The Economics Major and Minor Davidson

The skills and knowledge our students gain within the context of their liberal arts education prepare them for effective leadership in their future pursuits.

The economics major and minor are highly structured. Courses tend to build on the knowledge of economic methods, theory, and policy learned in prior courses. A major or minor in economics equips students with tools to pursue a variety of careers. The major is designated as STEM (CIP code 45.0603); the minor is designated as non-STEM (CIP code: 45.0601).

Courses & Requirements

 

Courses You Might Take

ECO 495

"Great" Books in Economics

This Senior Seminar is required of all seniors majoring in economics. Students demonstrate their abilities to engage in economic analyses using the tools developed in their intermediate-level courses by participating in colloquia on economic problems, theory, and policy. Exploiting the seminar nature of the course, students will write, edit, and revise convincing professional economic arguments; they take the ETS Major Field Test in Economics and an oral examination conducted by an external examiner; and hear from guest speakers about their research and policy interests.

Prerequisites & Notes: 
Economics 202, 203, and 205 or permission of the department chair.
Offered in both fall and spring semesters. Priority is given to seniors.
 

Spring 2019 Senior Seminars

Section A: "Great" Books in Economics
Instructor
: Jha

This course will survey the great thinkers, their seminal ideas, and the great texts of economic thought in the history of the discipline. Adam Smith's "Wealth of Nations" changed the world, with a basic trinity of individual prerogatives: self-interest division of labor, and freedom of trade. But what, according to Smith, were the limits of reason and rationality? What were Keynes's views on 'animal spirits', the spontaneous optimism rather than mathematical speculation, that drove human action? How did Marx distinguish between fixed or constant drives that are integral to human nature and the relative appetites that are rooted in particular social structures and modes of production? How did Polanyi contrast rational self-interested behavior in the market society of early modern Western Europe with socially motivated behavior in the communitarian patterns of organization in traditional societies? The objective of this course is to conduct a close study of select "great texts" in economics, focusing on classics in economic thought supplemented with contemporary analyses.
 

Section B: The Economics of Conservation Biology
Instructor: Martin

This course focuses on the economic analysis of conservation biology policies, which are intended to preserve biodiversity. The goals of conservation biology and economic analyses can conflict because the former prioritizes preserving the status quo while the latter promotes creative destruction. Also, the complex ecological goals of a biodiversity policy must be implemented within an equally complex human society. Students will read, discuss, and write about the primary literature to learn about these tensions, their causes, and potential resolutions to them. At the end of the course, the students will bring all of this material together into an economic analysis of a biodiversity policy of their choice.
 

Section C: The Geography of Prosperity
Instructor: Smith

Why is North Korea's economic output per person a fraction of South Korea's? Why did the Industrial Revolution begin in England? This course will examine competing theories behind why some societies have enjoyed economic success while others have not. Special attention will be paid to understanding the role of economic institutions and the role of geography in generating long run economic prosperity.
 

Section D: The Economics of Foreign Direct Investment
Instructor: Stroup

Multinational firms with operations spanning national boundaries are some of the most powerful companies in the world. Why do some firms go global? What prevents others from internationalizing their operations? How do multinationals innovate? Do they benefit the countries where they operate? Answers to these questions will help us understand the world we live in, and we will use economics to examine these and other issues to learn how firms respond to the pressures of globalization and how the global presence of these firms affects our well-being.

Section H: Honors Thesis
Instructor: Foley

Completion of the honors research proposed in Economics 494 (section H), including estimation of the empirical models, interpretation and discussion of the results, and a concluding section.  Oral defense of the thesis is required. Students will also take comprehensive exams in microeconomic and macroeconomic theory, ETS Major Field Test in Economics and an oral examination conducted by an external examiner

Prerequisite: Pass in Economics 494 and permission of the Department Chair. (Spring)

 

 

FALL 2018 SENIOR SEMINARS

Section A: Contemporary Economic Issues
Instructor: Gouri Suresh

The objective of this course is to conduct a close study of selected economics research publications in terms of their theories and empirical approaches. Over the course of the semester, five papers and one book will be chosen jointly by the students and the professor based principally on the criteria of timeliness and timelessness. "Timely" papers will be chosen from recent issues of the Journal Economics Perspectives and other comparable sources. "Timeless" papers will be chosen from a list of papers widely accepted as classics in the field. Students will read, analyze, discuss, and write about these papers and the book in various ways - response papers, op-eds, book/article reviews, and policy briefs. The professor will also choose one empirical result from any of the readings in the course for a "replication" exercise that the students will conduct using either simulated or real data.
 

Section B: Income Inequality in the United States: From the Colonial Period to the Present
Instructor: Ross

This course will look at the mechanisms of income and wealth determination. The principal applications will be within the United States, since the Colonial Period to the present. Within the course, we will examine the central tendency of the income and wealth distribution, with particular attention paid to the degree of inequality. For different time periods, we will examine those issues that contributed to greater inequality, as well as any issues or programs that reduced inequality.

ECO 495, section B satisfies the Justice, Equality, and Community requirement.

Prerequisites

ECO 205

Econometrics

Instructor
Staff

Applications of linear regression analysis to economic analysis. Topics include model specification, parameter estimation, inference, and problems relating to data issues, statistical concerns, and model diagnostics. Statistical software is utilized. An economics research paper is a major component of the course.

Counts as an elective in the Data Science interdisciplinary minor.
Satisfies the Mathematical and Quantitative Thought requirement. 

Prerequisites
Economics 101 and either Economics 105 or permission of the instructor. 
One laboratory session per week.

ECO 205

Econometrics

Instructor
Staff

Applications of linear regression analysis to economic analysis. Topics include model specification, parameter estimation, inference, and problems relating to data issues, statistical concerns, and model diagnostics. Statistical software is utilized. An economics research paper is a major component of the course.

Counts as an elective in the Data Science interdisciplinary minor.
Satisfies the Mathematical and Quantitative Thought requirement. 

Prerequisites
Economics 101 and either Economics 105 or permission of the instructor. 
One laboratory session per week.