The International Economics degree program equips students with the skills necessary to succeed in the international world of business and economics, while emphasizing the skills to develop orderly and critical thinking. It stresses both theoretical and applied concepts, quantitative and qualitative reasoning, communication skills and basic computer literacy.

We also expect our students to appreciate and draw from their knowledge of other disciplines, other cultures and other languages. The pluralistic approach taken by the department allows students to connect the content taught in the economics classes with the occurrences in the real world, thereby preparing them for diverse and challenging work environments.  To concretize that connection, the Franklin Frank Program was created to foster service learning and to develop a student "economy" that can provide reflection on the nature of money and job creation.

In today’s world of economic uncertainty, a deep understanding of economics is more vital than ever. A major in economics translates into job opportunities in various fields including teaching, government services, finance, banking and insurance, think tanks, non-governmental organizations, public administration and management.  Many of those opportunities also offer important salaries.


Analyze and think critically about economic issues.

The International Economics major prepares students to think critically about economic issues, with special emphasis on international and comparative matters. Greater economic integration and the process of “globalization” of economic and business affairs increasingly call for an international approach to economic education.


The growing mobility of people and resources in a world of rapid technological progress in communications requires a greater knowledge and understanding of the differences among people and economic systems that persist even in a highly integrated world. In this spirit, the International Economics degree gives students a solid background in the fundamentals of economic analysis, while adopting a pluralistic approach to economic education that exposes students to a wide spectrum of theories and systems of thought comprising the different facets of the discipline. Special emphasis is given to economic policy issues and economic institutions. Students are made aware of the institutional differences that exist across countries, of their evolution and reforms, through an appreciation of the institutionally based nature of the market system. In this context, the discipline of economics is presented as a logical, and yet practical and creative field.

The emphasis in Political Economy provides an opportunity for students to focus on a set of courses that analyze the complex inter-relationships between economics and politics in an increasingly globalized world. Political economy, as an interdisciplinary field of study, explores issues centered on the ways in which political institutions affect the performance of economic systems as well as the ways in which economic interests affect the form of institutions and policies. It entails a variety of approaches, to include the application of economic theories to political choice, historical analysis, and models drawn from game theory applied to political institutions.

In addition to the major field of study, students may choose a minor in Economics.  The Economics minor is not open to majors in International Economics in any emphasis, International Relations (Political Economy emphasis) or International Banking and Finance.

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International Economics

The major in International Economics provides students with tools to understand the contemporary world. Through rigorous training in different theoretical approaches and empirical techniques, students will develop critical, analytical, and empirical insight into current economic issues. The constantly increasing mobility of people and resources in a world of rapid technological progress requires a greater knowledge and understanding of the differences among cultures and economic systems that persist even in a highly integrated world. Therefore, a primary focus of this major is on economic policy issues and economic institutions.

Economics is only one lens through which to examine societal problems and so the department maintains an interdisciplinary approach on a variety of issues, while laying the groundwork for a reflective, ethical, and global understanding of the subject area. The menu of courses exposes students to a variety of theories through the recognition of economics as a contested and evolving discipline, and through an appreciation of the institutionally based nature of the market system.

This major prepares students for careers in teaching, banking, business strategy, public policy, law and management, consulting, media, non-governmental and international organizations, as well as providing a solid foundation for graduate studies.

Not open to majors in International Economics with an emphasis in Political Economy

Major Requirements (45 Credits)

Lower-level Requirements (21 credits)
ECN 100 Principles of Macroeconomics

This entry-level course in economics covers the fundamentals of macroeconomics and, together with ECN 101, it provides the necessary prerequisites for any other upper-level course in economics. This course introduces students to the study of economics as a field of knowledge within the social sciences. In the first part, focus will be on the definition, the explanation, and the significance of national income, business fluctuations, the price level, and aggregate employment. In the second part, special attention is devoted to the functioning of a payment system based on currency and bank money. Finally, students will discuss the instruments and the functioning of public policy aimed to stabilize prices and maintain high levels of output and employment within the current macroeconomic context. Current economic news will be regularly scrutinized.

