Skip to content

Department of Economics

Emphasis Areas and Associated Courses*

*Courses may not be offered every semester.

Find more course information in the undergraduate course catalog.

Business Economics, Strategy, and Competition
In this emphasis area, students will learn how businesses strategically interact with each other and with employees and consumers to determine market outcomes. Important strategic decisions include pricing, output, product design, hiring, production processes and firms' capital structure. Students will learn how market structure and the nature of competition influence firms' behavior and profitability and will examine the role of government policy and regulation in markets. Those interested in the economics of sports can take a course analyzing topics such as valuation and compensation, wagering markets, the public funding of sports venues and antitrust issues.

Courses: Economics of Markets, Competition and Strategy; Antitrust Economics; Personnel Economics; Law and Economics; Government and Business; Game Theory; Seminar in Sports Economics; Behavioral Economics

The Economics of Workers, Wages, and Human Capital
Labor Economics provides a broad overview of supply and demand, human capital accumulation, wage determination, migration and discrimination. Personnel Economics explores the problem faced by firms in motivating workers to perform well on the job. The Economics of Health and Education focuses in detail on the role those sectors play in the provision of their services, including the impact of public policies. Finally, family economics studies marriage, divorce and fertility within the economic framework.

Courses: Personnel Economics; Labor Economics; Economics of Education; Health Economics; Family Economics

Public Policy, Law and Economics, Public Choice, and the Economics of Institutions
In this emphasis area, students study the role of government in the economy, including how to evaluate government programs, the design of the tax system, and how decisions are made in the political process. Students will learn whether the government should participate in an economic market and to what extent. For those interested in public choice, students will learn how elected officials and other government agents can be influenced by not only their own self-interest but also the preferences of their constituents, lobbying groups and other political organizations. Students will also study the behavior of courts and judges and what factors influence their decisions. For students interested in law, our courses on law and institutional economics apply economic principles to the law of property, torts and contracts, regulation of markets, business organizations, the structure of institutions and how these factors influence and are influenced economic performance, including economic growth and the distribution of income and wealth.

Courses: Public Choice; Government and Business; Public Economics; Cost-Benefit Analysis; Economics of Defense; Law and Economics; Comparative Economics Systems; Economics of Institutions and Property Rights

Macroeconomics, Monetary and Financial Economics, and Growth and Development
In this emphasis area, students study the structure and performance of the national economy and the determinants of national production, unemployment, and inflation. This field also examines the role of the Federal Reserve System, interest rates, and monetary and financial stability policy. Students can study the determinants of exchange rates and how countries interact in the global economy. For those interested in development, students can study the factors that determine cross-country differences in income, differences in living standards, and the process of development, how innovation fuels economic growth and the role of educational attainment as a determinant of economic well-being. For those interested in financial markets, students will learn about the banking system and how financial markets impact economic performance. Students will also study how firms finance their operations, the role of financial intermediation, and the capital structure of firms, as well as how to value and determine the price of assets with uncertain returns, their derivatives and the markets that trade them.

Courses: International Macroeconomics; Monetary Economics; Financial Economics; Economic Development; Economics of Innovation

International Economics
In this emphasis area, students study the determinants of international trade and the impact of tariffs and other trade restrictions. Students will also learn the determination of inflation and the flow of money and payments across international borders. Topics also include multinational firms, cross-border migration and some recent global economic events (e.g., the rise of China and its impact on the U.S. economy, the U.S.-China trade wars, Bush Jr.'s steel tariff in 2001, tax havens and global tax avoidance etc.).

Courses: International Microeconomics; International Macroeconomics; Comparative Economics Systems

Natural Resources and the Environment
In this emphasis area, students will learn about the economics of natural resource use and environmental policy. Topics include the development of renewable and nonrenewable natural resources, the intersection between markets and the environment, and measuring costs and benefits of alternative environmental policies to deal with such things as air pollution, water quality, toxic substances and solid waste.

Courses: Environmental Economics; Natural Resource Use Technology and Policy; Economics of Energy Markets; Cost Benefit Analysis

Mathematical Economics and Economic Analytics
This area of emphasis focuses on the various mathematical methods, including how best to model, measure, estimate, and forecast economic phenomena mathematically and how to create and evaluate quantitative models that are designed to test economic theories.

This area of emphasis includes courses on economic analytics (econometrics), where students use statistical and mathematical tools to analyze economic issues and policy questions.

Why study mathematical economics and economic analytics? While economic theory provides generally directional predictions, for example, a rise in the price of gasoline causes the quantity demanded to fall. But in the real world, we typically want to know, "By how much?" Econometrics is the application of statistical methods that can provide the answer to that and other questions, with an emphasis on the problem of disentangling causality in a world in which the data are seldom served up in such fashion, rather, reflecting a multitude of causes that operate in a multitude of directions.

Courses: Econometrics; Advanced Econometrics; Topics in Mathematical Economics

Economic History and the History of Economic Thought
In this emphasis area, students study how economies and economic outcomes have changed over history and how economic institutions have developed. Topics include the emergence of markets, the forces shaping the Industrial Revolution, the sources of improvements in agricultural productivity, and the influence of railroads and other new technologies. Students can also study the development of the American economy and explore the development of the South Carolina economy in one of our Creative Inquiry courses.

Courses: History of Economic Thought; Moral and Ethical Aspects of a Market Economy; Development of the American Economy; Creative Inquiry

*Courses may not be offered every semester.

Find more course information in the undergraduate course catalog.

John E. Walker Department of Economics
John E. Walker Department of Economics | 320 Wilbur O. and Ann Powers Hall, Clemson, S.C. 29634