Course Descriptions

Economics Courses: A Closer Look

Economics

ECON 110 - Investments

The primary goal of this course is to enable students to become informed and intelligent investors in the area of stocks, bonds, and mutual funds. We will also attempt to answer the question: Is it possible to predict changes in stock prices or are they determined only by random events? Other topics covered include ethical investing, international investing, and green investing. Emphasis will be on group learning, oral presentations, and the case study approach. This course is intended for non-economics majors and does not count for credit toward an economics major.

Frequency: Every year.

ECON 113 - Financial Accounting

Accounting is the language of business. One of the objectives of this course is to learn that "language." The emphasis will be on understanding financial statements both for profit and non-profit organizations. International accounting, ethics and investment decisions are also covered. This course is designed for students who desire an understanding of the elements of accounting as a component of a liberal arts education as well as for those who would like to study further in accounting or business.

Frequency: Every semester.

ECON 115 - Introduction to American Economy

This course provides a non-technical introduction to the basic concepts in economics, with a focus on the United States. Using a small number of fundamental economic concepts, this course provides a foundation for informed decision making regarding current economic debates. The course is intended for non-majors and does not count for the economics major. It is not open to students who have already taken ECON 119 - Principles of Economics.

Frequency: Once per year.

ECON 119 - Principles of Economics

A one-semester introduction to the basic tools of micro- and macroeconomic analysis. Microeconomics deals with consumers, firms, markets and income distribution. Macroeconomics deals with national income, employment, inflation and money.

Frequency: Every semester.

ECON 180 - Cambodia: Culture, History, and Development

This January-term study-abroad course examines Cambodia's history, culture, and contemporary economic development. As one of the poorest countries in Asia, experiencing extremely rapid development in conjunction with a significant political history involving the United States, Cambodia provides a privileged example of important political, religious, and economic history.

Cross-Listed as

RELI 180

ECON 194 - Topics Course

Varies by semester. Consult the department or class schedule for current listing.

ECON 201 - Internship Seminar

The internship seminar is recommended as a companion course for students taking an internship through the Economics department. The course is designed to help assure that the theories, principles, and concepts developed in academic work are effectively integrated with the internship experience. The course will use a combination of in-class readings and discussions to allow students to reflect on their own career aspirations as a result of the internship experience as well as to learn from the experiences of other students in the seminar. The goals of the course include supporting students during the internship, analyzing the challenges posed by an internship, and providing success strategies, and developing take-aways from the internship program that help students plan remaining coursework and career preparation.

Frequency: Every spring.

Prerequisite(s)

ECON 113 or ECON 119

ECON 210 - Business Communications

This course is intended to help students improve their own critical communication skills and explore how those skills can be best applied in business situations. Students will polish writing skills, with sessions that focus on resumes, cover letters, and everyday business communications like email. Students will learn best practices of effective presentations and will deliver several powerpoint presentations in class. The course will use the case method to review real corporate communication issues, such as crisis management, interpersonal communications challenges, negotiation simulations and the like.

Prerequisite(s)

ECON 113 or ECON 119

ECON 221 - Introduction to International Economics

This course explores the theoretical foundations and empirical realities of international trade flows, commercial policies (tariffs, quotas, etc.) and international finance. The course emphasizes the welfare implications of international trade and commercial policies and links these to discussion of disputes over international trade agreements. The international finance portion of the course covers the foreign exchange market, balance of payments analysis and an introduction to open economy macroeconomics. Recommended for students majoring in international studies.

Frequency: Every year.

Prerequisite(s)

ECON 119

ECON 225 - Comparative Economic Systems

This course examines the workings of economic systems from the perspective of the incentives facing the firm and consumer. The course provides an introduction to the economics of information and organization which is used to evaluate resource allocation under the specific institutional environment of different economic systems. Our understanding of the incentive system is then used to evaluate the overall economic system. The focus of the course is primarily on the U.S. economy, Japan and the former Soviet Union/Russia. As time permits the course may examine China, Germany and Central Europe.

