Department Chair: Margaret Lewis
Faculty: Ernest Diedrich, Daniel Finn, Joseph Friedrich, Louis Johnston, Margaret Lewis, John Olson, Charles Rambeck, Sharmistha Self, Parker Wheatley
Economics is the study of how people interact within their social and natural environments to provide goods and services to one another according to the constraints that those environments impose. The Department of Economics offers students the opportunity to explore these interactions and to examine important economic issues and policies from the perspectives of various schools of economic thought.
In accord with the mission of the two colleges, the department’s faculty is committed to the explicit treatment of the values implicit in economic choices and policies, to the benefits of methodological diversity in economic inquiry, and to the practice and improvement of contemporary pedagogies to engage students as active learners. The department’s curriculum prepares students to be informed, critical citizens and engaged, competent professionals.
The economics curriculum is structured within three levels or tiers. Tier One consists of one 4-credit course, ECON 111 (Introduction to Economics), which provides an introduction to the subject of economics by examining fundamental economic principles as well as issues and problems examined by economists. The courses in Tier Two (numbered between 300 and 349) build on the Tier One foundation to address in greater depth particular areas of economic theory and application. Tier Three courses (numbered 350-399) are advanced courses in analysis and applications and are primarily intended for economics majors and minors. Each of the Tier Three courses has a prerequisite of at least one of the core theory courses, ECON 332 (Microeconomic Theory), ECON 333 (Macroeconomic Theory), and/or ECON 334 (Quantitative Methods in Economics).
A number of courses in the economics curriculum have been designed to meet requirements in programs outside economics. The department currently contributes to the curriculums in Accounting, Asian Studies, Environmental Studies, Gender and Women’s Studies, Management, Public Policy, and Theology.
The economics major prepares students for employment in a variety of areas or for graduate study. Recent graduates are pursuing careers in banking, insurance, finance and brokerage, journalism, sales and marketing, and management. Others are employed as policy analysts for various agencies and branches of local, state and federal governments. Economics majors have gone on to graduate study in economics, business, law, public policy analysis, agricultural economics, environmental economics, labor relations and human resource management, health administration and public administration. The economics program also offers a minor that can be matched with many different majors as preparation and support for a broad variety of career opportunities.
The Department of Economics conducts assessment of student learning in order to determine how well the department and its students are meeting the program’s specified learning goals and objectives. This assessment activity provides the department with systematic feedback to make curricular and pedagogical improvements. While protecting confidentiality, students of economics should expect that their coursework may serve as assessment data, that they may be asked to provide other data for assessment, and that they will be invited to participate in assessment reviews.
Major (44 credits)
1. 111, 332, 333, 334, 384, and four additional 300-level ECON courses of which at least three must be from Tier Three courses (numbered 350 or higher);
2. One semester of calculus (either MATH 119 or 123) and one semester of statistics (either MATH 124 or 345).
Students majoring in economics are advised to try to complete the required two MATH courses and the ECON 111, 332, 333, and 334 courses no later than the middle of their junior year. An increasing number of economics majors are choosing to undertake graduate study in economic theory and analysis as preparation for their careers as professional economists in government, business and academic positions. Because mathematics and statistics are essential tools for graduate education and professional work in economics, the department recommends that students who are contemplating graduate study in economics prepare themselves in both subjects. Consequently, a mathematics minor is advised, with students taking: MATH 119, 120, 239, 305, 345, and either 343 or 346. In addition, ECON 350 (Introduction to Econometrics) should be included among the economics courses taken for the major.
Minor (24 credits)
1. 111, 332, 333, and two additional 300-level courses;
2. MATH 123 or 119.
111 Introduction to Economics. (4)
Includes both microeconomics and macroeconomics. The price system as a mechanism for directing resource allocation. Demand, supply and market equilibrium in perfectly competitive markets. Development and application of criteria for efficiency and equity. Measures of the performance of the macroeconomy. Circular flow, aggregate demand, aggregate supply and equilibrium within the context of an international economy. Nature and impact of monetary and fiscal policies upon output, price level and employment. Fall and spring.
