Wheaton College Norton, Massachusetts
Wheaton College


Economics 298. Experimental Courses

Enterprising Non-Profits: An Introduction to Social Entrepreneurship

Social Entrepreneurship combines the desire to positively impact society with the use of business-planning and management skills. Rather than placing profit at the center of the enterprise’s motivating structure and goals, social entrepreneurs prioritize the accomplishment of one or more social goals---seeing the alleviation of problematic conditions as the reason for their enterprise and the main factor propelling the enterprise forward. Many social entrepreneurship initiatives operate within the legal status of “nonprofit” or “not-for-profit” institutions. However, like for-profit firms, they pay considerable attention to economic dynamics, business planning, management of resources, and the overall economic viability of the initiative as they conceptualize and pursue their goals. This course introduces students to the potential, challenges, and problems of this growing field.


African Economic Development

The African continent remains one of the poorest regions in the world today, with almost half of its population living under US $1.25 a day per person. Yet, in the recent decade 2000 to 2010, Africa’s real GDP rose by an average annual rate of 5.0% per year and the Economist magazine reports that “Six of the world’s ten fastest growing economies of the past decade are in sub-Saharan Africa.” This course will examine current issues in development economics, and how these issues relate to economic development in sub-Saharan Africa. It is intended to provide both retrospective and prospective views of African economic development. Some of the questions this course will attempt to shed light on include: Why is Africa still the poorest region? What developmental approaches have African countries used? Which of the approaches have been most successful, and why? What are the drivers of the recent rise in Africa’s real GDP? Is this recent growth sustainable?
This course will offer students opportunity to think critically about these questions. At the end of the course, students will be able to

  • Understand the different strategies that countries have undertaken to foster development and explain how those strategies worked or failed.
  • Discuss the sources of the recent growth in real GDP, and whether the growth in real GDP is sustainable.