Events and Notices

Hamilton and Corporate Social Responsbility

Lots of different opinions in class led to a lively discussion.  We discussed allocation of a scarce resource–first in the abstract when I brought in 2 pieces of candy for a class of 18.  We compared that to how to allocate tickets for Hamilton in Philly, Tickets for Shakespeare in the Park in NY, health care, education, food and shelter.  I injected social justice questions whenever possible, which led nicely into Corporate Social Responsibility.

Really “ripped from the headlines,” as the CEO of Walmart just announced that the store would stop selling  ammunition that can be used in military-style assault rifles.  We did discussed whether this was just to increase bottom line or for the common good.  Then we talked about what it ought to be–most thought the former.  We read parts of Milton Friedman’s classic  “The Social Responsibility of Business is to Increase its Profits,” published in the New York Times Magazine in 1970.  Most students agreed.

We continue next week with Corporate Social Responsibility.  Then we’ll try something new.  In small groups, students will open the New York Times(required reading for the course)  and rip something from the headlines and see how the discussion goes.  A work in progress.

First Day of Class

August 28, 2019  First class yesterday went well.  Students were very engaged (they had an assignment for the first day of class so they would be prepared).  Among the topics they’d like to discuss:  trade war/tariffs, minimum wage, wage gap, climate change and immigration.  I asked them to complete an (anonymous) survey about several current policy issues–they are divided on many of them , so it should be a very interesting semester.

  • Tariffs are good for the US economy–50% agree
  • Immigrants take jobs from American workers–50% agree
  • Two and four year public colleges should be free–60% disagree
  • Federal wage should be increased to $15–60% agree.

It’s hard to keep up with the news.  BP is leaving Alaska (this leads into a discussion of the Alaska Permanent Fund, which leads to a discussion of UBI).  Purdue Pharma offers $10-12 billion to settle opiod claims (a discussion of Corporate Social Responsibility–should the philanthropic organizations that are named for the Sacklers change their name, stop taking donations?  What is the responsibility of business?  We’ll read the classic Milton Friedman article).  U.S. farmers are suffering from tariffs on China.

Their second Current Events Journal entry is due Sept. 8.  I will post guidelines on Canvas.

#RFTH Ripped from the Headlines–a new First Year Seminar in Economics

This fall, I will teach ECN 150  “Ripped from the Headlines:  Economics in the News.”  Our primary text will be the New York Times.  I will choose a current topic from the news for each class, assign articles, videos, podcasts from the media and discuss the topic in class, relating it to economic theory.

Students will keep a current events journal throughout the semester.  They must find articles on different topics and analyze them. They will then write a short research paper on a topic of their choosing.  We will also do a class project on health care.

So much going on–I cannot keep up.  Congress based a budget, which the president will sign, the FEd lowered interest rates, the president promised more tariffs on goods from China.  California passed a law requiring all students to complete the FAFSA, and Oregon gets creative about how to address the housing crisis in the state.

Stay tuned for more posts as the semester unfolds.


President of Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia to address students

The Department of Economics will host Dr. Patrick Harker, President of the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia on Tuesday, April 17 in the Mandeville Teletorium from 11-12.

His talk, “The Economics of Equitable Education:  How today’s loans, access, and training affect tomorrow’s economy” is a very timely topic in today’s society.



Senior Send-Off

On April 25, from 4-6 p.m., the Department of Economics will honor the graduating class of Economics majors at Landmark Americana on 54th Street.  All majors/minors/double majors as well as alumni are welcomed to attend.

Distinguished Lecture Series – 2018

On Tuesday, April 17 Dr. Patrick Harker, President of the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia will be the guest speaker in the Distinguished Lecture Series sponsored by the Department of Economics.  The event will take place at 11 a.m. in the Teletorium in Mandeville Hall.


If you would like to take advantage of the internship opportunities for economics majors and earn credit for it, you need to register! Vacancies are sitll open for Summer 2015 and Fall 2015. CLICK HERE for more information and instructions.

4th Annual Economics Lecture

March 26 (Mandeville Teletorium 11am)

Martin Gruenberg, Chairman, FDIC, is the invited guest speaker for the Annual Economics Lecture. The title of Chairman Gruenberg’s talk is, “Financial Crises and the Response.” This event is free and open to the public.