Economics

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Economics is the study of the process through which individuals and societies solve a particular human problem: How to ensure that limited resources are put to their highest and best use. Economists research a variety of subjects related to this particular problem, including unemployment, technological change, poverty, environmental quality, and international trade.

Two trends in the modern economy are given special emphasis in the economics major. First, for the last two centuries there has been a trend in the global economy toward the use of individual choice through markets as the process for dealing with this basic human problem of resource use. Second, there is an increasing economic integration among the world's economies as global trade in international markets becomes extensive.

The 21st century will see a continuation of the spread of markets as the organizing mechanism of economic activity throughout the world. The economics major focuses on how markets serve this function and analyzes what policies are needed for them to serve it effectively. With this focus, the economics major is structured to assist students in gaining a systematic introduction to the theoretical and empirical techniques of economics. Since many areas of economics have broad social implications, the major also provides the opportunity to study economics as a social science and to discover the interrelationships which economics has with other disciplines.

Economics is primarily an analytical discipline. Therefore, the economics major begins with a core of theory and research methods that students will need in order to analyze economic problems.

Students will then work on economic problems by choosing from options in the areas of economic and social policy, economic theory and applications, global economic issues, and business economics. Students complete the major through their participation in a senior experience seminar or their production of a St. Mary's Project. The goals of the major are to provide students with a framework for understanding and evaluating the operation of the United States and other economies, to assist them in the formation of intelligent, informed, and critical judgments on economic issues of public and private concern, and to empower them to have a solid foundation of economic knowledge that will enable them to be lifelong learners.

A major in economics provides a suitable basis for careers in business, government and international agencies, law, teaching, public service, and journalism. It also offers the introductory stage for students interested in graduate work in economics or business. As the economy of the 21st century will require knowledgeable workers who can function in information-based organizations, courses in the economics major stress the use and application of information technology.

Members of the economics faculty will advise each student on the composition of an appropriate program, given the individual's interests and objectives. Any student considering a major in economics is urged to consult with a member of the economics faculty as early as possible. Members of the economics faculty are committed to mentoring students in the development of their own ideas in the initiation and realization of St. Mary's Projects.

GRADUATE SCHOOL PREPARATION

Students who are considering graduate study in economics are strongly advised to take coursework in mathematics and statistics beyond those required for the major. ECON 425 and MATH 151, 152 and 255 are essential for graduate study; MATH 256 and 312 are recommended as well.

DEGREE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE MAJOR

To earn a bachelor of arts degree with a major in economics, a student must satisfy the following minimum requirements:

  1. General College Requirements (see “Curriculum” section), including the following requirements to satisfy the major:
  2. Forty credit-hours of coursework carrying economics credit and distributed as follows:
    1. Theory core: 12 credits consisting of
      • ECON 101: Introduction to Economics
      • ECON 251: Intermediate Macroeconomics
      • ECON 252: Intermediate Microeconomics
    2. Analytical skills: four credits consisting of ECON 253: Economic Statistics
    3. Twenty-four credit-hours of economics at the 300-level with at least one chosen from each of the following options:
      • Economic and Social Policy: Courses in this option have a common theme of public policy research applications of economics.
        • ECON 316: Economics of Race and Gender
        • ECON 325: Urban Economics and Urban Issues
        • ECON 350: Environmental Economics
        • ECON 354: Natural Resource Economics
        • ECON 355: Labor Economics
      • Economic Theory and Application: Courses in this option use advanced techniques in economic theory and are recommended for graduate study in economics.
        • ECON 356: International Economics
        • ECON 359: Public Sector Economics
        • ECON 363: Political Economy
      • Global Economic Issues: Courses in this option provide an international and comparative perspective of economic analysis.
        • ECON 318: International Finance
        • ECON 360: Comparative Economic Systems
        • ECON 372: Economics of Developing Countries
        • ECON 373: East Asian Economies
      • Business Economics: Courses in this option apply the economic approach to business.
        • ECON 333: Management Science
        • ECON 342: Analyzing Financial Data
        • ECON 351: Industrial Organization and Regulation
        • ECON 353: Corporation Finance
        • ECON 357: Money and Banking
      • Students with an interest in business economics are urged to take ECON 209: Business Law; ECON 230: Marketing; ECON 240: Principles of Management; ECON 250: Principles of Accounting
  3. Senior Experience: The objectives of the courses in this requirement are to give students a way to build on the theory and methods of economics learned during the first three years, to allow students to gain expertise in the area they choose to study, and to improve their research and writing skills. Students must choose at least one of the following courses (students coming under catalog years 1999-2000 and 2000-2001 may not use the course chosen to fulfill this requirement to satisfy requirement 2c.):
    • ECON 400: Introduction to Mathematical Economics
    • ECON 405: The History of Economic Thought
    • ECON 412: U.S. Economic and Business History
    • ECON 425: Econometrics
    • ECON 459: Senior Seminar in Economics
    • ECON 493/494 (An eight-credit-hour St. Mary's Project in economics or other major may fulfill the senior experience with the permission of the chair of the Economics Department)
  4. The 44-48 (48 if pursuing the St. Mary’s Project option) credit-hours of major requirements may include field experience and independent study approved by the department chair.
  5. Students must earn a minimum grade of C- in all required economics courses and maintain an overall GPA of 2.0 or better in these courses.

