Mar 05, 2024  
Rensselaer Catalog 2023-2024 
Rensselaer Catalog 2023-2024


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Department Head and Virginia and Lloyd W. Rittenhouse Professor of Humanities and Social Sciences: Vivek Ghosal
Undergraduate Program Director: Michael A. Klein
Graduate Program Director: Billur Aksoy
Department Home Page:

Undergraduate Programs

The Economics Department offers two separate Bachelor of Science programs: 1) Economics and 2) Biotechnology and Health Economics.   


Economics B.S. 

The B.S. in Economics equips students with the quantitative, theoretical, and conceptual tools of economics to understand decision-making by individuals, businesses, and governments in areas related to the environment, intellectual property rights, health care, law and economics, and regulatory policies. Tools related to demand-supply modeling, game theory, behavioral economics, and advanced econometric and data analysis methods are used to gain insights. 

Rensselaer’s B.S. in Economics differs from other economics programs in two important respects. First, the program emphasizes the application of quantitative tools to real economic problems.  Students actively participate in research projects and problem labs that employ regression, linear programming, and risk analysis to understand complex economic issues. Second, in addition to core coursework in microeconomics, macroeconomics and econometrics, students may select from a wide range of electives courses to tailor their curriculum to advance their individual career goals.  Available electives include Health Economics, Environmental Economics, Money and Banking, Behavioral Economics, Experimental Economics, Applied Game Theory, International Economics and Globalization, among many others.  Students may also complement their economics curriculum with courses in mathematics and natural sciences.  

Prospective students should also be aware that the department administers the Edward J. Holstein Memorial Award for Excellence in Economics and the Shavell-Weinman Fund. Faculty members are actively involved in research that provides numerous opportunities for undergraduate students to engage directly in research projects. 


  • Examine various facets of industries like healthcare, energy, and information technology.
  • Examine advanced econometric and statistical methods for the analysis of high-dimensional data, otherwise known as “big data.”
  • Examine complex policy-making in key areas such as the environment, health, education, technology, and immigration.
  • Integrate theory from psychology, neuroscience, and other social sciences into traditional economic models of human behavior.

Biotechnology and Health Economics B.S.

The B.S. in Biotechnology and Health Economics provides students with a combination of skills in the biosciences, biotechnology, and economics. We anticipate substantial demand from various sectors in industry and consulting for majors from this program. The combination of skills in complementary areas of biotechnology, sciences and economics is increasingly in demand in industry and consulting. Skilled and quantitatively-trained personnel are often required to analyze not only the scientific side and emergence of new technologies, but also the economic implications for firms related to their pricing, investment, and innovation strategies, as well as the interface with economic and regulatory policy.  


  • Be able to understand and analyze the key technological and economics related issues in the biomedical and healthcare industries. 
  • Develop analytical skills to study the scientific aspects of biotechnology and biosciences, and the economics of healthcare markets and policies. Particular emphasis will be placed on modeling, and quantitative and data analysis. 
  • Be prepared for career opportunities in a wide range of companies in the pharmaceuticals, biotechnology, and medical devices sectors, healthcare consulting firms, health insurance companies, hospitals, public policy institutions, in State and Federal Government, among other sectors. 


Outcomes of the Undergraduate Curriculum

Students who successfully complete this program will be able to demonstrate:

  • an ability to apply the concepts and models of microeconomics to current events and issues facing today’s domestic and global economies.
  • an ability to apply the concepts and models of macroeconomics to current events and issues facing today’s domestic and global economies.
  • an ability to use mathematical and other analytic tools to rigorously model economic behavior and market performance.
  • an ability to analyze economic issues using an appropriate theoretical framework, designing an empirical analysis that formulates testable hypotheses, applying statistical and econometric methods, collecting data, and using statistical software.
  • an ability to communicate the results of economic and empirical analyses in written, verbal, and visual forms.


The Economics Department offers the following minors:

  • Economics
  • Economics of Healthcare Markets
  • Economics of Quantitative Modeling
  • Economics of Technology and Innovation
  • Economics of Banking and Finance

Dual Major Programs

Students are encouraged to consider a dual major as a means of enhancing their employment and graduate school prospects. Dual majors may use their economics courses to fulfill the social science portion of the HASS Core. Otherwise, the requirements are the same as for the single major in Economics or Biotechnology and Health Economics.  Economics can be paired with any degree as part of a dual major, including Mathematics, Computer Science, various Engineering and Science disciplines, among others.   

Graduate Programs

The Department of Economics offers a Master of Science degree in Economics aimed at developing skills in economic analysis. This program stresses important applications in industry, government, and education.

Graduate-level research projects cover a wide range of economic issues, including technological change and the structure and scope of economic activity, energy and environment, international competitiveness and global economic cooperation, industrial development, regulation, and other topics in law and economics.

Research Innovations and Initiatives

At the graduate level, the program allows students to apply the body of economics knowledge and techniques to a variety of issues in academic, government, and business settings. Department faculty and students focus their research in selected areas, including the economics of technological change, environmental economics, law and economics, behavioral economics, economic regulation, and international competitiveness.

Course Descriptions

Courses related to all economics curricula are described in the Course Descriptions section of this catalog under the department code ECON.



Ghosal, V.—Ph.D. (Warrington College of Business, University of Florida); firm and business strategy, environmental regulation, antitrust/competition law, and regulatory reform. 

Associate Professor

Lennon, C.—Ph.D. (University of Pittsburgh); health and labor economics. 
Simons, K.—Ph.D. (Carnegie Mellon University); industrial organization and technological change, dynamics of economic systems.

Assistant Professors

Aksoy, B.—Ph.D. (Texas A&M University); behavioral economics, experimental economics, gender and identity, and social preferences.
Chadd, I.—Ph.D. (University of Maryland at College Park); behavioral economics, experimental economics, decision theory, gender.
Fan, R.—Ph.D. (University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign); applied econometrics, econometric theory, financial econometrics, time series econometrics.
Huh, J.—Ph.D. (University of Illinois-Urbana Champaign); health economics, econometrics, applied microeconomics, and public policy.
Klein, M.— Ph.D. (Indiana University, Bloomington); economic growth, international economics, intellectual property rights.
Lin, J.—Ph.D. (University of Arizona); health economics, econometrics, industrial organization, applied microeconomics.
Liu, H.—Ph.D. (University of Rochester); mechanism design, dynamic games, auctions.  
Nkuiya, B.—Ph.D. (University of Montreal); resource and environmental economics. 
Thakur, P.—Ph.D. (University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign); international trade and the environment.


Jones, R.—Ph.D. (Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute); money and banking, macroeconomics, introductory economics, econometrics.
Mahmoudi, M.—Ph.D. (University of Nevada); applied macroeconomics, international economics, behavioral and experimental economics.
Parrales, S.—Ph.D. (Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute); introductory economics, money and banking.
Peng, H.—Ph.D. (Yale University); econometrics, time-series analysis, forecasting, and panel data.

* Departmental faculty listings are accurate as of the date generated for inclusion in this catalog. For the most up-to-date listing of faculty positions, including end-of-year promotions, please refer to the Faculty Roster section of this catalog, which is current as of the May 2022 Board of Trustees meeting.


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