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Professor McMullen recipient of 2014 Warren Samuels prize

At the Allied Social Sciences Association (ASSA) annual meeting in Philadelphia last month, Dr. Steve McMullen, professor of Economics, and Dan Molling, Economics major, ’13, received the 2014 Warren Samuels Prize.  The prize is awarded by the Association for Social Economics (ASE) to the paper that best exemplifies scholarly work of high quality, is important the project of social economics, and has broad appeal across disciplines. The winner of the prize was announced during the ASE-sponsored presidential breakfast on Saturday, January 4th. The award includes a $500 stipend.

The title of McMullen and Molling’s winning paper is “Environmental Ethics, Economics, and Property Law.” Their paper argues that property laws are at the heart of conflicts between economic and environmental interests, and that in order to be able to avoid these conflicts, we should rethink what it means to own parts of the natural world. The paper is likely to appear in a book on social economics and law in the coming year.

Steve McMullen Daniel Molling

McMullen received a Ph.D. in Economics from the University of North Carolina and has been teaching economics at Calvin since 2008.  His research areas of interest involve the economics of education and environmental and animal ethics.

Molling graduated in May 2013 with a major in economics.  He worked with Prof. McMullen as a Mcgregor fellow during the summer of 2012.  He is currently working as a Research Associate at the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City in Kansas City, MO.  Molling works in the Macroeconomics Research department supporting the economists in the areas of applied macroeconomics and urban economics.

Molling and McMullen



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The field of economics is most simply defined as the study of how people choose to use resources.  Resources include not only the time and talent people have available, but also the land and other natural resources, buildings, equipment, and other tools, and the knowledge of how to combine them to create useful products and services.  Microeconomics involves the behavior of individuals, and macroeconomics focuses on the collective behavior of businesses and industries, governments and countries, and the globe as a whole.

Economics graduates are uniquely prepared to excel in a fast-paced global economy. Economic theories are vital for understanding how law, health, policy, ethics and the environment are changing the business world.


The study of economics is a key element in understanding business, government and policy-making, health administration, environment and resource management, international trade, international development and much more.  Because Economics graduates have a varied skill set in communication and team work, political awareness, mathematics and computing, research, and analysis and problem solving, they are employed in a range of jobs which may or may not be directly related to the discipline they studied.  They work in manufacturing, transportation, communications, banking, insurance, investment and retailing, law, and a variety of non-profit or government positions. Economics students develop the quantitative and analytical toolset appropriate for a digital age that is awash in information but lacking clear direction. Our students learn how to handle data responsibly and develop practical solutions for real world problems.


Economics majors are equipped with knowledge and experience necessary to tackle some of the toughest problems head on:

- reforming health care
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Academic Programs

  1. Bachelor of Arts in Economics,
  2. a group concentration* in the social sciences, and
  3. a group concentration* involving economics and mathematics.

You may also enter the Teacher Education Program to teach economics at the high school level.

*Group concentrations must form a coherent, planned program approved by your advisor.




Alumni Comments

Jeffrey Groenewold, '11

I began work in July, 2011 as a Credit Risk Analyst for Private Bancorp (The Private Bank), a commercial middle market and real estate bank headquartered
in Chicago.

Economics has been very useful to me in my job so far. In my role as a credit analyst I am constantly reviewing and analyzing companies in various
industries. Not only do I analyze the company, but it is essential to look at the big picture of things to understand what is going on in the industry
as well as the economy as a whole. It has been very valuable for me to understand economics to see how everything ties together in the big picture of things.