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The Fall 2020 semester is here.  We hope this finds you safe and sound. We extend greetings to all and a warm welcome to our new students!  

In this Fall 2020 edition, we share curriculum updates, a listing of undergraduate electives, student spotlights, information on student organizations and department contacts. We also highlight the Fall Economic Policy Forum on Economic Policy, (In)equality, and Economic Justice  which will begin on September 15 with a talk by Joseph Stiglitz.

Curriculum Updates

The undergraduate program has put together a list of updates and additions to its undergraduate curriculum and the course catalog for the 2020-2021 academic year.
 
This list includes, for example, new economics combined majors being introduced, new economics courses, economics courses that are changing levels, changes to the minimum grade policy on required courses, courses that are being offered online, and other similar additions and changes.

Curriculum Updates

Psychology and Economics (effective fall 2020)

Data Science and Economics (effective fall 2020)

 (anticipated to be effective in spring 2021)

International Business

Human Services

Journalism

ECON 3416 – Behavioral Economics: This is a brand new course.  It will be taught in Fall 2020 by Professor Prina.  We are very excited about offering this course, as Behavioral Economics has become a very “hot” subject in the field of economics.  This course will also be one of the “Integrative Courses” in the new combined major with Psychology.

ECON 3413 – Health Economics and Health Care Policy: This course used to be a “Special Topics” course, and now it has been converted to a “Permanent” status.  It will be taught in fall 2020 by Professor Kilby.  This course has received wonderful reviews from students in the past, and Professor Kilby brings in a lot of her own research into the course.  In other words, this course is taught by a top researcher in the subject matter.  Some of the topics that will be covered in the fall relate to the current coronavirus pandemic.

ECON 1292 – Economic History of the Middle East: This course used to be at the 3000-level, but now it will be moved to the 1000-level. It will be offered in fall 2020.

ECON 3410 – Labor Economics: The prerequisites to this course have changed from “Principles of Micro or Principles of Macro” to “Principles of Micro and Stats.”

 The Statistics course (ECON 2350), which is a requirement for the Economics major and for many of the combined majors, has received the ELA designation (“Experiential Liberal Arts”).  ELA is a requirement for all students who have a major/combined major within CSSH.  This is an important step, because this is the first Econ course to receive the ELA designation.  As a consequence, the Stats course is being fully revamped/revised to reflect this new designation.  For example, it will offer a lot of opportunities for students to engage in “out-of-the-classroom activities” by having them take surveys and collect data outside of the class, in the actual world.

This semester, we are offering one fully online section of Statistics (ECON 2350).  This was an option developed before our adaptive NUFlex curriculum and remains an additional course option.

As a reminder to junior/senior undergraduate Economics majors, 5000-level Economics courses (which are typically master’s level courses) are open to undergraduate students, and they do count towards “upper-level Economics elective” credit.  There are very interesting Economics courses offered at that level.

We have changed the policy regarding the minimum required grade/GPA on Economics required (“core”) courses.  The purpose is to make the policy less stringent.  The old policy required a minimum grade of C (2.000) in each of the six required courses (Micro Principles, Macro Principles, Micro Theory, Macro Theory, Stats, and Econometrics). The new policy reads as follows:
“Grades in the following four required courses must average to a minimum of C (2.000):  Micro Theory (ECON 2316), Macro Theory (ECON 2315), Statistics (ECON 2350), and Applied Econometrics (ECON 2560).”

To complete the Economics minor, students will now take either the macroeconomics sequence (ECON 1115 and ECON 2315) OR the microeconomics sequence (ECON 1116 and ECON 2316). Each sequence includes a principles course and a theory course. Three electives are also required. As a result, students must take a total of five courses to complete the minor.

Undergraduate electives

Students, is your course schedule still in flux? Here’s a list of all the Economics electives being offered during the upcoming fall semester.

