The Department of Economics offers a broad and critical approach to the study of economics, covering a wide range of schools of thought, including Keynesian and post-Keynesian economics; the classical political economy of Smith, Ricardo, and Marx; structuralist and institutionalist approaches to economics; and neoclassical economics. The courses of study emphasize the historical roots of economic ideas, their application to contemporary economic policy debates, and conflicting explanations and interpretations of economic phenomena, within the context of a rigorous training in the conceptual, mathematical, and statistical modeling techniques that are the common methodological basis of contemporary economic research. The department's work centers on the changing shape of the world economy, its financial markets and institutions, problems of regulating and guiding economic development in the advanced industrial world and in emerging markets, complexity in economic systems, labor markets, and the economic aspects of class, gender, and ethnic divisions.
The aim of the Department of Economics is to put what Robert Heilbroner called "the worldly philosophy"—informed, critical, and passionate investigation of the economic foundations of contemporary society—at the heart of the educational and research enterprise. This engagement with the central unresolved dilemmas of modern society motivates the detailed analysis of concrete problems of economic policy and the explanations of economic phenomena that are the substance of the department's degree programs.