Prerequisite(s)

ECON 119

Cross-Listed as

INTL 225

ECON 227 - Adam Smith and Karl Marx

The objective of this course is to study the lives and the original writings of two of the most important scholars in the history of economic thought. Adam Smith, the patron saint of laissez-faire capitalism, was the founding father of modern economics, as well as the intellectual predecessor of Marx. Marx's historical and political vision embraced an equally large panorama.

Frequency: Alternate years.

Prerequisite(s)

ECON 119

ECON 229 - World Economic History

This course presents a broad overview of world economic history. It uses concepts and models developed in Principles of Economics to explore how the interplay between geography, institutions, and technology has influenced material living standards from the Stone Age to the present. In particular, we will study the causes and consequences of long-term structural forces such as the agriculture, industrial and informational revolutions, the Malthusian trap and demographic transition, slavery, globalization, and the rise of government. We will also explore more cyclical phenomena such as wars, financial crises, economic depressions and hyper-inflations. Students will learn how economic historians use evidence to make sense of the past and the role economic history plays in guiding current policy debates.

Frequency: Once per year.

Prerequisite(s)

ECON 119

ECON 231 - Environmental Economics and Policy

This course analyzes the economics of public policy toward the environment. It examines the problem of market failure in the presence of externalities and public goods, and considers policy responses to these market failures, including command-and-control regulations, tax and subsidy incentives, and marketable pollution permits. These policies are examined in the context of, for example, urban air pollution, ozone depletion and global warming, water pollution, municipal and hazardous waste, threats to biodiversity, and economic development. Particular attention is paid to methods of quantifying the benefits and costs of environmental protection.

Prerequisite(s)

ECON 119

Cross-Listed as

ENVI 231

ECON 242 - Economics of Gender

This course uses economic theory to explore how gender differences lead to different economic outcomes for men and women, both within families and in the marketplace. Topics include applications of economic theory to 1) aspects of family life including marriage, cohabitation, fertility, and divorce, and 2) the interactions of men and women in firms and in markets. The course will combine theory, empirical work, and analysis of economic policies that affect men and women differently.

Prerequisite(s)

ECON 119

Cross-Listed as

WGSS 242

ECON 252 - Economics of Not-For-Profit

This course focuses on the economics of not-for-profit institutions. The course will deal with both underlying theoretical concepts and their applicability to Macalester College. Indeed, the college will provide the framework for the course. Using the tools of economic analysis acquired in the Principles course, we will examine the mission/purpose/aims of the college and how they relate to governance (the interplay between the Board of Trustees, the President and his/her staff, the various faculty/staff committees, students, and other constituencies); planning and goal setting; resource allocation (both operating and capital budgets); the interplay between human capital, financial capital, and physical capital; agency matters and incentives; and the issues that must be confronted in deciding whether to spend more from the endowment now vs later. We will also study how not-for-profits tend to self-evaluate their progress and how external evaluating methodologies (e.g. U.S.News & World Report rankings) might influence all of the above.

Prerequisite(s)

ECON 119

ECON 256 - Intro to Investment Banking

This course will provide a one semester overview of investment banks. The role of equity capital markets, debt capital markets, research, sales and trading, and investment banking will be covered. Basic corporate finance techniques will be introduced. Current financial issues in the business world will be reviewed. Classroom work, case studies, and outside speakers will be utilized. The key objectives of this course are for students to obtain a solid understanding of the various disciplines within the investment banking field and to prepare themselves for interviews and internships. The course is well suited for students who are contemplating a career in investment banking, banking, or corporate finance.

Prerequisite(s)

ECON 113 and ECON 119.

ECON 269 - Economics of International Migration

This course will examine the global movement of people through an economic lens. The course will study the impact that emigration has on the economy of the home country, such as brain drain and population change, the historic role that migration has played in economic development, and finally the effect that immigration has on immigrant-receiving countries. The various economic issues in the current immigration debate in the United States will be analyzed including the economic assimilation of immigrants, and the impact of immigration on native born workers.