Fall 2020

  • ECON 1240           Economics of Crime
  • ECON 1260           Contested Economic Issues
  • ECON 1291           Development Economics
  • ECON 1292           Economic History – Middle East
  • ECON 1916           ST:Economics of Sustainability
  • ECON 3290           History of the Global Economy
  • ECON 3404           International Food Policy
  • ECON 3412           Women’s Labor and the Economy
  • ECON 3413           Health Econ & Health Policy
  • ECON 3416           Behavioral Economics
  • ECON 3423           Environmental Economics
  • ECON 3425           Energy Economics
  • ECON 3440           Public Finance
  • ECON 3442           Money and Banking
  • ECON 3470           American Economic History
  • ECON 3916           ST:ChangingMarketTechnology
  • ECON 3916           ST: Economics of Race
  • ECON 4640           Financial Economics
  • ECON 4915           ST: Monetary Policy/Fed Challenge
  • ECON 5292           Gender & Development Economics
  • HONR 3310           Contested Economic Issues

Student Spotlights

Astrid Pedersen ’20

Astrid earned a BS in Economics and was a recipient of the 2020 Economics Extra-curricular Activities Award.

What is one of the most unique or memorable learning experiences that you’ve had within the Econ Department (or related activities/coursework ) and you would recommend to a prospective student?

One of my favorite experiences at Northeastern was a summer spent studying at the London School of Economics and Political Science. It was incredible to have the opportunity to study in an institution with formative impacts on the field of economics, combined with seeing a completely different system of higher education. I learned so much from the professors, the teaching assistants, as well as my peers.

What have you gained from your co-op experience(s), if applicable?

I had the chance to work in two very different fields during my two co-op experiences at Northeastern.

I spent my first co-op working in risk management for State Street Bank, which enabled me to develop my detail-oriented, public speaking, and analytical skills. Moreover, I connected with my incredible co-workers who supported and pushed me to take on challenging projects during my time there.

My second co-op was at the Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL) at MIT, where I was split between the research and policy teams. While I worked at J-PAL I was fortunate enough to meet the founders, who were two of the three Nobel Prize winners in Economics in 2019. This was an incredibly exciting time to be working at J-PAL, and I had the wonderful opportunity to see how the organization could leverage this notable accomplishment to further their work. 

What do you think is a strength of the Econ Department and how has it helped prepare you as you strive for your academic/professional goals? 

The Economics Department at Northeastern is supportive of new endeavors proposed by students in the major. A friend and I started a student organization last year, Women in Economics, which aims to combat the gender disparity that exists in the field as well as encourage members to use the tools of economics in interdisciplinary ways. The Chair of the Economics Department, professors, and faculty have all assisted with providing resources and spreading the word about the club, noting the importance of it.  

Arthur Langlois ’23

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Arthur Langlois ’23, a student in the Department of Economics, is a Research Assistant working with Northeastern Professors Bilge Erten and Silvia Prina, in partnership with Professor Pinar Keskin (Wellesley), on a project directly related to the COVID-19 pandemic. The project was recently accepted for funding as part of the NBER’s Gender in the Economy Study Group Research Grants on Women, Victimization, and Covid-19, and aims at studying how stay-at-home orders, due to COVID-19, have impacted domestic violence. We connected with Arthur to discuss this work.

Can you please share some background information about yourself (your major, class year, student orgs you participate in, etc.)? 
 
I am a rising third-year majoring in Economics, with a minor in Data Science. I have been involved in the Economics Society and Data Initiative project. 
 
 How did you become involved in this project? 
 
Last semester I took the Development Economics class (ECON 1291) with Professor Catalina Herrera, and it motivated me to do research that could actually improve people’s lives. I previously worked with Professor Prina on a project on consumption smoothing and private finance, she then proposed that I worked with her on this project on domestic violence and COVID-19.

Why would you say this work is important? 
 
This work is crucial in informing policy makers and the general public about the side-effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. We all heard about news stories reporting increases in domestic violence, but there [wasn’t] thorough and nation-wide research about the matter, so I think Professor Prina and Professor Erten’s project is filling this gap. It serves as evidence for the hypothesis that domestic violence is mechanically increased by the forced increment in time spent at home.
 
The recommendations that could result from these type of conclusions (that may include the availability of additional domestic violence hotlines, or shelters) could have direct effects on the situation of thousands of people.
 
 What has it been like to be involved in research relevant to the pandemic crisis that we are all living through? What are your duties?
 
This pandemic gave researchers the opportunity to learn a bit more about human behavior and, in this case, what makes people engage [in] domestic violence in the US. It’s also nice to feel like we can help, at any skill level. There is an abundance of meaningful projects out there in which hands are very much needed.
 