The following model is suggested as a possible basic program to satisfy requirements for the major in economics:

DEGREE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE MINOR

To earn a minor in economics a student must satisfy the following requirements:

  1. Completion of Core Curriculum requirements.
  2. At least 24 credit-hours in economics:
    1. Required Courses (12 Credits)
      • ECON101: Introduction to Economics
      • ECON251: Intermediate Macroeconomics
      • ECON252: Intermediate Microeconomics
    2. Elective Courses (12 Credits). Three other 4-credit economics courses, two of which must be at the 300 or 400 level.
  3. A grade of C- or better must be received in each course of the minor, and the cumulative grade-point average of courses used to satisfy the minor must be at least 2.0.

REQUIREMENTS FOR TEACHER CERTIFICATION

A Master of Arts in Teaching program is available at St. Mary’s College of Maryland after completion of the baccalaureate degree. Students who are interested in becoming teachers should contact the chair of the Department of Educational Studies or an education adviser in their major field of study for suggested coursework in Human Studies, Educational Studies, and their specific major. These consultations should take place during the first semester of the sophomore year.

FACULTY

Barbara Beliveau, Alan Dillingham, Asif Dowla, Andrew F. Kozak (department chair), Joan Poor, Ranajoy Ray-Chaudhuri, Russell M. Rhine, Kristen Sheeran, Donald R. Stabile, Michael Ye

ECONOMICS COURSES (ECON)

ECON 101. Introduction to Economics (4E)

A study of the functioning of market economies, with emphasis on the United States, including such topics as national income and employment, supply and demand analysis, and economic policy. This course satisfies the Core Curriculum requirement in Social Sciences. NOTE: ECON 101 is a prerequisite for all economics courses.

ECON 209. Business Law (4F)

Legal rights and responsibilities in ordinary business transactions. Formerly offered as ECON 367. Prerequisite: ECON 101.

ECON 230. Marketing (4E)

A study of the strategic function of marketing as the process by which goods and services are distributed to consumers by business in an environment of individual consumer choice. Provides an analysis of product development, pricing strategies, promotional efforts, and distribution systems within the context of an increased awareness of the need for all business functions to provide for the satisfaction of the consumer. Formerly offered as ECON 365. Prerequisite: ECON 101.

ECON 240. Principles of Management (4E)

A study in the methods for attaining effective management of business and non-business organizations. The task of management is to make the members of an organization work well together. Emphasis in this course is on the recognition of objectives to guide the organization in the process of planning, organizing, directing, and controlling its operations. Formerly offered as ECON 352. Prerequisite: ECON 101.

ECON 250. Principles of Accounting (4E)

Basic principles of financial accounting for recording, classifying, summarizing, reporting, and interpreting financial data. The accounting cycle is presented using the double-entry system for all three forms of business, including sole proprietorships, partnerships, and corporations. Prerequisite: ECON 101.

ECON 251. Intermediate Macroeconomics (4E)

Macroeconomics is the study of the economic performance of the national economy as measured by employment, national income, inflation, and growth. It analyzes efforts to influence these measures with monetary and fiscal policy, with an emphasis on contemporary occurrences. Prerequisite: ECON 101.

ECON 252. Intermediate Microeconomics (4E)

Microeconomics is the study of how households and businesses interact in the marketplace as consumers, producers, and workers. It analyzes supply, demand, and price determination in markets, consumer behavior, the operation of the firm in competitive and monopolistic markets, and the determination of wages. Prerequisite: ECON 101.

