Why Economics?

Economics provides a framework for understanding the choices humans make at an individual, organizational, national, or even a global level. Though economics is often associated with business and finance, it has been influential in addressing a much broader range of questions. What are the impacts of immigration and international trade on local communities?

Do preschool programs help children succeed in school? Why do women earn less than men? What factors drive racial differences in economic opportunities? How long should patents and copyrights last?  Does the US spend too much (or too little) on health care?  What factors contribute to income inequality? Why are some nations more prosperous than others? 

The Economics Department offers courses that strive to answer these questions with an emphasis on applied statistical work (econometrics). Economics majors learn to ask clear questions based on economic theory and work with large data sets to provide rigorous answers that distinguish causation from correlation.  

Student Research

All majors and minors conduct independent research projects, supervised by Economics faculty members, as part of our culminating experience courses. These research projects often address important social issues and topics students intend to pursue further in their careers. Recent examples include theses on:

  • tracking the spread of COVID - 19 in real time,
  • how companies are impacted by the choice to go public
  • what interventions are most effective at reducing the burden of malaria in developing countries
  • the role of legislation in reducing insider trading by members of the US Congress

About her professors and her work in International Development

Hannah Pruitt '19

Speaking about his work and growth as an Econ major...

Adil Ashan '19

Faculty Research

In addition to their work with students, Dartmouth Economics faculty are deeply engaged with current public policy debates. A few recent examples are: