Welcome to the home page of the Department of Economics in the Thomas Harriot College of Arts & Sciences at East Carolina University!
East Carolina is a doctoral-granting university with an expanding academic program. The development of the Economics Department has been an important part of that expansion and, although it does not yet have a doctoral program, intends to offer one beginning in 2011.
Our Department celebrated its twentieth anniversary in August 2006, but its early history is a little unusual. Originally economics was a part of the School (now, College) of Business at East Carolina, but changes in orientation lead to the conversion of that group into a Department of Decision Science. An entirely new Economics Department simultaneously was founded in the (now, Thomas Harriot) College of Arts and Sciences. New faculty members were hired and new programs were designed in line with the vision of economics as a classic liberal arts discipline emphasizing both teaching and research.
An advantage of the new structure is that our faculty and academic programs reflect a common view and a unity of purpose, one that can be seen in the scholarly research, as well as the teaching, of our faculty. Members of the faculty have won many university-wide awards for teaching excellence, including the prestigious Teacher-Scholar Award for integrating their research in teaching and mentoring of students. The Economics faculty regularly receives University and College research and seed grants, and is increasingly attracting external research funding from such national sources as NSF and NIH. Our senior faculty has developed national reputations in their fields, and our junior faculty is achieving growing recognition as their research becomes published.
The research interests of our faculty encompass an expanding variety of fields --- extending from nonlinear time series analysis, small open economy macroeconomics, health and labor economics, econometric analysis of high-frequency data, to the economics of the airline industry, environmental and experimental economics, the analysis of coastal hazards, and game theoretic models of refugee negotiations --- despite the Department’s small size. Areas that have received special emphases in our research orientation and our graduate program over the years include health economics, environmental and resource economics, and macroeconomic and income distribution dynamics. The Department has growing and successful undergraduate and MS programs, participates in interdisciplinary MS and PhD programs related to coastal resource management, and also is developing a Ph.D. degree program with a research focus on environmental economics, natural hazards, and risk analysis. This builds on a recent and growing research focus on the analysis of natural hazards, environmental change, and the risks and opportunities that they pose.
This emphasis, in part, arises from our location. East Carolina University lies in the coastal plain of North Carolina, a predominately rural region with a rapidly developing coastal area and a couple of still small, but rapidly growing, urban centers. The University is located in the city of Greenville, which has grown by 40% since 1980 to a current population of about 73,000. The surrounding area of Pitt County, however, has over 150,000 people. The tensions between economic development, poverty, and a fragile coastal environment raise numerous theoretical, political economy, and policy issues which are of interest to economists. A number of related issues have been tackled by our faculty, as can be seen in the University research publications listing, but many more remain as research challenges. Several of our people are now actively involved in teaching and research in environmental economics relating to issues of the coastal plain.
I invite you to explore this site to get information about our programs, the University, and the region. If you need more information about the department's emphases or current faculty interests, please send an e-mail inquiry or give one of us a call. Faculty home pages and e-mail addresses are listed under the Faculty section.
Richard E. Ericson