Economics
Offered by the Economics department.

Major requirements

Economics major worksheet

The economics major consists of at least 11 semester courses.
These include ECON 101 Introduction to Macroeconomics, ECON 102 Introduction to Microeconomics or ECON 112 Microeconomics with BioPharma Applications,  MATH 101 Calculus I or another math course subject to departmental approval, MATH 141 Introductory Statistics or MATH 151 Accelerated Statistics, ECON 201 Macroeconomic Theory, ECON 202 Microeconomic Theory and five other economics courses, at least two of which must be at the 300 level and one at the 400 level. Economics courses used to fulfill major requirements may not be taken pass/fail either at Wheaton or elsewhere. An overall average of C in all courses is necessary for completion of the major.

Students have developed double majors and interdepartmental majors in art, development studies, English, history, mathematics, philosophy, political science, psychology, Russian studies, sociology and Hispanic studies. Students with particular interests can design an interdepartmental major with the approval of the departments involved, the dean of academic advising and the provost.

Independent study and honors work are encouraged. Majors who are considering graduate work in economics are strongly encouraged to take an extensive number of mathematics courses. See the department chair to determine the most appropriate choices.

Economics provides a framework for answering questions which center on issues of production, and distribution. It provides a way for us to understand the implications of many important events reported daily by the news media.

In studying economics you will hone your writing and speaking skills; gain experience in problem solving; and learn how to sort through and analyze the welter of confusing data that the complex global economy generates. You will use some of the latest computer technology not only to gather but also to analyze information. You will have the opportunity to study how global economic forces affect your lives and your career options, and how these forces interact with social structures and cultural norms to affect men and women differently. You will gain a valuable perspective to help you learn from your job and internship experiences.

The skills you develop studying economics will prepare you for many different careers from the business world, to government, to finance, to the not-for-profit sector. Studying economics in a liberal arts setting gives you the flexibility necessary to be successful in the uncertain and fast-paced world of tomorrow. It will prepare you to become an active and critical member of society who can contribute to our nation’s well-being. The faculty of the Economics Department look forward to working with you to understand some of today’s most challenging and important issues.

Minor requirements

Economics minor worksheet

Students who are not majoring in Economics can gain an Economics minor in the following areas: the United States Economy, International Economics, Political Economy, or Economic Theory.

The United States Economy

The minor concentration in the United States economy provides students with a focus on the institutions, issues and policies of the U.S. economy. The introductory economics courses give an overview of economic analysis and its application to the U.S. economy. The upper-level courses in the minor develop in greater depth the study of specific areas of the U.S. economy.

Five of the following courses (or their equivalents), including ECON 101 and ECON 102 or ECON 112 and at least one 300-level course, are required:
ECON 101 Introduction to Macroeconomics
ECON 102 or ECON 112 Microeconomics with BioPharma Applications
ECON 222 Economics of Race and Racism
ECON 241 Women in United States Economy
ECON 242 Economics of Education
ECON 252 Urban Economics
ECON 255 Corporate Finance
ECON 262 Health Economics
ECON 303 Public Finance
ECON 309 Labor Economics and Industrial Relations
ECON 313 Banking and Monetary Theory
ECON 361 Industrial Organization and Public Policy

The International Economy

The minor concentration in the international economy provides students with a focus on international economic issues. The introductory economics courses give students a general perspective from which they can begin to analyze economic problems, while the remaining courses take up specific concerns. These range from problems faced by developing countries in their struggle for development to the international trade and balance of payments concerns of industrialized capitalist countries to the transitions of the formerly centrally planned economies.

Five of the following courses (or their equivalents), including ECON 101 and ECON 102 or ECON 112 and at least one 300-level course, are required:
ECON 101 Introduction to Macroeconomics
ECON 102 or ECON 112 Microeconomics with BioPharma Applications
ECON 233 Sweatshops in the World Economy
ECON 305 International Finance
ECON 306 International Trade
ECON 332 Economic Development

Political Economy

The minor concentration in Political Economy provides students with an alternative analysis of the economy and economic relations to that taught in many other economics courses. Political Economy courses rely upon Marxist, Feminist, Institutionalist, Anti-Racist and other approaches to develop critical analyses of capitalist economies, economic relations and economics that incorporate understandings of the power relations that are often obscured and left unexamined in Economics. Political Economy courses taken up topics such as racial, gender and class inequality in the United States; globalization and global inequities including development strategies and working conditions in the global and U.S. economy; the dynamics of capitalist economies; and alternative ways to organize economic activity. Most Political Economy courses have an inter-disciplinary focus.

