Department Chair: Tam Vu, Ph.D.

College of Business and Economics Office:
Office: Kanakaʻole Hall, Room 270
Tel: (808) 932-7272



Associate Professors:

Economics is the study of how people satisfy their desires through the activities of production, exchange, and consumption. These economic activities require the use of time, energy, and scarce material and financial resources. Different outcomes may be observed depending on the choice of production technique, preferences in consumption, and the method of allocation.


The mission of the UH Hilo Economics Department is to assist individuals in acquiring the knowledge and skills necessary for sound decision-making in their personal and professional lives. The Department serves students and communities of the Island and State of Hawaiʻi, as well as students from the North American mainland and the Asia/Pacific region.

Program Learning Outcomes

The program learning outcomes/objectives are:

  • Effectively employ scientific methods to explain contemporary economic theories.
  • Master topical knowledge in three different economic tracks.
  • Correctively apply economic theory and available data into explaining real life economic situations using quantitative reasoning with critical thinking.
  • Successfully develop communication skills.

Goals for Student Learning in the Major

Upon graduating with a B.A. degree in Economics, students should be able to:

  • Correctly explain contemporary economic theories.
  • Synthesize contemporary economic theory and other applicable information into analyses of real-life situation and contexts.
  • Demonstrate problem-solving in demand-supply of economic agents using quantitative reasoning.
  • Effectively communicate (orally and in written prose)

Contributions to UH Hilo’s General Education Program

Students who elect to take an Economics course to meet part of their General Education requirement in the Social Sciences will gain an appreciation of:

  • Allocating scarce resources most efficiently
  • Analyzing national and international events within a coherent and logical framework
  • Decision making when facing uncertainty

Delta Sigma Pi (ΔΣΠ)

Economics majors are eligible for nomination to the Lambda Psi chapter of the Delta Sigma Pi national professional business fraternity. The fraternity provides many opportunities for community, professional, and social activities.

Prospects for Economics Graduates

Economic analysis, forecasting and cost-benefit studies have become routine requirements of management information in most medium and large business firms. Because of its rigorous preparation in economic theory and quantitative methods, a bachelor of arts degree in Economics from UH Hilo is in demand both in industry and government. Students may use the degree to apply for the University’s Teacher Education Program. The program also provides an excellent background for law and other professional schools, as well as graduate study in economics.

About the Curriculum

Students of economics follow a curriculum that provides a foundation for methodical, analytical, and critical thinking about societies and institutions. Lower-division courses include principles of economics, mathematics, statistics, along with the general education requirements. Upper-division students have the opportunity of taking advanced economics courses in many specialty areas.