Most of my involvement in this project has been through data collection. For example, in an attempt to measure domestic violence, the other RAs and I have been focusing on collecting information about police calls suggesting domestic violence. Another part of what I did was collecting data about the state/county-wide restrictions and their date of implementation.

Charles Wallace-Thomas IV, ’22

Charles Wallace-Thomas IV, a fourth year student majoring in economics and mathematics, was one of four panelists at NU’s Day of Reflection discussion about methods for confronting systemic racism and moving forward together.

In response to the outcry over recent killings of George Floyd and other Black people by police officers, Northeastern affirmed its support for the Black Lives Matter movement. A vigil and a roundtable discussion honored the Black people whose lives were taken unjustly and set a course for what must happen next.

The panelists at the roundtable discussion were Margaret Burnham, university distinguished professor of law and director of Northeastern’s Civil Rights and Restorative Justice Project, who led the discussion; Reverend Willie Bodrick II, a 2020 graduate of Northeastern’s School of Law and associate pastor at the Twelfth Baptist Church in Roxbury, Massachusetts; Charles Wallace-Thomas IV, a rising fourth-year Northeastern student in economics and mathematics; and Mabel Gonzalez Nunez, a recent graduate of the D’Amore-McKim School of Business.

Link to News@Northeastern article

We can’t expect to heal without justice. We can’t expect justice without transformation. We’re running out of time and Black people can’t afford to wait any longer.

Charles Wallace-Thomas IV
Clockwise from top left, Margaret Burnham, Willie Bodrick, II, Charles Wallace-Thomas, IV, Mabel Gonzalez Nunez.

Natasha Keidl ’22

Natasha Keidl is the recipient of a Northeastern PEAK Experiences Shout-It-Out Award. The award supported her travel expenses to the Sustainability Literacy: Faculty, Staff, and Students as Agents of Change Symposium at the College of Charleston, Charleston, South Carolina in February.

At the symposium, Natasha presented her paper, joint with Dr. Madhavi Venkatesan entitled,The Role of Economic Literacy in Fostering Sustainability: The Opportunity in the Teaching of Principles in Economics.

©Playthink Live Sketching 2020 (playthink.com)

Anjali Nair (’20), Astrid Pedersen (’20) and Fenner Dreyfuss-Wells (’23) presented research on conscious consumption at the CANSEE (Canadian Society for Ecological Economics) graduate student symposium on Friday, June 26, 2020. Their presentation was overseen by Dr. Madhavi Venkatesan and originated in her spring 2020 Economics of Sustainability course, where all course participants were involved. Find out more in the Spotlight profile.

Student Organizations

Students in the Economics department are part of a learning community that extends beyond the classroom. There are a number of existing student organizations to become involved in that offer an opportunity to connect with peers and mentors while exploring the field. Here are some overviews and updates from those organizations. 

List of student organizations

 As an undergraduate student organization, Women in Economics addresses the gender disparities within the field of economics. We cultivate an empowering community for all students who express an interest in economics. We invite our members to engage on an interdisciplinary level with economics while promoting diversity and inclusivity. Women in Economics provides members with skills-building opportunities, empowerment in the field, and a connection with faculty and graduate students.

Meetings are planned for the first Thursday of every month at 6pm EDT, in addition to occasional events.

Executive Board:

President: Maxcy Grasso
Vice President: Aditi Peyush
Communications Director: Nora Copple
Treasurer: Ellie Smith

Contact information:
wenortheastern@gmail.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/wenortheastern
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/wenortheastern/

The goal of DIVERSEcon, founded and chaired by Erica Smith, B.S. ’20,  Rachel Sederberg, Ph.D. ’19, and Associate Professor Alicia Sasser Modestino is to increase awareness and diversity within the field of economics among both faculty and students at the undergraduate and graduate levels.

Current Leadership:
Faculty Advisor: Alicia Sasser Modestino, Associate Professor of Public Policy and Urban Affairs and Economics; Research Director, Dukakis Center
Senior Co-Chair: Urbashee Paul, PhD candidate
Alumni Co-Chair: Rachel Sederberg, Ph.D. 2019

Advisory Board Members:
Jim Dana, Professor of Economics
Oscar Brookins, Associate Professor Emeritus
Linnea Basu, Co-Op Coordinator, Department of Economics

The NU Economics Society is Northeastern’s economics interest group run entirely by Northeastern undergraduates. It consists of economics majors, minors, and anyone else that expresses an interest in economics. Econ Society is a venue for social activities, intellectual pursuits, and professional development, all deriving from the courses and experiences of the undergraduate student body.

