Economics

Overview

Economics is the study of decision-making and policy-making in the context of a world constrained by scarcity. We aim to help our students understand how decisions are linked to incentives and how policies can help align individual incentives with social objectives, including an efficient use of the world's resources and an equitable distribution of its output. We also aim to equip our students with the rigorous theoretical and empirical tools of our profession to enable them to better analyze and guide the decision making of individuals, the conduct of businesses and nonprofit enterprises, and the policies of governments and international organizations.

The Department aims to ensure that students majoring in Economics (1) understand the framework that professional economists use to analyze social and economic issues; (2) recognize how economic behavior and policies can affect both the aggregate level of prosperity and differentials in prosperity across members of society distinguished by characteristics such as race, gender, and socioeconomic status; (3) have proficient decision-making and problem-solving skills; (4) are competent in writing and speaking; and (5) possess critical-thinking skills that enable them to apply the theoretical and empirical tools of professional economists to a wide range of issues.

Major Requirements

A major in economics requires a minimum of ten courses. 

The major can be completed in fewer than four years, but it is almost impossible to complete the major in less than three years.

COURSEWORK

ECON 101Principles of Economics I

4

ECON 102Principles of Economics II

4

Calculus 1Scientific Modeling and Differential Calculus

ECON 250Intermediate Microeconomic Theory

4

ECON 251Intermediate Macroeconomic Theory

4

ECON 272Applied Econometrics

4

Three 300-level ECON electives

ECON 495Senior Seminar

4

CHOOSING ELECTIVES

The economics department offers so many electives that it's helpful to think about how these electives might be grouped to give more intellectual continuity to a course of study. For example:

Students interested in obtaining a Master's in Business Administration (MBA) and/or having a career in management are encouraged to complete:

ECON 233Accounting and Financial Analysis

4

An internship

 

ECON 350Managerial Economics

4

Or

ECON 326Economics of Human Resource Management

4

 

Students interested in obtaining a Ph.D. in economics are encouraged to complete:

MATH 150Statistical Data Analysis

4

MATH 120Calculus 2

4

MATH 212Multivariable Calculus

4

MATH 214Linear Algebra

4

MATH 310Real Analysis

4

MATH 150: Instead of MATH 146.

And at least one of:
MATH 330Probability

4

MATH 332Mathematical Statistics

4

MATH 342Partial Differential Equations

4

MATH 370Numerical Analysis

4

MATH 372Operations Research

4

Students interested in a career in public policy are encouraged to complete:

POLS 101American Politics and Public Policy

4

Or

UEP 101Environment and Society

4

 

An internship or service learning experience

And at least one of the following:
ECON 301Environmental Economics and Policy

4

ECON 302Industrial Organization

4

ECON 308Public Finance

4

ECON 312International Finance

4

ECON 320Economic Development

4

ECON 324The Economics of Immigration

4

ECON 325Labor Economics

4

ECON 328Economics of Race and Gender

4

ECON 361Topics in Macro-Economic Theory and Policy

4

WRITING REQUIREMENT

Students majoring in Economics will satisfy the final component of Occidental College's college-wide writing requirement by arranging (with the instructor) for an ECON 300-level course (or ECON 272) to be designated as the student's writing course. The writing requirement must be satisfactorily completed by May of the student's junior year. Students who fail the requirement or who fail to meet the deadline will be required to both take a composition course in the senior year and demonstrate acceptable writing skills in the senior comprehensive in order to graduate. Students should familiarize themselves with the departmental requirement at the time of declaring the major. See the Writing Program and consult the department chair for additional information.

COMPREHENSIVE REQUIREMENT

Met by passing the Major Field Test (MFT) in economics in February of the student's senior year and by completing ECON 495 in the fall semester of the student's senior year. The MFT is administered at the College, and students must sign up for it in the fall semester of their senior year. Students who will be off campus during one of the semesters of their senior year must contact the department chair by the end of their junior year.

