Courses and Requirements
Our goal is to educate engaged citizens who understand the economic institutions they are part of and who are able to assess and develop opportunities for responsible participation and positive social change.
A concentration in economics consists of nine economics courses plus one diversity course taken outside the department. The economics courses must include: 101,102, 265, 275, 285 and four elective courses. Math 113 or its equivalent is one of the prerequisites for 275. At least two of the elective courses must be at the 400 level or above, with at least one at the 500 level and taken as a senior. The Senior Project will be completed in a designated 500-level course. The Senior Thesis is a written report of a project containing original research. Students writing a thesis must enroll in 560 (Research Seminar).
Beginning with the class of 2020, students concentrating in economics must satisfy a diversity requirement by taking one course from an approved list. The diversity requirement broadens students’ understanding of the roles of identity, culture, and social class in the U.S. in order to enrich the study of economics. The course must be completed by the end of the junior year.
230 and 235 do not count toward the concentration. Concentrators must complete 265, 275 and 285 by the end of the junior year so that they may apply these analytical tools in their 400 level and 500 level courses. Additionally, 265, 275 and 285 must be taken at Hamilton. For purposes of fulfilling the requirements for the concentration, the Department does not classify any transferred courses at the 400 level or above. See the departmental website for additional information on procedures for transferring credit for economic courses taken off-campus. Additionally, Independent Study 499 is not classified as a 400 level elective. Exemption from these requirements is granted only in unusual cases. Because Economics 265 is not open to students who have taken or are concurrently taking Math 253 or Math 352, these students must substitute Economics 400 for Economics 265 in the requirements for the concentration.
Students planning graduate work in economics should consult a member of the department for specific advice. They should take 400, selections from the other 400-level courses, 560 and obtain as strong a background in mathematics as possible. The sequence in calculus and linear algebra is required by virtually all good Ph.D. programs in economics; additional work in mathematics, such as courses in differential equations and real analysis, is strongly recommended. Students who plan to study for an M.B.A. should complete at least one semester of calculus and should consult “Information for Prospective M.B.A. Students,” a document available at the Career Center Web site, for additional recommendations.
Departmental honors will be awarded to concentrators who demonstrate superior performance in economics, as evaluated by members of the department. To be eligible for honors, a student must complete 400 and 560, have a grade point average of at least 3.3 for all courses that satisfy the concentration and write an outstanding Senior Thesis.
A minor in economics consists of 101, 102, 275, 285 and one additional economics course, with the exception of 230 or 235, which do not count toward the minor. 275 and 285 must be taken at Hamilton. If the student’s concentration is in public policy, Economics 101 and 102 cannot count in both the student’s concentration and the minor. These courses will be used to satisfy concentration requirements, and they will be replaced by alternative courses in the minor requirements. These alternative courses will be chosen by the chair of the Economics Department in consultation with the director of the Public Policy Program.
Seniors may not preregister for Economics 101 but may add this course at the beginning of each semester, space permitting.
101F,S Issues in Microeconomics.
The price system as a mechanism for determining which goods will be produced and which inputs employed; profit-maximizing behavior of firms under differing competitive conditions; pricing of factors of production and income distribution; taxation, discriminatory pricing and government regulation; theory of comparative advantage applied to international trade. (Quantitative and Symbolic Reasoning.) Department (Fall); Department (Spring).
102F,S Issues in Macroeconomics.
Gross domestic product; its measurement and the determination of production and employment levels; the role of the government in the economy, particularly fiscal policy; the money supply, monetary policy and inflation; foreign exchange rates. (Quantitative and Symbolic Reasoning.) Prerequisite, 101. Department (Fall); Department (Spring).
220F Institutional Financial Decision Theory.
This course explores theories which provide the basis for the decision-making processes employed by financial managers within the firm. The course will stress application of these theories in both non-profit and for-profit settings. Topics include: time value of money, project evaluation rules such as net present value and internal rate of return, capital budgeting, long-term financing, capital structure and payout policy, and working capital management. (Quantitative and Symbolic Reasoning.) Does not count toward the concentration or minor. Open to sophomores, juniors and seniors only. Steve Owen.
