Please note: The information displayed here is current as of Sunday, June 20, 2021, but the official Course Catalog should be used for all official planning.
This catalog was created on Sunday, June 20, 2021.
|Associate professors:||D. Fitz, A. Galambos (Dwight and Marjorie Peterson Professor of Innovation, chair), D. Gerard (The John R. Kimberly Distinguished Professor of the American Economic System), J. Lhost|
|Assistant professor:||H. Caruthers|
The Lawrence economics department emphasizes abstract modeling and quantitative reasoning skills. Students acquire a basic knowledge of economic theories, principles, and techniques of analysis. They then apply these concepts and tools to issues such as poverty and discrimination, environmental degradation, and antitrust policy.
Students learn early on that modern economics is an application of mathematical modeling to the study of human behavior. The interdisciplinary mathematics-economics major provides a strong foundation for graduate work in economics, where mathematical aptitude is at a premium. This route also provides outstanding preparation for technical business careers, such as investment banking, management consulting, and finance.
Required for the major in economics
Students who major in economics will learn to comprehend an economic journal article, including the interpretation of quantitative evidence and regression analysis results, and to prepare an economic analysis (either micro or macro) and communicate effectively the results of that analysis orally and in writing. Students will learn to construct tables and graphs from available public sources that identify relevant trends for public or private policy decision-making, and they will use the methods of economics to analyze a broad spectrum of problems in social science.
The major in economics requires the following:
- ECON 100: Introductory Economics
- The following mathematics courses:
- MATH 140: Calculus I or both MATH 120: Applied Calculus I and MATH 130: Applied Calculus II
- MATH 107: Elementary Statistics/STAT 107: Principles of Statistics or STAT 255: Statistics for Data Science (or equivalent)
- Intermediate theory (majors must take all three courses prior to completion of the junior year; the economics department must approve any exception):
- ECON 300: Microeconomic Theory
- ECON 320: Macroeconomic Theory
- ECON 380: Econometrics
- Two additional six-unit courses numbered 200 or higher (six units of tutorial or independent study may count as one of these two courses) and three additional six-unit courses numbered 400 or higher. A maximum of six units of internship credit can count for these requirements. The Senior Experience requirement does not count toward these five courses.
- Complete the Senior Experience in economics by taking ECON 601: Senior Experience: Reading Option or ECON 602: Senior Experience: Research Paper Option as described below.
Required for the interdisciplinary major in mathematics-economics
Students who complete the major in mathematics-economics will pursue the outcomes described for the economics and mathematics majors with an explicit focus on economics in constructing and critiquing mathematical arguments. Students pursuing the major must have an advisor in each department.
The major in mathematics-economics requires the following:
- MATH 140: Calculus, MATH 155: Multivariable Calculus.
- MATH 200: Complex Sequences & Series, MATH 230: Discrete Mathematics, Math 250: Linear Algebra.
- MATH 340: Probability.
- One of the following courses: STAT 445: Mathematical Statistics, STAT 450: Bayesian Statistics, MATH 510: Real Analysis.
- ECON 100: Introductory Economics.
- ECON 300: Microeconomics, ECON 320: Macroeconomics, ECON 380: Econometrics.
- One 6-unit ECON course numbered between 400 and 580.
- Senior Experience: a 6-unit independent study project that has been approved by both departments.
Senior Experience in economics
The economics curriculum culminates with a one-term three-unit Senior Experience course required for all majors. Each year, two sections of the course will be offered. In one section (ECON 601), students read a monograph by a formidable economist or a piece of central interest to economists and engage in active discussion; each student produces a term paper in reaction to the reading. In the paper, students must relate the reading to theories and applications they studied in economics courses. The monograph will be selected by the faculty member teaching the course. This Senior Experience option is designed to mirror the Freshman Studies experience at the end of the student’s career at Lawrence.
