professor
Prajit Dutta

Jan 2021

Dutta is a solid lecturer and knows his stuff. While his lectures may be dry, he speaks clearly and thoroughly answers questions. However, Dutta doesn’t record his lectures, and he also introduced pop quizzes in Fall 2020, so attendance was pretty much mandatory. The exams were synchronous, so some international students had a tough time. Outside of lecturing, Dutta had little to no involvement with the class. His TAs handled all the homework, recitations, office hours, quizzes, and exams. The graduate TAs write the exams, so I strongly recommend regularly attending one of their recitations. The undergrad TAs were the most active on Piazza, but they weren’t as experienced. Overall, this class felt like a pushover until the final. Dutta’s section is definitely easier than Gulati’s, but I still learned a lot. Just be prepared to study like hell at the end of the semester.

Jan 2021

Lecture introduced concepts, TAs would go over it in more detail during recitation, you can find the necessary info for psets in the textbook, and to study for tests I would simply read the relevant textbook chapters. It is super straightforward, and the tests were very reasonable especially if you're quick with math.

Dec 2020

He’s okay. I took his class during COVID, but he never recorded his lectures which in my opinion was a bit inconsiderate, especially for the international students. Personally, I read the textbook more than I paid attention to his lectures because the textbook is really what ends up being tested on during tests and hw. His lectures can be engaging, but also can be off tangent sometimes, which leads us to not cover stuff that we are expected to know from the books. His midterm was pretty straightforward, but his final was definitely harder. If you are truly interested in economics, maybe try Gulati's class, but if you are here just for the requirement then this class will probably be okay. I’m an econ major but I still found his class ok since the textbook was well written. The workload is pretty manageable, it’s only the tests people worry about since the midterm and finals are together abt 75% of our grade... overall, if you are willing to read the textbook word for word and not rely super heavily on the lecture, you will be fine.

Dec 2020

This class was pretty good. I liked the way the professor adapted to the online format and his pacing was good. He tied the concepts into important themes such as climate change and the pandemic which made class more interesting. I also really liked the TAs and I thought they did a very good job of solidifying concepts in recitation. I found the second half of the class to be much harder but not unreasonable. The course very much so follows the textbook.

Dec 2019

Having never taken a single course in economics, I really believe I learned a lot in Dutta’s class! The lectures were not extremely engaging, and basically covered the textbook chapter. Recitations were completely useless, and I stopped going after the 3rd week. The problem sets were very straightforward, but lectures did not cover the concepts— reading the textbook was required to complete the psets. The midterm was very fair, and the psets were great preparation. The final, on the other hand, had a 20 point question that was NEVER covered in class, in the text, or on psets— the mean on the final was 61%. If you can, I recommend taking this class P/D/F; Dutta makes the material understandable, and it is a very informative class.

Jan 2019

Professor Dutta is a very clear and engaging lecturer. He follows his book almost exactly. Understanding the material presented in lecture/in the book was necessary, but not sufficient for doing well in the class. The TAs wrote all of the problem sets and every exam question for both the midterm and final! While he is a clearly brilliant, nice guy, Dutta had very little involvement in the class apart from lecture. This meant that any questions about logistics/homework/tests were most productively directed towards TAs. Additionally, in contrast to previous years where exams were very straightforward, he decided to turn up the volume (midterm average was 48). Game theory is a difficult subject, and this class was made more stressful by the fact that one had to spend lots of time studying outside resources for sufficient practice and to fill in the gaps left by the textbook (not as in-depth as other game theory books). Overall, game theory is fun and rewarding, but I would only suggest taking this class if you are able to devote enough time to fully understand the concepts! The TAs are your best friends!

Dec 2018

Meh. I really wish I had taken this class at Barnard or with Gulati; I was fairly interested in economics entering this class and the class sort of knocked that out of me. Dutta is a decent lecturer; sometimes he'll ask questions and he's always open to answering questions during the lecture, but everything he says is easily found in the textbook. The recitations are kind of useless too; they're not mandatory and are mostly dedicated to going over problem sets. Towards the end I stopped going to lectures (and I only went to the first 3 recitations) and I did fine in the class.

Jan 2017

Lecture-based class with a discussion section, which for the most part reviews the problem set and occasionally review what was discussed in the lecture. His lectures are okay, not stellar nor terrible. He knows what he is talking about, and you can learn most of the information from just reading the textbook. The only thing he changes are the examples he uses, i.e. Joe's Coffee. The first half of the class is dedicated to Micro, the latter to Macro. Macro definitely the most challenging of the two. This was his first year teaching Principles, so maybe next year he might do better. The TAs are pretty friendly, although most people did not go to the discussion section that I had. As a result, they're not mandatory and not much use.

