Professor Theodore A. Burczak, Chair
Professors Robin L. Bartlett, Bradley W. Bateman, Sohrab Behdad, Theodore A. Burczak, Timothy I. Miller; Associate Professors David Boyd, Laura Boyd, Quentin Duroy, Ross M. LaRoe, Songhua Lin, Andrea Ziegert; Assistant Professors Jessica Bean, Fadhel Kaboub; Visiting Instructors Nakul Kumar, Patrick McGonagle; Academic Administrative Assistant Judy Thompson
The purpose of the economics curriculum is to educate students in the nature and uses of economic reasoning. We are an economics department that values diverse theoretical and methodological perspectives on economic analysis and its application. We are cognizant of the importance of the other social and natural sciences, the arts, and the humanities to a more complete understanding of human society. Our curriculum introduces students to a core body of economic knowledge and to research skills, integrating disciplinary education with the liberal arts mission of the university. Economics majors develop the ability to think analytically and creatively about complex economic issues and policy choices facing our global society.
The content of our curriculum is tiered. In introductory courses students learn the basic principles of economics. In intermediate courses students develop their understanding of microeconomic, macroeconomic, and econometric theory. The advanced courses give students an opportunity to study in depth a particular field of economics through application of the requisite basic skills, and appropriate theoretical models and empirical methods. These courses primarily focus on national and international concerns, public policies, and controversies in economic theory and policy.
Graduates of the Department of Economics seeking immediate employment have been successful in securing interesting and challenging positions in business, government, and non-profit enterprises. The economics curriculum also provides students with the opportunity to prepare themselves for graduate or professional studies in economics, business, public administration, international affairs, law and others.
All economics majors must complete a minimum of nine four-credit economics courses. The major must satisfy the following requirements:
Core Requirements. Introductory Macroeconomics (101, 4 credits) Introductory Microeconomics (102, 4 credits) Intermediate Macroeconomics (301, 4 credits) Intermediate Microeconomics (302, 4 credits) Introductory Econometrics (307, 4 credits)
Students wanting to major in economics should complete the above courses by the end of their junior year.
Advanced Course Requirements: In addition to the above, all students must take at least four additional courses, only one of which can be a 200-level course.
A student interested in quantitative aspects of economics who wishes to work for advanced degrees in business or economics that require a strong mathematics background may pursue an Economics major with a Mathematics concentration. Requirements are 14 courses, distributed as follows: Economics 101, 102, 301, 302, 307, 419 or 429, and three additional Economics electives, only one of which may be a 200-level course; Mathematics 123, 124, 231, and 232; and one additional course from the following: Economics 419 or 429, Mathematics 242, Mathematics 337, Mathematics 357.
The Economics minor is meant to provide a basic grounding in economics for students majoring in other fields. It is hoped that students will make a conscious effort to relate the minor to their major field. Minors must take the following courses: 101, 102, 301, 302; one of the following three courses: 307, 401 or 402; and two additional courses from the 201-442 sequence, only one of which can be a 200-level course.
Philosophy, Politics and Economics. The Economics Department participates in the interdepartmental major in Philosophy, Politics and Economics.
Economics/International Studies Major. Students majoring in economics may choose to participate in International Studies. Economics majors wishing to participate in the major are expected to fulfill the requirements for the economics major and those of the international studies major.
With the approval of their faculty advisor, students may use one seminar (Economics 440) with an international orientation in place of one of the required courses.