In the other section (ECON 602), each student is expected to produce a research paper that stands up to the standards of the profession. To register for this section, students must already have a research idea, generally developed in a 400-level course, and discuss a research proposal with the 602 instructor. Students must explain how the previous paper will be improved, refined and polished in content and in form so that it stands up to the standards of the profession. Instructor approval of this proposal is a prerequisite for registration.
Interdisciplinary mathematics-economics majors will need to complete a 6-unit independent study project in which they demonstrate the ability to combine topics in both disciplines—bringing appropriate techniques of mathematics or statistics to bear on the study of economics, or learning mathematics or statistics suggested by models in economics. Students who plan to complete this interdisciplinary major must have their Senior Experience proposal approved by one advisor in the department of mathematics and one in the department of economics prior to the term in which they plan to complete the experience.
Required for the minor in economics
- ECON 100: Introductory Economics or ECON 300: Microeconomic Theory
- Six additional six-unit courses, at least five of which must be economics courses numbered 200 or above and one that could be a mathematics course. Only six units of tutorial or independent study may count as one of these six courses.
Teacher certification in economics or broad-field social studies
Economics majors can seek certification to teach economics or broad-field social studies at the secondary level. For certification in broad-field social studies, students must complete the economics major and a minimum of two courses each in two other social studies (anthropology/sociology, government/political science, history, or psychology) and at least one course in each of the remaining social studies. Students are strongly encouraged to take a course in U.S. history and a course in global history. A course in environmental studies is also required. Students who plan to seek teacher certification should review the requirements in the Education section of the catalog and meet with the director of teacher education, preferably before the end of the sophomore year.
Course structure and numbering
ECON 100 is a survey course and is an excellent introduction to the discipline, even for those with high school courses in economics.
The 200-level courses apply basic theory to particular fields of inquiry and should be accessible to students with a sound introductory course.
The 300-level courses are intermediate theory courses that are foundational for the economics discipline. A sequence of 300-level courses is required of all majors.
The 400-level courses are advanced applications courses.
The 500-level courses are graduate-school preparatory courses.
The Senior Experience courses are at the 600-level.
ECON 100 and ECON 225 are excellent either as stand-alone courses or as gateways into the discipline. We recommend that all majors and minors take these courses.
For the economics or mathematics-economics major:
- Speak to a professor in the department about mapping curricular choices.
- Take MATH 140 or MATH 120 and 130 as soon as possible. MATH 155 and MATH 240 are also recommended.
- Take ECON 100, a 200-level economics course, and then ECON 300.
- Talk to the instructor and explicitly obtain consent to enroll if you do not meet prerequisites for a course.
- Students preparing for graduate work in economics should seriously consider the mathematics-economics major or majoring in both economics and in mathematics.
- Students interested in careers in public policy, business, statistics, or in an M.B.A. in a quantitative field should seriously consider the Statistics and Data Science minor.
Courses - Economics
ECON 100: Introductory EconomicsA first course in economics focusing on the basic analytical framework used by contemporary economists. The central topics typically include supply and demand, market competition, market power, incomplete markets (e.g., externalities and public goods), trade, and taxation. Classroom experiments are frequently employed to develop economic intuition.
ECON 151: Introduction to Environmental PolicyThis course applies principles of economics and political science to environmental issues, including pollution, resource limitation, and environmental degradation. It is designed to foster an understanding of the environmental policy-making and regulatory process in the United States and globally.
ECON 191: Directed Study in EconomicsDirected study follows a syllabus set primarily by the instructor to meet the needs or interests of an individual student or small group of students. The main goal of directed study is knowledge or skill acquisition, not research or creative work.
ECON 195: Internship in EconomicsApplied work with a private firm or public-sector agency in economics, arranged under the direction of an instructor in the department. In each case, the academic credit is based on related readings, reports, and presentations.