ECN 101 Principles of Microeconomics

This is an entry-level course in economics, covering fundamentals of microeconomics and aimed at students who choose it as an elective or plan to continue their studies in economics. This course helps students develop basic analytical skills in economics and microeconomics. It provides students with a basic understanding of the market system in advanced capitalist economies. It examines the logic of constrained choice with a focus on the economic behavior of individuals and organizations. After a theoretical analysis of the determinants and the interaction of supply and demand under competitive conditions, alternative market structures will be investigated, including monopolistic and oligopolistic forms. The course examines the conditions under which markets allocate resources efficiently and identifies causes of market failure and the appropriate government response. The introduction to the role of government includes its taxing and expenditure activities as well as regulatory policies.

ECN 204 History of Economic Thought

This intermediate-level course studies the evolution of economic ideas from the early Eighteenth century to modern times, with emphasis on the differing conceptions of economic life and the methodological underpinnings of three main strands of thought: Classical economics, Marginalism, and the Keynesian paradigm. The course is organized around four main themes: the source of wealth, the theory of value, economic growth and business cycle in the capitalist system, and the notion of equilibrium in economic analysis. The course aims at providing a systematic conceptual framework to investigate the development of economic ideas, in their intersections with philosophy and the political and historical evolution of societies, hence highlighting the nature of economics as a social science. At the same time, the course stresses the methodological features (in terms of a rigorous and formalized language) peculiar to the economic reasoning.

ECN 225 Issues and Controversies in Macroeconomics (Intermediate Macroeconomics)

This intermediate-level course in macroeconomics builds upon the introductory two-semester (ECN 100 and ECN 101) sequence and, in conjunction with ECN 256, prepares students to study upper-level economics. This course is designed to provide students with an appreciation of current economic issues and questions in modern macroeconomics, through the recognition of economics as a controversial subject. In the first part, we review some important measurement issues in macroeconomics that have policy consequences. In the second part, students will explore the competing theoretical frameworks developed in the twentieth century to explain growth cycles, employment and inflation. Finally, the acquired knowledge will be applied to the current policy issues in the aftermath of the Great Recession. Recommended prerequisite: MAT 200.

ECN 256 Managerial Economics (Intermediate Microeconomics)

This intermediate-level course in microeconomics builds upon the introductory two-semester sequence and, in conjunction with ECN 225, prepares students to upper-level economics.  This course completes the theoretical background on microeconomics and introduces students to more advanced topics, with an emphasis on the practical relevance and application of theory. The essence of the course is, in particular, the study of the interaction between rational individual decision-making (e.g. consumers, firms, the government) and the working of economic institutions like markets, regulation and social rules. Topics covered include an introduction to game theory, strategic behavior and entry deterrence; analysis of technological change; the internal organization of the firm; economic efficiency; public goods, externalities and information; government and business.

MAT 200 Calculus

The course begins with a review of functions and their graphs, after which students are introduced to the concepts of differentiation and integration. Understanding is reinforced through extensive practical work, with a strong emphasis on applications in economics, statistics and management science.

MAT 201 Introduction to Statistics

This computer-based course presents the main concepts in Statistics: the concept of random variables, frequency, and probability distributions, variance and standard deviation, kurtosis and skewness, probability rules, Bayes theorem, and posterior probabilities. Important statistical methods like Contingency analysis, ANOVA, Correlation analysis and Regression Analysis are introduced and their algorithms are fully explained. The most important probability distributions are introduced: Binomial, Poisson, and Normal distribution, as well as the Chebyshev theorem for non-known distributions. Inferential statistics, sampling distributions, and confidence intervals are covered to introduce statistical model building and single linear regression. Active learning and algorithmic learning are stressed. Emphasis is put both on algorithms –methods and assumptions for their applications. Excel is used while calculators with STAT buttons are not allowed. Ultimately students are required to make a month-long research project, select the theoretical concept they want to test, perform a literature review, find real data from Internet databases or make their surveys, apply methods they studied in the class, and compare theoretical results with their findings. Research is done and presented in groups, papers are Individual. Selected SPSS or Excel Data Analysis examples are also provided.

Upper-level Requirements (24 credits)
ECN 303 Development Economics

The course will introduce students to the evolution of theory and practice in economic development in three stages. First, models of economic growth and development including work by Harrod-Domar, Robert Solow, Arthur Lewis, and Michael Kremer are compared to provide students with a feeling for how economists have conceived of the development process. The class then proceeds to examine particular development issues such as population growth, stagnant agriculture, environmental degradation, illiteracy, gender disparities, and rapid urbanization to understand how these dynamics reinforce poverty and deprivation. In the final stage, students will read work by supporters as well as critics of international development assistance and use the knowledge and perspective they have gained thus far to independently evaluate efficacy of a specific development intervention.

