Course Offerings

Fall 2014

See complete information about these courses in the course offerings database. For more information about a specific course, including course type, schedule and location, click on its title.

Principles of Microeconomics

ECON 101 - Bose, Handy, Kaiser, Le, Peppers, Toomey (Multiple Sections)

Survey of economic principles and problems with emphasis on analysis of consumer behavior, firm behavior, market outcomes, market structure, and microeconomic policy. The first half of a two-term survey of economics. Should be followed by ECON 102.

Principles of Macroeconomics

ECON 102 - Davies, Goldsmith, Handy, Le (Multiple Sections)

Continuation of survey begun in ECON 101, with emphasis on performance of the aggregate economy. Analysis of unemployment, inflation, growth, and monetary and fiscal policies.

Econometrics

ECON 203 - Blunch (Multiple Sections)

Explorations of regression models that relate a response variable to one or more predictor variables. The course begins with a review of the simple bivariate model used in INTR 202, and moves on to multivariate models. Underlying model assumptions and consequences are discussed. Advanced topics include non-linear regression and forecasting. Examples in each class are drawn from a number of disciplines. The course emphasizes the use of data and student-directed research.

Microeconomic Theory

ECON 210 - Guse (Multiple Sections)

Contemporary theory relating to consumer behavior, the firm's optimizing behavior, the nature of competition in various types of markets and market equilibrium over time. Recommended for economics majors not later than their junior year.

Macroeconomic Theory

ECON 211 - Davies (Multiple Sections)

This course develops the classical macroeconomic framework and uses this to explore the causes and consequences of economic growth, inflation, output, and employment. This same exercise is conducted using alternative theoretical frameworks, including those associated with Keynes, Monetarists, and New Classical thinkers. Emphasis is placed on investigating the impact and effectiveness of monetary and fiscal policy under each of the theoretical paradigms or schools of thought developed.

Money and Banking

ECON 215 - Hooks (Multiple Sections)

A study of the fundamental principles of money, credit, and banking in the United States. Emphasis is on modern conditions and problems, with particular attention to the validity of monetary and banking theory in the present domestic and international situation.

Labor Economics

ECON 230 - Kaiser

The mechanisms and institutions which govern the allocation of labor in the American economy. The composition, quantity, and quality of the labor force; the functioning of labor markets and labor market policy; and wage determination and the distribution of income.

The Economics of Social Issues

ECON 235 - Goldsmith (Multiple Sections)

This seminar is based on readings that set out hypotheses developed by economists and other social scientists regarding the causes and consequences of a wide range of social problems. Evidence examining the validity of these hypotheses is scrutinized and evaluated. The course is writing intensive and interdisciplinary since readings are drawn from a wide variety of fields. Topics discussed include, but are not limited to, poverty, education, health, crime, race, ethnicity, immigration, and fiscal matters.

Industrial Organization

ECON 243 - Smitka

A survey of the structure and performance of industry, from entry and exit of new technologies and products, to economies of scale and scope in mature industries, to how firms are organized and what they "make" versus "buy." As metrics, we focus on what such behavior implies consumers and for corporate strategy. Students develop an industry case study as a term project. 

International Trade

ECON 270 - Anderson (Multiple Sections)

Specialization of production, the gains from trade, and their distribution, nationally and internationally. Theory of tariffs. Commercial policy from the mercantilist era to the present. The General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT). Transnational economic integration: the European Community and other regional blocs.

China's Modern Economy

ECON 274 - Smitka

Economic analysis of the Chinese economy in the 20th century. Comparisons of pre- and post-revolutionary periods. Performance and policies of Taiwan and mainland China. Issues include the population problem, industrialization, provision of public health and education, alleviation of poverty and inequality. Microeconomic emphasis.

Development Economics

ECON 280 - Casey (Multiple Sections)

A survey of the major issues of development economics. Economic structure of low-income countries and primary causes for their limited economic growth. Economic goals and policy alternatives. Role of developed countries in the development of poor countries. Selected case studies.

