The Economics program at Lewis & Clark focuses on developing the analytical skills to think critically about complex economic, political, and social issues. It stresses the application of theoretical and empirical techniques, culminating in the production of a piece of original student research.
The curriculum begins with an introduction to the methods and questions of economics in Principles of Economics. Students are then encouraged to explore the range of lower-level electives and core courses. Ideally, students interested in majoring in economics will have completed the lower-division core courses and declared their major by the end of the sophomore year. Students may, depending on their interests, choose one of three concentrations (International, Public Policy, or Theory) or elect for a general economics degree. The capstone experience for the economics major is the senior thesis, in which each student develops an original piece of research. Students are strongly advised to work closely with members of the economics faculty to plan a program of study tailored to their individual interests. Students intending to pursue graduate studies in economics or careers as research economists are strongly encouraged to take additional mathematics courses, particularly calculus, linear algebra, differential equations, and additional work in statistics. Students are also encouraged to complement their studies with practical experience in a range of internships.
The economics department values independent student research, and students are encouraged to seek out research opportunities with the faculty. Students regularly work with economic faculty as research assistants, as partners in student-faculty research with support from the college, and as independent researchers under the guidance of a faculty member.
Faculty members vary in age, background, and experience but are united by a commitment to teaching and conveying the excitement and value of studying economics. The seven departmental faculty offer expertise in a variety of topics including environmental economics, labor economics, game theory, financial markets, radical political economy, business cycles, public finance, poverty, international trade and finance, econometrics, development economics, economic history, economics of technology, and urban economics. Faculty members have active research programs, publishing articles in a range of outlets. The economics faculty regularly speak at a range of venues including local gatherings, national academic conferences, and international policy making bodies. Some faculty maintain popular blogs on a range of economic issues.
The Economics Department is also involved in several interdisciplinary areas. Selected economics courses are cross listed in International Affairs, History, East Asian studies, Latin American studies, Environmental studies, Women’s studies and Political Economy.