ECN 325 Money, Banking and Financial Markets

This upper-level course in economics is the first part of an ideal two-semester sequence including ECN 328. This course is designed to provide students with an understanding of the monetary dimension of contemporary economies. This includes the nature of the means of settlement, the technology of monetary payments, the banking system and its pro-cyclical, crisis-prone character that requires control and regulation, the response of financial markets to changing policy conditions and perceived risks, and central banks’ operations and goals when setting interest rates. Special attention is devoted to current monetary policy issues with special reference (but not limited) to the practice of the U.S. Fed and the European Central Bank. Recommended prerequisites: ECN 225, ECN 256, BUS 326

ECN 328 International Banking and Finance

This upper-level course in economics is the second part of an ideal two-semester sequence including ECN 325. This course is designed to provide students with an appreciation of the meaning and consequence of international monetary relations, notably with respect to cross-border payments and investments under different monetary, banking, financial, and political institutions. In the first part, the class will investigate currency exposure, the currency market and its actors, the determination of exchange rates, measures and indices of the external value of a currency. In the second part, focus will be on the structure of balance-of-payments accounting, the size and significance of current account imbalances, and exchange rate policies. Finally, students will study monetary unions with special reference to the current issues and future prospects of Economic and Monetary Union in Europe. Recommended prerequisites: ECN 225, ECN 256, ECN 325

ECN 341 International Trade

This course will introduce students to the major theories and tools used in the study of international trade. Particular attention will be paid to deriving, analyzing, and assessing the empirical evidence for and against the Ricardian and Heckscher-Ohlin conceptions of comparative advantage, the Stolper-Samuelson Factor-Price Equalization Theorem, and New Trade Theories based on assumptions of imperfect competition. Students will become skilled at using a variety of graphical devices including offer curves to describe the effect which variations in government policy, factor dynamics, country size, technology, tastes, and transport costs will have on the terms of as well as the magnitude and distribution of the gains from trade. (With professor permission, students may take this course with no ECN 256 prerequisite.)

Four of the following:
ECN 305 Economics of the European Union

This course applies economic theory to some key economic institutions and policies of the European Union. It addresses some key issues in the process of European economic integration, under three broad groups: the degree of economic integration historically achieved with the common market and the European Monetary System; an analysis of the Economic and Monetary Union (EMU) regime; an economic analysis of the changes related to EU enlargement, both for old and new members. Questions discussed include the question whether there is an economic case for EMU, current issues with respect to fiscal, monetary, and labour market policies, and the problems that lie ahead until broader adoption of the euro. (Recommended ECN 256)

ECN 320 Game Theory, Information, and Contracts

The course investigates in a simple but rigorous way some of the fundamental issues of modern microeconomics, exploring the main concepts of game theory, as well as the basic elements of the economics of information, and of contract theory. A solid background on these topics is essential to the investigation of strategic decision making, the assessment of the relevance of asymmetric and/or incomplete information in decision processes, and the design of contracts. These, in turn, are among the most important issues that firms and individuals commonly need to face in all situations in which the consequences of individual decisions are likely to depend on the strategic interactions among agents' actions, and on the signaling value of information. Proceeding from intuition to formal analysis, the course investigates the methodological approach of game theory (allowing for a systematic analysis of strategic interaction) and the main concepts of the economics of information (allowing to assess the effects of asymmetric or incomplete information on agents' decisions). Further, it combines both game theory and economics of information to provide an introduction to the essential elements of contract theory.

ECN 330T Neo-liberal India: Globalization and Development

India has often been described as one of the developing countries that has achieved considerable economic success by following a neo-liberal policy regime in the past twenty years. However, over the last two years, India’s growth has stagnated. Moreo-ver, a substantial part of the population continues to live below the poverty line and lack access to basic services like clean water, health care, education etc. This course has been designed to use India as a case study to investigate the impact of globaliza-tion on development and will introduce students to different facets of globalization and allow students to understand the complicated interrelations between globaliza-tion and development. Students will study about labor reforms, environmental sus-tainability, politics of land grab, agricultural policies, urbanization-all within the framework of political economy of globalization and economic development. Students will be introduced to the flourishing IT and financial service sector, one of the main beneficiaries of globalization and the impact these sectors have had on India’s grow-ing middle class. Students will then be introduced to the problems and issues faced in the semi urban regions of the country. This travel course will allow students to ob-serve and recognize the causes of uneven growth and the consequent impact on peo-ple’s standards of living.

