The Economics of Financial Crises

Open to students entering grades 11 or 12 or freshman year of college in the fall
II - July 16–August 2, 2019
Days & Time:
Monday–Friday, 9:10 –11:00 a.m. and 1:10–3:00 p.m.
Isabelle Delalex

Thorough knowledge of high school mathematics, up to but not including calculus. 

“I learned so much about the whole of economics and it was awesome to learn with an enthusiastic class.” – Preston P. | New York, New York

Course Description

What causes financial crises and how can they be prevented?

In this course, we introduce analytical tools of economic policy, macroeconomics, and finance so as to understand the causes and recognize the symptoms of financial crises in market economies. We also review potential “cures”—policy prescriptions, structural reforms, and banking industry regulatory changes—that are used or considered for correction of fiscal imbalances, currency crises, banking crises, and debt crises. We draw upon the experiences of financial crises in the United States, Europe, Latin America, China, and the Middle East. Particular attention is paid to debates on policy measures focusing on ex ante preventive policies, rather than corrective measures, and their recommended levels of monetary, fiscal stimuli and financial sector reforms.

Participants learn to distinguish between different types of crises (currency, debt, financial, liquidity, etc.) and to identify their causes and consequences. They synthesize introductory knowledge of economic thought, economic and monetary policies, and financial markets to forge an understanding of the factors and risks contributing to contemporary financial crises within the context of interconnected, global markets. In the process, students develop broader critical thinking skills applicable to whatever field they eventually go into.

In-class activities include lectures, small-group work, class-wide discussions, debates, and problem sets.

While no prior knowledge of economics is required for this course, students are expected to learn a wide range of complex economic concepts in a short period of time. Those who combine an interest in economic issues with strong problem-solving skills and a passion for quantitative reasoning are more likely to enjoy and do well in this class.


Isabelle Delalex

Isabelle Delalex is an adjunct professor at Pace University's Lubin School of Business and also at Dyson College of Arts and Sciences, where she teaches courses in finance and economics. At Columbia's School of International and Public Affairs, she serves as a faculty adviser to graduate students participating in the Capstone consultancy projects. In the private sector, she was the vice president and director of industry research at the Securities Industry Association after working for five years as an analyst at Goldman Sachs. Her professional experience also includes consulting work for the United Nations and several not-for-profit organizations. Delalex holds a master's degree in international affairs from Columbia University.

Back to the Course Guide

Specific course detail such as hours and instructors are subject to change at the discretion of the University. Not all instructors listed for a course teach all sections of that course.