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:
Successful completion of Economics 202, 203, and 205 are prerequisites for registering for the course. Under exceptional circumstance, following a student request, the Chair of the Department may waive one of these requirements.

FALL 2021 SENIOR SEMINAR

Section 0: "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.

 

SPRING 2022 SENIOR SEMINAR

Section A: Climate Change and COVID-19
Instructor: Martin

Two of the most pressing issues facing college-aged youth today are climate change and COVID-19.  The focus of this seminar is a crucial one for policy analysts: are there useful parallels and/or intersections between potential responses to those two problems?  After discussing some economic analyses of the two issues separately so you can learn the relevant basic concepts, we as a group will explore the recently developing literature that looks at possible parallels and intersections.  The course will conclude with each of us (including Dr. Martin) presenting an answer to an individually developed question related to the focal question for the class.

Section B: Topics in Public Policy
Instructor: Cools

Economic analysis can help inform public policies. This class will examine policy topics such as the earned income tax credit, fiscal stimulus, and voting systems. Both economic theory and empirical analysis will be used to explore the benefits and costs of different policies. Special attention will be given to methods used establish causality.

Section C: "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 D: Milestones in Economic Thought
Instructor: Kumar

Advances in economic thought have emerged not as inevitable products of preceding orthodoxies but from highly contested and intensely debated narratives rooted in the social realities of the times. We study the evolution of economic ideas by inquiring into the historical-social-political contexts of key advances - milestones - in the making of modern economics. Tumultuous intellectual battles were lost and won as the Physiocrats rebelled against Mercantilism and inspired Adam Smith and Classicalism, as the Classicals confronted challenges from Marxism and Socialism, and as Neoclassicalism coopted or deflected these challenges. Thus we examine how, from the ideas and times of the great thinkers, emerged milestones in economic thought that shaped the world.

Section E: Eco 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

Independent research designed to formulate a written proposal for an honors thesis. The proposal will include a review of recent literature, development of a theoretical framework and research hypotheses, and a discussion of your empirical estimation approach and available data.  An oral defense of the written proposal is required.  Graded on a Pass/Fail basis. Students taking ECO 495 in the Fall who also pass their oral defense are eligible to register for ECO 495H in the Spring.

Prerequisites

Class Details
Course ECO 495
Section E
CRN 20528
Time W
Time 0220 - 0335pm
Building 3106 CHAM
Instructor Caleb Stroup
Notes
Max 12
Current 0
Remaining 12
Semester Spring 2022