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Haverford College
Department of Economics

Learning Goals

Students will achieve competency in the building blocks of economic theory.

Students will be able to:

  • Know/recognize/apply economic theory’s assumptions about the behavior of economic actors and the choices they make as they contribute to the working of markets.
  • Know/recognize/apply economic theory’s predictions concerning outcomes of markets in perfect competition and in environments where market failures occur.
  • Know/recognize/apply a macroeconomic school of thought that describes the workings of the aggregate economy in a domestic and a world setting.

Students will learn to think like economists.

Students will be able to:

  • Contextualize and critique theoretical arguments developed from or alternative to economic theory.
  • Use economic arguments to understand and explain real world problems and assess policy proposals.

Students will achieve competency in statistics and econometrics.

Students will be able to:

  • Collect, manage and analyze economic data to test hypotheses derived from economic theory.
  • Read and critique economics articles which use contemporary econometric techniques.

Students will communicate as economists.

Students will be able to effectively and persuasively present their work:

  • Mathematically
  • Graphically
  • In writing
  • Orally

Students will develop and execute an original economics research project.

Students will be able to:

  • Summarize the economic scholarship on this topic while discovering and articulating relationships among texts and contextualizing the research question within the broader literature.
  • Collect, manage, and analyze data on the research question.
  • Construct and execute an analytic argument that culminates in well-­grounded conclusions.
  • Write a professional-­‐quality research paper that presents their work and findings

Senior Thesis

The senior thesis at Haverford College is the culmination of a 4-­‐year learning process during which students develop their scholarly interests and become independent thinkers. The year-­‐long, two semester Senior Research Seminar in Economics imparts skills and techniques essential to students undertaking original independent research projects. The first (fall) semester includes workshops on thesis writing skills, data collection and management with Excel and Strata, and presentations by visiting scholars followed by student discussants who critique the paper presented. The course focuses on acquisition of tools to conduct original research, learning how to engage in scholarly discussions, and learning about critical analysis. Each student writes a co-­‐authored discussion paper summarizing and critiquing one of the guest speaker’s research articles/papers. By the end of the fall semester, students develop an original research idea/project that is the basis of the senior thesis.

Independent work under the guidance of a faculty advisor begins at the end of the first semester and continues throughout the second semester. During the second (spring) semester, students develop their thesis through extensive reading, individual sessions with a faculty advisor, and group discussion. The final thesis is an original economic contribution to the field of knowledge in which the thesis is located. Each student demonstrates a clear mastery of the literature surrounding the research question, an understanding of the theoretical underpinnings of the question, and adequate analysis and discussion of results.