Department of Economics
- Wolfgang Pesendorfer
Director of Undergraduate Studies
Smita B. Brunnermeier
Director of Graduate Studies
- Jakub Kastl
- Mark A. Aguiar
- Yacine Aït-Sahalia
- Orley C. Ashenfelter
- Roland Jean-Marc Benabou
- Alan S. Blinder
- Leah P. Boustan
- Markus K. Brunnermeier
- Janet M. Currie
- Henry S. Farber
- Gene M. Grossman
- Faruk R. Gul
- Katherine Ho
- Bo E. Honoré
- Oleg Itskhoki
- Jakub Kastl
- Nobuhiro Kiyotaki
- Henrik J. Kleven
- Ilyana Kuziemko
- David S. Lee
- Alexandre Mas
- Atif R. Mian
- Benjamin Moll
- Ulrich K. Mueller
- Pietro Ortoleva
- Wolfgang Pesendorfer
- Stephen J. Redding
- Richard Rogerson
- Esteban A. Rossi-Hansberg
- Harold T. Shapiro
- Christopher A. Sims
- Giovanni L. Violante
- Mark W. Watson
- Wei Xiong
- Leeat Yariv
- Motohiro Yogo
- Thomas Fujiwara
- Owen M. Zidar
- Natalie M. Bachas
- Nicholas W. Buchholz
- Gregor Jarosch
- Adam Kapor
- Michal Kolesár
- Moritz F. B. Lenel
- Ernest Liu
- Adrien Matray
- Eduardo Morales
- Christopher A. Neilson
- Ezra D. Oberfield
- Mikkel Plagborg-Moller
- David Schoenherr
- David Silver
- Maria Micaela Sviatschi
- Can Urgun
- Arlene Wong
- Juan Pablo Xandri
- Elizabeth C. Bogan
- Swati Bhatt
- Smita B. Brunnermeier
- Jean-Christophe de Swaan
- Caio Ibsen Rodrigues de Almeida
- Michael J. Lee
- Kelly Noonan
- Silvia Weyerbrock
- Andrea Wilson
- Iqbal M. Zaidi
- Nancy Reichman
Visiting Assistant Professor
- Lisa K. Bilir
- O. Griffith Sexton
Information and Departmental Plan of Study
Further details and updates regarding undergraduate requirements and procedures may be found at the website of the Department of Economics.
Students who scored 5 on the AP microeconomics exam are exempted from ECO 100. Students who scored 5 on the AP macroeconomics exam are exempted from ECO 101. Students who scored 5 on the AP statistics exam are exempted from ECO 202. (Note: Exemption from ECO 100 and ECO 101 will be accorded to students who pass the British A-levels with a grade of A, and to those who earn a 7 on the higher-level International Baccalaureate.)
Students exempted from ECO 100, ECO 101, and/or ECO 202 may still benefit from taking these courses, which provide important basic materials for the study of economics.
The department will permit freshmen to enroll in ECO 310, ECO 311, or ECO 312, subject to the approval of the instructor for the course. The requirements are: (1) completion of, or exemption from, ECO 100, ECO 101, and/or ECO 202, as appropriate in each case, and (2) sufficient knowledge of multivariable calculus and vector and matrix algebra. For the latter, ask the mathematics department officer concerned (currently Vlad Vicol, email@example.com) to certify that your previous knowledge of mathematics is regarded as equivalent to completion of MAT 175, or MAT 201-202, or better.
To enter the department, a student must complete, by the end of sophomore year, the prerequisite courses ECO 100, ECO 101, ECO 202 (or equivalent), earning a letter grade of C or better in each and a letter grade of C or better in MAT 175. ORF 245 can be substituted for ECO 202. POL 345 followed by POL 346 can also be used to satisfy the statistics prerequisite. Note that POL 345 alone is not sufficient. PSY 251, WWS 200 and SOC 301 are also not sufficient. The statistics requirement cannot be satisfied with summer courses taken after the student has begun studies at Princeton, except in unusual circumstances approved by the departmental representative, Professor Smita Brunnermeier (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Students who wish to take ECO 312 or upper-level finance certificate courses (such as ECO 462, ECO 465 or ECO 466), or pursue graduate studies in economics or finance should take the two-semester sequence MAT 201 + MAT 202 (or MAT 203 + MAT 204) rather than MAT 175.
