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In 2011, Cornell took the extraordinary step of creating an expanded and improved Department of Economics, combining economics and labor economics faculty from the College of Arts & Sciences and the School of Industrial & Labor Relations as well as a set of distinguished senior faculty from around campus.

The economics department offers the study of human behavior in many settings—at the household, market and aggregate levels. Economics is more than a set of questions, but rather is a mode of thought, a set of precise analytical tools that can be used to study a wide variety of social science problems. Students are introduced to these tools in the core methodology courses of Microeconomics, Macroeconomics and Econometrics. With these tools in hand, students are then able to study a wide variety of topics including labor-market outcomes, the role of the banking sector, the economics of developing countries, international trade, the role of the public sector and of the political process, economic history and the study of health and education. In addition, students have the option for advanced methodological study in dynamic optimization, game theory and econometrics.