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Social Sciences and Management


Economics is the social science that studies how economic agents behave and interact and how economies function. There are broad distinctions between microeconomics -- which focuses on individual agents and their interactions in markets -- and macroeconomics, which focuses on the behavior of the overall economy, including employment, inflation, economic growth, and how monetary and fiscal policy affect these outcomes. Research in the Economics group at UC Merced reflects the broad fields of microeconomics. Scholars in the group study urban economics and local public finance; environmental economics, including the design of regulation and interactions between socio-economic phenomena and environmental outcomes; law and economics, including impacts of alternate property rights regimes, the design of liability, and law enforcement; industrial organization, particularly of retail markets; economics of education and health; and corporate finance, including the design of financial and executive contracts. Scholars publish in the top general economics journals and top economics field journals, and do a range of both empirical and theoretical research, including economic experiments. The Economics group has a lively seminar series focusing on topics in applied microeconomics.


The Management major responds to the growing needs of the business environment in California and beyond. UC Merced’s Management major provides rigorous analytical and quantitative training from a blend of fields including economics, accounting, finance, management, marketing, information systems, operations and other social sciences. Real-life management problems do not fit neatly into subject areas. Today’s managers tackle issues that involve a number of management functions—so solutions need to draw on expertise from a variety of different areas. The UC Merced approach is to step away from thinking of management as a set of separate functions drawing from single disciplines. Instead, students learn to integrate key ideas from across subject areas to understand all the dimensions of a given issue. Creativity, innovation and entrepreneurship are emphasized.

Political Science

The Political Science faculty conduct research in the general areas of political cognition/behavior and political institution. Specific research interests include public opinion, voter turnout & behavior, urban politics, authoritarian regimes, elections & representation, legislative politics, international human rights, and judicial politics.


Sociology is the scientific study of society, social institutions, and social relationships. A key contribution of the discipline is the insight that social factors matter; our lives are not only shaped by personal psychology, but also by our place in the social world. The Sociology faculty at UC Merced study a range of topics, including social inequality (gender, race/ethnicity, social class, sexuality), political sociology and social movements, education, and immigration. A common theme in our work is attention to economic inequality and power dynamics. For example, our faculty study social inequality in the transition from high school to college; the social construction of race and how skin color influences perceptions of racial difference; collective action during economic and political transitions in developing countries; just to name a few topics. We also share a commitment to systematic data collection and rigorous analysis, using both qualitative and quantitative research techniques. Few disciplines offer such a broad scope of relevance for understanding individual and collective relations in society.


Last Updated: June 2016