Course Descriptions

Excellence is in the details.

All prerequisites must be passed with a grade of C- or better.

Lower Division

3Principles of Microeconomics
Introduction to the concepts and tools of microeconomic analysis. Microeconomics is concerned with individual economic units including representative consumers, firms and markets. Topics include resource allocation, income distribution and price, wage and quantity determination in competitive and noncompetitive markets. Microeconomic analysisis applied to selected current economic issues.

4Principles of Macroeconomics
Introduction to the concepts and tools of macroeconomic analysis. Macroeconomics is concerned with the relationship between major economic aggregates including firms, households and government. Topics include the determination of the level of aggregate economic activity, inflation and unemployment, as well as government’s ability to achieve a full employment, non-inflationary Gross Domestic Product using fiscal and monetary policy. Macroeconomics is applied to current economic issues including economic growth, business cycles, the government budget, and the policies of the Federal Reserve.

Upper Division

Both Economics 3 and 4 are prerequisites to all upper-division courses except Economics 100, 111, 150, 170 and 180.

100Issues and Topics in Economics
Analysis of a selected theme, topic, issue, era or region not covered by the regular course offerings of the department. Subject of the course will be announced prior to registration each semester when offered. Course will not be offered each semester but may be repeated for credit as content varies.

102Development of Economic Thought
The course explores the historical and theoretical foundations of economic theory, with an emphasis on the classical political economists of the 18th and 19th centuries through a critical reading and analysis of the original works of important economic thinkers like Adam Smith, David Ricardo, Karl Marx and John Maynard Keynes. The course seeks to understand the relevance of these early economists to modern economic theory and issues. Prerequisite: Economics 106.

105Microeconomic Theory
An intermediate-level analysis of the motivation and behavior of producers and consumers under alternative market structures. Particular emphasis is placed on price determination and resource allocation, as well as the application of theory to real-world issues. Prerequisite: Mathematics 3 or equivalent.

106Macroeconomic Theory
An intermediate-level analysis of the aggregate interrelationship between consumers, business, government and the foreign sector in the determination of national income, employment, price levels and economic growth rate. Particular emphasis is placed on policy alternatives available to mitigate unsatisfactory performance of these variables. Prerequisite: Mathematics 3 or equivalent.

111Economic History of the United States
Historical view of the development of the United States economy with particular emphasis on economic growth, income distribution and structural and institutional change in the 19th and 20th centuries. Course themes include the evolution of market structures, business organization, trade and technology; the history of American living standards, income distribution and poverty; immigration, race and gender roles; business cycle history; the changing role of government and the rise of the American-style welfare state. Students are provided a historical perspective on the origins of current economic issues.  Generally offered in alternate years.

120Research Seminar
This seminar is designed to develop the student’s ability to do economics research. Methods of economics research are examined and each student conducts a research project, from the initiation of the concept to be examined through hypothesis testing and evaluation of test data, under the guidance of the instructor.  Generally offered in alternate years.

130Money, Finance, and Economic Crises
A description and analysis of the role of money and finance in a modern economy. The role of banks and other suppliers of credit, along with the U.S. Federal Reserve System and other central banks across the world is identified. Trends and instabilities in financial markets, interest rates, inflation and the general level of economic activity will be studied, including episodes of large scale banking and financial crises. Prerequisite: Economics 106.

135Public Finance
An analysis of government taxing and spending activities using theoretical, empirical, and institutional material. Topics include optimal provision of public goods, cost-benefit analysis, tax incidence, policies aimed at efficient level of externalities such as pollution, income redistribution, models of democratic and bureaucratic decision-making and the design of government procurement contracts.  Generally offered in alternate years.

Description and analysis of the securities markets (bonds, stocks, etc.) from the viewpoint of the private investor. The student is introduced to asset valuation theories as well as the basis of portfolio selection. Particular emphasis is placed on the trade-off between risk and return, both for the individual assets and in a portfolio context. Prerequisite: BusAd 40 or equivalent.

141–142Methods of Quantitative Analysis
The first part of this two-semester sequence explores the ways in which economists use mathematical techniques—especially linear (matrix) algebra and differential calculus—to represent and “solve” a wide range of theories, problems and hypotheses. Applications include the firm’s profit maximization and the consumer’s optimization of utility. Prerequisite: Math 27–28 or Math 27–38 and Economics 105.

The second part of the sequence is about how economists use statistical data to estimate and predict relationships between different economic variables. The goal is to have students become educated consumers and producers of econometric analysis; the former by studying how other economists make use of econometric methods in their work and the latter by doing estimations (running regressions) themselves using statistical software packages. Students will conduct an in-depth econometric research project on the topic of their choice. Prerequisites: BusAd 40 or equivalent and Economics 141. Generally offered in alternate years.

