University of Hawaii at Hilo Catalog 2013–2014


Home » Undergraduate Education » College of Business and Economics (CoBE) » Economics

Department Chair:
Tam Vu, Ph.D.,

College of Business and Economics Office:

Kanakaʻole Hall 270, (808) 974–7400



  • David L. Hammes, Ph.D.
  • Eric Iksoon Im, Ph.D.
  • Marcia Y. Sakai, Ph.D.

Associate Professor:

  • Tam Bang Vu, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor:

  • Keisuke Nakao, Ph.D.

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 B.A. in Economics program fosters the following attitudes in students:

  • Conviction that they have received a quality education, appropriate to their personal and career goals;
  • Appreciation of the goal-orientation and self-motivation needed to be a successful economist;
  • Confidence that they are prepared to take on the challenges of a career in either the private sector or any level of government;
  • Recognition that an on-going commitment to learning is critical to continued success and satisfaction in their careers;
  • Recognition that community service will be an important component of their future professional responsibilities;
  • Confidence that they can identify economic problems, relevant issues, and significant factors involving uncertainty, ambiguity, incomplete information, and conflicting goals in such a way that effective decision-making will follow.

Goals for Student Learning in the Major

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

  • Explain the basic concepts and principles of economics and demonstrate an appreciation for the unity, logic and power of economic reasoning;
  • Analyze individual, group, and social problems or issues via the explanatory power of incentives and trade-offs;
  • Apply Economic theory to practical problems;
  • Critical thinking and integrative problem-solving skills
  • Write and speak effectively and confidently;
  • Demonstrate a professional demeanor;
  • Use Web-based-research, computer-related applications, and current methods of analysis and presentation.

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

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.


Rev. 3/19/13