Introductory Macroeconomics (ECON-101). An introduction to the study of the economic problem, the nature and method of economics, the operation of markets, and of the aggregate national economy. Develops the basic theories of macroeconomics and applies them to topics of current interest. Explores issues such as: the causes of inflation, unemployment, recessions and depressions; the role of government fiscal and monetary policy in stabilizing the economy; the determinants of long-run economic growth; the long- and short-run effects of taxes, budget deficits, and other government policies on the national economy; and the workings of exchange rates and international trade. (Note: Economics 101 is a pre-requisite for Economics 102) 4
Introductory Microeconomics (ECON-102). An introduction to the study of the forces of supply and demand that determine prices and the allocation of resources in markets for goods and services, markets for labor and markets for natural resources. The focus is on how and why markets work, why they may fail to work, and the policy implications of both their successes and failures. The course focuses on developing the basic tools of microeconomic analysis and then applying those tools to topics of popular or policy interest such as minimum wage legislation, pollution control, competition policy, international trade policy, discrimination, tax policy and the role of government in a market economy. (Note: Economics 101 is a pre-requisite for Economics 102) 4
Accounting Survey (ECON-149). A survey designed specifically for liberal arts students interested in Business, Economics, Law and Government. The meanings, purpose and function of accounting in business are presented through studying the concepts and theories of accounting. Basic accounting procedures covered in this course include journalizing transactions, posting, trial balances, adjusting entries and preparation of financial statements. Other topics include internal control, inventory methods, depreciation and generally accepted accounting principles. The course focuses on the sole proprietorship, partnership and corporate forms of business organization. Course credit may not be counted toward a major in Economics. 4
Economic Justice (ECON-201). Various theories of economic justice will be examined to ask questions like: What are fair distributions of income and wealth? Do ethical norms lie behind the policy advice of various economists? If so, what are they? Is there a trade-off between equality and efficiency? What kinds of policies promote equality of opportunity? The course will examine economists and philosophers who have offered libertarian, utilitarian, and social democratic approaches to these questions. Prerequisites: Economics 101 and 102. 4
Economic Growth and Environmental Sustainability (ECON-202). Economic growth is traditionally perceived as the solution to the socio-economic ills of poverty, unemployment and more generally underdevelopment. However, economic growth is also accompanied by increased pressure on and, over time, deterioration of the natural environment. The objective of this course is to explore the relationship between economic growth and the natural environment. While the concept of economic growth occupies a central place in economic policy-making, we will discuss whether economic growth is compatible with the sustainable-development worldview adopted by the UN and many other global and local economic actors. Sustainable development emphasizes the need to embark upon a development path that not only takes into account the environmental, social and economic needs of the present generation, but also those of future ones. Prerequisites: 101 and 102. 4
Intermediate Macroeconomic Analysis (ECON-301). An examination of the determinants of Gross Domestic Product, the unemployment rate and the price level. The components of aggregate spending consumption, investment, foreign trade and government will be examined to determine their significance for explaining the business cycle. Similarly the financial side of the economy and the role of money will be examined to determine their impact on the business cycle. The purpose of each examination is to understand the factors that move the economy and how fiscal and monetary policy can be used to alter the course of economic trends. Prerequisites: 101 and 102. 4
Intermediate Microeconomic Analysis (ECON-302). An examination of the basic assumptions and methods of analysis employed in microeconomic theory, including demand analysis, production and cost relationships, market structures, distribution theory, general equilibrium and welfare economics. Prerequisites: 101 and 102. 4
Introductory Econometrics (ECON-307). An essential activity in any science is the systematic testing of theory against fact. Economics is no exception. This course develops and uses the statistical techniques that are essential for the analysis of economic problems. These techniques allow for testing of hypothesis, estimating magnitudes and prediction. Prerequisites: 301 and 302. 4
History of Economic Thought I (ECON-401). A critical inquiry into the methodological and ideological foundations of modern economics through the study of development of economic thought from the 16th century to the "Keynesian Revolution." It is an attempt to understand economic theorizing in response to the existing social conditions, and to become familiar with the foundations of the main strands of contemporary economic thought. In a study of mercantilism, classical liberalism, socialism, and institutionalism, the development of the concepts of wealth, value, and distribution and the methodological and ideological vantage points of different schools of thought, and intellectual giants such as Smith, Ricardo, Malthus, Marx, Jevons, Marshall, and Veblen will be examined. Prerequisite: 301 or 302. 4
