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We teach economics in a historical and social context, challenging the narrowness of mainstream approaches, drawing on economic reasoning and concepts that bridge orthodox and heterodox modes of inquiry.

Students at Hampshire College often make political economy a core component of their academic concentration, which may address such areas as "Public Health in Latin America," "Economics and the Environment," or "Women and Social Change."

Students who plan graduate study in economics will take the expected courses in economic theory and mathematics.

We encourage students to enroll in Five College courses in economics and in broader aspects of political economy. Division III projects in economics have drawn on such topics as globalization, labor organizing, campaign finance, prisons, international economic development, and alternative business.

Affiliated Faculty

Student Project Titles

  • The Impact of Hurricane Katrina on Workers in New Orleans: A Class, Race, and Gender Study of the Effects of a Natural and Social Disaster   
  • Building Social Capital Through Cause-Related Marketing
  • A New Development Model: Maximizing Social Welfare and Capabilities
  • Development Practices in Rural India
  • Lifting Our Skirts in Protest: Traditional Insult and Women's Resistance to Colonialism in Kenya and Nigeria
  • 'Better to Starve Fighting them then to Starve Working' The Lawrence Textile Strike of 1912

Sample First-Year Course

Globalization and Africa

Multinational institutions such as the World Trade Organization, the International Monetary Fund, and the World Bank are widely recognized as leading forces behind neo-liberal globalization. What is less clear is the role each plays in the process. This course is an introduction to and critical examination of the African experience with multinational institutions and globalization. Topics will include overall economic performance throughout the continent in the past 30 years; the impact of the IMF and World Bank programs; challenges confronting agricultural development; the rise and recent success of developing country coalitions within the WTO and their potential for increasing the power of African nations within the global arena; an exploration of viable development alternatives; and a discussion of the democratic reforms that took place in the 1990s and their implication for proposed solutions to poverty in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Sample Courses at Hampshire
  • African Development
  • American Capitalism
  • American Government
  • Controversies in United States Economic & Social History
  • The Culture & Political Economy of Tourism
  • Ecological Economics
  • Economic Development
  • Economic Theory for Social Analysis
  • The Environment, Resources, and World Security
  • Gender, Race, and Class
  • Globalization and Africa
  • Introductory Economics
  • New U.S. Economy: Issues/Perspectives
  • North-South or South-South? International Economic Relations in the Era of Globalization
  • Oil and the Transformation of the Middle Eastern Economies
  • Poverty and Wealth
  • Third World, Second Sex
  • United States Labor History
  • Welfare Policy in American History
  • Women and Work
  • World Trade & the WTO
Through the Consortium
  • Advanced Economic Theory (UMass)
  • Advanced Topics in Economic Health and Development (MHC)
  • International Monetary Fund (UMass)
  • Introductory Macroeconomics (SC)
  • Introductory Microeconomics (SC)
  • Law and Economics (AC)
  • Statistics for Economists (SC)

Facilities and Resources

Five College Resources
Gordon Hall at the University of Massachusetts Amherst houses three related organizations that can serve as a resource for Hampshire students:

The Political Economy Research Institute (PERI) is actively engaged in research, dissemination, policy advising, and education. It regularly sponsors conferences and other public events in its areas of research focus. Established in 1998, PERI is an independent unit at the University of Massachusetts with close ties to the department of Economics and Five College economics students. The Institute is committed to addressing basic issues of human and ecological well-being through research written for the general public, policy makers, and academic audiences. PERI researchers are currently involved in three broad and interrelated areas: globalization and macroeconomics; labor markets and living wages; and development, peace-building, and the environment.

The Center for Popular Economics, a nonprofit collective of political economists, is a welcoming resource for Five College students interested in economics. They examine root causes of economic inequality and injustice including systems of oppression based on race, class, gender, nation, and ethnicity. The center offers internship opportunities as well as resources for students.

The national headquarters of the Union for Radical Political Economics (URPE) is now located in Amherst. URPE, founded in 1968, has as its core purpose to be an alternative professional organization for left political economists and an intellectual home for academics, policy-makers, and activists who are interested in participating in a left intellectual debate on theoretical and policy issues. It publishes a newsletter, the Review of Radical Political Economics (RRPE), and sponsors a summer conference and a program at the annual economics meetings, which are open to undergraduates and graduate students as well.

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