The club meets weekly, typically beginning with a discussion of current events related to economics followed by a variety of activities that alternate week-to-week. Traditional events have included economic-inspired simulations and games, discussions with professors and external speakers, co-op panels, and networking opportunities.

While this coming semester will be unconventional, the Economics Society looks forward to continue to host events and provide a place for economics students to meet, share, and learn, in whatever format that takes.

Contact NU Econ Society here and ask to join the mailing list:
E-mail:   nueconsociety@gmail.com
Instagram: econsocietyneu
Twitter: @nueconsociety
Facebook: Northeastern University Economics Society
Visit the Economics Society website for more information on upcoming and past events

Co-Presidents: Olivia Sullivan & Evan Comeau
Vice-President: Rohan Vig
Networking Director: Swati Joshi
Current Events Director: Cory Gill
Secretary: Oscar Gompels
Treasurer: Jessica Ye

The Federal Reserve Challenge Team represents the Economics Society, and Northeastern, at all external competitions including the College Fed Challenge, the Up to Us Competition, and the iOme Challenge (which the NU delegation won in 2015). Want to become a part of these teams, or have another academic competition in mind? Join the Fed Challenge Team!

If you’re interested in being a part of the team please join us at one of the weekly meetings in the Fall.  Schedule TBD.   No background in economics is necessary to participate. To learn more about the Federal Reserve Challenge Team please don’t hesitate to contact  neufedchallenge@gmail.com


   Our students traveled to Washington D.C. and won the 2015 iOme Challenge.

ECONPress is an editorial journal showcasing undergraduate research. We receive econometrics papers from students and evaluate whether to publish them in our end of year journal based on whether they contribute to the existing body of research on a topic. We also discuss current events and interesting topics in economics.

Students of all majors and backgrounds are welcome to join.
Meetings are typically held weekly on Tuesdays from 7-8pm. 

If you have any questions or want to learn more, please email us or check out our website.
Email: nueconpress@gmail.com
Website: https://web.northeastern.edu/econpress/

The department’s peer mentoring program consists of upper class students assisting incoming first-year economic majors transition to college life. Mentors will meet with small groups of new majors, or individually, as part of the ECON 1000 class and outside it as well. They will assist the new students with academic and non-academic matters.

Welcome 2020 Peer Mentors:

  • Ria Bajaj (BS Economics/Business Administration)
  • Hannah Croce (BS Political Science/Economics)
  • Abigail Hartzel (BS Political Science/Economics)
  • Cynthia Lau (BS Economics)
  • Mayur Patel (BS Political Science/Economics)
  • Thomas Trosset (BS Economics/Business Administration)
  • Charles Wallace-Thomas, IV (BS Economics/Mathematics

Contacts: Professor Gustavo Vicentino and Justin Repici.

Upcoming Events

Economic Policy Forum

Economic Policy, (In)equality, and Economic Justice    

  • September 16 , 3 pm ET – Joseph Stiglitz
    • Markets, Governments, and the Response to Race, Recession, and the Pandemic
  • September 30, 3 pm ET – Heather Boushey
    • Unbound: How Inequality Constricts our Economy and What We Can Do about it
  • October 14 , 3 pm ET – William A Darity Jr.
    • The ARC of Justice
  • November 18, 3 pm ET -Mehrsa Baradaran
    • The Color of Money: The History and Creation of the Racial Wealth Gap

Department Contacts

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, our office will continue to be virtual, following public health and University guidance. Be sure to stay updated on NU’s response through the Reopening Northeastern webpage, which has essential information for navigating life in our community at this time.

Our staff is available virtually from 9am-5pm, Monday through Friday, at the emails linked in this newsletter. Please do not hesitate to reach out.

Robert Triest, Chair
Cheryl Fonville, Administrative Officer
Jacquaetta Hester:  Graduate Administration Coordinator
Kathleen Downey: Marketing Assistant
Katie Thorp: Administrative Assistant (general and undergraduate program)

Academic Program Directors

Gustavo Vicentini, Undergraduate Program Director
Jun Ma, MS Program Director
Jim Dana, PhD Program Director