Major and Minor
Faculty and professional interests
Jonathan Powers, chair
Microeconomics, industrial organization, game theory, economics of information
Teresa L. Amott
Labor economics, family and welfare policy, feminist economics, economics of higher education
Roy R. Andersen
Microeconomics, international economics, development
Theresa A. Bauer
Environmental & resource economics, microeconomics, invasive species
Steven M. Cohn; (On leave 2013-14)
Heterodox economics, macroeconomics, environmental economics, China's economy
Microeconomics, business, public economics, healthcare economics
Richard A. Stout
Microeconomics, macroeconomics, statistics, nonprofit enterprises
Cooperating faculty from other programs
Carissa Schoffner, Business and Management
John Spittell, Business and Management
Economics is primarily concerned with how to allocate scarce resources among the many competing demands for them, how to distribute the fruits of their productive efforts among the members of the group, and how to stabilize economies at high rates of employment and low rates of inflation. The study of economics applies theoretical, historical, institutional and quantitative approaches to the analysis of these questions.
The economics curriculum includes core classes in microeconomics, macroeconomics and statistics, and electives in various fields of economics such as international trade, public finance, labor economics and industrial organization. Students also have the opportunity to explore diverse paradigms in economics. Students may pursue focused research through independent study or in senior honors projects.
Coursework in economics emphasizes the development of problem-solving abilities. Particular attention is given to developing critical thinking skills through emphasis on the analytical tools used by economists. The faculty stress the implicit and explicit value judgments involved in economic analysis and decision-making.
The study of economics has a place in any citizen’s education. Students may involve themselves deeply in public policy analysis, which takes advantage of the close relation between economics and political science, and may continue their study in several off-campus programs in Washington, Chicago, or abroad.
The major prepares students for study at the graduate level in economics, business, law and public policy, as well as for employment.
Because economics makes extensive use of mathematics, joint study of economics and mathematics is often pursued. Students interested in graduate work in economics should plan on taking additional classes in mathematics and consult with a member of the department early in their college career to ensure proper preparation.
The departmental curriculum contributes to the College's Key Competency Requirements as follows:
- Writing Key Competency - ECON 303 serves as a writing-intensive course for majors
- Speaking Key Competency - ECON 399 serves as a speaking-intensive course for majors
- Information Literacy and Informed Use of Technology - Information Literacy skills are developed in most courses required for the major, especially in the statistics sequence (STAT 200, ECON 303), ECON 302, most elective courses and Senior Seminar (ECON 399). In these classes students learn how to collect and analyze data.
Departmental Learning Goals
Students completing an Economics major will be able to:
- Select an appropriate economic model as a framework for analyzing a problem or explaining a current event
- Describe and discuss the strengths and limitations of applying a particular economic model in analyzing a problem or explaining a current event
- Interpret statistical techniques used in economic analysis and effectively communicate statistical results