Institutions and Economic Performance

ECON 281 - Grajzl (Multiple Sections)

Institutions such as laws, the political system, and cultural norms embed all social activity. They structure economic, political, and social interaction and as such play a central role in facilitating (or hindering) economic development. This course's objective is to explore from a broad perspective how institutions affect economic performance, what the determinants of institutions are, and how institutions evolve. We will study examples from the existing capitalist economies, the developing and transition countries, as well as the more distant history. Because the study of institutions is necessarily an interdisciplinary endeavor, the course combines the approach of economics with the insights from law, political science, history, and sociology.

Topical Research Seminar in Economics

ECON 398 - Hooks

Students work through the original literature in a given field within the discipline of economics. Emphasis is on critical understanding of that literature. Required written work and class discussion focus on summarizing and reviewing articles, gaining insight into the current economic knowledge documented in that literature, and identifying research questions implied by that literature. Based upon this review, students write a detailed proposal of an independent research project after which they carry out the project and write a paper documenting their research. Those students who choose to continue in ECON 399 have the opportunity to develop their proposals into complete research papers.

Topical Research Seminar in Economics

ECON 398 - Guse

Students work through the original literature in a given field within the discipline of economics. Emphasis is on critical understanding of that literature. Required written work and class discussion focus on summarizing and reviewing articles, gaining insight into the current economic knowledge documented in that literature, and identifying research questions implied by that literature. Based upon this review, students write a detailed proposal of an independent research project after which they carry out the project and write a paper documenting their research. Those students who choose to continue in ECON 399 have the opportunity to develop their proposals into complete research papers.

Topical Research Seminar in Economics

ECON 398 - Casey

Students work through the original literature in a given field within the discipline of economics. Emphasis is on critical understanding of that literature. Required written work and class discussion focus on summarizing and reviewing articles, gaining insight into the current economic knowledge documented in that literature, and identifying research questions implied by that literature. Based upon this review, students write a detailed proposal of an independent research project after which they carry out the project and write a paper documenting their research. Those students who choose to continue in ECON 399 have the opportunity to develop their proposals into complete research papers.


Spring 2014

See complete information about these courses in the course offerings database. For more information about a specific course, including course type, schedule and location, click on its title.

Urban Education: Poverty, Ethnicity and Policy

ECON 234 - Diette

Students explore the determinants of education achievement and attainment in urban education through three weeks of fieldwork in schools in the Richmond area (Monday through Thursday each week) and seminar meetings in Lexington. Students observe and work to understand critical components of teaching and learning in the urban classroom. The readings and experience challenge students to consider factors including early childhood development, the role of the family, school finance, teachers, and curriculum. The students then evaluate the current policy proposals for school reform in the United States such as teacher merit pay, charter schools, and student accountability. In addition, students develop and present their own policy proposal for improving public schools. Housing is provided through alumni in Richmond.

The Auto Industry: Economics, Society, Culture

ECON 244 - Smitka

This course investigates the automobile industry from an interdisciplinary perspective, including a visit to factories and R&D facilities in Detroit. Why did GM file bankruptcy? Why do we have 600-plus new passenger vehicles available in the US -- isn't such diversity wasteful? How and why has the automobile shifted the rhythm of daily life, including the growth of suburbs and decline of cities? What of safety and the environment -- electric vehicles? The course also considers cars themselves, the subject of two Tom Wolfe stories in The Kandy-Kolored Tangerine-Flake Streamline Baby.

Supervised Study Abroad

ECON 288 - Casey

For advanced students, the course covers a topic of current interest for which foreign travel provides a unique opportunity for significantly greater understanding. Emphasis and location changes from year to year and is announced each year, well in advance of registration. Likely destinations are Europe, Latin America, Africa, or Asia. This course may not be repeated.