Six of the following courses (or their equivalents), including ECON 101 and ECON 102 (or ECON 112) and ECON 288, and at least one 300-level course. A student may count ANTH 333, or another non-economics course with a Political Economy focus approved by the chair of the Economics Department.

ECON 101 Introduction to Macroeconomics
ECON 102 or ECON 112 Microeconomics with BioPharma Applications
ECON 112 Microeconomics with BioPharma Applications
ECON 222 Economics of Race and Racism
ECON 233 Sweatshops in the World Economy
ECON 241 Women in United States Economy
ECON 288 Foundations of Political Economy
ECON 298 Enterprising Non-Profits/ Social Entrepreneurship
ECON 311 History of Economic Thought
ECON 332 Economic Development
ANTH 333 Economic Anthropology

Economic Theory

The minor in economic theory provides students with a study of the analytical methods used by economists. The introductory courses give a basic development of the methodologies which economists use to address the subject matter of their discipline. Their introduction is pursued in greater depth through the intermediate analysis courses, Foundations of Political Economy and Mathematical Economics. The History of Economic Thought examines the historical development of contemporary economic theory.

Five of the following courses (or their equivalents), including ECON 101 and ECON 102 or ECON 112 and at least one 300-level course, are required:
ECON 101 Introduction to Macroeconomics
ECON 102 or ECON 112 Microeconomics with BioPharma Applications
ECON 201 Macroeconomic Theory
ECON 202 Microeconomic Theory
ECON 288 Foundations of Political Economy
ECON 311 History of Economic Thought

  • Economics

    ECON 099 – Selected Topics

    An opportunity to do independent work in a particular area not included in the regular courses.

  • Economics

    ECON 101 – Introduction to Macroeconomics

    Macroeconomics covers the economic functioning and problems of society. Major topics include national income and growth, unemployment, inflation and stabilization policies, federal revenues, expenditures and the deficit and money and banking.

  • Economics

    ECON 102 – Introduction to Microeconomics

    Microeconomics explains economic behavior of decision makers in the economy–consumers, business firms, resource owners and governments. Major topics include pricing and the operation of markets for goods and services and for resources, the behavior of firms and industries in different market settings, income distribution and public policy.

  • Economics

    ECON 112 – Microeconomics with BioPharma Applications

    Microeconomics explains economic behavior of decision makers in the economy–consumers, business firms, resource owners and governments. Major topics include pricing and the operation of markets for goods and services and for resources, the behavior of firms and industries in different market settings, income distribution and public policy.

Econ 112 and Econ 102 are very similar introductory Microeconomics courses. Econ 112 is slightly different from Econ 102 because it gives special attention to how the topics mentioned above apply to the pharmaceutical industry.

Either Econ 112 or Econ 102 can be taken in conjunction with Math 101 to complete The Calculus of Microeconomics Connection (see Connections 20004 – The Calculus of Microeconomics (CONX 20004)). Econ 112 also gives students the alternative option of completing the Biopharma Connection, if they take Bio 112. For information about the Biopharma Connection, see Connections 20026 – Biopharma (CONX 20026).

(Previously Introduction to Microeconomics – with Calculus)

  • Economics

    ECON 199 – Selected Topics

    An opportunity to do independent work in a particular area not included in the regular courses.

  • Economics

    ECON 201 – Macroeconomic Theory

    Economic aggregates and their theoretical relationships. Topics include national income analysis, economic fluctuations, stabilization policies, inflation, unemployment, theory of aggregate demand and supply and economic growth. General equilibrium, Neoclassical, Monetarist, Keynesian, New Classical and Post Keynesian theoretical frameworks are considered.