150Environmental and Natural Resources Economics
All economic activity involves an exchange with the natural environment. Natural resources are used in production and consumption and then returned to the environment in some form of waste. The class focuses on how a market economy actually handles these exchanges and develops criteria for judging the economy’s performance in this regard. Important questions include the following: Are we exhausting our natural resources? Will we run out of cheap energy? What is the appropriate balance between economic standard of living and environmental quality? Can we rely on market forces to achieve the appropriate balance or do we need government intervention? Generally offered in alternate years.

152Labor Economics
An extension and application of microeconomic theory to analysis of labor market processes that determine the allocation of human resources, as well as the level and structure of wages, employment and working conditions. The course devotes considerable attention to the public and private institutions (e.g., labor laws and unions) and sociological forces (e.g., prejudice and discrimination) that interact with demand and supply forces. Labor market models that take account of economic, sociological, and institutional forces are used to explain recent trends and patterns in the level and distribution of wages, employment, working conditions and union membership. The models are also used to analyze the impact on labor markets of changes in trade, technology, immigration, family structures and social norms; and to evaluate the efficiency and equity effects of government, business and union policies. Generally offered in alternate years.

160Comparative Economics Systems
The production and distribution of goods and income and the material welfare of people—the longtime concerns of economics—can be achieved in many different ways. This course examines capitalism, socialism, traditional village economies, and other ways to organize economic activity. Case studies from around the world will include less developed as well as developed countries—China, Russia, Latin America, the Middle East and Africa. The course also examines the new globally integrated economy, based significantly on the U.S. model, and how it impacts various regions of the world. Generally offered in alternate years.

170Industrial Organization
Industrial organization is the study of firms, markets and strategic competition. The course will examine how firms interact with consumers and one another, primarily using the tools of microeconomics and game theory. Topics include competitive strategies, price discrimination, antitrust policy, mergers and advertising. Upon completion of the course, students should be able to examine real-world mergers and other firm strategies with a critical eye and predict market outcomes and consumer impacts. Prerequisites: Economics 3, Economics 105 or consent of instructor.  Generally offered in alternate years.

175Multinational Enterprises*
This course examines multinational enterprises (MNEs) and foreign direct investment (FDI) from a number of perspectives, including motivations for international expansion, the economic impact of such expansion on home and host countries, and the political economy of MNEs. By the end of the course, students should understand why MNEs exist, under what conditions they can cause economic benefit or harm, and the complex interaction between MNEs and home and host country governments. Prerequisites: Economics 105. Generally offered in alternate years.

180Sports Economics
Economic principles are used to analyze issues in the professional and amateur sports industries. Topics include league history and structure, labor issues, stadium financing, player salaries, competitive balance and the role of the NCAA. The economic perspective helps students better understand the industry and its economic, social and cultural significance. Prerequisite: Economics 3.  Generally offered in alternate years.

190International Economics
This course utilizes rigorous economic analysis to address key issues facing the global economy, such as international trade, direct foreign investment and the interaction of macroeconomic policies across borders. Students who are majoring or minoring in economics and/or planning a career in economics or business should be familiar with international economic issues. This course will give the student a firm foundation in international trade and finance and the ability to apply it in a practical context.  Generally offered in alternate years.

192Economic Development
A broad overview of the leading topics in development economics, with an emphasis on the application of economic theory to problems of economic development in Latin America, Africa and Asia and the practical policy issues and debates. Topics include the definition and measurement of economic development, macroeconomic theories of growth and structural change, poverty and inequality, population, human capital, agriculture and rural development, migration, environment, trade, debt, liberalization and structural adjustment, foreign investment and foreign aid. Generally offered in alternate years.

Work-study program conducted in an appropriate internship position, under the supervision of a faculty member. Normally open to senior students only. Permission of instructor, Department Chair and SEBA Internship Coordinator required.

196 Senior Project
Students in the Sustainability Concentration are to reflect critically, in writing, on the program of study they have chosen, including the interrelationships of the various courses and subjects.

197Special Study
An independent study or research course for students whose needs are not met by the regular courses in the curriculum. Permission of instructor and Department Chair required.

199Special Study—Honors
Independent study and research in an area of interest to the student culminating in a written thesis presenting the issue, methods of analysis and research findings. Normally open only to seniors with at least a B average in economics who have completed Economics 120 or Economics 141–142 with a grade of B or better. (Seniors may be allowed to concurrently enroll in Economics 142 or 120 and 199). Permission of instructor and Department Chair required.