ECON 253. Economic Statistics (4E)

This course covers techniques of descriptive and inferential statistics and their applications to economics. Related topics such as index numbers, time series, and forecasting are also covered. The course emphasizes the use of computer software to solve statistical problems. Prerequisite: ECON 101.

ECON 316. The Economics of Race and Gender (4S)

Economic outcomes differ according to race and gender. This course investigates the economic experiences of women and minorities in the U.S. economy to provide a thorough understanding of the economic constraints facing diverse groups in the economy. This course introduces students to the analytical approaches used by economists to critically assess the causes and consequences of gender and racial differences in earnings, labor force participation, occupational choice, and the division of labor within the home. The impact of economic institutions and policy on the economic behavior of women and minorities is emphasized. Prerequisite: ECON 101.

ECON 318. International Finance (4F)

This course looks at the theories and realities of globalization and the evolution of the international financial system. Some of the topics that we will touch upon are exchange rates and exchange rate regimes, currency markets, contracts, parity conditions, international bond and equity markets, balance of payments, multinational corporations and international debt. Prerequisites: ECON 101 and ECON 252.

ECON 325. Urban Economics and Urban Issues (4AS)

The purpose of this course is to bring about a better understanding of the dynamics involved in the evolution of urban economies. Using the foundations of microeconomic theory, the course examines not only the socioeconomic forces underlying urban areas, but also the relationship between these forces and the policies that local governments implement in order to provide the goods and services we demand. Prerequisites: ECON 101 and ECON 252.

ECON 333. Management Science (4AS)

This course explores the basic applied techniques of management decision-making such as optimization, decision and risk analysis, materials management, distribution network models, waiting line models, and forecasting. The use of case studies and computer applications is emphasized. Prerequisites: ECON 101, ECON 252, and ECON 253.

ECON 342. Analyzing Financial Data (4S)

Examines the sources and availability of financial data and explores the use of financial data to evaluate corporate performance and evaluate investment strategies. Topics will include ratio analysis, risk, measurement, and forecasting methods. Prerequisites: ECON 101, ECON 353 or permission of the instructor.

ECON 350. Environmental Economics (4E)

Focuses on the problems of environmental degradation and on the role of economic incentives, in both causing and correcting these problems. U.S. environment policies on air, water, and toxic substances are analyzed, using the economic concepts of efficiency, costs, and benefits. Prerequisite: ECON 101.

ECON 351. Industrial Organization and Regulation (4AS)

This course looks at the structure and behavior of the industries in an economy. In particular, it is concerned with pricing, investment, regulation, and strategic behavior in industries that are not perfectly competitive. Prerequisites: ECON 101, ECON 252.

ECON 353. Corporation Finance (4E)

Examines the legal basis for the corporation and the instruments used to establish and finance its growth. Investigates the types of securities used by corporations to raise funds in terms of their risk level. Emphasis on solutions of financial policy faced by corporate financial managers. Prerequisites: ECON 101, ECON 252, and ECON 253.

ECON 354. Natural Resource Economics (4S)

Explores issues related to the use of both renewable and nonrenewable resources, including energy, forests, fisheries, and water. Emphasizes the use of economic techniques in assessing optimal resource use, resource pricing, and resource policy. Prerequisite: ECON 101.

ECON 355. Labor Economics (4F)

An economic analysis of labor markets. Topics include wage determination, human capital models, human resource management, and collective bargaining. Prerequisites: ECON 101 and ECON 252.

ECON 356. International Economics (4S)

A study of the basis for world trade; commercial and financial policy, particularly of the United States; foreign exchange markets and open economy macroeconomics. Prerequisites: ECON 101, ECON 251, and ECON 252.

ECON 357. Money and Banking (4E)

An introduction to the history of money and banking institutions, and the development of monetary theory, with emphasis on current controversies. Analysis of the Federal Reserve System and its control of money and credit as part of its effort to influence economic stability and inflation. Prerequisites: ECON 101 and ECON 251.

ECON 359. Public Sector Economics (4F)

Public sector economics is the study of how government policy, in particular tax and expenditure policy, affects the allocation of resources and the distribution of income. Using the foundations of microeconomic theory, important government activities in the areas of social welfare and social insurance are evaluated in terms of their impact on the welfare of citizens, both individually and collectively. Prerequisites: ECON 101, ECON 251, and ECON 252.

