Economics Minor

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An economics minor provides a systematic analysis of economic issues through the study of the allocation of scarce resources into production and the distribution of production among the members of society.

Notes about this minor:

  • This minor is closed to students majoring in economics.
  • Posting of the minor on the student's academic transcript requires a minimum GPA of 2.0 in the minor.

The program code for Economics Minor is ECON-MN.

Curriculum for Economics Minor

Choose one of the following:
   Principles of Microeconomics
Microeconomics studies the workings of individual markets. That is, it examines the interaction of the demanders of goods and services with the suppliers of those goods and services. It explores how the behavior of consumers (demanders), the behavior of producers (suppliers), and the level of market competition influence market outcomes.
   Honors Microeconomics
Required Course
Principles of Macroeconomics
Macroeconomics studies aggregate economic behavior. The course begins by presenting the production possibilities model. This is followed by a discussion of basic macroeconomic concepts including inflation, unemployment, and economic growth and fluctuations. The next topic is national income accounting, which is the measurement of macroeconomic variables. The latter part of the course focuses on the development of one or more macroeconomic models, a discussion of the role of money in the macroeconomy, the aggregate supply-aggregate demand framework, and other topics the individual instructor may choose.
Theory and Policy
Choose two or three of the following:
   Intermediate Microeconomic Theory
This course develops the tools that are commonly used to study the allocation of resources in a private enterprise economy. Topics covered include the theory of consumer behavior, cost and production, and alternate market structures.
   Intermediate Macroeconomic Theory
The central question of macroeconomics is the determination of output, employment, and prices. This course develops models which incorporate behavioral assumptions concerning consumption, investment, and the role of money and their relationship to macroeconomic variables. Macroeconomics, unlike microeconomics, has been in a constant state of flux during the 20th and into the 21st century. Theories which purport to explain macroeconomic behavior have come into and gone out of fashion depending upon institutional changes and external factors. This course will primarily focus on examining four macroeconomic theories; the Classical, Keynesian, Monetarist, and New Classical models. In addition, macroeconomic public policy will be analyzed in the context of recent economic history. This analysis will be extended to consider open economy macroeconomics in a global context.
   International Trade and Finance
This course first surveys the sources of comparative advantage. It then analyzes commercial policy and analyzes the welfare economics of trade between countries. Some attention is paid to the institutional aspects of the world trading system. Finally, the course introduces the student to some salient notions in international finance such as national income accounting, the balance of payments, and exchange rates.
   Global Economic Issues
This course is focused on understanding economic problems in a global perspective. The students will study the impact of globalization on economic growth and income disparity among countries. Global economic issues such as poverty, hunger, refugees, and transnational terrorism will be studied. We will also discuss global efforts to attain progress such as the United Nations Millennium Development Goals. The course work will emphasize the analysis of international economic data.
   Industrial Organization
The study of the structure, conduct and performance of contemporary American industry. Involves the application of the tools of microeconomic analysis and empirical evidence to aid in understanding the behavior of modern industry. In addition, the course considers the historical determinants of contemporary market structure and the public policy measures designed to preserve a competitive market structure. The course concludes with an examination of alternative intellectual property rights mechanisms and how alternative mechanisms impact firm-level and economy-level innovation rates.
   Natural Resource Economics
This course develops an economic perspective on one of the most important and challenging issues facing global society: the allocation, use, and preservation of natural resources. The course presents and discusses the methodology economists use to inform natural resource managers and policy makers. Economic thought and analysis are used to evaluate a variety of issues in this area. The course concludes with a brief discussion of the interdisciplinary aspects of natural resource management.
   Benefit-Cost Analysis
Benefit-Cost Analysis fosters better understanding of the efficiency consequences of governmental micro-economic actions, both regulatory and fiscal. The course explores the logic, value and limitations of benefit-cost analysis as a public policy tool commonly used, and misused, in comparing the relative merits of alternative government actions.
   Managerial Economics
Managerial Economics involves the application of economic theory to business decision-making. Most of the emphasis is microeconomic in nature, the theory of the firm and consumer theory, but there is some macroeconomic influence, particularly in the forecasting area. Since this is an applied economics course, it has a strong quantitative flavor.
   Monetary Analysis and Policy
This course is a study of monetary behavior and the role of monetary institutions in the modern economy. The primary focus of the course is upon understanding how money plays a role in individual decision making units (i.e., households and businesses) and ultimately affects the macroeconomy (e.g., output, employment and inflation). The first part of the course begins with a discussion of economic methodology including introduction to regression analysis and an overview of money and the financial system; the course then proceeds to a discussion of interest rates, portfolio analysis and exchange rates. The second part of the course considers how money affects the macroeconomy by discussing the money supply process and considering theories which explain how changes in the money supply affect the economy.
   Open Economy Macroeconomics
Open economy refers to an economy that interacts with other economies. Therefore, open economy macroeconomics studies how these interactions affect economies at the aggregate level. The main objective of this course is to analyze how exchange rates affect an economy in both the short run and the long run. This course also examines the role of government and central banking systems in affecting macroeconomic policy in an open economy.
   Urban Economics
Urban economics is the application of economic analysis to spatial relationships in densely populated (urban) areas. The course develops economic models that explain the existence and growth of cities; the location behavior of consumers and businesses in cities; and the economic rationale and effects of zoning and growth controls. The course then applies the insights gained from these models to a number of urban issues.
   Labor Economics
