2013-14 Catalogs

Course Descriptions

Courses taught on regular rotation are so noted in each description; other courses not so noted are taught at least biannually unless faculty resources are unavailable.

ECO 100 Introduction to Economics: Ideas and Issues
An introduction to basic economic ideas, issues, and theories for non-majors. The course surveys microeconomic and macroeconomic theories and analyzes current topics and problems of the economy. Prerequisite: none. Every semester. Cr 3.

ECO 101 Introduction to Macroeconomics
An analysis of the basic characteristics, institutions, and activities of modern market economies. Topics discussed include inflation, unemployment, government monetary and fiscal policy, full employment and economic growth. Prerequisite: none. Every semester. Cr 3.

ECO 102 Introduction to Microeconomics
Introduction to the analysis of individual markets: the functioning of prices in a market economy, economic decision making by producers and consumers, and market structure. Topics discussed include consumer preferences and consumer behavior, production theory and production costs, the monopoly firm, and resource pricing. Additional topics are determined by individual instructors. Prerequisite: none. Every semester. Cr 3.

ECO 103 Critical Thinking About Economic Issues
This course aims to develop critical thinking skills through the study of competing interpretations and analyses put forward by economists. Students will use a variety of texts, media, and activities to better understand controversial topics in economics. The specific thematic focus of ECO 103 may vary from section to section. Examples of topics which may be examined include the economics of health care, economic inequality, the global economy, and the economics of the environment. Prerequisite: ENG 100 or equivalent. Every semester. Cr 3.

ECO 104 The U.S. in the World Economy
Students will examine national and global economic issues through consideration and application of economic theories. They will analyze and discuss basic economic principles and viewpoints, traditional policy approaches, post-World War II transformation in the U.S. economy, the impacts of the changing global economy on various aspects of life in the United States and will develop policy responses to these issues. Prerequisite: none. Yearly, spring. Cr 3.

ECO 105 A Novel Approach to Economics
This course will use fiction and non-fiction to explore key issues in economic analysis and policy formation. The impact of institutional change on production, distribution, and consumption will be the principal focus of the course. Students will discuss and write about the texts; some graphical analysis will be employed. Prerequisite: none. Yearly, fall. Cr 3.

ECO 106 Economics of Social Change
Students will explore connections among major socioeconomic transformations (e.g., the spread of market relations, industrialization, and new technologies), massive movements of people (from countryside to city, from one nation to another), the resulting clash of cultures, and the social construction of human worth. Students will analyze debates over social policy, economic performance and the relative standards of living. Prerequisite: none. Cr 3.

ECO 108 Economic Journalism
This course introduces students to current economic and public policy events in the United States. Guided research resulting in reporting of economic trends as well as advocacy pieces will be communicated to a broader public via social media, emphasizing the impact of national trends in Maine. Prerequisites: College Writing, EYE. Cr 3.

ECO 120 Lying with Graphs: Reading, Writing and Interpreting Graphs in the Social Sciences
If a picture's worth a thousand words, a graph's worth a thousand numbers. Graphs can be used to explain, present, and—yes—distort information. During this course, you will learn how to correctly interpret, critique, and construct graphs, as well as avoid the pitfalls often encountered in using graphs to communicate. Prerequisite: Students must meet college readiness in mathematics prior to enrollment. Cr 3.

ECO 220 U.S. Economic and Labor History
This course examines labor issues in the U.S. economy, combining analytical and historical perspectives. The course surveys the evolution of labor in the U.S. economy from the industrial revolution to the present, considers the history of the American worker and of the U.S. labor movement, and analyzes labor markets and their relationship to the competitiveness of the U.S. economy. Prerequisite: English competency requirement. At least biannually. Cr 3.