ECON 360. Comparative Economic Systems (4S)

Principles, theories, and institutions for economic decision-making under capitalism, socialism, communism, and mixed systems; comparison of selected countries. Problems of countries in transition to a market economy will also be discussed. Prerequisite: ECON 101.

ECON 363. Political Economy (4F)

This course introduces students to the major theoretical perspectives in political economy. Political economy explores the relationships between the economic system and its institutions to society. Its emphasis upon context, conflicting interests, social change, and collective behavior permits a broad focus for economic analysis that includes issues such as equity, ideology, political power, and social institutions. A political economy perspective is critical for understanding critiques of the current economic system, as well as contemporary economic issues, such as the distribution of income and wealth, the role of competing interest groups in the formation of economic policy, economic globalization, and the provision of public goods. Prerequisites: ECON 101, ECON 251, ECON 252 or consent of the instructor.

ECON 372. Economics of Developing Countries (4F)

A multidisciplinary approach to the analysis of factors responsible for the poverty and underdevelopment of developing countries. Prerequisite: ECON 101.

ECON 373. East Asian Economies (4S)

The course provides an economic framework to analyze the process of East Asian development since the end of World War II. The roles of culture, religion, education, history, and politics in the economic transformation of this region are examined. Contemporary issues, such as the environment, labor practice, and public policy, are also covered. Prerequisite: ECON 101.

ECON 400. Introduction to Mathematical Economics (4AF)

This course provides an introduction to the use of mathematics in the solution of economic models. In particular, the techniques of linear algebra and calculus are incorporated into standard micro- and macroeconomic models to calculate either equilibrium or optimal values. Prerequisites: ECON 101, ECON 251, ECON 252, and MATH 151 or consent of the instructor.

ECON 405. The History of Economic Thought (4AF)

The development of economic thought from medieval times to the present. Emphasis will be placed on the ideas of the great economists, such as Adam Smith, Thomas Malthus, David Ricardo, Karl Marx, John Stuart Mill, Alfred Marshall, Thorstein Veblen, and John Maynard Keynes. Prerequisites: ECON 101, ECON 251, and ECON 252, or consent of the instructor.

ECON 412. U.S. Economic History (4AS)
A study of the development of the United States economy from colonial times to the present.

Emphasis will be on the factors that brought about the rise of a continental economy, the shift from agricultural to industrial production, and attempts at democratic control of economic policies. Application of economic techniques to such historical issues as tax policy, slavery, and the regulation of business. Prerequisite: ECON 101.

ECON 425. Econometrics (4S)

The course is an introduction to the development, from economic theory, of statistical and mathematical techniques that are used to estimate economic relationships. Computer applications are widely used in the course. Prerequisites: ECON 101, ECON 251, ECON 252, and ECON 253, or consent of the instructor.

ECON 459. Senior Seminar in Economics (4E)

Topics vary with interest of faculty. May be repeated for credit with consent of the instructor. Prerequisites: ECON 101, ECON 251, and ECON 252, or consent of the instructor.

ECON 493-494. St. Mary’s Project in Economics (1-8E)

The St. Mary’s Project in economics is a two-semester experience. Students initiate the project, identify an area to be explored, and propose a method of inquiry appropriate to the topic. A faculty mentor supervises the project research. The objectives of the St. Mary’s Project in economics are to furnish a vehicle for students to build on the theory and methods of economics learned during the first three years, to allow students to gain a high degree of expertise in the particular topic area they choose to study, and to improve student research skills in organizational and planning competency, writing ability, and oral communication. The project must be shared with the College community through posters, presentations, or other means.

ECON 398, 498. Off-Campus Internship (8-16E)

A variety of off-campus experiential learning opportunities can be arranged through the director of internships. The off-campus internship is an individually-designed experience that allows the student to explore the relationships between learning in the classroom and the practical application of knowledge in everyday work situations. Prerequisites: Admission to the Internship Program and approval of the department chair. (See “Internships” under the “Academic Policies” section.) Credit/No credit grading.

ECON 199, 299, 399, 499. Independent Study (1-4E)

This course consists of an independent creative or research project designed by the student and supervised by an economics faculty member. The nature of the project, the schedule for accomplishment, and the means of evaluation must be formalized in a learning contract prior to registration. (See “Independent Study” under “Academic Policies” section.)