May 2014

Dutta is no Elmes... and/but (depending on how you fall on her) I really enjoyed his class. I was going to take Elmes having heard what a good prof she is, but couldn't fit it in my schedule, so I signed up for Dutta, and I'm so glad I did! He's a funny guy, with a bunch of quirks. Overall, very nice -- always willing to answer questions during and after class. He would always walk in 5-10 minutes late (he came in 10 minutes late on the last day of class, then ended class early), he lectures and then pauses really deliberately to sip his coffee... he's just a funny guy. We didn't have any class after Thanksgiving because we had a few makeup classes in September. Not sure what the point of that was... but it was pretty funny. You can kind of tell he doesn't give that much of a shit about the class. But, he's very clear about the material, very straightforward. It's an easy class -- there's not a whole ton of complex math involved, it's pretty much just solving systems of equations and taking derivatives and such. If you do the problem sets and pay attention in class (supplement lecture material w/ book chapters on the same material if you want to understand it better) you should be fine on the exams. Midterm and final were easy. I rarely went to OH/recitation but the TAs were very friendly. I think it's a good foundation in Micro in that you learn all the basics, plus Dutta is a master at game theory so I think he does a good job going over that stuff and we actually learned similar stuff that you might learn in the actual game theory or industrial organization courses, but you definitely don't go as in depth into other topics of Micro, which Elmes definitely does.

Nov 2013

Professor Dutta is an amazing professor. I came into the class with a terrible experience in both Principles and Macro, and was thinking of switching majors. However, the way Professor Dutta taught this class made econ easy - or even fun from time to time. He uses very little calc, a lot of intuition and real life examples. Anyone who attends lecture can do really well even without reading the textbook (I barely ever read anything and got a 96 on the midterm). The workload is extremely light. 1 problem set per week, more or less. Very easy midterm. A final that shouldn't be too bad either. If you want an easy micro class that still teaches you all the concepts you need to know, take Professor Dutta. He is also just such a nice person.

Jan 2011

If you're somewhat of a logical person, know your basic calc, and remember most of what you've learn in Principles, then this class will be a piece of cake. Dutta tries hard to be detailed and let every single student understand every concept, but sometimes the few students who are not as bright really hold back the class. Because of that, it's really not worth the time to go to class if you're willing to skim the textbook for 20 minutes every week. If you do the homework and study the past exams that Dutta posts on courseworks, you'll get a decent grade.

May 2008

Generally a pretty easy class. Based on past reviews, Dutta seemed to have put in a little more preparation for classes with examples and (bad) humor. Lectures were not interactive at all, but also very simple. Everything came straight from the book, and most of the class only showed up for the midterm and final since it's at 9 am. You can easily do well by just reading the textbook and doing the weekly HW's. He skips a lot of subjects/details in the book that other professors probably cover, so your Micro knowledge from this class probably won't be very in-depth. On the flip side, his HW and tests are generally easy. It's possible that a fair number of students get perfect or near-perfect scores on the exams. Went to 1 TA session, wasn't helpful at all. They just go over past HW's to make sure everyone knows what's going on. Take Dutta if you want a good grade, not if you want a good foundation in Micro.

Mar 2008

In all honesty, this class was Principles Part 2, where we learned virtually nothing new from what I had learned with Professor Gulati in Principles of Economics. Dutta moves incredibly slowly, we spent way too long on simple supply and demand problems that were already reviewed in Principles. Furthermore, Dutta is extremely boring and dull as a lecturer. While his notes are clear, he fails to command the class' interest; his occasional attempt to get the class to participate are utter failures -- his comments are met, for good reason, with the same lack of enthusiasm that he brings to class. If you want to learn something in Microeconomics that is interesting and new, PLEASE take this class with Elmes. Yes she is harder and gives a lot more work, but you develop a much greater passion for Economics and appreciation of the subject. Also, don't be afraid of the timing of Elmes' class, even if it's later in the day, you get used to it. Elmes' class talks about interesting applications of Micro, such as determining insurance premiums, while Dutta stays on the very basic topics: Supply and Demand, Perfectly Competitive/Monopolistic markets, etc... This class is not a challenge and doesn't encourage thinking or learning. If that's what you're looking for than by all means take it, but if you are genuinely interested in Economics, please take Micro with Elmes.

