Economics/Public Policy

Economics is often defined as the study of how individuals, firms and institutions make choices when resources are scarce. It is not just a discipline but also a way of thinking. Mastering basic economics can help business school students think through the trade-offs involved in managerial decision-making. Important public policy debates often revolve around basic economic questions as well. How do government health care programs affect health care spending, access to care, and medical innovation? How do government-backed home loans affect the incentive to take on real estate risk? Students will get exposure to these types of questions both in core economics classes and in elective health care or real estate courses. In line with the Merage School’s focus on leadership in a digital world, students will also gain an understanding of how the digital world is changing markets. The types of questions that can be addressed include: What are transaction costs and how do digital technologies affect these? What is market clearing and how does surge pricing work? What are sunk costs and how does this help one understand the pricing of software products? Like the digital world itself, the application of economics to these questions will continue to evolve.


Dennis Aigner

Dennis Aigner
Professor Emeritus of Management and Economics
Research Interests: Corporate Environmental Management, International Economics, Trade and Environment

Ed Coulson

Ed Coulson
Professor of Economics and Director of Research, Center for Real Estate
Research Interests: Real Estate, Urban Economics, Housing Economics

Paul Feldstein

Paul Feldstein
Professor Emeritus
Research Interests: Economics of healthcare, Reasons for employees switching healthcare plans, Measuring health plan performance by examining breast cancer outcomes by stage at detection, treatment and survival

Mireille Jacobson

Mireille Jacobson
Visiting Professor

Richard McKenzie

Richard McKenzie
Professor Emeritus
Research Interests: Monopoly in economic theory and law, Various pricing strategies, Rational and irrational behavior in economic theory, Microsoft anti-trust case, Public policies relating to digital goods, Orphanages and public policy relating to foster care

Peter Navarro

Peter Navarro
Professor Emeritus

Andrew Policano

Andrew Policano
Professor Emeritus
Research Interests: Financial Institutions and Markets, Macroeconomics, Monetary Theory, Business School Trends

Judy Rosener

Judy Rosener
Professor Emerita
Research Interests: Men and women at work, Cultural diversity, Business and government, Managing nonprofits

Kerry Vandell

Kerry Vandell
Dean's Professor of Real Estate, Emeritus
Research Interests: Real Estate Investments, Urban Economic Development, Mortgage Finance, Housing Economics & Policy, Valuation of Complex Real Estate Interests


Undergraduate business classes may be found through the UCI course catalogue.

MBA Core Course Description

204A. Microeconomics
The purpose of Microeconomics is to apply a series of basic economics principles to key management decisions within organizations, with a special emphasis on how the digital world is affecting those decisions. It provides principles to foster the goals of the organization, as well as a better understanding of the external business environment in which an organization operates and how the digital world is disrupting markets. Economic tools can be employed to solve issues related to optimal pricing strategies, demand forecasting, optimal financing, appropriate hiring decisions, and investment decisions, among others. Here the digital world is opening new opportunities, in particular when it comes to optimal pricing strategies, but also in relation to demand forecasting and data driven decision making. We will discuss the implications of digital technologies for pricing strategies. In addition, the digital world will affect cost structures, which in turn will affect optimal output and pricing as well as appropriate hiring decisions. We will discuss the implications of digital goods as well as digitally enabled production. The digital world is also changing the competitive environment and with that market structures. We will discuss the implications of digital disruption in markets.

MBA Elective Descriptions

204B. Macroeconomics
The purpose of this course is to provide an analytical framework for understanding changing macroeconomic conditions, with an emphasis on current events and a global perspective. Issues related to economic growth, inflation, interest rates, exchange rates, global competitiveness and unemployment will be discussed. Throughout the course there will be a focus on understanding how the digital world is changing macroeconomic conditions, including both long run macroeconomic trends as well as short run economic fluctuations. Understanding the underlying economic forces at work is fundamentally important for decision makers and business leaders. The main objective of the course is to provide students with the skills to critically assess how developments in the economy affect the business environment.

