100. Introduction to Economics.
A general introduction to the discipline of economics, including both microeconomics and macroeconomics. The course is designed to develop an understanding of how economic principles and analysis can be used to study social problems and issues. Topics include supply and demand, comparative advantage, inflation, unemployment, economic growth, money and the banking system. Applications and issues vary by section. Also offered through Peace Studies.
108. Economics for Environmentalists.
An introduction to the basic concepts, tools and theories of microeconomics that are applied to problems typically associated with the use of the environment. The course begins with basic microeconomic principles, advances to important economic theories that are commonly used to describe environmental resource allocation problems and concludes with an examination of case studies such as air pollution and acid rain, destruction of rainforests, climate change, alternative sources of energy and waste disposal. This course does not count toward the major or minor in economics or economics-environmental studies and is not open to first-year students or students who have received credit for Economics 100, 101, or 102. Prerequisite: Environmental Studies 101 or permission of the instructor. Also offered as Environmental Studies 108.
115. Economics, Law and Government.
This course examines the influence of government on markets and individuals’ economic decisions, focusing on how the U.S. Constitution and federal and state governments’ actions affect market outcomes. Alternative views of the appropriate roles of government in the economy are discussed. Economic perspectives and models are studied in the context of real-world events; topics and applications vary by semester. Past topics have included crime and punishment, regulation of monopoly, poverty and inequality, economics of free speech, and the government role in stimulating the economy. This course does not count toward the major or minor in economics or any combined major with economics.
200. Quantitative Methods in Economics.
An introduction to mathematical and statistical techniques used in economic analysis. Topics include the representation of economic hypotheses, sources and uses of economic data, probability, hypothesis testing and regression analysis. Emphasis is on the application of statistical techniques to economic problems. Prerequisite: Economics 100. Students less confident in their mathematical skills should take Mathematics 113 prior to Economics 200. Also offered through Statistics.
209. The Economics of Gender.
This course examines ways basic economic theory has been applied to questions of gender. It explores a variety of empirical and historical evidence about the economic status of women, the division of labor in the household, contemporary changes in labor markets, the economic forces affecting the ongoing evolution of the American family and the effects of government policy on all these. The course may also discuss the role of economics, as well as its limits, in understanding social phenomena. Prerequisite: Economics 100.
Past Syllabi: S. Horwitz, Fall 2015
215. A Novel View of American Economic History.
New York State was center stage in the 19th-century transformation of the American economy and a surprising number of the cast of characters were from northern New York. This course seeks a deeper understanding of American economic development by studying the “North Country” perspective. Novels by Gore Vidal, Irving Bacheller, Samuel Hopkins Adams and Carl Carmer and biographies of Silas Wright, David Parish and John Brown are included in the reading. Seminar format emphasizes discussion and writing. Prerequisite: Economics 100.
228. African Economies.
An overview of sub-Saharan African economies with emphasis on basic economic principles, problems and indigenous institutions within an African context. Current development and structural adjustment issues are analyzed as well. Contrasts and comparisons with North American counterparts are made. Special emphasis is placed on exploring how cultural differences affect economic activities and institutions. Students learn of the diversity and complexity of economic relationships in African societies and increase their understanding of economics in their own society. Prerequisite: Economics 100. Also offered through African Studies.
Past syllabi: R. Blewett, Spring 2013
234. Comparative Economic Institutions.
This course offers a broad perspective on the history of the economies of the U.S./Western Europe, the former Soviet Union and the developing world by comparing the economic and political institutions in each. A historical look at the economic arguments for markets and planning provides theoretical framework for detailed exploration of the evolution of capitalism, the rise and fall of socialism and current attempts at reform in Russia and other countries, and the influence that both systems, along with colonialism, have had on the economic development of the rest of the world. The focus is on relationships among institutions societies adopt, the processes by which those institutions emerge, and the economic consequences that follow. Majors in other social sciences or area studies programs are encouraged to enroll. Prerequisite: Economics 100. Also offered through Global Studies and Peace Studies.
Past syllabi: S. Horwitz, Fall 2012
236. Globalization Issues: Equity, the Environment and Economic Growth.
Do globalization and economic growth contribute to increased inequality within countries and among them? Under what circumstances do global market forces contribute to the impoverishment of already disadvantaged nations and to the benefit of the already advantaged? What is the relationship between economic growth and damage to environmental resources? Under what circumstances do global market forces contribute to the degradation of the environment? This course endeavors to answer these questions and more, beginning with a study of recent literature by professional economists as well as by examining other data and evidence. Prerequisite: Economics 100. Also offered through Peace Studies.
Past syllabi: E. Malikov, Fall 2014
251. Intermediate Microeconomic Theory.
Expands upon basic models of supply and demand, consumer theory, the theory of the firm and production, and theories of market behavior learned in Introduction to Economics. Examines the role of prices in the allocation of resources and examines the effects of changes in policy on economic choices. Prerequisite: Economics 100.
