2020-21 Catalogs

Course Descriptions

Economics 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 120 and ECO 305 satisfy the Quantitative Reasoning Core curriculum requirement; all other 100-level economics courses satisfy a second-tier Core curriculum requirement.

Note that only one course carrying the prefix ECO can be used to satisfy both the Thematic Cluster Core curriculum and economics major requirements.

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.  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.
Prerequisites: College Writing. Every semester.  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: None.  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 permission of instructor. Yearly.  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 permission of instructor. Yearly.  Cr 3.

ECO 304: Research Methods in Economics 
This course introduces students on how to conduct original research on economics questions. Basic issues regarding the formulation of research questions, research design, and data collection and analysis are addressed. The course introduces ethical principles and challenges, and the elements of the research process within quantitative, qualitative, and mixed methods approaches. Prerequisites: Students must satisfy QR requirement; ECO 101; ECO 102; ECO 301 or ECO 302. Cr 3

ECO 305 Econometrics
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.  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 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&D policy, financial regulation, public and private human resource investments, and organizational strategies.
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: None.  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 permission of instructor.  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 permission of instructor.  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 permission of instructor.  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 College Writing or permission of instructor.  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 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 399 Special Topics in Economics
Prerequisite(s): Depends on topic.  Cr 3.

ECO 400: Capstone in Economics
In this one-credit seminar, taken in conjunction with a companion course, students reflect on and integrate learning in the major. Emphasis is on learning at the individual level, as students explore connections among their courses, and collectively as students explore what they have in common as economists despite different academic trajectories. Prerequisites: Senior status and permission. Cr 1.

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: ECO 101 or ECO 102 or permission of a faculty sponsor, junior or senior-level standing, a completed Independent Study Approval Form and sponsorship by an economics faculty member.
May be taken more than once.  Cr 1–6.