271 Individual Learning Project. (1-4)
Supervised reading or research at the lower-division level. Prerequisite: 111 or permission of the department chair. Consult department for applicability towards major requirements. Not available to first-year students.
314 Economics of Financial Institutions and Markets. (4)
Description and economic analysis of the financial sector. Emphasis on the function, structure and regulation of financial markets; the behavior of financial institutions; the behavior of interest rates; and international finance. Prerequisite: 111.
315 American Economic History. (4)
Examination of the growth and development of the American economy from the 17th –century colonization to the present. Application of basic tools of economic analysis to explore the effects of the natural environment, public policies, changes in technology, and social and cultural forces on historical economic events, institutions and processes of economic growth and development. Prerequisite: 111.
316 Asian Economies. (4)
Examines the rise of the Asia-Pacific as an important economic, cultural, and geopolitical region. Concentrates primarily on the post World War II growth performance of the “Asian Tigers” in East and Southeast Asia. Studies how these countries transformed themselves from peasant societies into global industrial powerhouses within their regional and international contexts. Prerequisite: 111.
317 International Economics. (4)
Uses elementary techniques to examine the reasons for and consequences of international trade. Explores the gains from trade, impact of trade on factor markets, the problems of labor and capital mobility and current commercial policy disputes (such as tariffs, quotas and other trade restrictions). Also examines financial aspects of trade, including the balance of payments and exchange rates. Prerequisite: 111.
318 Natural Resource and Environmental Economics. (4)
Examination of the economics of natural resources and the environment with special focus on environmental policy formulation. Topics include inter-temporal efficiency criteria, cost/benefit analysis, and sustainability issues. Prerequisite: 111.
320 Market Structures and Industrial Organization. (4)
Application of microeconomic theory to the study of markets, their operation and regulation. Examination of the basic conditions and structures underlying perfect competition, monopoly, oligopoly and monopolistic competition; the conduct and performance of firms in perfect and imperfect competition. Prerequisite: 111.
323 Economics of the Public Sector. (4)
Examination of the economic rationale for the government sector; issues of economic efficiency and equity. Evaluation of government expenditures. The nature and incidence of taxation. Federal government debt. Prerequisite: 111.
325 Political Economy of Race and Gender. (4)
Comparison of the dreams of Americans with the current situation facing American workers. Examination of economic and noneconomic explanations behind changes in workforce participation, earnings, occupational patterns, income distribution and poverty, with particular focus on the categories of race and gender. Prerequisite: 111.
326 History of Economic Thought. (4)
Examination of the development of economic thought. Schools and views considered include the ancients, scholastics, mercantilism, classical political economy, Marxian, neoclassical economics, and institutionalism. Prerequisite: 111.
327 Economic Thought and Religious Values. (4)
An examination of how economic life has been viewed from the perspective of religion, particularly Western Christianity: from roots in the Hebrew and Christian scriptures, through the early church, middle ages and the Protestant Reformation, up to contemporary debates about free markets, Marxism, feminism and the social teaching of the Roman Catholic Church today. Prerequisite: 111.
328 Economics, Philosophy and Method. (4)
An inquiry into the philosophy of social science and the methodology of economics. A survey of philosophical debates concerning what makes a “good” explanation in natural science and social science, and an examination of the debates within the history of economics concerning the requirements for good explanations of economic events. Prerequisite: Two courses in economics or two courses in philosophy.
329 Topics in Economics. (4)
Economic analysis of major social concerns in past, present and/or future. Emphasis on the economist’s role in perceiving and developing policy to address these issues. Consult course schedule for current offerings. May be repeated for credit with different topics. Prerequisite: 111.
332 Microeconomic Theory. (4)
Development of the theory of microeconomics. Demand theory and analysis of consumer behavior. Theory of the firm, analysis of production, costs and market structure in determination of supply. Factor markets. Introduction to theory of welfare economics. Prerequisites: 111 and either MATH 119 or 123. Fall and spring.
