University of Vermont

The College of Arts and Sciences

First-Year Experience


EC 020 A - Economics of Space Exploration

Instructor: William Gibson

This course examines the costs and benefits of manned and unmanned space exploration. We address the question of the economic and scientific opportunities afforded by space exploration, and the trade-offs involved with social programs on Earth. The central focus of the course is on the public policy question of the proper relationship between NASA as a government agency and the emerging private launch industry. Students will be introduced to a range of basic economic tools and concepts, such as opportunity costs, cost-benefit analysis, and public goods. The course will cover space vehicle technology, an introduction to orbital mechanics, and cutting-edge technologies such as carbon nanotube space elevators, scam jets, and solar sails. The Russian space program, successes and failures, is covered in some detail.

Requirements Satisfied: Social Sciences and Writing and Information Literacy

EC 040 B - Economics of Globalization

Instructor: Richard Sicotte

Students will investigate key economic aspects of globalization: trade, migration and finance. We begin by surveying the size, direction and composition of international trade flows. We will consider the economic basis for such flows, and discuss which individuals likely gain or lose (on net) from trade. We will also study major international trade agreements, including the World Trade Organization, the North American Free Trade Agreement, and the Trans-Pacific Partnership. Next we study the flows of legal and illegal migration around the world, with a special focus on flows to the United States. We will analyze the causes of migration to the U.S., and its consequences for native-born U.S. workers. Our study of international finance will begin with a detailed examination of the balance of payments, which is the account of all of the international transactions of a country’s citizens, businesses, and governments. The balance of payments concept is crucial to explain a country’s exchange rate, trade balance, and international debt, each of which feature prominently in the media and in political debates. We carefully study each. We conclude the course with a brief overview of the economics of international environmental challenges, especially climate change.

Requirements Satisfied: Social Sciences, Writing and Information Literacy, and (D2) Non-European Cultures

EC 045 A - Latin American Development

Instructor: Catalina Vizcarra

Why is Latin America a relatively poor region in spite of its abundant natural resources? Why does the region have the most unequal distribution of income in the world, and why are there so many Hispanic immigrants in the United States? In this course we will discuss whether the roots of Latin America's relative underdevelopment lie in its colonial experience, in subsequent foreign intervention, or in misguided domestic economic policies. We will also learn about the benefits and challenges that the most recent wave of globalization poses to the more than 500 million Latin Americans. In the process of addressing these questions, students will be introduced to a number of economic theories central to the analysis of the development process.

Requirements Satisfied: Social Sciences, Writing and Information Literacy, and (D2) Non-European Cultures