  • Economics

    ECON 202 – Microeconomic Theory

    The theory of the economic behavior of the individual household, firm and market. Topics include the allocation of consumer income, cost and production functions, the determination of price and output under perfect and imperfect competition, the pricing and optimal allocation of resources and welfare economics.

  • Economics

    ECON 222 – Economics of Race and Racism

    Explores the interaction of race and racism with economic dynamics in society. The focus is on the United States, although several other countries are discussed. Topics include theories of racism, housing issues, education, employment discrimination, business formation and economic history.

  • Economics

    ECON 233 – Sweatshops in the World Economy

    This course engages students in the controversy regarding sweatshops and their role in the global economy. We ask why sweatshops have returned to the United States, the richest economy in the world. We also ask what role the spread of sweatshops in the developing world played in the alleviation and perpetuation of poverty.

  • Economics

    ECON 241 – Women in United States Economy

    Theories and empirical analysis of women’s work in the United States. Topics include the influence of feminist thought on economics, a multicultural history of women’s work, labor force participation, occupational distribution and wages, the gender division of labor in household production (housework and child rearing) and related policy issues.

  • Economics

    ECON 242 – Economics of Education

    This course introduces economic theory related to education and engages students in critical analysis of education data and of actual and proposed education policies. Topics include the relationship of education to the economy, school funding mechanisms and the economics of education reform initiatives in the United States and selected other countries.

  • Economics

    ECON 252 – Urban Economics

    The identification, description and analysis of problems that are basically urban in nature. Topics include the urbanization process, urban poverty, transport, housing, urban renewal, the problems of metropolitan government, the design of urban environments and city planning.

  • Economics

    ECON 255 – Corporate Finance

    The economics of corporate finance. Topics include capital budgeting, financial structure and the cost of capital, sources and forms of long- and short-term financing, the operations of the capital market, corporate taxes and the control of corporations.

  • Economics

    ECON 262 – Health Economics

    This course examines issues in the health care industry from institutional, theoretical and empirical perspectives. Topics include measures of health status, health determinants, disparities in health outcomes, medical treatments and technology assessment, health insurance, physician and hospital supply, pharmaceutical industry, international comparisons and evaluation of health care reform initiatives.

  • Economics

    ECON 288 – Foundations of Political Economy

    A radical view of the dynamics of a capitalist economy and of the dimensions of the current economic crises in the United States. Topics include the elements of Marxist theory (historical materialism, alienation, labor theory of value) and problems of modern capitalism (imperialism, sexism, racism).

  • Economics

    ECON 298 – Experimental Course

    From time to time, departments design a new course to be offered either on a one-time basis or an experimental basis before deciding whether to make it a regular part of the curriculum. Refer to the course schedule for current listings.<

  • Economics

    ECON 299 – Selected Topics

    An opportunity to do independent work in a particular area not included in the regular courses.

  • Economics

    ECON 303 – Public Finance

    Analysis of the revenue and expenditure policies of the public sector in light of the allocation, distribution and stabilization functions of government. Topics include the proper role of government, industrial policy, the management of externalities, the budget deficit, public expenditures and the nature and incidence of the U.S. tax system.

  • Economics

    ECON 305 – International Finance

    This course examines international financial relations among nations. Topics covered include the balance of payment accounts, foreign exchange rate determination, monetary and fiscal policies in an open economy, global financial liberalization, financial and currency crises, debt crises, the debate on fixed versus flexible exchange rate regimes, including “dollarization,” currency unions and monetary unions.

  • Economics

    ECON 306 – International Trade

    This course examines the effects of international trade on economic growth, income distribution, and labor and environmental standards. The topics covered include theories of trade, welfare effects of trade restrictions, U.S. and E.U. trade policies, trade issues of developing nations, multilateral trade negotiations under GATT and WTO, preferential trade agreements and multinational enterprises in the world trading system.

  • Economics

    ECON 309 – Labor Economics and Industrial Relations

    Economics of labor markets, labor unions and collective bargaining. Topics include labor force participation; employment and unemployment; wage rates; education and training; labor market discrimination; issues, techniques and outcomes of collective bargaining; and public policies affecting workers and labor unions. Neoclassical, institutionalist and radical theoretical frameworks are considered.

