Course Descriptions - Economics


An introductory course in microeconomics focusing on individuals as consumers, producers, and resource owners operating in a market system. The supply and demand model is used to analyze how prices and output are determined in both the product and factor markets. Decision making in the firm is studied under different market structures.

3 Hours, 1 Semester


An introduction to the macroeconomic concepts of employment, income, and output, with an emphasis on their measurement and determination. The impact of policy decisions on the business cycle is investigated.

3 Hours, 1 Semester


From competitive market environments to bargaining power to monopoly and too-big-to-fail, this course in intermediate microeconomics is part of the core of the economics discipline. This course focuses on strategy, institutions, and evolution in game theoretic environments. Students develop competence in applying microeconomic models to explain economic decision-making by individuals and firms, how markets allocate resources, how the structure of markets affects choices and social welfare, and the ways that government intervention can improve or impair the functioning of markets. Real world examples and current issues are used to illustrate concepts and to strengthen understanding of the modern economic landscape.

Prerequisite: ECON 221, ECON 222        3 Hours, 1 Semester


An intermediate macroeconomic course analyzing the determination of national income, employment, the price level, interest rates, and exchanges in the economy. Piece-by-piece, a theoretical model will be constructed that is capable of describing how each of these variables is determined. After the model is completed, the course investigates issues of business cycle theory, foreign trade, and macroeconomic policy. Special attention will be given to theoretical and policy debates.

Prerequisite: ECON 221, ECON 222        3 Hours, 1 Semester


This course is a senior level seminar concerning the historical role of labor in the American Economy. One of the major themes of the course will be the relationship between labor markets and political issues. We will be interested in the relatively stagnate wage growth of the last three (plus) decades and the rise of income inequality. Other topics of interest will be: (1) the role of Women in the US economy; (2) the issue of Race in shaping the historical development of capitalism in the US; and (3) the changing structure of labor in the Twentieth Century US American economy, and the rise of the “predator state.” We will seek to better understand these trends and to explain them through history, modeling, and theoretical and political analysis.

Prerequisite: ECON 221, ECON 222        3 Hours, 1 Semester


This course focuses on the essential features and functions of money and credit in a capitalist economy operating with a fiat currency in a flexible exchange rate regime such as the U.S. economy. We study the role of the U.S. Federal Reserve Bank (The Fed), the U.S. Treasurer and the commercial banking sector in the U.S. economy, the banking and financial systems. The fundamental elements of financial markets, instruments and investments, and their links to the monetary and banking systems are examined. Special attention is given to the institutional structure and the accounting procedures through which the Fed and the Treasurer coordinate monetary policy. We examine the endogenous nature of crises and financial instability in capitalist economies. Here, we study the theories provided by prominent 20th century economists – Hyman Minsky and J.M. Keynes – whose names and theoretical contributions have been widely evoked during the 2008 Financial Crisis. We identify the causes and implications of financial crises, and understand possible policy solutions. Such policies emphasize the need to understand the recent evolution of the regulatory framework in the financial and banking industry.

Prerequisite: ECON 221, ECON 222        3 Hours, 1 Semester

ECON 309 WOrld Economic geography

This course focuses on the connections between physical, cultural, and political geography and our economies. Case studies are used to explore both natural and global economic issues.

Prerequisite: ECON 221, ECON 222        3 Hours, 1 Semester

ECON 313 women In the global economy

This course sheds light on the role women have historically played in the U.S. economy and the major economies of Latin American. The course content is designed to critically analyze both economic life and economic theory through the lens of gender. The study of women in the global economy underlies the areas often ignored by traditional economists—such as occupation segregation by sex, the economics of the household, and caring labor. Other themes in the course include issues related to racial-ethnic, class, and country differences among women.

Prerequisite: ECON 221 or ECON 222    3 Hours, 1 Semester

ECON 352 American economic history

This course traces the evolution of American economic life from its agricultural/rural origins and economy through the Industrial Revolution, the rise of industrial capitalism in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, the Great Depression era and its aftermath, to the emergence of our modern, post-industrial urban society of today.

Prerequisite: ECON 221, ECON 222, and HIST 201 or HIST 202            
                  3 Hours, 1 Semester

ECON 370 Special topics in political economy

These courses will consider a variety of topics of contemporary interest in the political economy. A broad array of political economic issues and problems will be studied, including the political economy of women and leadership, capitalism in crisis, and other courses offered on a rotating basis.

Prerequisite: ECON 221, ECON 222        3 Hours, 1 Semester


Global interconnectedness is an extremely important reality today. Global interconnectedness influences our individual lives every day. Very few enterprises can today insulate themselves from the influences of global developments. A main goal of this course is to develop an understanding of the international dimensions of our economy. Students will become acquainted with the economic analysis of the foundations of international trade and the impacts of trade on domestic and global economies. Impediments to trade are analyzed, such as tariffs, quotas, and market power of megacorporations. The course includes a study of global finance, the balance of payments, world debt, exchange rates, and the international monetary system. Contemporary real world issues and problems are emphasized.

Prerequisite: ECON 221, ECON 222        3 Hours, 1 Semester


Today many cities in the United States, such as Detroit, are in Great Depression-like circumstances while others such as Atlanta are flourishing. More locally the towns of Southbridge and Webster seem to struggle economically, while Sturbridge and Cambridge thrive. This course attempts to understand these phenomena. This course will focus on several topical issues, including: urban flight, suburban sprawl, urban work and labor markets, poverty, urban education, crime, urban sociology and psychology, and issues of race (e.g. discrimination and segregation). The course is intended to familiarize students with the basic issues and policies of urban and city life. The course integrates a political economic and sociological approach to urban issues, based upon reading contemporary books and texts.

Prerequisite: ECON 221, ECON 222        3 Hours, 1 Semester

ECON 470 special topics in economics

These courses consider a variety of topics related to the practice and science of economics. A broad array of economic issues will be studies, including the history of economic thought, behavioral economics, social issues in economics, and other courses offered on a rotating basis.

Prerequisite: ECON 221, ECON 222        3 Hours, 1 Semester


This seminar or independent study course is designed to prepare advanced students for graduate study covering theoretical and contemporary economic issues in depth.

Prerequisite: ECON 303, ECON 304        3 Hours, 1 Semester

This publication provides information concerning the programs at Nichols College and does not constitute a contract with the student.

The policies and procedures contained in the 2017-2018 Nichols College Catalog will remain in effect until June 30, 2018. Nichols College reserves the right to change at any time the rules governing admission, tuition, fees, courses, the granting of degrees, or any other regulations affecting the campus community. Such changes are to take effect whenever College officials deem necessary and will be communicated via written notice whenever possible or other means as appropriate.

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P.O. Box 5000
Dudley, Massachusetts 01571-5000
Catalog of Nichols College
July 2016