Peter Philips
  • Professor, Economics Department

Current Courses

Fall 2018

Spring 2018

Teaching Philosophy

"Teach students facts, and they will know facts.  Teach students how to think, and they will be able to gather, evaluate and use facts their whole lives."


Philips is an accomplished teacher having won many awards for his teaching and guidance of graduate students.  These awards include the University of Utah, College of Social and Behavioral Sciences, Superior Teacher Award (1982), the University of Utah, College of Social and Behavioral Sciences, Dean's Research Fellow (1985 and 1988), University of Utah, John R. Park Teacher's Fellowship (1988), University of Utah, Lowell Bennion University Distinguished Service Professor (1992-93),    University of Utah, Presidential Teaching Scholar (1993), Nominee, Student Choice Teaching Award, Academic Affairs Board of the Associated Students of the University of Utah, 2004 and the University of Utah, Graduate Student & Postdoctoral Scholar Distinguished Mentor, 2007.

Courses I Teach

  • 1740 - US Economic History
    Historical foundations of American economic growth and development from the colonial period to the present. Institutional and structural change and processes of growth. This is one of my favorite courses to teach because it brings in lots of non-econ majors and introduces them to the BIG QUESTIONS about how we got to where we are at today through processes of economic growth and change. My favorite lecture in this course is one I call: "The Economic History of Saints and Sinners--A Comparison of the Beginnings of Salt Lake City and San Francisco".
  • 5470 - American Economic Development
    Economic growth and development in United States from 19th through early 20th century. Growth due to industrialization and the accompanying evolution of economic institutions. Emphasis on understanding the particular sources and social consequences of American industrial development. In this course, we go into more depth on the material covered in Econ 1740 with a greater emphasis on the debates in economic history.
  • 6630 - Applied Econometrics
    Application of multiple regression analysis to financial models, costs and production models, hedonic price models, labor demand, investment demand, and similar micro- and macro-economic models. The applications involve the use of data sources and computer software packages. I love to teach this course because so many of my students in this course come in fearing statistics but leave loving it. Stat become fun when the student realizes they are mastering a new and powerful tool to get at real world problems and issues. This course emphasizes an intuitive understanding of statistical methods.
  • 7150 - Labor/Gender I
    Course covers graduate-level labor economics theory with a focus on choice-theoretic (i.e. neoclassical) labor economics supplemented at the end with a three week segment on alternative approaches to labor economics.
  • 7590 - Econometrics
    Ordinary least squares, maximum likelihood, constrained estimation, systems of equations, generalized least squares, and regression diagnostics. Application-oriented. In this course, you will learn the range of generally used econometric techniques that will help you with your dissertation research. Very practically oriented.
  • 2010 - Principles of Microeconomics
    Issues related to the production of goods and services. Questions addressed include what gets produced, how does production take place, and who gets the output. Micro theory helps answer these questions by analyzing markets and how consumers and producers make decisions. I like this course because we can talk about the problems of the day, and also because I love the challenge of helping students get a real feel for how the economy works and how it affects them.
  • 3100 - Labor Economics
    Labor-market economics, wage theory, labor mobility, human-resource development, unionism, collective bargaining, employment, and public policy. This is my field. This is what I do as a professional economist. This is my true intellectual love. So in this course, I try to share that love.
  • 5120 - Labor Law and Collective Bargaining
    An exploration of the laws and policies that regulate and protect employers and employees in U.S. labor markets including labor-management relations, equal employment opportunity, wages and hours, safety and health, immigration, termination, income maintenance, and other topics. I am the country's leading expert on law that govern the construction labor market. I also have testified in court on several occasions regarding labor market matters. So labor law and labor policies are central to my research and expertise. This is a great course not only for econ majors and poli-sci majors but also anyone thinking about going in law.
  • 7800 - Econometrics
    Probability, conditional probability, distributions, transformation of probability densities, sufficient statistics, limit theorems, estimation principles, maximum likelihood estimation, interval estimation and hypothesis testing, least squares estimation, linear constraints. This is part of the PhD econometrics field and is a good course for anyone want to develop a strong expertise in econometrics.