The Economics Department supports the mission of the U.S. Naval Academy by producing graduates who can think critically, and who can understand, explain, and apply the core principles and quantitative methods of economics to resource allocation problems, the functioning of economic institutions, and the decisions of policy makers and other economic agents within a society.
Majoring in Economics
There actually are some vocational reasons for a midshipman to major in Economics:
Professor Rae Jean Goodman as Grand Marshal of Graduation 2016
ODE Students at the Federal Reserve Board of Governors
Professor Little as Grand Marshal of Graduation 2013
Students at New York Stock Exchange
OECD Trip (Paris, France)
First, the most fundamental lesson of Economics is that resources are scarce relative to potential uses, so that choices must be made -- that is what it means to "think economically." The Naval Officer can invariably say that "...if I had more people, or more ships, or more planes, or more supplies, or more time, the task would be easy," but of course the officer doesn't live in that kind of world. Instinctively thinking in terms of alternative uses of scarce resources -- thinking economically -- tends to make an effective officer.
Second, an economics program provides understanding of the economic institutions and economic system each officer is pledged to defend.
Third, an officer operates in an international arena. Knowledge of world resource endowments, industrial patterns, trade flows, and the nature and the interdependency of the world's diverse economic systems is useful background for dealing with the citizens and representatives of other countries that U.S. officers will inevitably encounter.
Finally, an Economics major provides a strong set of mid-career skills. In particular, it prepares a midshipman well for (1) attendance at service schools such as the Naval War College, (2) staff billet assignments on fleet, joint and combined staffs, (3) postgraduate training in management, national security affairs, and intelligence, and (4) future subspecialty designations in management and politico-military or strategic planning. In short, there are plenty of reasons why having an Economics major is useful to a Naval Officer.
- Economic Inquiry
- Economics of Education Review
- Economic Theory
- Experimental Economics
- International Economic Review
- Journal of Applied Econometrics
- Journal of Development Economics
- Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization
- Journal of Economic Growth
- Journal of Economic History
- Journal of International Economics
- Journal of Human Resources
- Journal of Urban Economics
- Scandinavian Journal of Economics
- Southern Economic Journal
In addition to our robust research agenda, faculty have also spent time at the Federal Trade Commission, Rand, and the Department of Agriculture, to cite a few examples. Professors Rothert and Utgoff were recently awarded Minerva Grants; Professors Insler and McQuoid were awarded a Volgeneau Fellowship by the Division of Humanities and Social Sciences for 2019-2021.
In the midst of time spent on research, the faculty upholds the department's rich tradition of outstanding teaching. Aiding in this tradition is a stellar collection of military officers, all of whom are central to not only teaching courses within the department, but add to the dynamic and diverse faculty atmosphere. Their experience as Navy and Marine officers proves instrumental in the instruction of the Midshipmen who choose economics as their major.
Economics Department Update:
August 2019: Hon. David M. Walker, former Comptroller General of the United States (1998-2008), joined the Naval Academy Economics Department in August 2019 as the Admiral William Crowe Chair Distinguished Visiting Professor in Economics of the Defense Industrial Base.
Walker is an internationally recognized fiscal responsibility, government transformation and retirement security expert. He has over 40 years of executive level experience in the public, private, and nonprofit sectors, including serving as Comptroller General of the United States and CEO of the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) for almost 10 years. Most recently, Walker served as a Senior Strategic Advisor for PwC’s Public Sector Practice (now Guidehouse). He is the author of a National Bestseller book entitled Comeback America: Turning the Country Around and Restoring Fiscal Responsibility (Random House Trade Paperbacks, 2010).
Walker has a B.S. from Jacksonville University, an SMG Certificate from the JFK School of Government at Harvard University, and a Capstone Certificate from the National War College. He has won numerous leadership, professional, and public service awards, including the first and only Alexander Hamilton Award for economic and fiscal policy leadership from the Center for the Study of the Presidency and the Congress.
February 2, 2016: Distinguished Visiting Professor Landefeld (Economics) recently participated in a kickoff meeting for a new International economic accounting handbook that he is drafting for the United Nations. This handbook responds to the need to better account for the value-added associated with multinational companies and offshoring as well as well as the need to fill the information gaps in cross-country risk revealed by the financial crisis. Professor Landefeld (center) is pictured above with (left to right) Ronald Jansen (Chief UN Trade Statistics), Stefan Schweinfest (Chief UN Statistics Division) Ivo Havinga (Chief Economic Statistics) and Michael Connolly of Ireland (Chair of the UN Working Group).