ECO 301 Intermediate Macroeconomics
A theoretical analysis of the basic forces that cause inflation, growth, and fluctuations in economic activity. The effects on employment and other factors are thoroughly treated. Stabilization policies are examined and evaluated. Prerequisites: ECO 101 and ECO 102, or ECO 100 and Department permission. Yearly, fall. Cr 3.

ECO 302 Intermediate Microeconomics
Analysis of individual markets, choice, and exchange theory: the functioning of prices in a market economy, rational decision making by consumers and producers, cost and production analysis, market structure, and theory of public goods and market failures. Prerequisites: ECO 101 and ECO 102, or ECO 100 and Department permission. Yearly, spring. Cr 3.

ECO 303 Political Economy
This course provides an overview of various perspectives on the U.S. economic system, its dynamics, problems, and its relation to the political sphere. Topics may include: inequality and discrimination; growth and the environment; military spending, productivity and growth; and policies for the future. Prerequisites: ECO 101, ECO 102, and either ECO 301 (or concurrent) or ECO 302 (or concurrent) or permission of instructor. Yearly, fall. Cr 3.

ECO 305 Research Methods in Economics
Measures of central tendency, basic probability theory, and hypothesis testing will be discussed. With a focus on economic data, the relationship between random variables will be examined using linear regression models and computer software. Prerequisites: MAT 120 and proficiency in Microsoft Excel™ or permission of instructor. Cr 3.

ECO 310 Money and Banking
This course examines the structure and operation of the financial system with major emphasis on commercial banking; reviews the structure of the Federal Reserve System and analyzes the tools of policy; develops alternative monetary theories; and discusses major issues in monetary policy. Prerequisites: ECO 101, ECO 102. Every semester. Cr 3.

ECO 312 U.S. Economic Policy
This course examines currently perceived problems of the U.S. economy. A range of views of these problems and associated policy proposals are considered including: free market, traditional monetary and fiscal, as well as new policy approaches. Prerequisite: any 100-level ECO course. Cr 3.

ECO 315 Economic Development
The theories and practices of interregional and international economic development. Special attention is given to developmental problems of emerging nations. Prerequisite: any 100-level ECO course. Cr 3.

ECO 316 Case Studies in International Development
This course provides case studies of the issues, problems, and policies of economic development. The development experience of various countries is examined in a comparative context. Prerequisite: any 100-level ECO course. Cr 3.

ECO 319 Macroeconomics: Debt and Finance
Focuses on alternative and conflicting approaches to the role(s) of debt, private and public, in modern macroeconomies—debt in relation to aggregate demand growth, cyclic instability ("bubbles"), counter-cyclical policy, and as a long-term constraint on policy possibilities.  Attention is given to the “Modern Monetary Theory” approach and its critics.  Prerequisite: ECO 301 or permission of the instructor.  Cr 3.

ECO 321 Understanding Contemporary Capitalism
This course analyzes the character and dynamics of leading contemporary capitalist economies, emphasizing historical, comparative, and institutional perspectives. These perspectives are used to address a wide range of contemporary economic issues, including national R and D policy, financial regulation, public and private human resource investments, and organizational strategies. Prerequisite: any 100-level ECO course or instructor permission. Cr 3.

ECO 322 Economics of Women and Work
This course examines women's post-WWII experiences in paid work settings in the U.S. The class will assess a range of theories designed to explain women's access to well-paying jobs and career ladders while maintaining family responsibilities. In addition, students will consider the effectiveness of a variety of public policies for greater labor market equity. Prerequisite: none. Cr 3.

ECO 323 U.S. Labor and Employment Relations
This course considers the evolution of 20th-century U.S. labor relations, particularly the competing fortunes of union and non-union labor relations models, as well as the impact of changing institutions on labor markets. It also surveys the evolving perspectives of industrial relations theorists and practitioners. Prerequisite: English competency requirement. Cr 3.

ECO 325 Industrial Organization

This course investigates theories relating industrial structure to company conduct and performance. Case studies from the U.S. economy will be used to illustrate important developments in the 1970s and 1980s–internationalization, technological change, and competitiveness problems. Prerequisites: ECO 101, ECO 102. Cr 3.