A meeting for sophomores interested in joining the department will be announced in the spring. Underclass students are welcome to discuss department requirements with the departmental representative. Students considering study abroad are urged to meet with the departmental representative at the earliest opportunity in their freshman year.
Program of Study
General Requirements. The department requires concentrators to complete, and pass on a graded basis, the following:
Core Courses: Microeconomics (ECO 300 or ECO 310), Macroeconomics (ECO 301 or ECO 311), and Econometrics (ECO 302 or ECO 312), to be completed during or before the junior year.
Elective courses: Five other departmentals (see Other Departmentals for details).
Junior independent work.
Senior comprehensive exam.
Furthermore, the student must have a departmental average of at least a C.
Note: The calculation of the departmental average is described in Departmental Average. The treatment of failed courses is described in Advancement to Senior Standing.
Core Courses. All concentrators must pass, on a graded basis, core courses in microeconomics (ECO 300 or 310), macroeconomics (ECO 301 or ECO 311), and econometrics (ECO 302 or ECO 312). These courses must be completed during or before the junior year. Each of the three core courses is offered in two versions to accommodate different levels of preparation in mathematics: ECO 300, ECO 301, and ECO 302 require MAT 175; ECO 310 and 311 require MAT 175 or MAT 201; and ECO 312 requires MAT 201 + MAT 202.
Qualified students are encouraged to take the more mathematical versions of our core courses. It is not necessary to take all three core courses in the same version.
Other Departmentals. In addition to the three core courses, concentrators must pass, on a graded basis, five other departmental courses. Departmentals can be any 300-, 400-, or 500-level economics courses, or an approved cognate (see Cognates).
Students planning a senior thesis with empirical emphasis are strongly encouraged to take ECO 313; students planning a theoretical senior thesis are strongly encouraged to take ECO 317 and/or ECO 418.
Cognates. Economics majors are allowed to count a maximum of two courses from other departments as cognates. These courses need to have substantial economics content. A course with an economics cross-listing (indicated by an ECO 3XX, ECO 4XX, or ECO 5XX number in its first or second listing) counts as a regular departmental, not as a cognate. Courses that will be automatically recognized by TigerHub as cognates are listed below. No application is necessary for these courses.
COS 445 Networks, Economics and Computing
ELE 381 Friends, Money and Bytes
HIS 474 American Economic Crises, 1873 – 2009
MAT 378 Theory of Games<
ORF 307 Optimization
ORF 309 Probability and Stochastic Systems
ORF 311 Optimization under Uncertainty
ORF 350 Analysis of Big Data
ORF 360 Decision Modeling in Business Analytics
ORF 363 Computing and Optimization for Physical & Social Sciences
ORF 405 Regression and Applied Time Series
ORF 417 Dynamic Programming
ORF 474 High Frequency Markets: Models and Data Analysis
POL 349 Political Economy
POL 352 Comparative Political Economy
POL 385 International Political Economy
PSY 340/NEU 340 Neuroeconomics
WWS 309 Terrorism Economics and Politics
WWS 340/PSY 321 Psychology of Decision Making and Judgment
WWS 373/CHV 373 Welfare, Economics and Climate Change Mitigation Policy
WWS 408 Finance and Public Policy
WWS 466/HIS 467 Financial History
WWS 524 Political Economy of Central Banking
WWS 582C Topics in Applied Economics: Growth, International Finance and Crises
WWS 582F Topics in Economics – House of Debt: Understanding Macro & Financial Policy
NOTE: ELE 491 is NOT approved as a cognate.
If you would like us to consider a course that is not on the previous, routinely approved list, please complete a cognate approval form and submit it, along with a copy of the course syllabus, to Christina Lipsky, 114 Julis Romo Rabinowitz Building. To be approved as a cognate, a course must have substantial content in theoretical or empirical economic analysis. Permission should be obtained before the semester's deadline for the grading option change (usually in week eight or nine of each term).
Junior Independent Work and Senior Thesis. Independent work is designed to afford concentrators the opportunity to identify and explore their research interests in depth. Students are expected to develop a carefully reasoned exposition that critically analyzes a problem using basic principles of economics. Juniors complete a year-long research project, which consists of a research prospectus submitted in December and a final paper submitted in April. The senior thesis is expected to be more extensive, with a topic of greater scope and correspondingly broader analysis and interpretation. Further details, from the assignment of advisers to the final deadlines, are available in the junior independent work and senior thesis sections of the department's website.