Study of the fundamental principles underlying financial accounting. Strong emphasis on understanding and analysis of companies' annual reports and the four basic financial statements included therein: balance sheet, income statement, statement of changes in stockholders' equity and statement of cash flows. Does not count toward the concentration or minor. Open to sophomores, juniors and seniors only. Not open to students who have taken 330. (Quantitative and Symbolic Reasoning.) S Owen.
235S Policy, Poverty and Practice.
Investigates policies to alleviate poverty, with a focus on the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC). Topics include: poverty, income inequality and inequality of opportunity; tax policy; and incentives created by policies aimed at alleviating poverty. The class has a significant service learning component in which students complete IRS training and assist low-income families in Utica in filling out Federal tax forms to claim the EITC. Prerequisite, None. The course meets one hour per week through April 15, with a minimum in-class time of 10 hours. Requires significant self-paced training prior to start of classes. Course can only be taken credit/no credit. Does not count toward the concentration or minor. Maximum enrollment, 30. Morgan-Davie.
265F,S Economic Statistics.
An introduction to the basic concepts of probability and statistics. Topics include descriptive statistics, probability theory, estimation, hypothesis testing and linear regression. Computer laboratory will make use of statistical software packages. 150 minutes of lecture and 75 minutes of laboratory. (Quantitative and Symbolic Reasoning.) Prerequisite, 102 or consent of instructor. No previous experience with computers required. Not open to seniors or students who have taken or are concurrently taking Math 253 or Math 352. Hagstrom (Fall), Wu (Spring).
275F,S Microeconomic Theory.
The theory of consumer behavior. Theories of the firm and market structures, and of resource allocation, pricing and income distribution. General equilibrium and economic efficiency. (Quantitative and Symbolic Reasoning.) Prerequisite, 102 and Math 113 or the equivalent. Not open to senior concentrators. Jensen (Fall); Conover (Spring).
285F,S Macroeconomic Theory.
Theories of business cycles and economic growth. Theories of monetary policy, budget and trade balances, aggregate consumption and investment activity, unemployment, inflation, technological change and productivity growth. (Quantitative and Symbolic Reasoning.) Prerequisite, 102. Not open to senior concentrators. Hsu (Fall) ; A Owen (Spring).
318F The Economics of Technology and Innovation.
An examination of the nature and implications of innovation and technological change. We will investigate the history and economic theory of innovation and technological progress, related policy debates, and future prospects. Particular attention to the implications of recent developments in information technology and robotics for labor markets and the distribution of economic wellbeing. (Writing-intensive.) Prerequisite, 102. Maximum enrollment, 20. Georges.
325S Comparative Economic Systems.
A comparative analysis of economic systems and criteria for evaluation. An examination of market, command, mixed and market socialist economies. Emphasis on problems of transition in former communist countries and Japan and Germany compared to the United States. (Writing-intensive.) Prerequisite, 102. Maximum enrollment, 20. Jones.
331S International Trade Theory and Policy.
Theoretical and empirical analysis of the pattern of international trade and international trade policies. Emphasis on theoretical models used by economists. Topics include the determinants of the pattern of international trade, immigration, foreign direct investment, the gains from trade, tariffs, quotas, voluntary export restraints, dumping, subsidies, trade-related intellectual property rights, international labor standards, trade and environmental issues, the WTO, customs unions, free trade agreements and trade adjustment assistance. Prerequisite, 102. Pliskin.
339F Introduction to Behavioral Economics.
Rather than assume that people, firms, or leaders are always purely rational, behavioral economics relaxes this assumption and analyzes situations where rationality does not always hold. The field integrates research across disciplines, drawing from neuroscience, behavioral and developmental psychology, and economics. As such it allows economists to study why people choose outcomes that seem to violate traditionally held views of rationality and why markets actually behave as they do. It allows economists to better understand how individuals, groups, and firms respond to policies. Prerequisite, Economics 101 and 102. Tsang, Ming.
340F Economic Development.
Introduction to the study of international development. Topics include economic growth, poverty, inequality, health, demography, education, child labor, the environment, conflict and corruption. Prerequisite, 102. (Quantitative and Symbolic Reasoning.) Prerequisite, Econ 102. Balkan.