333 Macroeconomic Theory. (4)
Development of the theory of macroeconomics. Determination and analysis of macroeconomic activity using IS-LM, aggregate demand and aggregate supply models within the context of an international economy. Microeconomic foundations of macro-behavior. Evaluation of monetary and fiscal policies directed to problems of unemployment, inflation, growth and macroeconomic stability from classical and contemporary approaches. Prerequisite: 332. Fall and spring.
334 Quantitative Methods in Economics. (4)
An examination of quantitative methods employed in economic research. Emphasis will be placed on a working knowledge of quantitative methods in economics, the economic meaning of quantitative results, and the ability to evaluate the appropriateness of alternative methods and types of data for particular economic questions. Students will regularly employ spreadsheets and data sets available in print and on the Internet. Prerequisites: 332, MATH 124 or 345, and either one other 300-level economics course or concurrent enrollment in ECON 333. Fall and spring.
350 Introduction to Econometrics. (4)
Introduction to regression techniques as used in economics. Estimation and hypothesis testing with alternative functional form models. Single equation and simultaneous equation problems. Computer applications. Prerequisite: 334.
353 Labor Economics and Policy Analysis. (4)
Labor force participation, wage determination, and income distribution. Collective bargaining, bargaining power, and labor legislation. Economics of the family, poverty, and discrimination. Evaluation of labor market policy. Prerequisite: 334.
359 Advanced Topics in Economics. (4)
Analysis of contemporary or historical topics or applied areas in economics. Consult course schedule for current offerings. May be repeated for credit with different topics. Prerequisite: 332 (or 333) and 334.
361 Evolution of Economic Systems. (4)
Theoretical and practical examinations of how societies throughout history have organized their economies to accomplish social aims. Emphasis on how different societies have conducted vital functions such as health care, environmental protection, social security, defense, energy production, and trade. Special attention is paid to reform efforts and their effectiveness. Prerequisite: 332.
362 Economic Development. (4)
Examination and analysis of the economic problems of less developed countries. Emphasis on critical examination of current economic development theory, policies, and programs as they are applied in developing countries. Prerequisite: 334.
363 Economic Growth. (4)
Investigation and analysis of the theoretical and empirical causes, processes, and consequences of economic growth. Particular attention is given to the roles of history, capital accumulation, education, and research and development in economic growth to explain why some countries experience growth and others do not. Prerequisite: 334.
371 Individual Learning Project. (1-4)
Supervised reading or research at the upper-division level. Prerequisite: completion of 12 credits within the department, including 334, and permission of the department chair. Consult department for applicability towards major requirements. Not available to first-year students.
373 International Theory and Policy Analysis. (4)
General equilibrium analysis of reasons for trade and the gains from trade. Impact of international trade on income distribution. Trade and commercial policy. Politics of trade. International trade agreements and trade wars. Exchange rates and balance of payments. Prerequisite: 334, or 333 and permission of instructor.
374 Monetary Theory and Policy Analysis. (4)
Theoretical analysis and empirical investigation of the effect of money on macroeconomic activity from classical and contemporary approaches. Theories of money demand and the money supply process. Issues in the formulation, execution and impact of monetary policy. Prerequisite: 334.
379 Welfare Economics and Public Policy Analysis. (4)
Application of the new welfare economics to analysis of government policy. Efficiency and equity criteria are developed and applied to analysis of expenditures and tax policy with special focus on the federal government. Evaluation of specific government programs. Examination of taxation theory and burden of the public debt. Prerequisite: 334, or 332 and permission of instructor.
384 Advanced Research in Economics. (4)
A directed research experience in economics. Application of economics research methodology and analysis in various sub-disciplines of economics. Each student intensively explores a topic and makes a formal presentation to the department. Prerequisite: 334. Fall and spring.
397 Internship. (1-4)
Practical off-campus experience. Must have a substantial academic component. Directed by officers of employing firms or institutions. Prerequisites: 20 credits in economics, senior standing and permission of the department chair. These credits will not apply to the requirements for a major or minor.
398 Honors Senior Essay, Research or Creative Project. (4)
Required for graduation with “Distinction in Economics.” Prerequisite: HONR 396 and approval of the department chair and director of the Honors Thesis program. For further information see HONR 398.