History of Economic Thought II (ECON-402). This course will focus on some of the important developments in modern economic thought after the "marginalist revolution" in the late 19th century. Topics may include the ideas of John Maynard Keynes and the evolution of contemporary macroeconomics, the socialist calculation debate and the possibility of centrally planned socialism, and contending perspectives about the role of government in the creation and protection of property rights and in the regulation of the macroeconomy. The course may also examine the ideas of economists who have criticized the marginalist orientation of economic theory and instead advocated a more social and institutionalist approach to understanding economic phenomena and behavior. Prerequisite: 301 or 302. 4
Evolution of the Western Economy (ECON-403). History and analysis of economic growth and development in the so-called advanced countries, primarily Western Europe and the United States. Discussion centers on selected major topics since the rise of market economies with emphasis on the interpretation of these developments in light of contemporary economic theory and modern quantitative evidence. Prerequisite: 301 or 302. 4
Econometrics II (ECON-407). Econometrics II builds upon the foundation of Introductory Econometrics. Among its goals are: to expand each student's proficiency in estimating and interpreting economic models, to enhance each student's ability to do economic research, to increase each student's ability to read the research literature and to better prepare those students desiring to go to graduate school in economics. Prerequisite: 307. 4
Monetary Theory (ECON-411). The role money plays in determining economic outcomes, such as the level of employment, the aggregate price level, and the rate of economic growth, is one of the more controversial issues in economics. To get a handle on these controversies, this course explores the institutional structure of the U.S. monetary system, including the Federal Reserve, the body charged with the conduct of U.S. monetary policy. Then, the course compares and contrasts different perspectives on the role money plays in economic activity. The goal is to combine knowledge of the institutional structure of the U.S. monetary system with an understanding of the various theoretical perspectives on monetary theory in order to gain some insight into the difficult issues facing the conduct of successful monetary policy. This course builds towards simulated Federal Reserve Open Market Committee Meetings, in which students will form their own opinions about the influence monetary policy has on the rates of inflation, unemployment, economic growth and the distribution of income. Prerequisite: 301. 4
Economic Development in the Third World (ECON-412). The current context of globalization and regionalization is characterized by various patterns of development; most developing countries have been increasingly engaged in the liberalization of their economies; however, some of these countries have been experiencing fast economic growth, while other developing countries have been stagnating economically. This course is designed to survey and explain the economic successes and failures of developing countries over the past couple of decades in light of contemporary economic theory and through the use of case studies of specific developing regions. Prerequisite: 301. 4
International Finance (ECON-413). This course is a study of monetary interdependence among nations. The following topics will be explored: foreign exchange markets, international currency systems, national income determination in an open economy, balance of payments accounts and policies for their adjustments, exchange rate adjustments, exchange control, monetary problems of developed and underdeveloped countries, international capital flows. Prerequisite: 301. 4
Income Inequality (ECON-415). The substantive goal of this course is to facilitate an understanding of changes in the distribution of income in the United States, 1947 to the present. The course is subdivided into three parts, addressing the context, analysis, and policy environment, respectively. The first part of the course deals with the context of American income inequality and poverty. The primary focus is upon inequalities arising from the operation of the American labor market, but the ideological, demographic, macroeconomic and fiscal contexts are also identified and discussed. The second part of the course involves an analysis of poverty in the United States assigned to identify the principal causes of poverty among particular socioeconomic and demographic sub-populations. The third part of the course surveys the policy environment for poverty alleviation, including contemporary disputes about the nature and prospects of policy reform. Prerequisite: 301 or 302. 4
Women in the U.S. Economy (ECON-416). This course will focus on the market and nonmarket contributions of women to the U.S. economy. A historical framework provides the backdrop for examining the economic, political and social institutions that affect women's contributions to the nation's economic well-being. Prerequisite: 301. 4
Consumer Economics (ECON-418). Consumer economics focuses upon the application of economic theory to major issues faced by consumers in our modern economy. The course will combine economic theory, practical skills drawn from finance and Internet search strategies to empower students to make informed and rational decisions. The first half of the course will focus on buying and borrowing. The second half of the course will deal with investing and the risk versus expected reward tradeoff. The goal is not to learn what decisions to make, but rather to understand how economic theory can allow one to make better choices. Prerequisite: 301. 4
Mathematical Macroeconomics (ECON-419). This course is specifically designed to be a stepping stone to graduate school. It makes extensive use of mathematical notation and relies heavily upon calculus. About 40 percent of the course is devoted to applying calculus tools to topics previously covered in Intermediate Macroeconomics. Calculus and intensive mathematical modeling allow insights not available with the tools of intermediate theory. About 60 percent of the course is devoted to more advanced topics that are drawn from macroeconomics and investment theory. Prerequisites: 301 and 302 and MATH 121 or 123. 4
