The tools of economics are used to analyze interactions among consumers, firms, and governments, particularly as they relate to the production, distribution, and consumption of goods and services. This framework is integral to the study of competition, government behavior, globalization, poverty, discrimination, the environment, and other issues of public and private life. Indeed, John Maynard Keynes described economics as “a method rather than a doctrine, an apparatus of the mind, a technique of thinking, which helps its possessors to draw correct conclusions.”
Students in economics learn a systematic approach to studying social phenomena. Classes emphasize theoretical modeling, empirical analysis, and critical thinking. In addition to completing the core courses in microeconomic and macroeconomic theory, students choose from a wide variety of electives, including international trade and finance, labor economics, industrial organization, economic development, economic history, money and banking, public economics, mathematical economics and game theory, and econometrics. Economics majors also complete a senior seminar and conduct research projects on topics of their own choosing.
Within the major, students may elect concentrations in financial markets and mathematical economics. Graduates of the program pursue careers in a wide variety of fields, including finance, banking, government, consulting, business, health administration, teaching, advocacy, and non-profit administration. The major also provides an excellent foundation for graduate study in economics, law, public policy, business administration, and other fields.
The Department of Economics actively contributes to interdisciplinary programs at Colby, including East Asian Studies; Environmental Studies; International Studies; Latin American Studies; and Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies.
Department of Economics faculty members regularly publish articles in prestigious academic journals, write leading textbooks in the discipline, and contribute to scholarly edited volumes. Department members also serve as economic advisers to the state, national, and foreign governments as well as to industry. They present their research at conferences and seminars around the world, including in the Department of Economics Research Seminar Series at Colby.