Economics is the study of how limited resources can be allocated to the production of goods and services and how these goods and services can be distributed to satisfy the unlimited desires of individuals. For the student with a casual interest in economics, the introductory courses provide a simple yet insightful framework for understanding many of the economic phenomena we hear and read about each day. For the serious student of economics, these courses provide the conceptual foundation of the more complex economic models developed in subsequent work.
Economics gives us the analytical tools to understand questions such as how prices are determined, why some people are unemployed, why interest rates rise and fall and why products are traded between nations. Economic analysis can be focussed on an enormous variety of questions: the fishery, petroleum production, forestry, unemployment, taxation and economic growth are examples of particular relevance to our province. Graduates in economics can frequently find employment in governments, financial institutions and large corporations. In these capacities, economists are able to apply their unique analytical skills to understand the critical determinants of our material well-being.
Economics is usually divided into two general categories: microeconomics and macroeconomics. The former examines the markets for specific goods to determine how much will be produced and at what price they will be sold. The latter deals with total production in the economy, the overall price level and the role of money. This division forms the basis of the two introductory courses. After defining such basic ideas as scarcity and opportunity cost, the introductory microeconomics course (2010) focuses on one of the fundamental components of economic analysis: the market. By examining consumer (household) preferences and behaviour, the demand for a particular commodity can be discovered. By examining production functions, the amount of a good that producers (firms) are willing to supply can be determined. The interaction of supply and demand establishes the price and quantity for the product to be traded in the market. Market equilibrium and adjustments are examined under a variety of structures including perfect competition (many sellers and buyers) and monopoly (only one seller).
The introductory macroeconomics course (2020) begins with the definitions and measurements of aggregate economic activity required for national income accounting, which is the calculation of such measures as gross domestic product (GDP). Most of the course focuses on the major components of aggregate expenditure in an economy: household consumption, investment, government spending and international trade. These are used in the construction of a simple model to determine national income and the price level. This model is used to investigate topics such as inflation, unemployment, the role of money, government fiscal and monetary policy and the balance of payments.
Economics Co-operative Education Option (ECEO)
The Department of Economics has a new, exciting addition to its programs - an Economics Co-operative Education Option (ECEO). The popularity and demand for economics co-op programs is increasing across the country. The reason is simple. Economics is a discipline that lends itself ideally to co-operative education. The qualitative and quantitative analytical skills of economists-in-training are in demand by the private sector and the public sector alike. Co-op programs combine a solid base of course work with work terms that can provide students with invaluable experience. The Department of Economics and the economics co-operative education co-ordinator work with companies and employers to develop job descriptions and positions that are ideally suited for ECEO students.
Possible career opportunities for students studying economics include, but are not limited to:
- Sales analyst
- Investment analysis
- Financial services manager
- Market research analyst
- International trade specialistJ
- Economic forecaster
- Insurance agent
- Commodities trader
- Securities broker
- Bank research analyst
- Economic consultant
Recommended First-Year Courses:
Introduction to Microeconomics I examines scarcity and opportunity cost; demand and supply; elasticity; household demand: marginal utility; household demand: indifference curves; production functions; short-run and long-run cost functions; perfect competition in the short run and the long run; Monopoly.
Lectures: Three hours per week
Introduction to Macroeconomics is national income accounting, aggregate income analysis, money, banking and foreign trade.
Lectures: Three hours per week
1. Economics 2010 and 2020 need not be taken in any specific order and may be taken concurrently.
2. Economics 2010 and 2020 are prerequisites to all further courses in economics.