Public Finance (ECON-421). A study of the impact of governmental taxation and expenditures on the economy. The economic rationale for the existence of the public sector is examined and the development, passage, and implementation of the federal budget is investigated. Issues such as welfare reform, the growth of entitlement programs, the financing of health care and the theory and practice of taxation are studied. Prerequisite: 302. 4
Industrial Organization and the Public Control of Business (ECON-422). This course examines corporate decision making as a function of the competitive environment in which the firm operates. In addition to standard market structure theory, we examine a number of business practices including pricing and advertising policy, corporate strategic behavior, and horizontal and vertical mergers and acquisitions. The analysis is often mathematical, with a heavy emphasis on game theory. Prerequisites: 302 and MATH 121 or 123. 4
International Trade (ECON-423). The new wave of globalization has brought international trade issues to the forefront of both economics and society. This course will analyze the causes and consequences of international trade. The theory of international trade and the effects of trade policy tools will be developed in both perfect and imperfect competition, with reference to the empirical evidence. This will allow us to address many essential questions such as the patterns of trade, the welfare impact of trade, and protectionism. The frameworks developed in this course will also serve as a context for a discussion of several important contemporary issues, including the relationship between trade and economic growth, income inequality, the importance of the World Trade Organization, and the effects of free trade agreements. Prerequisite: 302. 4
Labor Economics (ECON-424). This course develops the basic theories of labor supply and demand. Using these theories we examine the institutional forces that the government, unions, and corporate powers have on wages and hours worked. A specific focus of the course is spent analyzing competing theories that explain the wage differentials that exist in the U.S. labor markets. Prerequisite: 302. 4
Racial and Ethnic Groups and the U.S. Economy (ECON-425). This course examines the roles that various racial and ethnic groups have played in the development of the U.S. economy. Historical forces in conjunction with economic and political institutions have created a unique position for each of these groups. An examination of the causes and consequences for the economy and particular groups of these interlocking forces will be examined. Prerequisite: 302. 4
Urban and Regional Economic Development (ECON-426). This course will introduce, develop and analyze the types of and importance of the linkage between the regional economics and their urban subsystems. The topics to be developed include the economic variables which may be used to explain differential rates of economic change in selected regions and the impact of such changes on the pattern of economic growth and the quality of life in urban or metropolitan areas. Prerequisite: 302. 4
Environmental Economics (ECON-427). This course provides an examination of various economic issues facing business and government regarding the use of natural resources and the management of environmental quality. Students will develop an understanding of both the economic nature of environmental problems and the economic tools necessary to explore and devise potential policy solutions for environmental problems. In addition, students will examine the institutional framework within which environmental problems exist in order to understand those factors which may mitigate against economic solutions. Prerequisite: 302. 4
Mathematical Microeconomics (ECON-429). This course explores the mathematical foundations of microeconomics. Constrained and unconstrained optimization are employed to generate the results of consumer theory, producer theory and market structure. The course is particularly well suited for those students contemplating graduate study in economics or business. Prerequisites: 302 and MATH 121 or 123. 4
Topical Seminars in Economics (ECON-440). Open to advanced students with the consent of the instructor. These courses will involve the preparation of a research paper and be offered in a variety of applied economic fields. Prerequisites: 301 and 302. 4
Political Economy of the Middle East (ECON-441). A study of the general features of the economic development experience of the Middle East. This course will note the elements of similarity and the extent of diversity among the economies of the region, and will examine the strategies of planning and patterns of economic development in these economies. We will study the structural transformation of these economies and the dynamics of their relations with the colonial and modern West. We will examine the interactive relation between economic policymaking and class formation, as well as the economics of internal and international migration. OPEC and the oil market, and the economics of war, occupation and sanction. In the past decades, many Middle Eastern countries have been confronted with an Islamic revivalist movement that seeks to transform the economic organization of society according to what has been proposed as "Islamic economics." In this course we will study the theoretical basis of various interpretations of Islamic economics and will examine their policy and planning proposals. Prerequisites: 301 and 302. 4
Forensic Economics (ECON-442). After an untimely death or a wrenching divorce, forensic economics are often called upon to estimate the economic worth of a human life or a family business. To make such estimations requires that students have a firm understanding of the underlying micro- and macroeconomic aspects of economic theory, of the relevant demographic and economic data that is available, and of the process of calculating net discounted present value. There are generally accepted ways of calculating economic worth, but there are also grey areas where judgments are made. The latter requires a subtle understanding of the issues behind why one assumption may be better than another and its impact on the final value of economic worth. Students will role-play a movie forensic economist who is a member of a well-respected law firm specializing in wrongful death and divorce. Prerequisites: 301 and 302. 4