Training in economics is critical to policy analysis. Economics provides a theoretical foundation and the quantitative tools for answering many of the questions at the core of policy debates. For example, economic theories and methods are needed to better understand the effects of international trade agreements on economic growth, or the effect of mandated health insurance coverage on employment. Economics provides many policy discussions with factual analysis that is then leavened with politics and perspective. In essence, much of public policy is “applied” economics.
The core requirements for the public policy major include a year-long sequence in economics and a year-long sequence in quantitative analysis. For the Economics requirement, all public policy majors must take “Intermediate Microeconomics” (ECON 303) and “Economics of the Public Sector” (ECON 321). To satisfy the quantitative analysis requirement one option is to take “Principles and Methods of Statistics” (ECON 307) and “Econometrics” (ECON 308).
In addition to the core courses, policy majors must take four electives that focus on specific policy areas. Several upper-level course offerings in the Department of Economics allow students to conduct focused study in areas like health care policy, labor and human resource policy, international trade and economic development, to name just a few.