This course explores the theoretical and empirical perspectives on the demand and supply sides of the energy markets. This course starts with an energy outlook in both domestic and global scales. Then it discusses the natural resource modelling, energy supply, and the behavioral underpinnings of the energy demand. The course continues with current and historical aspects of national, and global markets for oil, natural gas, coal, electricity, nuclear power, and renewable energy. Prerequisite, Economics 101 and 102.
348F Economics of Social Responsibility.
This course explores how ethical values and social norms influence economic behavior by individuals and groups. Topics include altruism, civic engagement and contributions to public goods, the philanthropic sector, socially responsible investment, corporate responsibility, and social entrepreneurship. Prerequisite, Econ 101. Videras J.
Economics of Poverty and Income Distribution.
A study of domestic poverty and of government programs designed to address poverty. Topics include the definition and measurement of poverty, the factors associated with becoming poor and the design, purpose, financing and individual incentive effects of various state and federal public assistance programs, as well as their effectiveness in reducing the incidence or duration of poverty. Prerequisite, 102.
360S Health Economics.
An analysis of the economics of health and medical care, with particular emphasis on the provision of health care in the United States. Topics include the structure of public and private health insurance programs, financing the rising costs of medical care and the impact of health status on labor supply and retirement decisions. Relates these issues to current public policy debates surrounding the health care profession. Prerequisite, 102. Wu.
365F Economic Analysis of American History.
An examination and explanation of the development of the American economy, focusing on the period from 1840 through World War II. Topics include the economics of slavery and share cropping, the rise of big business, railroads and economic growth, the development of banks and the causes of the Great Depression. (Writing-intensive.) Prerequisite, 102. Maximum enrollment, 20. Jensen.
History of Economic Thought.
A survey of economic theory and methodology from the early Greeks to the present. Discussion of the ideas of major economic writers such as Smith, Marx, Marshall and Keynes, with attention paid to historical context as well as relevance to current economic debates. (Writing-intensive.) Prerequisite, 102. Maximum enrollment, 20.
380F Environmental Economics.
An examination of issues in environmental policy from the perspective of economic theory. Topics include the measurement of benefits and costs of curtailing pollution and preserving ecosystems, the design of public policies to improve environmental quality, and the examination of past and current environmental programs in the United States and their success. Also considers sustainable growth and issues of environmental equity. Prerequisite, 101. O'Hara.
An introduction to econometric methods that are frequently used in applied economic research. Emphasis on interpreting and critically evaluating empirical results and on establishing the statistical foundations of widely used econometric methods. Topics include the classical linear regression model, functional form, dummy explanatory variables, binary choice models, panel data models, heteroskedastic and autocorrelated disturbance terms, instrumental variables estimation and an introduction to simultaneous equation models. Three hours of class and 75 minutes of laboratory. Prerequisite, 265 or Mathematics 253 or 352. Pliskin.
425S Financial Economics.
A study of individual level investment decisions and the equilibrium determination of asset prices. Mean-variance analysis motivated by the tradeoff between risk and return. An introduction to asset pricing models, including the CAPM and multi-factor models. An introduction to derivatives, including stock options, futures and swaps. Discussions of the Efficient Markets Hypothesis, arbitrage, and contributions from behavioral finance. Other topics may include: fixed income pricing, Arrow-Debreu securities and the completeness of markets, and the binomial asset pricing model. Prerequisite, 265 and 275 or equivalent, or consent of instructor. Maximum enrollment, 20. Pereira.
Survey of international financial markets in both theory and practice. Topics include optimal monetary and fiscal policy in an open economy and central banking; international financial markets for foreign exchange; Eurocurrencies and international bonds; the nature and operation of the principal international financial institutions; financial and currency crisis; international debt issues and country risk. Prerequisite, 265, 275 and 285. Maximum enrollment, 20.
433 International Economics.
Topics on international trade and finance in the global economy. Prerequisite, 265, 275, and 285 or permission of instructor. Maximum enrollment, 20. .
435F Industrial Organization Theory and Applications.
Theoretical and empirical analysis of firm conduct with emphasis on firms in oligopolistic industries. Examination of conduct primarily, but not entirely, from a game theory perspective. Exploration of business practices such as product differentiation and advertising, research and development, and price discrimination. Consideration of relevant public policies, especially antitrust policy. Prerequisite, 265 and 275 or consent of instructor. Maximum enrollment, 20. Jensen.
