Department of Economics

Public Policy Track (A.B.)

Economics is the study of the allocation of resources in a society. The Public Policy track focuses on real-world applications of economics to problems such as inequality, health, unemployment, development, the environment, and education, among others. 

Students gain skills in critical thinking and data analysis that are important for policy evaluation. In particular, the track could prepare students for careers in NGOs, government, and research/policy institutes.


Core Courses:

  • Principles of Economics (ECON 0110) or equivalent scores*
  • Math for Economists (ECON 0170 or MATH 0100) or equivalent scores
  • Intermediate Microeconomics (ECON 1110 or ECON 1130)
  • Intermediate Macroeconomics (ECON 1210)
  • Introduction to Econometrics (ECON 1620)**
  • Applied Econometrics (ECON 1629) or Mathematical Econometrics I (ECON 1630)

Five Public Policy Electives From the Following List***: 

  • Using Big Data to Solve Social Problems (ECON 1000)
  • Race, Crime and Punishment in America (ECON 1070)
  • Advanced Macroeconomics: Monetary, Fiscal, and Stabilization Policies (ECON 1225)
  • Unemployment: Models and Policy (ECON 1255)+
  • Labor Economics (ECON 1310)
  • Economics of Global Warming (ECON 1340)
  • Environmental Economics and Policy (ECON 1350)
  • Environmental Issues in Development Economics (ECON 1355)+
  • Health Economics (ECON 1360) 
  • Race and Inequality in the United States (ECON 1370) 
  • Intergenerational Transmission of Poverty (ECON 1385)+
  • Inequality of Income, Wealth and Health in the United States (ECON 1390) 
  • Urban Economics (ECON 1410) 
  • Industrial Organization (ECON 1420) 
  • The Economics of Social Policy (ECON 1430)+
  • The Economic Analysis of Political Behavior (ECON 1440)
  • Public Economics (ECON 1480) 
  • Policy Questions and Quantitative Methods to Explore Them (ECON 1487)
  • Current Global Macroeconomic Challenges (ECON 1500) 
  • History, Culture, and Development (ECON 1520)
  • Health, Hunger, and the Household in Developing Countries (ECON 1530)+
  • International Trade (ECON 1540) 
  • International Finance (ECON 1550) 
  • Economic Growth (ECON 1560) 
  • The Economics of Latin Americans (ECON 1570) 
  • Education, the Economy, and School Reform (ECON 1600) 

Capstone Project

Capstones should be completed in senior year, and can be satisfied in different ways: (a) if one of the public policy electives completed is designated as a capstone course (marked with a + above); or (b) a capstone project is otherwise arranged and completed for a public policy elective; or (c) an honors thesis is completed, under the guidelines of honors in the economics concentration. In cases (a) and (b), a capstone form must be submitted to the department. 

Interdisciplinary Requirement

Two courses outside of the economics department that relate to better understanding the implementation and/or evaluation of public policies (may be below or above 1000-level). Several departments offer such courses, and availability varies from year to year. Some pre-approved options are AFRI 1920, CLPS 0220, CLPS 0700, EDUC 1265, IAPA 0110, PHP 0310, PHP 0330, PHP 0850, POLS 0010, POLS 1050, POLS 1823Z, SOC 1330, and URBN 0210. Students may also request advisor permission for other courses. 


*If placing out of ECON 0110, an additional 1000-level Economics course elective (which need not be from the set of Public Policy electives) will be required, for a total of 6 1000-level Economics courses.

**APMA 1650, APMA 1655, CSCI 1450, or MATH 1620 can substitute for ECON 1620.

***Note that at most one Economics course in the 1000-1099 range may be applied toward the concentration requirements.