ECO 326 Environmental Economics
This course considers the economic aspects of environmental issues, such as pollution and environmental degradation, environmental justice, and global climate change. In addressing each of these issues we will investigate the implications of various public policy responses such as regulation, marketable permits, and tax incentives. Prerequisite: ECO 102 or instructor permission. Cr 3.

ECO 327 Natural Resource Economics
In this course, we will consider the economic aspects of natural resource management and use, including the economically sustainable management of fisheries, forests, water resources, and biodiversity, with applications to Maine and beyond. We will investigate the implications of public policy responses such as regulations, marketable permits, and tax incentives. Prerequisite: ECO 102 or instructor permission. Cr 3.

ECO 328 Rural and Regional Economic Development
This course focuses on rural areas and the unique characteristics that influence their economic development. Students will investigate the roles of government, demographics, location of industries, natural resources, technology, amenities and institutions within the context of rural and regional areas. Special attention will be given to rural areas in Maine, Appalachia, and the Mississippi River Delta. A section of the course will be devoted to the rural areas of less developed countries. Prerequisite: ECO 102 or instructor permission. Cr 3.

ECO 330 Urban Economics
This computer-intensive course studies the growth and decline of urban regions. Census data are used to examine the dynamics of urban population change, with special reference to the northeastern United States. Prerequisite: ECO 102 or instructor permission. Cr 3.

ECO 333 Economics and Happiness
Presents the limited relationship between economic well-being and happiness. Students will learn differing assessments and determinants of happiness as presented by economists, psychologists, and neuroscientists. In addition, they will examine the influence of ethics, altruism, and cooperation on well-being and will conclude by examining policy implications. Prerequisite: ECO 101 or ECO 102 or instructor permission. Cr 3.

ECO 335 The Political Economy of Food
This course examines the inter-relatedness of production, distribution, and consumption of food in a global economy. Topics include the role of government policies in the U.S. and India, the impact of multinational agro-corporations on traditional methods of food production, and the subsequent impact on income and entitlements to food. Prerequisites: any 100-level ECO course and ENG 100 or instructor permission. Cr 3.

ECO 340 History of Economic Thought
A survey of the development of modern economic theories, focusing in particular on Smith, Ricardo and Malthus, Marx, the marginalists, and Keynes. Consideration is also given to contemporary debates which exemplify historical controversies among theories. Prerequisites: ECO 101, ECO 102. Cr 3.

ECO 350 Comparative Economic Systems
The structures and operating principles of the major contemporary economic systems are examined and compared. Prerequisite: ECO 101 or ECO 100. Cr 3.

ECO 370 International Economics
Analysis of international markets and exchange theory, functioning of prices in the international economy, international finance, tariffs, quotas, and other instruments of international economic policy. Prerequisites: ECO 101, ECO 102. Cr 3.

ECO 380 Public Finance and Fiscal Policy
Public expenditure theory; principles of taxation; the federal budget and alternative budget policies; federal tax policy; fiscal policy for stabilization; federal debt. Prerequisites: ECO 101, ECO 102. Cr 3.

ECO 381 State and Local Public Finance
Development of the federal system; fiscal performance; intergovernmental fiscal relations; state and local revenue systems; budgetary practices; state and local debt. Prerequisites: ECO 101, ECO 102. Cr 3.

ECO 399 Special Topics in Economics
Prerequisite: Depends on topic. Cr 3.

ECO 450 Readings in Economics
A series of readings and discussions of important books and articles of a socio-economic and politico-economic nature. Prerequisite: none. Cr 3.

ECO 490 Independent Readings and Research in Economics
Independent study and research of various student-selected areas of economics. Prerequisites: a completed independent study form and sponsorship by an economics faculty member. May be taken more than once. Cr 1-12.