The academic catalog is currently being updated for the 2022-23 year. View the Catalog Archive to access the 2021-22 catalog as well as catalogs from previous years.

Economics

Gregory K. Patton (department head)

Students will develop a broad knowledge of economic theory and methods. Courses will emphasize critical reasoning, problem-solving, and analytical skills. Students will be expected to complete coursework in foundational topics of economics and complete an array of electives to further expand their skills. The major will culminate in an individual research project in which students will demonstrate their ability to apply economic theory and carry out economic analysis.

Required for a major: ECON 130, 242, 247, 248, 342, 490; MATH 141 or MATH 151 (or above); and four additional economics courses numbered 200 or above, at least one of which must be numbered 300 or above. ECON 490 is required of all economics majors, even those completing a second major. The requirement of "writing in the major" (W) is satisfied by ECON 342.

Required for a minor: ECON 130; ECON 247 or 248; and three additional economics courses numbered above 200, at least one of which must be numbered 300 or above.

Credits earned through directed readings, independent study, and internships may not be counted toward the major or minor.

View program learning goals for an explanation of learning outcomes in Economics. 

Economics Courses

ECON 130 Principles of Economics

  • 4 hours
  • Fulfills: Human Behavior—Social Science Methods

An introduction to the uses of economic theory in the analysis of problems emergent in large societies. Specific topics include consumer choice, decision making by firms in price taking and price searching situations, and inflation and aggregate employment analysis.

ECON 242 Economic Numeracy

  • 4 hours
  • Fulfills: Human Behavior—Social Science Methods, Intercultural
  • Prerequisites: ECON 130

In this course students will learn the foundational theory necessary to research, analyze, and evaluate economic theory. Students will be introduced to fundamental concepts in probability and statistics, and will begin to develop their research skills. The course draws on economic principles, and prepares students for higher level statistic-based courses.

ECON 247 Intermediate Economic Theory: Macro

  • 4 hours
  • Fulfills: Human Behavior—Social Science Methods
  • Prerequisites: ECON 130

The course examines the factors influencing the aggregate level of national income, employment, and inflation from a variety of perspectives. Topics include short run business cycles, long run growth, and fiscal and monetary policy. There is an emphasis on connecting theory to current macroeconomic events.

ECON 248 Intermediate Economic Theory:

  • 4 hours
  • Fulfills: Human Behavior—Social Science Methods, Quantitative
  • Prerequisites: ECON 130, MATH 141 or 151

A theoretical approach to understanding how consumers and firms make decisions and how those decisions affect the economy and our society. Topics include consumer theory, the theory of the firm, industrial organization, equilibrium, and market failures.

ECON 255 Environmental Economics

  • 4 hours
  • Fulfills: Human Behavior—Social Science Methods
  • Prerequisites: ECON 130

The application of economic principles to environmental issues. Valuation of environmental damage and environmental improvements, including non-market approaches. Methods of environmental regulation, such as taxes, standards, and transferable permits. Other topics such as climate change and species loss may also be covered.

ECON 261 The Financial System

  • 4 hours
  • Fulfills: Human Behavior—Social Science Methods
  • Prerequisites: ECON 130

The course provides a conceptual foundation to help students understand the logic and operation of the financial system and the impact it has on the economy. The focus of the course will be on financial markets (especially debt and equity markets), financial institutions (banks and other institutions that facilitate the exchange of money and capital), and government and central bank policy.

ECON 262 Development Economics

  • 4 hours
  • Fulfills: Human Behavior—Social Science Methods, Intercultural
  • Prerequisites: ECON 130

This course focuses on the issues facing developing nations. We will use both theoretical and empirical methods to address questions such as: What does it mean to "develop?" Why does so much of the world's population live in extreme poverty? What are their lives like? What can be done to speed development?

ECON 268 Law and Economics

  • 4 hours
  • Fulfills: Human Behavior—Social Science Methods
  • Prerequisites: ECON 130

Laws are meant to create incentives for people to act a certain way and economics is the study of how people respond to incentives. These two disciplines are brought together to provide a fresh perspective on how legal rules affect people's actions and work to achieve social objectives. Instruction will be primarily through the discussion and analysis of legal cases on topics such as property, contract, tort, crime, and civil liberties.

ECON 272 The Economics of Inequality

  • 4 hours
  • Fulfills: Human Behavior
  • Prerequisites: ECON 130

This course uses economic tools to help students better understand the nature, causes, and consequences of inequality. In addition to exploring various ways to define and measure inequality, students will critically examine possible explanations for inequality including technology and education, globalization, discrimination, and other structural factors. Policies to address inequality will also be discussed.

ECON 333 Economics of Information and Networks

  • 4 hours
  • Fulfills: Human Behavior—Social Science Methods
  • Prerequisites: ECON 130

In this course, students develop the skills to describe networks and analyze their influence on economic behavior and well-being. The course draws heavily on the economic concept of externalities and its effect in a variety of network contexts: economic, social, and political. Topics include contagion, information and financial networks, inequality, polarization, and globalization.

ECON 342 Introduction to Econometrics

  • 4 hours
  • Fulfills: Human Behavior—Social Science Methods
  • Prerequisites: ECON 242; ECON 247 or ECON 248; MATH 141 or MATH 151

An introduction to the techniques of econometric analysis. Students will learn to use techniques of statistical significance and regression to test theories and draw inferences from economic and other social science data. Topics include simple and multiple linear regression, multicollinearity, autoregression, and heteroscedasticity.

ECON 348 Strategies of Firms and Their Regulators

  • 4 hours
  • Fulfills: Human Behavior—Social Science Methods
  • Prerequisites: ECON 130

Using both economic theory and real-world applications, students will examine market structure, firm and consumer behavior, and the role of government policy. The course will use foundations of microeconomics and game theory to develop students' ability to conceptualize relationships between people, firms, and regulators. This course focuses on the theory and application of industrial organization - economic theory of the firm and the strategic interactions between firms. Topics include market entry and exit, consolidation and integration of firms, coordination and anti-cooperative strategies, patents, and antitrust laws.

ECON 362 International Trade

  • 4 hours
  • Fulfills: Human Behavior—Social Science Methods, Intercultural
  • Prerequisites: ECON 130 and 248

The course applies economic models to fundamental questions about globalization such as: Why do countries trade with each other? When trade does occur, is it good or bad, and for whom? How do different government policies affect trade? Additional topics are likely to include outsourcing and supply chain fragmentation, trade agreements and free trade zones, and currency markets.

ECON 490 Senior Project

  • 4 hours
  • Prerequisites: Senior standing

This course requires students to draw upon their economic education to formulate and address important public policy, business and ethical questions. Students will meet in a seminar setting to study and discuss topics of special interest through the prism of an economic way of thinking. Students are also required to write and publicly present a research paper in which they apply their own economic analysis to an issue. Requires senior standing.