Health: A Social Science Exploration

ECON 304 - Blunch

Much of the work done by consulting companies, banks, insurance companies, think tanks, non-governmental organizations, government agencies, etc., is based on applied statistical and econometric analysis. This course helps prepare students for careers in these environments using a hands-on approach and emphasizing the use of data and student-directed research in the specific context of health-related issues. Examples of these issues include obesity, vaccinations, pre- and post natal care, contraceptive use, or child mortality; possible determinants include poverty, education, or distance to the nearest health clinic or hospital. An interdisciplinary perspective is highlighted, as is the use and importance of quantitative analysis for public policy.


Winter 2014

See complete information about these courses in the course offerings database. For more information about a specific course, including course type, schedule and location, click on its title.

Principles of Microeconomics

ECON 101 - Gunay Bendas, Kaiser, Shester, Toomey (Multiple Sections)

Survey of economic principles and problems with emphasis on analysis of consumer behavior, firm behavior, market outcomes, market structure, and microeconomic policy. The first half of a two-term survey of economics. Should be followed by ECON 102.

Principles of Macroeconomics

ECON 102 - Gunay Bendas, Handy, Le, Le / Rowe, Peppers (Multiple Sections)

Continuation of survey begun in ECON 101, with emphasis on performance of the aggregate economy. Analysis of unemployment, inflation, growth, and monetary and fiscal policies.

Econometrics

ECON 203 - Blunch (Multiple Sections)

Explorations of regression models that relate a response variable to one or more predictor variables. The course begins with a review of the simple bivariate model used in INTR 202, and moves on to multivariate models. Underlying model assumptions and consequences are discussed. Advanced topics include non-linear regression and forecasting. Examples in each class are drawn from a number of disciplines. The course emphasizes the use of data and student-directed research.

Microeconomic Theory

ECON 210 - Guse (Multiple Sections)

Contemporary theory relating to consumer behavior, the firm's optimizing behavior, the nature of competition in various types of markets and market equilibrium over time. Recommended for economics majors not later than their junior year.

Macroeconomic Theory

ECON 211 - Davies (Multiple Sections)

This course develops the classical macroeconomic framework and uses this to explore the causes and consequences of economic growth, inflation, output, and employment. This same exercise is conducted using alternative theoretical frameworks, including those associated with Keynes, Monetarists, and New Classical thinkers. Emphasis is placed on investigating the impact and effectiveness of monetary and fiscal policy under each of the theoretical paradigms or schools of thought developed.

Labor Economics

ECON 230 - Kaiser

The mechanisms and institutions which govern the allocation of labor in the American economy. The composition, quantity, and quality of the labor force; the functioning of labor markets and labor market policy; and wage determination and the distribution of income.

The Economics of Social Issues

ECON 235 - Goldsmith (Multiple Sections)

This seminar is based on readings that set out hypotheses developed by economists and other social scientists regarding the causes and consequences of a wide range of social problems. Evidence examining the validity of these hypotheses is scrutinized and evaluated. The course is writing intensive and interdisciplinary since readings are drawn from a wide variety of fields. Topics discussed include, but are not limited to, poverty, education, health, crime, race, ethnicity, immigration, and fiscal matters.

Health Economics

ECON 237 - Diette (Multiple Sections)

An overview of the determinants of health using standard microeconomic models to analyze individual behavior, markets, institutions, and policies that influence health and health care. The primary focus of the course is the United States but also includes comparisons to health systems in other developed countries and very limited coverage of developing countries. Particular emphasis is given to challenges faced by disadvantaged groups. The course includes an optional service-learning component with placements involving health issues and/or health care services in Rockbridge County.

Public Finance

ECON 250 - Toomey

Public choices and the public economy. An inquiry into how the references of individuals and groups are translated into public sector economic activity. The nature of public activity and public choice institutions. The question of social balance. The effects of government expenditures and taxes on the economic behavior of individuals and firms.