HONORS

Majors can earn honors by taking ECON 499 in the fall of their senior year and by writing and defending, in that class, a thesis that is judged by the department faculty to be of honors quality. Enrollment in ECON 499 is limited to students with GPAs of 3.5 or higher (both overall and within the department). Interested students should consult with their academic advisor and then apply to the department chair by end of their junior year.

OFF-CAMPUS AND TRANSFER CREDITS

  • Students who have passed a microeconomics or macroeconomics class at another college or university will be allowed to skip ECON 101.
  • Economics majors must complete the following courses at Occidental and may not satisfy them with transfer credits: ECON 250, ECON 251, ECON 272, at least two 300-level electives, and their Senior Comprehensives course.
  • Students may take one accounting course for College credit, either at Occidental or through transfer credits. Students may not receive College credit for any other business-related course.
  • Students who have received a score of 4 or 5 on either AP Calculus test have met the departmental Calculus I major requirement (and the calculus pre-requisite for courses that require Calculus I).
  • Students who have received a score of 5 on both the AP Microeconomics test and the AP Macroeconomics test will be allowed to skip ECON 101 and ECON 102. Students who have received a score of 4 on both the AP Microeconomics test and the AP Macroeconomics test, or a score of 4 in one and 5 in the other, will be allowed to skip ECON 101.

Minor Requirements

COURSEWORK

Students must complete the following coursework:

ECON 101Principles of Economics I

4

ECON 102Principles of Economics II

4

ECON 250Intermediate Microeconomic Theory

4

ECON 251Intermediate Macroeconomic Theory

4

Calculus 1Scientific Modeling and Differential Calculus

Calculus 1: Please note that Calculus 1 is a prerequisite for ECON 250 and ECON 251.

Electives:

ECON Two 300-level courses in economics

Or

ECON 272Applied Econometrics

4

And

ECON One 300-level course in economics

Courses

Economics Courses

Faculty

Regular Faculty

Kirsten Wandschneider, chair

Associate Professor, Economics

M.Sc., Ph.D., University of Illinois

Bevin Ashenmiller

Associate Professor, Economics; Advisory Committee, Urban and Environmental Policy

B.A., Princeton University; Ph.D., UC Santa Barbara

Lesley Chiou

Associate Professor, Economics

B.A., UC Berkeley; Ph.D., MIT

Jorge González

VP for Academic Affairs, Dean of the College, and Professor, Economics

B.A., Monterrey Institute of Technology (ITESM) M.A., Ph.D., Michigan State University

Andrew Jalil

Assistant Professor, Economics

A.B.; Sc.B. Brown University; Ph.D. UC Berkeley

Brandon Lehr

Assistant Professor, Economics

B.A., UC Berkeley; Ph.D., Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Mary Lopez

Associate Professor, Economics; Affiliated Faculty, Latino/a and Latin American Studies

B.A., UC Riverside; M.A., Ph.D., University of Notre Dame

Robby Moore

Elbridge Amos Stuart Professor of Economics

B.A., Pomona College; A.M., Ph.D., Harvard University

Jesse Mora

Assistant Professor, Economics

B.A. Claremont McKenna; M.A. John Hopkins-SAIS; M.A., Ph.D. UC Santa Cruz

Diana Ngo

Assistant Professor, Economics

B.S. Harvard University; Ph.D. University of California, Berkeley

Woody Studenmund

Laurence de Rycke Professor of Economics

A.B., Hamilton College; M.A., Ph.D., Cornell University

Jim Whitney

Professor, Economics, Emeritus

B.A., UC Santa Cruz; M.S., Ph.D., University of Wisconsin

On Special Appointment

Daron Djerdjian

Adjunct Assistant Professor, Economics

B.A., UCLA; Ph.D., Syracuse University

Daryl Ono

Adjunct Instructor of Accounting, Economics

B.A., UCLA; Ph.D., Pacific Western University

Victoria Umanskaya

Adjunct Assistant Professor, Economics

B.A. (DHE), Saratov State University; Ph.D., University of Wyoming