Frequency: Every other spring.

Cross-Listed as

LATI 269 and INTL 269

ECON 292 - Topics Course

Varies by semester. Consult the department or class schedule for current listing.

ECON 294 - Topics Course

Varies by semester. Consult the department or class schedule for current listing.

ECON 323 - Economic Restructuring in Latin America

This course uses economic principles to examine the transition from Import Substitution Industrialization to trade liberalization in Latin America. The goal of the course is to understand the economic antecedents to free trade as well as the resulting impact on workers and resource allocation. The course also addresses peripheral aspects of economic restructuring, such as the drug trade, migration, and the maquiladora industry. Requires an Economics 200 level course from the Group A electives, Economics 221 preferred.

Frequency: Offered every year.

Prerequisite(s)

Grade of C– or higher in any 200-level Economics course, ECON 221 preferred

Cross-Listed as

INTL 323 and LATI 323

ECON 325 - China, Russia and Central Europe in Transition

This course surveys the theoretic and empirical literature on Soviet-style central planning and the transition to a market economy. The economic history of central planning is examined with emphasis on the experience of the Soviet Union and its variants in Eastern Europe and China. The tool of analysis is the branch of economics known as the economics of organization and information, which will be used to analyze the operation, strengths, and limitations of central planning. The legacy of central planning forms the backdrop for an examination of the transition to a market economy.

Frequency: Alternate years.

Prerequisite(s)

ECON 119 and C- or higher in a 200-level Economics course from Group A electives; ECON 221 or ECON 225 are recommended

 

Cross-Listed as

INTL 325

ECON 333 - Economics of Global Food Problems

This course will examine food distribution, production, policy, and hunger issues from an economics perspective. It explores and compares food and agriculture issues in both industrialized and developing countries. Basic economic tools will be applied to provide an analytical understanding of these issues. Topics such as hunger and nutrition, US farm policy, food distribution, food security, food aid, biotechnology and the Green Revolution, the connection between food production and health outcomes, as well as other related themes will be explored in depth throughout the semester.

Frequency: Offered every other spring semester.

Prerequisite(s)

ECON 119 and a C- or higher in one 200-level Economics course from Group A electives; ECON 221 or ECON 225 recommended.

Cross-Listed as

ENVI 333 and INTL 333

ECON 342 - Economics of Poverty in US

This course focuses on the economic aspects of poverty and inequality in the United States. The course utilizes economic theory and empirical research to analyze the determinants of, and potential strategies to overcome poverty and inequality. Topics include measurement and trends of poverty and inequality, labor markets, education, discrimination, residential segregation, and immigration. The course also investigates the role of public policy in fighting poverty and inequality. There is a required service learning component in this course.

Frequency: Offered every year.

Prerequisite(s)

ECON 119 and a C- or higher in one 200-level Economics course from Group A electives

ECON 353 - Managerial Accounting

Planning is the key to business success. How do firms plan for the future? Setting objectives and budgets. Evaluating and rewarding employee performance. Controlling inventory, cash budgeting, and capital budgeting. Extensive use of case studies and group work.

Prerequisite(s)

ECON 113 or permission of instructor.

ECON 356 - Capital Markets

The structure, operation, regulation and economic role of financial markets and institutions; fundamental security analysis and present-value techniques; forecasts of earnings and analysis of yields on stocks and bonds; the portfolio theory and characteristic lines, betas and mutual-fund ratings; futures and options markets.

Prerequisite(s)

ECON 113 and ECON 119

ECON 358 - Introduction to Securities Analysis

This course will primarily focus on equity securities analysis (stocks) from the perspective of institutional (Wall Stree) investors. Topics will include industry analysis and forecasting, financial statement analysis, fundamental company analysis and valuation methods. Students will form industry groups and will each research a company in that industry. Students will build complete historical and projected financial statement models in Excel. The end product of the course will be a company report written by each student.