ECN 331T Sustainable Economic Development

Traditionally, efficiency has been given priority over sustainability in orthodox economics. With the declaration of Sustainable Development Goals by the United Nations, the idea of sustainability has become central in mainstream economic and policy discussions, thereby challenging many fundamental building blocks of economics. This course will examine the different approaches used in economics to study sustainability within the context of economic development. This will include both mainstream approach that uses neoclassical assumptions of market clearing and the rational choice theory and non-mainstream schools of thoughts that include Marxian economics, Ecological economics and Institutional economics. The course will then explore the relationships between sustainability and various economic and political issues like employment generation, property and resource rights, mode of production, economic growth and poverty. The aim of this course is to provide tools to students that will allow them to critically examine the various approaches to sustainable development. A grade of at least C is highly recommended in the prequisite ECN 100. This Academic Travel course carries a supplemental fee, to be announced prior to registration.

ECN 350 Industrial Economics

This course studies the market behavior of firms with market power. Topics like oligopoly, price discrimination, vertical relations between firms, product differentiation, advertising and entry barriers represent the core of the course. These concepts will be applied to the specific case of European firms, which live in an economic and monetary union. Students will study the principles of European competition policy and some famous European antitrust cases. A comparison with American antitrust will be made.

ECN 355 Political Economy: Theories and Issues

This course is designed to introduce students to the foundations of political economy. Political economy is the study of the economic system from a critical, historical and interdisciplinary perspective to provide a greater understanding of our current economic system. In this course, students will learn about different theories in political economy and how these theories help us understand the transformation of a pre capitalist system to the current capitalist system. Some of the approaches that students will be introduced to are Institutional, Marxian, Sraffian, Post-Keynesian and Austrian. This course will also draw from these various theories and examine their implications for different issues that arise from the current social and economic formation. Some of the issues that will be considered in this course are social and economic inequality, gender inequality, issues concerning the ecology, power relations and conflict in modern society, political economy of poverty and uneven development.

ECN 387 Introduction to Econometrics

The course introduces the basic principles of econometrics as a set of tools and techniques to quantitatively investigate a variety of economic and financial issues. The application of econometric methods allows studying the relationships between different economic and financial variables, hence providing a natural way to test and confront alternative theories and conjectures, as well as to forecast and simulate the effects of different economic and financial policies. The course approach is mainly focused on applications. A discussion of the main theoretical issues and a systematic analysis of econometric tools are prerequisites for the investigation of a number of economic and financial applications.

ECN 490 Senior Research Project in International Economics

Research proposals are to be coordinated with the faculty advisor and the Division Chair.

ECN 492 Internship in International Economics

Internship experiences are to be coordinated in advance with the faculty advisor and the Division Chair.

ECN 497 Research Seminar in Economics and Finance

This course is offered when students and instructors arrange a special seminar on material that is beyond the scope of a particular course. It is open to students majoring in IE or IBF with Department Head permission. The course must be supervised by an Economics Department faculty member to be counted towards the major.

Note: ECN 490, ECN 492 and ECN 497 require department permission.


Associate Professor, Economics and Finance

Ph.D., University of Missouri, Kansas City
M.A., Mumbai University
B.A., St. Xavier’s College, Mumbai

Office: Lowerre Academic Center, North Campus, Office 13
Phone: +41 91 986 36 36

Poulomi Dasgupta

Adjunct Professor, Economics

Ph.D. University of Bielefeld, Germany
M.A. University of Pennsylvania, USA
Dottore in Economia, Università Cattolica, Milan, Italy 

Head of Department of Economics and Finance at the Università Cattolica, Milan, Italy

Office: Kaletsch Campus, Faculty Office 9
Phone: +41 91 985 22 64

Luca Colombo

Professor, Economics and Finance

Ph.D. in Economics, Rutgers University, NJ, USA
M.A. in Economics, Rutgers University, NJ, USA
Laurea magistrale with Honors in Political Economy, Bocconi University, Italy

Office: Lowerre Academic Center, North Campus, Office 2
Phone: +41 91 986 36 32

Andrea Terzi