January 02, 2014

Lincoln, Edward
[W4325] Economic Organization and Development of Japan

Please keep in mind that this review is more than 5 years old.

If you like history and economics you'll like this class. It's not all that much work. All you really have to do is go to the lectures, sit back, and pay attention, which isn't that hard to do since the material is often really fascinating. Lincoln is an good speaker, and often provides interesting anecdotes from his personal experience working with the US and Japanese governments.

The class is sort of split up into two parts. The first part focuses more on Japanese history, with an emphasis on economics, mainly starting with the Meiji Restoration in about 1867 (with one class about the Tokugawa period from 1600-1867) and ending at present day. For this section, the reading is a bit more important than in the second half. It's also pretty interesting. If you pay attention to the lectures and do some of the readings, you won't have to do much work to prepare for the midterm. The midterm is just 25 short answer and one explanation of some economic model. He will ask some questions like 'What did X author say about Y', so be prepared for that.

The second half of the class is more economic-heavy. He basically reviews a number of economic topics, then applies them to Japan. We had a class on fiscal policy, monetary policy, exchange rates, etc. If you want to finally apply all of the economics you've learned at Columbia, you'll appreciate this part of the class. The readings get super technical in this part, and he does a good job of reviewing them in class, so I wouldn't advise spending too much time on them. The final just focuses on this section and isn't all that hard. It's just 40 short answer.

Overall, I felt like I learned a ton about how economics is applied in the real world and about Japan; I really feel like I completely understand any article I read now about Japan's economics situation. Lincoln explains things really well, so it's easy to pay attention in class.

Also, if you're interested in finance, since Japan had to essentially invent a financial system during the Meiji Period, you'll learn a lot about the financial system and why certain institutions exist.

I haven't got my grade back yet so I can't speak much as to the curve.


Some reading, midterm, final, 10-page paper about whatever you want