Environmental and Natural Resource Economics

ECON 255 - Casey, Kahn (Multiple Sections)

The course serves as an introduction to environmental and natural resource economics. Economic principles are used to evaluate public and private decision making involving the management and use of environmental and natural resources. Aspects pertaining to fisheries, forests, species diversity, agriculture, and various policies to reduce air, water and toxic pollution will be discussed. Lectures, reading assignments, discussions and exams will emphasize the use of microeconomic analysis for managing and dealing with environmental and natural resource problems and issues.

International Trade

ECON 270 - Anderson

Specialization of production, the gains from trade, and their distribution, nationally and internationally. Theory of tariffs. Commercial policy from the mercantilist era to the present. The General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT). Transnational economic integration: the European Community and other regional blocs.

International Finance

ECON 271 - Davies

International monetary arrangements, balance-of-payments adjustment processes, and the mutual dependence of macroeconomic variables and policies in trading nations. The International Monetary Fund (IMF), international investment, and the World Bank. International cooperation for economic stability.

China's Modern Economy

ECON 274 - Smitka

Economic analysis of the Chinese economy in the 20th century. Comparisons of pre- and post-revolutionary periods. Performance and policies of Taiwan and mainland China. Issues include the population problem, industrialization, provision of public health and education, alleviation of poverty and inequality. Microeconomic emphasis.

Topical Research Seminar in Economics

ECON 398 - Shester, Smitka (Multiple Sections)

Students work through the original literature in a given field within the discipline of economics. Emphasis is on critical understanding of that literature. Required written work and class discussion focus on summarizing and reviewing articles, gaining insight into the current economic knowledge documented in that literature, and identifying research questions implied by that literature. Based upon this review, students write a detailed proposal of an independent research project after which they carry out the project and write a paper documenting their research. Those students who choose to continue in ECON 399 have the opportunity to develop their proposals into complete research papers.

Fall 2013 topics:

ECON 398-01:Seminar in Monetary Policy (3). Prerequisites: ECON 203, 210, and 211 and major standing. This seminar provides a historical overview of economic thought related to monetary policy, develops modern theories of money and central banks, and examines evidence on the effectiveness of the monetary policy. Readings come from the primary academic literature as well as occasional popular media. Each student develops critical thinking and communication skills by presenting some of the course material, and by pursuing an individual research proposal and by presenting the plans for the research to the class. Hooks.

ECON 398-02:Health and Education in Economic Development (3). Prerequisites: ECON 203, 210, and 211 and major standing. A survey of the major issues of health and education economics in developing countries. Economic modeling of health-and education-related issues, from the theoretical/conceptual and empirically. Review of recent literature of the area. Students gain a firm grounding in how economic research is conducted in practice, and then in recent research on health and education in developing countries, before developing their own research proposal. Specific topics may include: supply and demand of health and education; wages and education; health and the labor market, for example the relationship between child labor and child health; maternal education and child health; epidemiology: HIV/AIDS in Africa. Blunch.

ECON 398-03:Micro Topics in Econ History (3). Prerequisites: ECON 203, 210, and 211 and major standing. This seminar examines the empirical literature in several areas of the field including urbanization, segregation, public policy, health, and female labor force participation. Emphasis is on the mid- to late-20th century. Besides serving as an introduction to the literature in microeconomic history, we study the research process employed by applied economists more generally. Students finish the course with an original research proposal in some area of economics. This course depends heavily on student participation and students are expected to lead classroom discussions and to give feedback on each other's research proposals. Schester.

Advanced Research Seminar in Economics

ECON 399 - Guse

This capstone course builds upon the foundations developed in ECON 398. The central element is a major independent research project. This project is carried out with continual mentoring by a faculty member. Students document their research in a formal paper and offer an oral presentation summarizing their research results.

Directed Individual Study

ECON 403 - Goldsmith

The objective is to permit students to follow a course of directed study in some field of economics not presented in other courses, or to emphasize a particular field of interest. May be repeated for degree credit with permission for different topics.