206. Business and Government
The purpose of Business and Government is to introduce students to the many non-market issues that affect today’s managers, with a particular emphasis on understanding how and why governments intervene in competitive markets. The digital world is creating new regulatory challenges, such as the manner in which tech giants create a challenge for the tax system. But the regulatory issues are more widespread: Data rights and antitrust issues also need to be resolved. We will discuss the role and rationale of government intervention and international standards to understand the interests and institutions involved. As such this course provides an important complement to other courses in economics, management, and strategy. An important element of the course will be a team project in which students identify a real-world non-market issue of interest, analyze it using the tools of the course, and offer concrete strategic advice. The ultimate goal is to provide a framework to analyze non-market issues and institutions to enhance the students’ ability to create effective non-market strategies.

246A. Introduction to Real Estate Process
This survey course is designed to give interested students an introduction for understanding the workings of the real estate industry.  The legal, economic, and financial underpinnings of the valuation of real estate assets is emphasized.  We discuss in turn the nature of property rights in real estate, the economic analysis of real estate in national and local contexts, and the financial valuation of property and investments. While real estate is by its very nature grounded in physical assets, digital disruption of the industry is ongoing.  The mass appraisal of property using big databases, the evaluation of local real estate investment opportunities using GIS systems, and the use of peer to peer platforms to buy and sell both commercial and residential property are among the topics discussed.

246B. International Real Estate
This course views real estate as an asset class in a global environment. Given recent technological advances and data sources in a world of various property concepts, understanding economic, cultural, and institutional factors have become essential for decision-makers worldwide who deal with land, buildings and sophisticated legal and financial instruments.  This course employs a variety of methods including historical and institutional approaches, economic and financial perspectives, and analytical tools and findings necessary to make complex, strategic choices dealing with terra firma.

246C. Real Estate Capital Markets
The course examines the four quadrants of capital in real estate: public debt, private debt, public equity and private equity. Using cases with actual investment scenarios, current research and a focus on industry trends, the course refines students’ assessment and analysis of strategic investment factors in capital structure and critical elements that affect each counterparty in investment transactions. Additionally, the class explores the role real estate investments play in a portfolio investment composition. Leading industry professionals provide additional insight to lectures. Using an Investment Committee format, student groups source, evaluate, advocate and present a current, viable investment opportunity to an outside jury to conclude the class.

246D. The Real Estate Development Process
The primary objective of this course is to provide students with a practical understanding of the entire real estate development process – from project concept, to design, to construction, to sale. At the end of the course students will be able to develop their own real estate project, as well as better understand a career field such as lender, investor, broker, appraiser, attorney, city planner, etc. Students will gain practical knowledge by working in teams to conceive an actual development project, and then prepare a feasibility analysis and optimal deal structure for the project. Students will also learn directly from industry professionals as lectures will be supplemented by a number of guests representing different roles in the development process. The course will explore how the use of technology is impacting traditional real estate models. Throughout the course, students will learn how to use these specific technology tools to better lead in the real estate industry.

246F. Seminar in Management of the Real Estate Enterprise
This capstone seminar explores entrepreneurial leadership in start-up ventures and established real estate firms. Recognized industry leaders and rising stars will guest lecture to share their expertise as well as insights on the how technology and enhanced data are influencing acquisitions & investments, the capital stack, property & asset management, entitlements, architecture & construction, the entitlement process, and development. Case studies spur class discussions exploring the decision-making responsibilities of the manager-leader facing challenges from economic cycles, evolving technologies, and other disruptors. Students will learn how to use analytical decision making and innovative thought to make increasingly complex strategic decisions. While the seminar examines “The Deal”, it goes further by delving into the IQ and EQ processes involved in strategic decision making in an increasingly complex environment.