Labor Economics encompasses aspects of human involvement in the production & distribution of goods and services. We will examine models of behavior starting with the supply of and derived demand for labor. Through the course, we will investigate questions such as: What determines the amount an individual earns for their labor? What are the benefits associated with attaining a college degree? Is the minimum wage an effective policy tool? Is there convincing evidence of discrimination in the work place?
   Public Finance
Public Finance is the study of the microeconomics of the public sector. The course fosters better understanding of the scale, scope and results of government spending and taxes. The focus is on economic efficiency in resource allocation and fairness in the distribution of income and wealth.
   History of Economic Thought
A survey of the various schools of thought that have developed in economics from Aristotle to the present. Representative economists from each of the major schools (Pre-Classical, Classical, Marxian, Neo-Classical, Keynesian, Monetarist, etc.) are studied.
   Development Economics
This course provides an introduction to development economics, which focuses on the problems and challenges faced typically but not exclusively by the developing countries. In this course we will study the economic transformation of developing countries by focusing on the characteristics of land, labor and credit markets in rural areas of developing countries. We will survey the large literature on modeling economic growth and discuss relevant case studies from developing countries.
   Comparative Economic Systems
This course mainly involves a comparative analysis of the structure and performance of different economic systems. The two major economic systems studied are market capitalism and command socialism. In the first part of the course, students are introduced to the economic decision-making processes in the two systems, including the economic structure, operation and relative efficiency in achieving its macroeconomic goals. In the second part, several examples from the world economy which lie on a spectrum between pure market and pure command systems are comparatively discussed and evaluated.
   Health Care Economics
Examines the economics of health care, the organization of its delivery and financing, and analyzes access to care issues, the role of insurance, the regulation of hospitals, physicians, and the drug industry, the role of technology, and limits on health care spending.
   Economics of Women and the Family
Women make choices concerning marriage, fertility and labor market participation on the basis of many factors, including government policies targeting those decisions. This course uses economic theory and empirical research in order to describe the changing demographic profile of families, poverty, and the labor force and to explore how economic theory and practice fit into the larger social science goals of describing human behavior by focusing on women and on the family.
   Economics of Native America
This course will analyze current and historic economic issues faced by Native Americans. It will also examine government policies enacted by and directed toward Native Americans with a focus on their economic implications. This will be done using standard economic models of the labor market, poverty, trade, development, and gaming.
   Behavioral & Experimental Economics
Over the past few decades, Experimental and Behavioral Economics have become two of the fastest growing and exciting fields of economics. This course will provide students with an introduction to many interesting concepts in both fields. In doing so, students will learn how experimental methodology can be used to provide insights about economic behavior in the areas of market exchange and strategic decision making. Additionally, students will be exposed to interesting topics in Behavioral Economics including: biases and heuristics, decisions under risk and uncertainty, inter-temporal choice, social preferences, bounded rationality, and learning. The concepts and methods covered in this course will be primarily illustrated by presenting recent experimental and theoretical studies, running in-class experiments, and by participating in group projects.
   Environmental Economics
This course examines the relationship and apparent conflict between economic growth and environmental quality, the economics of environmental issues and policy, the environment as a resource and a public good, and the ability and lack of ability of free markets and the government to deal adequately with pollution and other environmental problems.
Choose one or two of the following:
   Intermediate Microeconomic Theory
This course develops the tools that are commonly used to study the allocation of resources in a private enterprise economy. Topics covered include the theory of consumer behavior, cost and production, and alternate market structures.
   Econometrics I
Econometrics I provides students with the opportunity to develop their skills in applied regression analysis. It covers various regression estimation techniques, data preparation and transformation, and the interpretation of regression results. There is particular emphasis on the dangers of misuse of regression techniques. The course covers regression analysis for both cross-sectional and time series data.
   Mathematical Methods: Economics
Mathematical Methods: Economics provides students with an introduction to quantitative techniques used in economics such as matrix algebra, one- and multi-variable differential calculus, and unconstrained and constrained optimization. The emphasis of the instruction is on the application of these techniques to fortify and broaden a student's understanding of traditional economic topics like utility maximization, cost minimization, duality in consumer theory, expected utility, and profit maximization.
   Game Theory with Economic Applications
Game theory uses a mathematical approach to study situations of strategic interdependence, i.e., situations with two or more players in which each player's decision influences payoffs of other players and players are aware of this fact when making their decisions. Game theory has been applied to understand diverse economic, political and biological phenomena. We will study how to formulate situations of strategic interdependence as game theoretic models; how to explain/predict behavior of the parties involved, through the use of various equilibrium concepts; and/or identify guidelines for appropriate behavior. The concepts and methods will be illustrated with many examples. The objective is to introduce you to language of game theory and its methodology, and to develop analytical reasoning skills.
   Computational Economics
The objective of the course is to introduce students to computational modeling in economics. The course is intended for students who wish to learn what role computation can play in economics, how to create computational models for studying economic phenomena, and how to use these computational economic models to draw insights into economic phenomena. We will use programming languages such as Julia, Python and R for modeling and analysis.
   Financial Economics
   Econometrics II
Econometrics II builds on skills in applied regression analysis by exploring advanced regression estimation topics including panel data estimation, Instrumental Variable and Two-Stage-Least-Squares estimation, simultaneous equation models, limited dependent variable models, and advanced time series topics.