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Economics Pathway

Overview

A thorough training in economics is critical to understanding the business environment. It is essential to understanding the incentives that motivate the decisions of consumers and managers. It is essential to understanding public policy affecting business, such as changes in the tax code, the business regulatory structure, international trade policy, and so on.

Economics informs the business disciplines, many of which trace their foundations to economics. Top financial firms, for instance, seek graduates with a strong foundation in economic theory, since economics is essential to understanding financial markets. Much of marketing and management theory evolved from a base in economics.

Economics helps us understand the political process, as well, which helps us understand the business environment. It helps us understand the behavior of voters, of politicians, of bureaucrats.  Much of judicial decision making is grounded in economic principles.

Career prospects are excellent. Graduates who majored in economics are in demand by financial institutions, firms looking for strong analytical and critical reasoning skills (and most firms are!), think tanks, government agencies, including the Federal Reserve Bank, and trade associations. According to PayScale.com, economics majors are number 7 (with mathematics) in a ranking of majors by average mid-career income, higher than electrical engineering, aerospace engineering, and mechanical engineering (https://www.payscale.com/college-salary-report/majors-that-pay-you-back/bachelors). Only some very focused engineering majors (like petroleum engineering and nuclear engineering) and actuarial science rank higher. Also, according to a recent Forbes survey, the most common major among the 400 richest persons in the U.S. is economics (https://www.forbes.com/sites/denizcam/2017/10/20/what-should-you-major-in-if-you-want-to-be-a-billionaire/#1ec92f4c7cf4).

Economics is excellent preparation for anyone interested in law school. As mentioned above, much of judicial decision making is grounded in economics. Richard Posner, the most prolific writer of legal opinions in the history of the U.S. judiciary, often based his opinions on economic reasoning. He has published numerous articles and books on the economics of law, including Economic Analysis of Law, now in its ninth edition.[1] Economics is also great preparation for the LSAT. A 2010 study using data from the Law School Admission Council, which administers the LSAT, found that economics and philosophy majors tied for first on average LSAT score among the twelve largest disciplines.[2]

Outcomes

Economics is the science of decision making. Economists study the true costs and benefits of decisions, whether the decisions of a consumer, a firm, or even of society as a whole, which are often not what they seem to be and also not what is often purported in political discourse or in the media.  All societies must make certain basic decisions: what to produce and consume, how much to produce and consume, and how to produce them. Each individual firm must make these same kinds of production decisions for itself and each individual household must make these same kinds of consumption decisions for itself. These decisions take place within institutional settings, which may differ between societies. Under certain institutional settings, the decisions of individual economic participants (firms and households), all making decisions on what is best for them, lead to beneficial outcomes for society as a whole. In other institutional settings, a beneficial outcome for society as a whole might not be the outcome of the decisions of individual actors. Understanding institutions is therefore critically important. Graduates of the Economics Pathway will understand decision making in the firm and the household and how societies prosper, or do not, under different economic institutions.

Graduates will also understand that the economic way of thinking applies to non-market settings as well as to market settings. For instance, economics helps us understand the political process as politicians seek votes and voters make their voting decisions. Economics helps us understand the decisions of government bureaucrats. Economics even helps us to understand criminal behavior and how different criminal justice policies can affect crime. 

Coursework

The Economics Pathway consists of 24 credit hours (eight courses) from among the Business major courses and general College courses that contribute to a robust understanding of economics. Twelve hours are required courses, listed in Table 1, and the remaining twelve hours are normally courses listed in Table 2, of which at least one must be a business (BADM) course. Other courses may be included as electives with the approval of a Pathway advisor.

Table 1. Required Courses for the Economics Pathway

 

Course

Title

Credit Hours

BADM 303

Intermediate Microeconomic Theory

3

BADM 304

Intermediate Macroeconomic Theory

3

BADM 434

Moral Foundations of Capitalism

3

STAT 461

Data Analysis

3

Table 2. Approved Elective Courses

 

Course

Title

Credit Hours

BADM 327

Principled Entrepreneurship and the Free Market System

3

BADM 331

Financial Modeling

3

BADM 332

Financial Markets and Institutions

3

BADM 403

The Cuban Economy

3

BADM 404

Investments

3

BADM 407

Money and Banking

3

BADM 428

Technology and Entrepreneurship

3

PSCI 351

International Political Economy

3

PSCI 401

Political Issues and Public Policy

3

MATH 131

Analytical Geometry and Calculus I

4

MATH 132

Analytical Geometry and Calculus II

4

 

 

Economics Pathway Advisor

Cadets in the Economics Pathway will be assigned an advisor from among the faculty in that discipline. Cadets will be matched with academic advisors and career professionals who can advise them on academic and practical matters relative to pursuing their desired career path.

Extra-Curricular Components

The Economics Pathway also includes a number of extra-curricular components:

  1. Coach – Cadets may be assigned a coach from an interest group that most closely matches the overall pathway the student chooses to follow.
  2. Clubs and activities – Cadets will have access to and be encouraged to participate in economics related clubs, organizations, and events, including those of interest that overlap with other pathways. These may include speakers, reading groups, and networking activities. Some events held by the economics program at the College of Charleston may be of interest for our students and these opportunities will be made available.
  3. Cadets will have an opportunity to compete in the Bulldog Business Bowl student business plan competition.


Economics Pathway Scholars

Cadets will be eligible to compete to become Economics Pathway Scholars.

  1. i. Pathway Scholars will be granted $1,000 per year for their sophomore, junior and senior years (maximum of $3,000 total) to be used to support enrichment activities as Pathway Scholars.
  2. ii. Pathway Scholars funds are limited, and will be awarded through a competitive application process.
  • iii. The use of these funds will be made pursuant to the approval of the cadet’s Pathway advisor, and if not spent on approved expenditures by the end of the cadet’s senior year will revert to the fund pool to be allocated to subsequent scholars (not necessarily Economics Pathway Scholars).
  1. iv. Examples of Economics Pathway Scholar funds expenditures
    1. Attendance at economics and free enterprise related professional conferences
    2. Support for summer study/internships (e.g. living expenses to support a summer internship in New York)
    3. Purchase of books or technology supporting economics and free enterprise careers (e.g., business plan software)
    4. Purchase of professional services in support of new product or business development (e.g., patent application)


[1] Richard A. Posner, Economic Analysis of Law, 9th ed. Wolters Kluwer (2014).

[2] Michael Nieswiadomy, LSAT ® Scores of Economics Majors: The 2008-9 Class Update, The Journal of Economic Education, vol. 41, issue 3 (August, 2010).

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