  • Economics

    ECON 311 – History of Economic Thought

    The development of economic thought from the mercantilist period to the present with primary emphasis on the classical economists, Marx, the Marginalists and Keynes. Topics investigated are the relationship between economic theory and its historical milieu, the role of paradigms in the development of economic ideas and the historical antecedents to current schools of economic thought.

  • Economics

    ECON 313 – Banking and Monetary Theory

    This course studies the nature of money and credit in a modern economy; the operations of banks, the Federal Reserve System and financial markets; the impact of the money supply on prices, income and employment; United States monetary policy and its relationship to other forms of stabilization policy; and current domestic and international monetary problems. (Previously Econ 213)

  • Economics

    ECON 330 – Applied Econometrics

    Applications of regression analysis, a versatile statistical tool frequently used in empirical economic studies as well as in other social and natural sciences. The primary emphasis will be on developing a sound understanding of the ordinary least squares method, thus enabling students to read, understand and evaluate studies using this technique. Students will use the computer to run their own regressions.

  • Economics

    ECON 332 – Economic Development

    Studies economic problems of developing countries and policies to promote development. Topics include theories of development and underdevelopment, the role of the agricultural and international sectors, and specific problems of poverty, income distribution and unemployment.

  • Economics

    ECON 361 – Industrial Organization and Public Policy

    In this course, we explore questions such as: Did XYZ company drive its competitors out of business by predatory pricing practices? Why do cable companies bundle services? How concentrated are the hotel, restaurant, pharmaceutical industries and how has this changed over time? Firms make decisions based on the existence and behavior of their competitors. Costs, technology, and government regulation and policies all influence the number of firms that operate in a market, affecting whether firms act competitively or not. This course uses theoretical and empirical approaches to analyze strategic firm behavior under different market structures (monopoly, oligopoly, competition). We examine firm pricing, output, merger, and technology innovation and adoption decisions; derive social welfare implications; and evaluate antitrust policy to detect anticompetitive behavior (predatory conduct and cartels).

  • Economics

    ECON 398 – Experimental Course

    From time to time, departments design a new course to be offered either on a one-time basis or an experimental basis before deciding whether to make it a regular part of the curriculum. Refer to the course schedule for current listings.

  • Economics

    ECON 399 – Selected Topics

    A course for advanced students, the content of which is determined according to the interests of the students and the instructor. This course is offered at the discretion of the department.

  • Economics

    ECON 401 – Seminar: Topics in Law and Economics

    Economic analysis of legal rules and institutions. Topics include the common law doctrines of property, contracts and torts, plus crime and the legal process.

  • Economics

    ECON 402 – Seminar: Current Economic Issues

    A discussion of problems and controversies facing today’s policy makers and an economic analysis of the costs and benefits associated with various policy solutions. Topics chosen for discussion will depend upon class interest, recent research and current events.

  • Economics

    ECON 403 – Global Economic Controversies

    This seminar will highlight a series of current international debates. Students will study competing perspectives and will develop their own positions on each topic, both in writing and in classroom discussions. The debates chosen for discussion each semester will depend on timeliness, class interests and recent research. Potential topics include globalization of environmental protection, trade liberalization, international labor standards and immigration.

  • Economics

    ECON 499 – Independent Research

    Offered to selected majors at the invitation of the department.

  • Economics

    ECON 500 – Individual Research

    Selected majors are invited by the department to pursue individual research in preparation for writing an Honors Thesis.

Lord Andzie-Quainoo

Visiting Assistant Professor of Economics

Phoebe Chan

Associate Professor of Economics

James Freeman

Associate Professor of Economics, Coordinator for African, African American, Diaspora Studies

John Alexander Gildea

Professor of Economics

Rochelle (Shelly) Leibowitz

Professor of Mathematics

John Miller

Professor of Economics

Russell Williams

Associate Professor of Economics; Chair, Department of Economics

Brenda Wyss

Associate Professor of Economics; Coordinator of Development Studies