ECON 200: Economic DevelopmentThis course seeks to provide students with a broad based understanding of economic development and the choices countries face. To obtain such an understanding, students will read the works of contemporary economists who provide a variety of approaches to poverty alleviation and the tradeoffs that must be confronted. Emphasis will be placed on close reading, class discussion, and on writing a number of papers that compare and contrast different views of economic development.
ECON 202: Global Economic RelationsThis course covers the major concepts utilized in the field of international political economy. Major issues covered include debates about globalization, trade policy and free-trade agreements, monetary policy and currency regulation, aid and development, immigration policy and labor migration, global corporations, and international institutions such as the World Bank, IMF, and WTO.
ECON 203: Latin American Economic DevelopmentThis course combines economic theory, policy and historical accounts to understand the forces shaping Latin American economic development. Students will gain an understanding of major theories and trends in Latin American development while analyzing specific development issues, including equitable growth, agriculture, migration, gender equity, education, and health. Students will complete thoughtful critiques of readings, problem sets analyzing real data, and in-depth evaluations of specific issues.
ECON 204: Effective AltruismEffective altruism acknowledges that individuals want to help others while examining the most effective ways to do so. Taking a global approach that draws on development, health and experimental economics, this course compares differences in relative welfare and opportunity and evaluates the effectiveness of causes like health interventions, cash transfers, and gender equity. Emphasis placed on close reading problem sets, quizzes, research papers and discussions.
ECON 205: Introduction to International EconomicsThis course aims to develop an understanding of international economic issues and policies in open economies. The course will provide a general body of knowledge on topics such as gains from trade; patterns of trade; effect of trade on welfare; exchange rate policy regimes; international organizations; financial crises; and the effect of government policies on trade and the exchange rate. You will get exposed to economic modeling and learn analytical tools that can be applied to understand the changing world economy and analyze problems in international economic policy. You are encouraged to explore the potential and limitations of international economics in dealing with real-world problems. This course will assist you in improving your economic writing skills as well as your ability to read critically and understand discussions on international economic issues in the press.
ECON 206: Field Experience in DevelopmentStudents engaged in this course will have the opportunity to do field research in a developing country. Each student will develop and implement a project that concerns a political, economic, social, or environmental issues that is important in the country visited. Past Field Experiences have taken place in Sierra Leone, Ghana, Jamaica, and Morocco. Students will also have the opportunity to learn from both national and local leaders in the country of research, and to participate in community engaged learning through volunteer activities. Class members will actually travel during either winter or spring break. Students should register for GOVT 401 in the term prior to the planned travel. They should also register in the subsequent term, when they will present their research to the wider Lawrence community. [ Note: two terms of GOVT 401 are considered the equivalent of a six unit 400-level GOVT course].
Location for 2020-21: Students will travel to Sierra Leone during spring break (March 2021).. Admission is by application to Prof. Skran. Students should register for both winter and spring terms 2021.
Planned Location for 2021-22 To be determined
ECON 208: Sustainable China: Environment and EconomyThis course integrates environmental and economic topics relevant for understanding sustainability in the Chinese context, including economic development, natural resource management, urban growth, and environmental policy. It is a prerequisite for a December study trip to China.
ECON 211: In Pursuit of InnovationThis course acquaints students with various aspects of innovation and entrepreneurship, broadly understood. Topics cover methodologies, theories, and history of innovation. The course focuses largely on projects pursued by teams which conceive and conduct ventures that illuminate innovation and entrepreneurship. Class activities include lectures, discussions, student presentations. Experienced guest experts will offer advice and guidance to student teams. May not be taken on an S/U basis.
ECON 212: Corporate FinanceThis course studies the function of finance and the flow of funds within the corporation. Topics include financial analysis, decision making, capital acquisition and use, and strategic planning. Three comptetencies will be emphasized: numeracy through financial analysis, decision-making based on financial information, and communication skills through conveying analyses and decisions to the end user (the board, shareholders, other stake holders). Lecture with case studies assignments, and exams.