Prerequisite(s)

ECON 113 and C- or higher in ECON 256, or permission of instructor.

ECON 361 - Intermediate Microeconomic Analysis

Methodology of economic science; theory of consumer behavior; theory of the firm; market structure and price determination; factor markets and income distribution; general equilibrium analysis; market failure.

Frequency: Every semester.

Prerequisite(s)

MATH 135 or MATH 137, and a C- or higher in one 200-level Economics course from Group A electives. Not open to first-year students except by permission of the instructor.

ECON 371 - Intermediate Macroeconomic Analysis

This course develops in detail theories of the determination of national income, employment and the price level. The foundations and mechanics of neo-classical and Keynesian models of the aggregate economy are studied and modern syntheses of these approaches are explored. Considerable attention will be paid to current behavior of the national economy.

Frequency: Every semester.

Prerequisite(s)

ECON 361, and MATH 135 or MATH 137, or permission of instructor.

ECON 381 - Introduction to Econometrics

This course investigates the methods economists use to test theories and conduct economic forecasts. This course will provide the student with the ability to design, conduct, and evaluate empirical work in economics and other social sciences. The primary focus of the course is on the final project that consists of a research paper that will integrate library research, economic theory, and econometric analysis. The course will take a "hands on" approach as much as possible with weekly use of the microcomputer in class.

Frequency: Every semester.

Prerequisite(s)

A C- or higher in one 200-level course from Group A electives, ECON 361 (or permission of instructor), MATH 135 or MATH 137, and MATH 155.

ECON 394 - Topics Course

Varies by semester. Consult the department or class schedule for current listing.

ECON 420 - Quantitative Macroeconomic Analysis

This course provides a formal, hands-on exposition of modern macroeconomic theory using dynamic stochastic general equilibrium (DSGE) models.

Frequency: Alternate years.

Prerequisite(s)

ECON 371 and MATH 137, or permission of instructor.

ECON 422 - International Macroeconomics and Finance

This is a course in open economy macroeconomics and international finance. Special emphasis is placed on the causes and consequences of the international financial system's evolution. The four major international monetary regimes of the twentieth century, the classical gold standard, the interwar gold-exchange standard, the Bretton Woods System, and the floating-rate dollar standard, are explored in chronological order as well as attempts at monetary union in Europe. Topics examined include: 1) exchange rate determination, 2) balance of payments, 3) macroeconomic adjustment, and 4) international monetary institutions. Case studies are used extensively.

Prerequisite(s)

ECON 361 and ECON 371

ECON 424 - Effects of International Competition

This course provides an in-depth look at current issues in international trade. The course begins with a more rigorous examination of both classical and "new" trade theories. Then, we explore empirical tests of trade theories, models of outsourcing and production fragmentation, and the literature relating trade and the environment. We also examine the debates over the effect of trade on wages, multilateral versus bilateral trade negotiations, and the relationship between trade and growth.

Frequency: Alternate years.

Prerequisite(s)

ECON 361, ECON 371, and ECON 381

ECON 426 - International Economic Development

This course will apply the tools of economic analysis to gain an understanding of economic development problems and their solutions. Patterns of economic development in an historical and dynamic context will be examined. The central role of agriculture and the problem of technological change in agriculture will also be examined. Other topics will include neo-classical growth models, domestic and international economic policies, international trade, foreign aid, external debt, technology transfer, rural-urban migration and income distribution.

Frequency: Every year.

Prerequisite(s)

ECON 361, ECON 371, and ECON 381

ECON 431 - Public Finance

This course examines government taxation and expenditures. It relies on theoretical and empirical research to explore how government affects the allocation of resources and the distribution of income. The first portion of the course considers taxation in the presence of externalities and public goods and analyzes the effect of social security, unemployment insurance, and social welfare programs on labor supply, savings, and government revenue. The second portion focuses on models to estimate the distributional burdens of taxation, theories of optimal commodity and income taxation, and incentives for investment by firms.

