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Economic students learn to identify economic issues and problems, to form hypotheses and to gather and use data to test the hypotheses. They also learn to formulate policies to deal with economic problems and analyze both the intended and unintended effects of these policies. Students frequently work as a research assistant with a faculty member and have collaborative work published in a professional journal.

About the Major

Do you want to engage in discussions about health care, financial markets or Social Security reform? Or perhaps you'd like to investigate why working women earn a fraction of what men earn, the effectiveness of policies aimed at improving the environment or even the impact of our economy's growing globalization. As an economic student at Hamilton, you will develop a coherent framework to answer questions like these.

Our professors were among some of the best in the industry. They went above and beyond every day to ensure that we had the best experience. They made themselves available even outside of their normal office hours to ensure that all of my questions were answered and that I received the right guidance.

Byssainthe-Loubens Theork ’06 — Economics major

Economics majors are required to complete five mandatory courses and four electives within the department. Majors need to take calculus before they take certain intermediate-level courses but do not need to have taken any economics in high school. An economics minor must complete four required courses and one additional economics course of her or his choice.

Careers After Hamilton

  • Senior Vice President, Morgan Stanley Dean Witter Reynolds
  • Physician, Orlando Heart Center
  • 1st Lt., U.S. Marine Corps
  • Vice Chairman, General Electric
  • Director of International Programs, Michigan State University
  • Associate Director, CBS News
  • Psychiatrist, Buffalo Veteran’s Hospital
  • Senior Policy Analyst, Council of State Governments Justice Center
  • Director, Deutsche Bank Securities
  • Professor, Strategy & Entrepreneurship, Wake Forest University

Contact Information


Economics Department

198 College Hill Road
Clinton, NY 13323
315 859-4450 315-859-4477 economics@hamilton.edu Economics Website

Meet Our Faculty

A Sampling of Courses

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Economic Theory and Evidence 166S


An introduction to how economists develop and test theory, with a special emphasis on theory explaining the causes and consequences of inequality. The basic concepts of probability and statistics are taught in addition to theories of the labor market, inflation/unemployment tradeoffs, impact of fiscal and monetary policy, externalities, public goods, and international trade. Department (Fall), Department (Spring). Quantitative and Symbolic Reasoning.

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Policy, Poverty and Practice 235S


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.

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International Trade Theory and Policy 331F


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.

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Introduction to Behavioral Economics 339S


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.

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Topics in Sustainability 502F


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.

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Economics of Happiness 512S


Theoretical and empirical study of the determinants of happiness, life satisfaction, mental health, and other subjective measures of well-being. Topics include the measurement and reliability of well-being measures, the relationship between well-being and economic variables such as income and employment, and differences in well-being across various demographic groups. This course is intended for those fulfilling the senior project requirement.

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