Welcome to the Wellesley College Department of Economics.
Economics is a social science that analyzes how a society makes resource allocation choices through the production and distribution of goods and services. The appeal of economics lies in its application of theory and quantitative techniques to contemporary problems. Indeed, many students conclude that it would be difficult to be informed citizens without having at least a basic understanding of economics. Economics differs from the study of business in that its scope is broader and more analytical, encompassing the firm, labor and capital markets, consumer choice, and government economic policy.
How We Study Economics
The study of economics has two main branches, each of which identifies one type of decision-maker and the alternatives available to that decision-maker. Microeconomics looks at choice problems and the economist's rules and concepts for solving them in the realm of individual decision-makers: the individual, the firm, the household, the college community, the labor union. Macroeconomics deals with the same general problems—choices and how the economist's set of tools helps in making decisions—at a more aggregated level: a country or a broader political entity such as the European Community.
Why Study Economics?
Economics can give you invaluable insight into how the contemporary world works, excellent training and practice in qualitative and quantitative reasoning, and an understanding of the complex political economic issues that face the United States and the world today.
After graduation, what you "do with economics" depends on you. Many economics majors go on to graduate school and accept positions in economics, law, or business; others become journalists, artists, social activists, and more. If you do not enjoy the study of economics, you should not feel compelled to continue beyond the introductory level even if you are interested in business; it is simply not true that an economics major or minor is needed for admission to a management trainee position or to graduate schools of business.
The Economics Department hosts a number of exciting events throughout the year highlighting prominent speakers in the field of Economics through our annual Goldman Lecture and the Calderwood Speaker series (list of speakers). In various lectures, seminars and discussions, topics of interest are explored in detail by our distinguished faculty giving our students multiple opportunities to enhance what they have learned in the classroom.
In the fall of 2010, Dani Rodrik, Professor of International Political Economy at the Kennedy School of Government, came to campus to present the Calderwood lecture on his new book, The Globalization Paradox: Democracy and the Future of the World Economy, addressing the competing goals of democracy, national self-determination and economic globalization. In the spring, we heard from Princeton University economist, Cecilia Rouse, who had just stepped down from her position as a council member at the White House Council of Economic Advisers. She provided insight into the reasoning behind the White House’s economic policy decisions during a very trying period in economic history. For more about this past year in the Economics Department, please read our annual newsletter.