Frequency: Every year.

Prerequisite(s)

ECON 361, ECON 371, and ECON 381

ECON 442 - Labor Economics

This course uses theoretical and empirical research to examine the economics of work from both the point of view of the firm and the worker. Economic tools will be used to analyze some of the important issues relevant to labor economics, such as labor force participation, the division of labor within the household, occupational choice, investments in education, minimum wage legislation, wage elasticities, employment-hours tradeoff, labor market discrimination, unions, and job search.

Frequency: Offered every year.

Prerequisite(s)

  ECON 361, ECON 371, and ECON 381.

ECON 444 - Honors Seminar

An honors seminar to enhance the senior capstone requirement.

Prerequisite(s)

Permission of instructor required.

ECON 457 - Finance

This course concentrates on developing and applying economic principles to the decision making process of the firm. Typically the course is taught from the viewpoint of the financial manager of a firm (profit or non-profit). Traditional corporate finance topics will be covered, including: cash flow management, sources of capital, capital budgeting, cost of capital, and financial structure. Recent theoretical developments in the capital asset pricing model and portfolio theory also will be examined. Actual case studies of financial decision making often are included in the course.

Prerequisite(s)

ECON 113, ECON 361 and ECON 381.

ECON 461 - Selected Topics in Microeconomic

This course will extend the subject matter of Intermediate Microeconomics, considering both theory and selected applications in four broad areas: (1) Extensions of the theory of choice to considerations of risk and uncertainty, the expected utility hypothesis, and the economics of information; (2) Extensions of the competitive market model to examine the supply of exhaustible resources, airline regulation and deregulation, and rent controls; (3) Extensions of simple, undifferentiated oligopoly theory to examine product differentiation, game theory, and contestable markets; and (4) Extensions of the theory of factor markets to study discrimination in the labor market, the negative income tax, and the incidence of the social security payroll tax.

Frequency: Alternate years.

Prerequisite(s)

ECON 361, ECON 371 and ECON 381, and Senior standing or permission of instructor.

ECON 481 - Advanced Econometrics

This course will introduce advanced topics in applied econometrics. Among other topics, it will examine limited dependent variable models, vector autoregression and advanced time series techniques, simultaneous equations models and the econometrics of panel data estimation. Although the emphasis will be on applied work, the course will also examine the underlying mathematical structure of these estimation methods.

Frequency: Alternate years.

Prerequisite(s)

ECON 361, ECON 371, ECON 381 and MATH 135 or MATH 137 and MATH 236, or permission of instructor.

ECON 485 - Empirical Finance

This class concentrates on applying econometric techniques and computer programming to empirically test major financial theories. The econometric techniques used in the class include but is not restricted to OLS, GLS, GMM, Maximum Likelihood method, Nonparametric method, panel data models (random effect model, fixed effect model, pooled regression, etc.), time series models (VAR, ARMA, ARMAX, GARCH, etc.). Main programming language used in the class is Matlab, while R and STATA may also be used occasionally. Major finance topics tested in the class include market efficiency, portfolio theory, stock selection models, market microstructure, anomalies in the financial markets, calendar effects, etc.

Frequency: Offered every other year.

Prerequisite(s)

ECON 356 and ECON 381, MATH 135 (or MATH 137) and MATH 236.

ECON 490 - Behavioral Economics

This course surveys recent developments in behavioral economics and considers applications in labor economics, macroeconomics, finance, public finance, consumer choice, and other areas. Our goal is to draw on recent work in cognitive and evolutionary psychology to better understand human behavior and incorporate these insights into neoclassical reasoning and modeling. This course counts towards the capstone.

Frequency: Offered every year.

Prerequisite(s)

ECON 361 and ECON 371

ECON 494 - Topics Course

Varies by semester. Consult the department or class schedule for current listing.

ECON 611 - Independent Project

Further study in fields of special interest. Readings, conferences, field work, reports.

Frequency: Every semester.

Prerequisite(s)

ECON 361, ECON 371 and permission of instructor.

