Department ofEconomics

Course Descriptions

This list is intended to be an overview of our class offerings, so that you can get an idea of what to expect when enrolling in Economics at PLU.  For a complete list of course offerings and concentrations see the course catalog at PLU Course Catalog.  Our two-year course cycles (useful for planning purposes) can be found by clicking here.

Course Number
Course Title
Principles of Microeconomics
Introduces the study of economic decision making by firms and individuals. Economic tools and concepts such as markets, supply and demand, and efficiency applied to contemporary issues.
Principles of Macroeconomics
Introduces the economy as a whole and major issues such as inflation, unemployment, economic growth, and international trade.
Principles of Microeconomics: Global and Environmental
Analysis of public policy and private behavior; appropriate pricing, resource valuation, taxes and subsidies, trade policies, sustainable development, and income growth and distribution.
Inquiry Seminar
Cross-listed with FYEP190. This class is a four-credit seminar to introduce students to the methods and topics of study within a particular academic discipline or field. Students practice the academic skills that are at the center of the General Education Program.
Directed Study
To provide individual undergraduate students with advanced study not available in the regular curriculum.
Intermediate Microeconomic Analysis
Theory of consumer behavior; product and factor prices under conditions of monopoly, competition, and intermediate markets; welfare economics.
Intermediate Macroeconomic Analysis
National income determination including policy implications within the institutional framework of the U.S. economy.
Energy and Natural Resource Economics
An intensive economic analysis of natural resource scarcity and a comparison of actual, optimal and sustainable use of energy and natural resources. Comparative international analysis of the relative roles of markets and government in the development and allocation of natural resources over time. Themes include dynamic efficiency, intergenerational fairness, and sustainability. Case studies of key natural resource sectors including: renewable and exhaustible energy, non-energy minerals, forestry, and fisheries.
Environmental Economics
Examines the theory of externalities, pollution regulation, open-access conditions as a basis for environmental degradation, methods of non-market valuation of environmental amenities, and valuation of a statistical life. Attention will be given to both domestic and global examples.
Investigating Environmental and Economic Change in Europe
An introduction to the environmental economic problems and policy prospects of modern Europe. Focus on economic incentives and policies to solve problems of air and water pollution, sustainable forestry, global warming, and wildlife management in Austria, Germany, Hungary, the Czech Republic, and Italy.
Labor Economics
Analysis of labor markets and labor market issues; wage determination; investment in human capital, unionism and collective bargaining; law and public policy; discrimination; labor mobility; earnings inequality, unemployment, and wages and inflation.
Money and Banking
The nature and role of money; monetary theory; tools and implementation of monetary policy; regulation of intermediaries; banking activity in financial markets; international consequences of and constraints on monetary policy.
Health Economics
Analysis of health care markets including hospitals, providers, and insurer/managed care organizations; demand for care; economics of insurance; role of government and regulation; access to care; non-price competition; impact of new technology; analysis of reform.
Industrial Organization and Public Policy
An analysis of the structure, conduct, and performance of American industry and public policies that foster and alter industrial structure and behavior.
Public Finance
Public taxation and expenditure at all governmental levels; the incidence of taxes, the public debt and the provision of public goods such as national defense, education, pure air, and water.
International Trade and Commercial Policy
Theories of trade based on labor productivity, factor endowments, and scale economies. Welfare analysis of commercial policy instruments. Political economy of interest groups and trade policy. Critical analysis of multilateral efforts to promote trade. Theoretical and empirical linkages among trade policy, renewable resource depletion, and environmental degradation
Economic Development: Comparative Third World Strategies
Analysis of the theoretical framework for development with applications to alternative economic development strategies used in the newly emerging developing countries.Emphasis on comparison between countries, assessments of the relative importance of cultural values, historical experience, and governmental policies in the development process.
European Economic Integration
An introduction to integration theory and its application to the problems and policy prospects for deepening European integration. Economic analysis of the development of economic institutions in the European Union. Topics include: German unification, enlargement, the European monetary system, Scandinavian participation, and relevance of the European integration model for the developing world.
International Macroeconomics
An introduction to international macroeconomic theory and policy, including the balance of payments accounts, foreign exchange markets, theory of exchange rates, policies under fixed and flexible exchange rates, economic integration, global financial crises, policy coordination.
Strategic Behavior
An introduction to game theory and analysis of interactive decision processes. Interactive game playing, cases, and examples drawn primarily from economics, but also includes sports, political science, business, and biology. Prisoner's Dilemma, sequential games, Nash equilibrium, mixed and pure strategies, collective action and bidding strategies, bargaining.
Introduction to the methods and tools of econometrics as the basis for applied research in economics. Specification, estimation, and testing in the classical linear regression model.
Mathematical Topics in Economics
An introduction to basic applications of mathematical tools used in economic analysis.
Evolution of Economic Thought
Economic thought from ancient to modern times; emphasis on the period from Adam Smith to J.M. Keynes; the classical economists, the socialists, the marginalists, the neoclassical economists, and the Keynesians.
Independent Study
To provide individual undergraduate students with advanced study not available in the regular curriculum.
A research and writing project in connection with a student's approved off-campus activity.
Capstone Senior Seminar
Seminar in economic problems and policies with emphasis on encouraging the student to integrate problem-solving methodology with tools of economic analysis. Topic(s) selected by class participants and instructor.