The course addresses the role of governments and government policies in the U.S. economy and on individual behavior. You will develop an understanding of the theories of taxation and government expenditure and their impact on a wide range of real-world problems and situations. Topics include market failures; voting behavior and its implications for resource allocation, expenditure program evaluation, the incidence and efficiency of various taxes, and redistribution of income polices such as public assistance and Social Security. Prerequisite, Econ 265, Econ 275. Maximum enrollment, 20.
Why are some countries so rich while others are so poor? Examines the difference in living standards both across and within countries, using both theoretical and empirical methods. Topics include the effects of income distribution, technology, population growth, international trade, government policy and culture on the level and growth of per capita income. Prerequisite, 265, 275, 285 and Mathematics 113 or consent of instructor. Maximum enrollment, 20.
446F Monetary Policy.
A study of the goals, strategies and tactics of monetary policy. The interaction of the central bank with financial markets, the tools and the transmission mechanism of monetary policy, and structure of the Federal Reserve System and the international financial system. Emphasis on policy application. Students in the class have the opportunity to participate in the College Fed Challenge, a national competition in which teams of students make a presentation to monetary policy experts about the current state of the economy and the future course of monetary policy. (Oral Presentations.) Prerequisite, 285 and 265 or GOV 253 or Math 253. Not open to students who have taken Econ. 346. Maximum enrollment, 20. Ann Owen.
Why do people tip at restaurants that they will never go to again? Why do people pay for health club memberships that cost them more than if they just paid at the door each time they went? Why do successful bidders tend to bid in the final minute in online auctions? Recent research involving both economics and psychology has identified ways in which human behavior consistently deviates from standard rationality. Topics which explore these deviations include time-inconsistent preferences, emotion, attitudes toward risk, overconfidence, information processing problems and altruism. Prerequisite, 265 and 275. Maximum enrollment, 20.
453F Topics in Economic Development of Latin American.
A study of the methods used in empirical research in development economics with a specific focus on Latin America. Students will read and analyze papers on topics including labor markets, education, health, institutions, gender, and poverty. Students will learn and apply the theory behind different empirical methods in assignments that will require them to work with data. (Quantitative and Symbolic Reasoning.) Prerequisite, 265 and 275 or consent of Instructor. Maximum enrollment, 20. Conover.
460S Game Theory and Economic Behavior.
An introduction to theories of strategic behavior as they have been developed and applied in economics. Applications include strategic behavior in oligopolistic markets, auctions, bargaining, trade policy, procrastination, standards setting and the provision of public goods. Prerequisite, 265 and 275, or consent of the instructor. Maximum enrollment, 20. Georges.
484S Experimental Economics.
The goal of this course is to introduce students to economic inquiry using experimental methodologies. Experimental economics is a relatively new field in which decision making is examined in a controlled laboratory setting. The data from these experiments are used to evaluate theories as well as to test and fine tune policies that could not be easily tested with naturally-occurring data. Students will learn how to combine theories and experimental methodologies to help them answer the economic questions they want to research. (Quantitative and Symbolic Reasoning.) Prerequisite, Economics 265 and 275. Maximum enrollment, 20. Tsang.
501S International Finance.
A look at theories and issues in international finance, including the evolution of the current global financial markets, balance of payments problems, exchange rate determination and currency markets, financial and currency crisis, international capital flows, international banking, and macroeconomic policies in an open economy. Prerequisite, 265 and 275. Course is intended for those fulfilling the senior project requirement. Not open to students who have taken 432. Maximum enrollment, 12. E Balkan.
Topics in Sustainability.
Topics include relationship between standards of living and conservation of the natural environment, effects of trade on the environment, the role of formal and informal institutions, research on the environmental Kuznets curve, and the determinants of sustainable consumption choices. The course relies on empirical methods. Goals in this area include learning to read critically economics journal articles, being able to replicate and extend empirical analyses, and learning how to use economic theory and statistical methods to develop and test hypotheses. Prerequisite, 265 and 275. Intended for those fulfilling the senior project requirement. Maximum enrollment, 12.