A study of economic aggregates, including the determination of national income, employment and the price level, the topics covered include inflation, unemployment, economic growth, international macroeconomics and the appropriateness and effectiveness of monetary and fiscal policies. Prerequisite: Economics 100.
289, 290. Independent Project.
Individual study of a topic under the supervision of a faculty member. Prerequisites: GPA of at least 3.0 in economics and permission of instructor.
305. Industrial Organization and Public Policy.
A theoretical and empirical analysis of the structure, conduct and performance of American industry. Emphasis is placed on the use of microeconomic theory to analyze the effects of public policies on market incentives and resource allocation. Topics include theories of the firm, monopolization, mergers, antitrust law, price fixing, price discrimination and other contemporary problems. Prerequisite: Economics 200 and 251.
307. Law and Economics.
This course analyzes the law using economic principles. In particular, it employs the techniques of microeconomic theory in the study of policy issues and legal rules. Topics such as property rights, externalities, contract law, tort law (accidents), product liability and criminal adjudication are critiqued in terms of how different incentive structures motivate economic actors. The course includes the study of how economic goals conflict with and complement other goals of the law, such as justice and fairness. Prerequisite: Economics 251.
Past syllabi: A. Lockard, Spring 2016
308. Environmental Economics.
An analysis of deficiencies of the market system and existing property rights structure that generates pollution problems in industrial society. Alternative policy options are considered, including incentive based approaches and cost-benefit analysis. Prerequisite: Economics 251. Also offered as Environmental Studies 308.
309. Labor Economics.
A study of labor markets and the role they play in the determination of wages, employment and working conditions. The demand for labor by employers, leisure-labor supply decisions by households, investment in human capital, distribution of earnings among individuals and the effects of labor unions are discussed. Topics covered may include analysis of the role of government policy in the areas of income maintenance, unemployment, education, and occupational health and safety. Prerequisites: Economics 200 and 251.
Past syllabi: I. Cho, Spring 2015
311. Banking and Monetary Policy.
This course explores the roles of money, banks and government policy in promoting economic growth and stability in a modern economy. In particular, the course investigates the operational principles of modern banks and the Federal Reserve System and compares their strengths and weaknesses to other historical and theoretical banking systems. The course focuses on the effects of monetary institutions and policy on macroeconomic stability, including inflation and business cycles. Other topics may include the history of American banking, current issues in bank regulation, electronic money, the role of financial markets and international monetary economics. Prerequisite: Economics 252.
This course is a standard course in investments. Among the subjects to be covered are the role of financial intermediaries and financial instruments, the time value of money, bond valuation, stock valuation, risk and return, market efficiency and investment companies. Special attention is devoted to hedge funds, options and futures. Prerequisites: Economics 251 and 200.
Past syllabi: P. FitzRandolph, Spring 2016
315. Public Sector Economics.
This course uses microeconomic tools and theory to examine the efficiency of markets and to enumerate potential roles for government when markets fail. The efficiency and equity of government expenditures and tax policies are examined by looking at their impact on individual behavior and the distribution of income. Current policies of state, local and federal governments are examined to see how real-world complications (like politics and information problems) can lead to outcomes that are very different from economic prescriptions. Prerequisite: Economics 200 and 251.
322. International Economics.
This course focuses on the theory of international trade and finance and its application to current policy problems such as protection, intervention in foreign exchange markets, international debt and foreign investment. Prerequisites: Economics 251 and 252 or permission of instructor. Also offered through European Studies.
Past syllabi: M. Jenkins, Spring 2016
330. History of Economic Thought.
Analysis of the development of major economic concepts. Ideas are examined for their relevance both to their own time and to ours. Coverage extends from the ancient philosophers into the 20th century, with special emphasis on the original writings of Adam Smith and Karl Marx. Prerequisites: Economics 251 and 252 or permission of instructor. Also offered through European Studies.
Past syllabi: J. Young, Spring 2016
333. Austrian Economics
An introduction to the body of ideas known as the Austrian School of economics, which is associated with the work of Ludwig von Mises and F. A. Hayek. Once a prominent school of thought, the Austrians nearly disappeared after the rise of general equilibrium theory and Keynesianism in the 1940s. Since the mid-70s, the Austrians have experienced a significant revival. In this course we will explore the history of the school and how its approach to economics compares with the neoclassical orthodoxy. We will cover topics such as: the nature of human action, the role of knowledge in the market, the process of economic calculation, competition as a discovery process, the Austrian theory of the business cycle and its applications to the current recession, the problems of socialism and regulation, and the Hayekian critique of social justice. Prerequisites: Economics 251 and 252.