246G. Applied Real Estate Security Analysis and Portfolio Management
For many investors, real estate represents a major asset class. Publicly-traded real estate companies (REITs) have become an increasingly important part of the overall real estate capital market and they provide an efficient way to invest in this asset class, which contrasts with conventional thinking on real estate investing. The objective of this course is to provide students with the analytical tools necessary to (i) evaluate real estate companies from an investment perspective, (ii) compare REITs with the array of other real estate investments options and (iii) construct a portfolio of real estate investments. Backed by a wealth of new data time series from Green Street Advisors, the leader in real estate securities analysis, the class will challenge and discuss traditional real estate ideas about operations and structure as well as delve into the impact of technological advances on the demand for real estate space.

261A. Physicians, Executives, and Healthcare Law
Elective course offered alternating years, for UCI MBA students. Designed to bring major healthcare law issues to the classroom.

262. Managing Nonprofits
Focuses on the similarities and differences between for-profit and nonprofit organizations, with emphasis on the management of nonprofits. Topics include: marketing, fundraising, staffing, management/director relationships, use of volunteers, and emerging career opportunities.

264. US Health Policy
Provides an overview of US health policy with a particular emphasis on current policy developments and debates. Students will be introduced to the basic tools of policy analysis and will apply them to health policy issues.

267. Understanding Managed Care
This course is designed to increase understanding of the various concepts of managed health care with an emphasis on the organizational processes required to make it work, and explore the economics and financial pressures these organizations face.

290. Business of Medicine
This course will provide a systems perspective to understand health care today in the post ACA era, its problems as well as opportunities and prepare students for the possible “Trumpcare” landscape.  As the current political landscape continues to call for “repeal and replace the ACA,” a considerable policy shift may impact existing programs as well as create opportunities for new ones. Students will be exposed to different aspects of the healthcare business ranging from healthcare policy, delivery system reform, payment reform, value based insurance design, digital health, new age consumerism in healthcare, specialty pharma trends, disruptions in healthcare delivery systems to the innovative role of social ventures. Students will examine the key features of concern to prospective health care entrepreneurs: (1) sources of health care innovation; (2) the many “customers” in health care: patients, doctors, hospitals, insurers, and regulators; (3) the policy changes that may unfold in the new “Trump Care” world (4) the investing community.

This course will also discuss how evolving technology disrupts traditional healthcare business models and operations. With advances in the tools for data discovery and manipulation, students will learn how to anticipate the next disruption and/or develop and lead those disruptive initiatives. Modules will be based around real life cases involving device, pharma, biotech, digital disruptors, insurers and hospital industry creating value in healthcare.

290. Applied Game Theory for Managers
Game theory provides a framework for analyzing and predicting behaviors and outcomes in situations of strategic interaction among players. In most business circumstances, managers and organizations make decisions that are interdependent. The course will provide students with the essential tools of game theory and demonstrate their use by applying them to a variety of business and economic situations. The digital world creates new strategic challenges and can critically change the nature of competitive games. We will discuss real-world examples and analyze games that arise in business settings. An important element of the course will be a team project in which students identify a real-world game of interest, analyze it using the tools of the course, and offer concrete strategic advice to some player in the game. The ultimate goal of the course is to enhance the students’ ability to think strategically in complex, interactive situations. To achieve this goal the course will alternate between theory and practice.

290. Mixed-Use Community Land Development
This course addresses the community development process for mixed-use projects. Students will learn the underlying conceptual framework and foundation for understanding such developments in a historical, economic, and social context. A series of guest experts representing the many functions associated with the creation, marketing, and operation of successful mixed-use commercial/residential master-planned communities will engage students in an active dialogue involving the complex decision making that is a necessary part of the process.

295. Federal Policy in Health Care
National/international one-week residential course exploring political analysis as related to management of health care organizations. Topics include political environment of management, concepts, and processes central to political analysis, bureaucratic politics, politics, and the manager.