ECON 215: Comparative Economic SystemsThis course introduces students to the different ways societies have organized economic activity in the past and in the present as well as to how economic and social policy questions are addressed under these different arrangements. Students will study the economies of the Western world, the former Soviet bloc countries, and Asian countries at various stages of economic development.
ECON 223: Quantitative Decision-MakingThe students will learn how to develop formal, quantitative approaches to structuring difficult problems, particularly those problems involving probabilistic factors. We will develop and practice the steps of defining a problem, gathering data, formulating a model, performing numerical calculations, evaluating numerical information, refining the model, analyzing the model's alternatives, and communicating the results.
ECON 225: Decision TheoryThis course will present a thorough introduction to decision theory, the study of how people should or do make decisions. Building on that foundation, game theory, the science of strategy, will be introduced, with economic applications.
ECON 245: Law and EconomicsAlong with an introduction to legal analysis, a study of the political economy of four core areas of the law: property, contracts, torts, and crime and punishment. Applies rational-choice theories to both economic and political decisions involving the law.
ECON 251: The Economics of LondonThis course provides a significant variation on the Urban Economics course (ECON 250) that is offered on campus. First, it focuses on one city, London UK, as the context for the analysis. Secondly, it addresses the London economy from both economic history and contemporary economic analysis perspectives. London has remained a vibrant city from the late middle ages to the present through a variety of changes to its character, its economy, and the diversity of its population.
ECON 252: Sustainable CitiesHow can cities be sustainable? The increasing urbanization of the world's population, shift to service-driven economies, and growing diversity of cities make this question pressing and complicated. This course introduces economic, environmental, and social dimensions of the urban sustainability problem and explores responses to it through a two-week December study trip to London and Amsterdam and winter term studies and poster presentations. Program fee is required. Students pay their own airfare.
ECON 255: Start-Up TheatreOpen to students from theatre, economics, and other students interested in entrepreneurship in the performing arts. Topics change each year. May be repeated when topic is different up to 6 total units.
ECON 271: Public EconomicsPublic economics covers a range of topics from taxation to social insurance and redistribution to homeland security. The course develops a template for framing and analyzing public policy issues that provides a basis for understanding the rationale for government intervention, the alternative policy instruments that can be used to affect economic outcomes, and the economic tools used to evaluate the effects of intervention.
ECON 280: Environmental EconomicsThe course shows how economists analyze environmental problems and the types of solutions they propose (if any). Topic coverage includes property rights and externalities, cost-benefit analysis, regulatory policy instruments, the interplay between policy and innovation, and basic models of political economy.
ECON 290: The Economics of Medical CareAn analysis of how the economic organization of medical care affects the health and well-being of the population. Topics include who is treated, how much the treatment costs, and who pays the bill. Particular emphasis given to the roles of insurance and various national health policies and reform proposals.
ECON 291: Health Policy: A Comparison of U.S. and U.K. ApproachesThis course compares U.K. and U.S. health systems, markets, and public health policies. In particular, the course will analyze trade-offs made in each country among access to care, the cost of care and the quality of care as well as how resources are generated and allocated for each system.
ECON 295: Topics in EconomicsEach offering will build on modeling and reasoning techniques developed in the introductory-level courses (ECON 100 or 120). Topics depend on the instructor and will vary year-to-year. Topics include, but are not limited to, economics of the arts, financial economics, economics of sports, and economic history. May be repeated for credit if the topic is different. Topic for Spring 2020: Topics in the Economics of Pandemics
The course explores the use of economic analysis and quantitative policy tools to address the public policy challenges of preparing for and responding to the outbreak and spread of infectious diseases (including, of course, the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 current wreaking havoc across the globe). Topics include the development of basic literacy, vocabulary, and concepts related to infectious disease outbreaks, the public policy architecture for preparing and responding to these outbreaks, and the macroeconomic effects of disease pandemics.