Past syllabi: S. Horwitz, Spring 2016
336. Economic Development.
This course examines the problems of economic growth and development in the less developed countries (LDCs) of Asia, Africa and Latin America. Although a variety of approaches to development economics are studied, the analysis of new institutionalist economics is emphasized. By the end of the semester, participants should be able to understand (1) the economic diversity, as well as the diversity of development problems, among LDCs, (2) the conditions necessary or conducive to economic growth and the institutional hindrances to growth, and (3) the economic implications of alternative development strategies and policies. Prerequisites: Economics 200, 251 and 252. Also offered through African Studies and Global Studies.
Past syllabi: R. Blewett, Fall 2015
A study of statistical techniques economists have found useful in analyzing economic data, estimating relationships among economic variables and testing economic theories. Topics include multiple regression, probit and logit analysis, heteroscedasticity, autocorrelation and simultaneous equations models. Prerequisites: Economics 200, 251 and 252. Also offered through Statistics.
Statistical methods for analyzing data that vary over time are investigated. Topics include forecasting systems, regression methods, moving averages, exponential smoothing, seasonal data, analysis of residuals, prediction intervals and Box-Jenkins models. Application to real data, particularly economic data, is emphasized along with the mathematical theory underlying the various models and techniques. Prerequisite: Math 136 or permission of the instructor. Also offered as Mathematics 343.
344. Mathematical Economics.
A systematic study of the mathematical structure of economic theory, with emphasis on the application of calculus and linear algebra to economic analysis. Topics include optimization theory, comparative statistics analysis of market and macroeconomic models, general equilibrium analysis and game theory. Prerequisites: Economics 251, 252, Mathematics 205 and 217.
362. Topics in American Economic History.
This course offers an overview of the economic development of America from the colonial period to the present and examines in detail several of the classic controversies of the new economic history including the economic causes of the American Revolution, the evolution of financial markets, the economics of slavery and Reconstruction, the Populist movement and the Great Depression. Emphasis is placed on the role economic theory can play in understanding pivotal events of the American experience. Prerequisites: Economics 251 and 252. Also offered as History 362.
Past syllabi: S. Horwitz, Spring 2016
371. Behavioral Economics and Economic Psychology.
This reading-intensive seminar on behavioral economics examines the ways in which decisions deviate from predictions of standard economic models, and considers its sister discipline, economic psychology, which tries to explain why people do not behave as economic models predict. Discussions involve whether market forces, learning and evolution can eliminate these human qualities and lead to rational behavior. We examine anomalies, or the ways in which people deviate from the standard models, and explore how behavioral concepts can be incorporated into those models and applied to a particular field (e.g. consumer economics, public economics, economic development or organization economics). Prerequisite: Economics 251.
Past syllabi: M. Motika, Spring 2016
376. Experimental Economics
Experimental economics is the study of how various kinds of experiments help economists improve their models. The course explores, and involves participation in, a wide variety of experiments that have contributed to our understanding of how markets clear, the effects of various public policies, and issues in human decision making in the field of behavioral economics. The emphasis is on learning research methods; each student will prepare and run at least one in-class experiment as well as writing an original proposal to study a topic of their choosing. This course provides excellent preparation for students interested in using the economics lab for summer research or senior projects. Prerequisites: Economics 200 and 251.
Past syllabi: M. Motika, Fall 2015
384. Natural Resource Economics.
This course complements Economics 308 (Environmental Economics). Standard economic approaches to problems of natural resources are presented and criticized from a variety of different perspectives to give students a deeper appreciation of the role of economic analysis in coping with natural resource scarcity. Specific topics include economics and population growth, economics and environmental ethics, ecological economics and sustainability, biodiversity and water resources. Prerequisites: Economics 200 and 251. Also offered as Environmental Studies 384.
Individual study of a topic under the supervision of a faculty member. Prerequisites: GPA of at least 3.0 in economics and approval by the department.
450. SYE: Senior Seminar.
The purpose of the seminar is to provide an integrative experience for senior majors that will allow them to use what they have learned in previous courses to study a particular issue in economics. Writing, speaking and research skills are emphasized. The issues and topics that form the basis of the seminar vary by semester and instructor. Prerequisites: Economics 200, 251 and 252, and senior standing. Course description will be provided in the Class Schedule.
Individual study, under the supervision of a faculty member, that provides an integrative experience for senior majors, allowing them to use what they have learned in previous courses to study a particular topic in economics. Prerequisites: Economics 200, 251, 252, senior standing, GPA of at least 3.0 in economics and approval of the department prior to the semester the project begins.
495. Senior Research Seminar.
Designed to prepare senior majors who are eligible for departmental honors, this seminar is focused on enhancing capabilities in conducting scholarly work in economics. The seminar is offered in the fall of each academic year and it is presumed that students enrolled plan to complete an honors thesis during the spring semester. Prerequisites: GPA of at least 3.5 in economics and approval of the department chair.498-499.
These courses are for senior majors who are eligible for department honors. Each student plans and writes an honors thesis under the guidance and supervision of a faculty member. Prerequisites: GPA of at least 3.5 in economics and approval of the department.