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Economics is a social science. It is "social" because it deals with norms and incentives that define the economic behavior of individuals and groups. It is a "science" because it uses models to study choices in the production and distribution of wealth. Economists try to understand how existing resources are allocated and how new resources are created. Our research focuses on such factors as productivity, markets, employment, income distribution, and growth.


Because people make economic decisions on global and personal scales, the tools of economic analysis have many powerful, real-world applications. You'll know that economics is your cup of tea if you seek answers to questions like these:

  • What effects does the "three-strikes law" have on criminal behavior?
  • How do star athletes affect NBA gate revenues?
  • What policies help the poor secure better livelihoods?
  • What is the role of technology and trade in inequality between and within nations?
  • Which factors drive the gender and racial wage gaps?

William & Mary was among the first in the nation to provide instruction in economics going as far back as 1784. Today, our 30-plus faculty members offer one of the premier undergraduate programs in the major or in the minor. We participate in the St Andrews Joint Degree Program, and we teach many of the courses in the Master's in Public Policy Program.

Our undergraduate alumni go on to attend the best Ph.D. programs in Economics or in other fields, work for consulting companies and multinationals, join government agencies, or enjoy rewarding careers in the non-profit sector.