Welcome to the Economics Department

The Economics department at West Valley College is committed to providing objective and high-quality instruction in economics principles and concepts. The goal is to raise the economic and financial literacy of students and provide a set of tools for individuals in their decision-making processes.

Book Recommendations

  • Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything by Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner.
  • The World is Flat: A Brief History of the 21st Century by Thomas Friedman.
  • A Random Walk Down Wall Street by Burton Malkiel.
  • New Ideas from Dead Economists by Todd Buchholz.
  • Liar's Poker by Michael Lewis.
  • The Great Unraveling by Paul Krugman.
  • Armchair Economist: Economics and Everyday Experience by Steve Landsburg.
  • In Defense of Globalization by Jagdish Bagwati.
  • Globalization and Its Discontents by Joseph Stiglitz.
  • Making Globalization Work by Joseph Stiglitz.
  • Confessions of an Economic Hitman by John Perkins.

Job Outlook

Economists working for corporations may be involved with forecasting sales of the firm’s products or analyzing growth and market share of the firm’s competitors. Other economists working in the private sector may assist their firm with monitoring environmental and/or labor laws and assessing their impacts on the business. Firms with operations overseas employ economists to observe and assess the economic situations in countries where they do business.

The government also employs many economists to collect and analyze data on production, distribution and consumption of goods and services in the U.S. economy. Economists are also used to assess economic conditions, evaluate the economic impacts of specific laws and/or changes in public policy, and advise policymakers on issues such as telecommunication deregulation, Social Security reform, and tax cuts.

Not-for-profit organizations also have economists at work to collect and analyze socio-economic data and trends that impact their constituents. Economists also assist nonprofit groups that focus on community development and/or raising the standard of living with assessing the value of different projects and grants.

Why Major in Economics

If you would like to understand wealth, poverty, growth, trade, money, jobs, income, depression, recession, prices, monopoly -- and study what makes the world work from day to day -- then you will surely be fascinated with the field of economics. Economics concerns all of us. Some of the important questions we try to answer are: Why do we have so much unemployment in a nation as rich as the United States? How is it that unemployment and inflation occur together? What causes inflation? Why are some nations rich and some poor?

Why do nations trade? Who determines how much money is circulating in the economy? Is the stock market important? Why don't we grow faster? What can we do about energy or environmental pollution?

Economics is the study of the allocation of scarce resources among competing uses, either through conscious public policy or through market forces. It is essentially the science of choice in a world of scarcity. The analytical skill of economists is useful in evaluating alternative methods of achieving society's goals and objectives and in formulating strategies and policies that will help to achieve these objectives.

Economics falls somewhere between the practical and the theoretical; we deal in theories, but there are many economists who use these theories to advise governments and large corporations. The best known and most powerful of these are the economists who form the Council of Economic Advisors, trying to give the President of the United States some help in steering the American economy. To understand how they think, you should take some economics courses and perhaps even major in it, if you like your initial exposure.

(description from SF State Department of Economics)


We want to hear from you. If you are an alumnus from any of our classes, or anyone who wants to support our department, we'd like to hear from you. Please email us at: janis.kea@westvalley.edu or samuel.liu@westvalley.edu

Donating to the Economics Department

During this time of increasing cutbacks, Alumni donations can help us provide services for our faculty and students. You can also make donations for student and faculty travel for research, our department library or anything else you feel is important. If you wish to make a tax-deductible donation, please contact: janis.kea@westvalley.edu

last published: 7/3/18