Senior Departmental Examination
The senior comprehensive examination is a written exam that covers the department's required courses (intermediate microeconomics, macroeconomics, and econometrics). The senior comprehensive exam grade will appear on the student's transcript.
Potential economics concentrators who expect to study abroad for one or two semesters must plan well ahead. Because the department only rarely permits core courses to be taken abroad, and because core courses may not be postponed to senior year, potential economics concentrators planning study abroad must complete the appropriate core courses in their sophomore year. It is almost never feasible to spend a semester abroad in the senior year.
Economics courses taken abroad may be preapproved as departmentals by the departmental representative, ordinarily up to one per semester. Plans for junior independent work must also be approved in advance.
Program in Political Economy Track
The Department offers a Program in Political Economy for Economics concentrators interested in studying issues at the intersection of these two fields. Program participants meet all the general requirements of Economics concentrators, and, in addition: (1) complete two Politics courses at any level before entering the program; (2) complete three 300-level (or higher) Politics courses during junior and senior years, and (3) conduct junior independent work with a political economy component. Politics courses approved as Economics cognates may also count toward the program’s requirements. Admission to the program takes place at the beginning of the junior year, in consultation with the Political Economy Adviser in Economics. A student who participates in this program is an Economics concentrator and is subject to all the requirements of the Economics department. Concentrators who successfully complete the program’s requirements will receive a departmental attestation.
Requirements. To enter the program, the student should satisfy the prerequisites for concentration in both the Politics and the Economics departments by the end of the sophomore year. This means that the students entering the program must have completed ECO 100 and 101, MAT 175 or MAT 201, ECO 202 (statistics), and two Politics courses (at any level) on a graded basis. In addition to the two Politics prerequisites, a student in the PPE must complete three Politics departmentals, i.e., Politics courses in the 300 level or higher, on a graded basis. One of these, upon approval of the Political Economy Adviser, can be a politics-related course from a department other than Politics or Economics. Politics courses are not included in the student's departmental average (unless a course has been approved as an Economics cognate).
Because of these additional requirements, a PPE student may want to count one or two of the Politics departmentals as Economics cognates. Approval of cognates is subject to the same rules as for other Economics concentrators. Economics cognates are approved by Prof. Smita Brunnermeier and under no circumstances is approval given retroactively. POL 347, POL 349, POL 352 and POL 385 are automatically approved as Economics cognates and do not need a separate application/approval. Infrequently, and only with advance approval, an Economics course can be counted toward the Politics course requirement of the PPE; contact the Political Economy Adviser, Professor Thomas Fujiwara – fujiwara@Princeton.EDU.
A student in the political economic track has the same junior and senior independent work requirements as other economics concentrators, with one exception. Political Economy concentrators are required to write a junior paper with sufficient political economy content, as judged by the adviser. Students are also encouraged, but are not required, to write a senior thesis that is related to political economy.
More information is available by contacting the Political Economy Adviser, Professor Thomas Fujiwara – 131 Julis Romo Rabinowitz Bldg, E-mail: fujiwara@Princeton.EDU.
Preparation for Graduate Study
Graduate study in economics requires special preparation and advance planning, starting as early as the freshman year. Students contemplating graduate study in economics should see the departmental representative as early as possible. Preparation for graduate school should include the following: the more mathematical versions of the core courses (ECO 310, ECO 311, and ECO 312), two years of calculus (up through MAT 202, MAT 204, or MAT 218), an upper-level mathematics course such as MAT 320; Operations Research courses such as ORF 309, ORF 311, or ORF 405; and an advanced econometrics or economic theory course such as ECO 313, ECO 317 or ECO 418. Students may find the Program in Applied and Computational Mathematics or the Program in Engineering and Management Systems an interesting option. It is not necessary to be an economics concentrator to enter a graduate economics program, but the economics courses listed above are highly recommended. Graduate courses in economics (500 level) are open to qualified undergraduates. These courses are very demanding and must be started in the fall term. Taking one of these courses can be useful for students who intend to enter an economics graduate program, because it begins the student's advanced training, gives the student a flavor of graduate school, and provides evidence during the admissions process of the ability to do advanced work in economics.