503S Economic Analysis of Human Resource Management Practices.
Topics include the choice of the form of labor compensation (e.g., fixed wage, salary, piece rates and other forms of pay for performance), the effects on firm performance of employee involvement programs (e.g., self-directed teams) and of financial participation schemes (e.g., profit sharing and employee stock ownership) and the level and structure of executive compensation and corporate governance. As well as reviewing the existing literature of these topics, students will carry out their own econometric analyses of data. Prerequisite, 265 or consent of instructor, and 275. This course is intendend for those fulfilling the senior project requirement. Not open to students who have taken 462. Maximum enrollment, 12. Pliskin.
504S Topics in Macroeconomics.
An advanced treatment of selected topics of current interest in macroeconomics. Theoretical and empirical approaches to explaining recent recessions and trends in economic growth, unemployment, inflation and income inequality, with a focus on the recent global recession. Prerequisite, 265, 275, 285. This course is intended for those fulfilling the senior project requirement. Not open to students who have430. Maximum enrollment, 12. Georges.
Topics In Development Economics.
This course covers topics in microeconomics of international development including: political economy, health education, program evaluation and agriculture. The course will be mostly empirical. We will study methods used by applied microeconomists. There will be frequent discussions of journal articles and the policy implications derived from empirical findings. Students will learn to replicate and extend existing studies. Intended for those fulfilling the senior project requirement. Prerequisite, ECON 265 and ECON 275. Maximum enrollment, 12.
506F Economic Growth.
Why are some countries so rich while others are so poor? Examines the difference in living standards both across and within countries, using both theoretical and empirical methods. Topics include the effects of income distribution, technology, population growth, international trade, government policy and culture on the level and growth of living standards. Prerequisites 265,275, 285 or consent of instructor. This course is intended for those fulfilling the senior project requirement. Not open to students who have 445. Prerequisite, ECON 265, 275, 285 or consent of instructor. Maximum enrollment, 12. Owen A.
508F Topics in Industrial Organization.
Theoretical and empirical analysis of firm conduct with emphasis on firms in oligopolistic industries. Examination of conduct primarily, but not entirely, from a game theory perspective. Exploration of business practices such as product differentiation and advertising, research and development, and price discrimination. Consideration of questions of firm organization such as vertical integration. Prerequisite, 265 and 275 or consent of instructor. Course is intended for those fulfilling the senior project requirement. Not open to students who have taken 435. Maximum enrollment, 12. Prerequisite, Econ 265 and Econ 275 ,or consent of instructor. Maximum enrollment, 12. Elizabeth Jensen.
509F,S Topics in Public Economics.
Examines the effects of taxation and government expenditure programs at the federal, state, and local levels. Emphasis on empirical literature to test theoretical predictions and to inform effective policy. Topics include the need for a public sector, provision of public goods, voting behavior, externalities, income distribution, the incidence and efficiency of alternative taxes, and redistributive polices such as public assistance and Social Security. This course is intended for those fulfilling the senior project requirement. (Quantitative and Symbolic Reasoning.) Prerequisite, ECON 265, 275, 285 or consent of instructor. Not open to students who have taken 540. Maximum enrollment, 12. Paul Hagstrom.
510S Topics in Environmental and Resource Economics.
A study of the methods used in empirical research in environmental and natural resource economics. Students will read and analyze papers on topics such as pollution, carbon efficiency, non-market valuation, natural resource scarcity, and sustainability efforts of colleges and universities. The focus will be on conducting a systematic, transparent, and reproducible investigation into an empirical question through data visualization and econometric techniques, culminating in the senior research project. (Quantitative and Symbolic Reasoning.) Prerequisite, Economics 265, 275, and 285. Course is intended for those fulfilling the senior project requirement. Maximum enrollment, 12. O'Hara.
560S Research Seminar.
Each student works intensively on a topic chosen in consultation with the instructor. Weekly meetings held to hear progress reports and to discuss research techniques pertinent to student topics. Candidates for honors must complete this course. Prerequisite, 265, 275, 285, 400 and permission of the department. Maximum enrollment, 6. Conover, Owen, Temesvary, Videras.
(from the Hamilton Course Catalogue)