ECON 612 - Independent Project

Further study in fields of special interest. Readings, conferences, field work, reports.

Frequency: Every semester.

Prerequisite(s)

ECON 361, ECON 371 and permission of instructor.

ECON 613 - Independent Project

Further study in fields of special interest. Readings, conferences, field work, reports.

Frequency: Every semester.

Prerequisite(s)

ECON 361, ECON 371 and permission of instructor.

ECON 614 - Independent Project

Further study in fields of special interest. Readings, conferences, field work, reports.

Frequency: Every semester.

Prerequisite(s)

ECON 361, ECON 371 and permission of instructor.

ECON 621 - Internship

Work that involves the student in practical off-campus experiences with business, government, and non-profit organizations. S/NC grading only. While the department encourages students to undertake meaningful off-campus experiences, internship credits do not count among the eight minimum courses for the major. (Internships are considered like a ninth or tenth course.)

Prerequisite(s)

Two courses in economics and permission of instructor. Work with Internship Office.

ECON 622 - Internship

Work that involves the student in practical off-campus experiences with business, government, and non-profit organizations. S/NC grading only. While the department encourages students to undertake meaningful off-campus experiences, internship credits do not count among the eight minimum courses for the major. (Internships are considered like a ninth or tenth course.)

Prerequisite(s)

Two courses in economics and permission of instructor. Work with Internship Office.

ECON 623 - Internship

Work that involves the student in practical off-campus experiences with business, government, and non-profit organizations. S/NC grading only. While the department encourages students to undertake meaningful off-campus experiences, internship credits do not count among the eight minimum courses for the major. (Internships are considered like a ninth or tenth course.)

Prerequisite(s)

Two courses in economics and permission of instructor. Work with Internship Office.

ECON 624 - Internship

Work that involves the student in practical off-campus experiences with business, government, and non-profit organizations. S/NC grading only. While the department encourages students to undertake meaningful off-campus experiences, internship credits do not count among the eight minimum courses for the major. (Internships are considered like a ninth or tenth course.)

Prerequisite(s)

Two courses in economics and permission of instructor. Work with Internship Office.

ECON 631 - Preceptorship

Work in assisting faculty in the planning and teaching of a course and/or tutoring individual students. S/NC grading only.

Frequency: Every semester.

Prerequisite(s)

ECON 361, ECON 371 and permission of instructor. Work with Academic Programs.

ECON 632 - Preceptorship

Work in assisting faculty in the planning and teaching of a course and/or tutoring individual students. S/NC grading only.

Frequency: Every semester.

Prerequisite(s)

ECON 361, ECON 371 and permission of instructor. Work with Academic Programs.

ECON 633 - Preceptorship

Work in assisting faculty in the planning and teaching of a course and/or tutoring individual students. S/NC grading only.

Frequency: Every semester.

Prerequisite(s)

ECON 361, ECON 371 and permission of instructor. Work with Academic Programs.

ECON 634 - Preceptorship

Work in assisting faculty in the planning and teaching of a course and/or tutoring individual students. S/NC grading only.

Frequency: Every semester.

Prerequisite(s)

ECON 361, ECON 371 and permission of instructor. Work with Academic Programs.

ECON 641 - Honors Independent

Independent research, writing, or other preparation leading to the culmination of the senior honors project.

Frequency: Offered every semester.

Prerequisite(s)

Permission of instructor.

ECON 642 - Honors Independent

Independent research, writing, or other preparation leading to the culmination of the senior honors project.

Frequency: Offered every semester.

Prerequisite(s)

Permission of instructor.

ECON 643 - Honors Independent

Independent research, writing, or other preparation leading to the culmination of the senior honors project.

Frequency: Offered every semester.

Prerequisite(s)

Permission of instructor.

ECON 644 - Honors Independent

Independent research, writing, or other preparation leading to the culmination of the senior honors project.

Frequency: Offered every semester.

Prerequisite(s)

Permission of instructor.