Dec 2006

Overall a good boring class. The class lectures are extremely easy and the HWs are ok. Beware however that the midterm was hard and the average was in the low 50s. And there is a very very BIG but to the class. Honestly, it felt as if he didn't care about us at all. Everything, from choosing the HWs, grading them, explaining them and the midterm/final were done by the TAs. This was evident since the class notes were completely useless when doing the midterm or most PS. Everything was based on the book. So... if you take this class: lectures are unnecessary and keep up to date with all the readings which are much more important.

May 2005

This class was interesting, but the professor comes late everyday and does not seem to care about us. The exams are easy, as is the homework, but there is practically no curve...unlike in physics. Definitely less than 50 percent of the class got an A or A- being that the average average was a 75 and for a B+ one needed an 80.

May 2005

A decent professor, although he was ten minutes late to nearly every lecture. Lectures are straightforward and easy to understand; homework and tests are not very hard. However, getting help in this class if you don't understand a certain aspect of the material is very hard. His TAs could barely speak English and only held office hours at highly inconvenient times (some on Thursday and Friday evenings). If you want a low-intensity micro class, Dutta will give it to you, but you won't get a class that's very intellectually stimulating or user-friendly.

Sep 2004

Professor Dutta uses his own book and he follows it to the word literally. This is actually wonderful for a class that could get confusing at times. His class is very organized and tests are fairly easy if you read the book, especially sections in the book that do not work out full solutions.

Jun 2004

This is the best economics class I've taken at Columbia yet. The man really knows the subject well, and has the ability to make it interesting at times. The classes are open for discussion and a sense of humor.

May 2004

Let me start off by saying that due to schedule conflicts, I had to take this class at 9am and I am not what you'd call a "morning person". That being said, I thought this class was okay. His lecturing style is a little boring, but I'd be lying if I said that he didn't cover all of the material because Professor Dutta thoroughly goes over every bit of every chapter. Most of the time, I didn't have to read chapters to answer the problem set because he gave me all of the information I needed in class. If you show up to the lectures, you'll definitely be fine for the exams. His problem sets consist of 4 - 5 problems in the book that are usually extremely easy to answer. This means two things: 1. Easy A+ for the homework grade 2. You don't really learn as much as the other micro class. He definitely repeats some of the stuff you learned in Principles and doesn't go in-depth at all. This is definitely something to consider, especially if you're going to be an economics major. I had O'Flaherty last term for Principles and I am extremely scared to take Econometrics and Macroeconomics next year due to my poor foundation of econ knowledge. Then again, this was his first time teaching Micro in a long time, so he could get better.

May 2002

This is the most unstructured class ever. The Internet may be new and experimental, but the class doesn't have to be. If nothing else, there should have at least been a computer in the classroom in order to navigate the net and demonstrate and illustrated points better. The professor chose to try something new, and so half the semester was wasted as students had to make worthless group presentations that caused each class to run an hour longer than it was scheduled to. The first half of the semester was micro-intensive, but Iron Dutta failed to teach those concepts and focused on game theory. The midterm then had NO GAME THEORY. The most prepared students suffered while those who were taking micro concurrently did well based on that outside knowledge. In addition, the lack of a text and failure to provide examples for problems further illustrated Dutta's lack of interest in helping the students to learn the subject. While an interesting person, he failed to provide the support the students need to succeed in that class. Finally, aside from the group presentations, he never actually discussed the Internet. WHERE WAS THE INTERNET? It is supposed to be an class about the Internet! All that was taught was models for competition, and poorly taught at that, and game theory, which seemed the focus of the course and the problem sets but excluded from the midterm. And with the second half of the semester devoted to presentations, not a single student could fathom what the content of the final would be and not a student had done any work for anything that would be on the final. The class essentially stopped the day after the midterm, and yet we were supposed to learn more concepts like network externalities and vertical differentiation and to apply them to the final. Frankly, Professor Dutta wasted our semesters, and since the midterm is after the drop date, there was nothing we could do about it. The TA's are unsure of what they are teaching us in the review sessions, frequently making mistakes or disagreeing with what the Professor taught, and the head TA doesn't speak english well enough to be understood half the time, although to his credit, he does his best. Professor Dutta has yet to apply the class to the Internet and thus has attempted, failingly on the whole, to teach us non-applicable skills.