Welcome to the Department of Economics at Iowa State University. We provide the intellectual home to a set of dedicated and talented faculty, motivated and extremely capable staff, and a diverse group of enthusiastic undergraduate and graduate students.

Read more about the department.

What is Economics?

Economics is the study of what individuals, institutions, and economic systems do, or should do, as they deal with the problem of satisfying virtually unlimited wants with scarce resources. Economics deals with choices and optimization, typically embedded in a market system where the notion of equilibrium is essential and where prices play a crucial role. Economics provides a logical and ordered way of looking at a wide variety of issues, and the principles of economics are finding growing applicability in a number of fields. An  understanding of economic concepts can provide substantial personal and social benefits.


Ag bus club places first in competition

Five members of the ISU Agricultural Business Club travelled to Moline, IL on April 9th to compete in the NACTA Agribusiness Management contest. The team placed first overall in the competition and also claimed four of the top five individual awards.

In photo (l to r): Geordan Hanson placed 1st, Nate Christenson 2nd, Hailey Meitner, 4th, Meghan Mills 5th and Natalina Sents, 7th.

Iowa State had seven teams from various departments at the contest. ISU also won the "sweepstakes" award which recognizes the most outstanding all-around performance by a school.

See full contest results.

Kreider selected as exemplary mentor

The Office of the Senior Vice President and Provost has recognized Professor Brent Kreider for demonstrating exemplary mentoring of junior faculty for the 2014-2015 academic year. Brent was nominated by his mentee, Dr. Oleksandr Zhylyevskyy. Congratulations, Brent!

Tuesday's Energy Policy Seminar: Katherine Hayhoe

Katherine Hayhoe, Assoc. Professor of Public Administration and Director of the Climate Science Center at Texas Tech University, will speak on "Mitigate, Adapt, or Suffer: Connecting Global Change to Local Impacts."
April 21, 3:40 - 5:00 pm
Davidson Room, 1306 Elings Hall

Wednesday's I.W. Arthur Memorial Lecture: Muhamet Yildiz, MIT

Muhamet Yildiz, MIT will speak on "Common Belief Foundations of Global Games."
April 22, 4:10 - 5:30 pm
368A Heady Hall

Abstract: Complete information games---i.e., games where there is common certainty of payoffs---often have multiple rationalizable actions. What happens if the common certainty of payoffs assumption is relaxed? Consider a two player game where a player's payoff depends on a payoff parameter. Define a player's "rank belief" as the probability he assigns to his payoff parameter being higher than his opponent's. We show that there is a unique rationalizable action played when there is common certainty of rank beliefs, and we argue this is the driving force behind selection results in the global games literature.

Friday's Agricultural Economics Workshop/Econ 693 Presentation: Jae-hoon Sung

Jae-hoon Sung will speak on "Adaptive Behavior of U.S. Farms to Climate and Risk."
April 24, 3:40 - 5:00 pm
368A Heady Hall.

Huffman: Consumers willing to spend more for biotech products

New research from an Iowa State University economist found consumers were willing to spend more for genetically modified potato products with reduced levels of a chemical compound linked to cancer.

Wallace Huffman, Charles F. Curtiss Distinguished Professor in Agriculture and Life Sciences who contributed to the project, said the findings underscore the importance of efforts to educate consumers on the use of biotechnology in the production of healthful food.

“This is a complicated issue so it’s important for consumers to get information on how the technology works and its potential benefits,” Huffman said.

Acrylamide is a chemical compound that studies have linked to the formation of cancer in animals, and the FDA has encouraged Americans to cut back on foods that contain the substance. It accumulates naturally in starchy foods cooked at high temperatures, such as roasted nuts and coffee beans or the crusts of bread. Potato products like french fries and potato chips make up the biggest source of acrylamide consumption in the United States, Huffman said.

Three agricultural business students to attend conference

Each year the Iowa Farmers Union allocates spots for ISU students interested in cooperatives to attend the National Farmers Union’s College Conference on Cooperatives held in Minneapolis. The conference, with support from the CHS Foundation and other partners, features tours of housing, retail and marketing cooperatives and presentations by cooperative leaders from throughout the United States representing a variety of industries. It’s a conference intended to be beneficial both to beginning students of co-ops and to students with some previous co-op education.

This year Iowa State University selected three agricultural business students to attend: Meghan Mills (junior), Travis Meisgeier (sophomore), and Natalina Sents (junior).

Why Wait? A Century of Education, Marriage Timing and Gender Roles
April 10, 2015
3:40-5:00 pm
368A Heady

Reception honors 2014 James R. Prescott Scholarship awardees

Congratulations to scholarship recipients Jimena Gonzalez Ramirez, Jonathan McFadden, and Pan Liu! The scholarship was established to recognize graduate students who demonstrate creativity in their research. It was presented by Jeri Prescott on behalf of her husband, former Emeritus Professor James R. Prescott, who passed away in September 2012.

Software assists farmers with crop maintenance

Michael Koenig (’12 ag and life sciences education) Holden Nyhus (’13 ag and life sciences education) and Stuart McCulloh (’13 ag and life sciences education) created Scout Pro as a class project in a CALS agricultural entrepreneurship course in 2011. The group was named Entrepreneur of the Year as part of the first-ever Rural Entrepreneurship Challenge last week receiving $30,000 in prize money to implement the business idea, which is software to assist farmers with crop maintenance. The Rural Entrepreneurship Initiative is a joint program of the American Farm Bureau Federation and Georgetown University's McDonough School of Business.

Upcoming Seminars

Consider the possibilities of a graduate degree in economics. Read student stories here.