production, capacity utilization, productivity, unit labor cost and prices + use this data to analyze trends in output, efficiency, costs and prices.
8 - Business Capital Expenditures
This module examines business purchases of plant, equipment and inventory. In the course of your investigation of business capital expenditures you will: Learn that business capital expenditures' cyclical role has changed over time + Familiarize yourself with the statistical indicator known as "new orders for nondefense capital goods" and its cyclical record + Learn why business invests in new capital goods + Examine inventories' role in the business cycle + Use charts to identify the most important trends in plant and equipment expenditures and inventory accumulation + Go to the web and retrieve recent data for these indicators + Update the charts using data obtained from the web + Learn how to evaluate recent data in order to understand current developments and have a reasonable grasp of possible future developments.
9 - Outlook
This module reviews the modules covered thus far by reviewing the economy's boom and bust cycle over the past decade. It then asks you to make a forecast of business and investment conditions in the near future.
10 - U.S. and The Global Economy
Previous modules introduced the domestic economy. This module acquaints you with America's economic relationship to the rest of the world. It will show you how to construct and interpret an international account for the U.S. economy, understand the relationship between the U.S. balance of trade deficit and U.S. international indebtedness and understand the relationship between the U.S. dollar's value and the U.S. International Account. To do this you will use the web to obtain U.S. International Account data and use the web to obtain quotes of the U.S. dollar's value in other currencies.
11 - Your Portfolio of Stocks and Mutual Funds
This module will provide you with tools that will assist your selection of stocks and mutual funds. You will use the Web to discover which industries' and firms' earnings have grown most rapidly, create your own simulated stock portfolio so that you can compare the performance of stocks you select to the performance of the best-known stock-market averages, use the Web to evaluate mutual-fund performance, and select and add mutual funds to your simulated portfolio to compare their performance with the stock-market averages.
12 - Options and Futures
This module will show you how speculators use options and futures to leverage their investments in stocks, commodities and financial instruments. This module's first section will introduce options investing and the second section will introduce futures. In them you will: Learn how to use the Web to obtain commodity-market and futures-market data and to use the web to select options and futures. You will also select a number of options and commodities on which to simulate an investment in the options and futures markets, decide on whether put or call options best suit your stock-market assessment, and decide whether you wish to go long or short based on work thus far this semester.
13 - The Bond and Money Markets
Module 2 introduced you to the bond market and U.S. Treasury securities in the course of its discussion of monetary policy. This module extends that discussion to the markets for corporate and municipal (state and local government) bonds and Treasury bills. In this module you will learn the relationship between risk and yield for various maturities and issuers and the possibilities for capital gains and losses for a variety of instruments and use the Web to obtain bond-market and money-market data for a variety of issues and maturities.
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