Fields of Study and Research
Economics is concerned with the interactions of individuals, firms and governments in markets, interactions which are reflected in consumption, investment, cooperative and production outcomes in both the private and public sectors. What is less widely understood is that economic analysis can be applied to the study of a wide range of topics such as health, crime, abortion, happiness, marriage, neurology, discrimination on the basis of race, gender and sexual orientation, and fertility, as exemplified in the bestseller Freakonomics by Steven Levitt of the University of Chicago and Steven Dubner.
USC economists look at issues of health in developing countries, the provision of health insurance in the US, what causes some countries to grow faster than others, what leads to exchange rate movements, the economics of financial markets, behavioral economics, the determinants of subjective well-being over an individual’s life, optimal design of contracts, the factors behind economic innovation, the economies of Indonesia, Thailand, Japan and China, the Middle East and North Africa, Sub-Sahara Africa, Islamic Economics, statistical theory, the determinants and effects of economic reforms, neuro-economics, experimental economics, and the experimental and non-experimental evaluation of economic policies. Two important journals, The Journal of Econometrics and Economic Development and Cultural Change are edited at USC, and USC faculty serve on many journal boards. USC Economics faculty publishes in all the top journals in Economics as well as writing important books. They also advise many governments and scientific agencies, and several faculty members are fellows of the Econometric Society. University Professor Richard Easterlin is a fellow of the American Economics Association, an honor that is given to only two or three economists every year.
The Department’s areas of strength are development economics, macroeconomics (particularly international macroeconomics), economic theory (particularly industrial organization and finance), econometrics, and applied microeconomics (particularly program evaluation), and it has weekly workshops in each of these fields. The department has a very active research institute; the Institute for Economic Policy Research, headed by Professor Juan Carrillo. The department also participates in the USC Center in Law, Economics and Organization run by the Law School. These Institutes and Centers sponsor additional lectures and seminars.
The department teaches a large number of undergraduate students and graduate students. In particular, at any one time it has approximately 800 undergraduate majors, 55 Masters’ students (excluding approximately 20 students in the Math-Finance Master’s program run jointly with Mathematics), and 70 Ph.D. students. The department takes its undergraduate teaching role very seriously, as exemplified by the fact that the departmental undergraduate committee currently consists of a University Professor, a chaired professor, and the department chair. The department is fortunate to have excellent undergraduate and graduate advisors. The department has two undergraduate associations: ODE and the Economics Association.
The department has substantial ties with many other units on campus. The USC Population Research Center is shared between the Economics and Sociology departments. The department shares undergraduate and graduate programs with the Mathematics department. The department runs a workshop and joint graduate degree with the Law School. The department shares faculty and workshops with the Marshall School of Business, and many Marshall faculty members serve on Economics Ph.D. dissertation committees. The department runs a joint Ph.D. program with the School of Pharmacy in Pharmaceutical Economics, and Economics department faculty are currently work on research projects with faculty in the Marshall School of Business, the Law School, the Medical School, and the Psychology department.
- University of Southern California,
- Department of Economics,
- (213) 740 - 8335,
- (213) 740 - 8543 (f),
- Department Chair: Simon Wilkie (213) 740 - 7432