Economics, at its very heart, is the study of people. It seeks to explain what drives human behavior, decisions and reactions when faced with difficulties or successes. Economics is a discipline which combines politics, sociology, psychology and history.
When you study economics, you gain a toolkit of skills, approaches and ways of thinking that you can apply to a wide range of problems. Economics is one of the central disciplines underpinning the study of business and management and public policy.
An economics degree gives you a high level of mathematical and statistical skills and the ability to apply economic principles and models to problems in business, finance and the public sector. More broadly, economic concepts can be applied to understand the logic of complicated data, to see how things relate to each other, and to see the broader context.
Some of the specific skills you develop include:
Communication – presenting ideas in a well-defined framework and supported by evidence that uses complex data.
Numeracy – handling complex data and techniques of mathematical and statistical analysis.
There are careers that use specific knowledge of economics, for example banks, insurance, accountancy firms, businesses and in government. These jobs may involve identifying financial risks or making decisions about where a company or a government should invest its resources in the future, or even how to design a bidding platform for eBay. There are also roles for economists in think tanks and consultancies that advise governments and companies on public policy, such as how to deal with the Greek debt crisis.
More broadly, an economics degree helps prepare you for careers that require numerical, analytical and problem-solving skills – for example in business planning, marketing, research and management. Economics helps you to think strategically and make decisions to optimize the outcome.
Especially in demand are people who have studied Economics and Finance as they are particularly well-prepared for jobs in banking and the financial sector, such as in accountancy firms.
The well-developed methodologies used in the economics profession have helped the subject expand into providing tools for other disciplines, such as politics, law, health, education, management, and many others. Some worry that by using the approaches of economics, the assumption is being made that people are rational in the way they behave. To counter this, economists are bringing in insights from behavioral science, psychology, and neuroscience.
The definition of economics is the study of how goods and services are produced, distributed, and consumed. In short, economics is the study of supply and demand. It is the theory of how markets work and wealth is distributed including how scarce resources are allocated. Economics is not just how the stock market is doing. Rather, economics refers to how people, businesses and countries choose to spend their money. This can be viewed in both a macroeconomics and microeconomics sense.
Macroeconomics refers to the study of the overall economy from a wide point of view, for example, how an industry is doing, a country’s gross domestic product output, gas prices, national debt and more. Microeconomics refers to economics on a smaller scale, such as how a family decides to spend its money or how a business establishes prices.
Economic theory seeks to explain the production and consumption of goods. Economics is widely studied around the world as researchers seek to better understand the impact of certain policies on the economy. For example, this can include studying the effect of gas prices going up, the effect of people incurring larger debt, the effect of government health-care programs, and more. One of the most famous economic theories is Keynesian economic theory named after John Keynes who suggested that government monetary and fiscal policy could stimulate business and increase employment.
Managerial economics seeks to help business managers make logical decisions. It is the allocation of scarce resources in ways that best help a business succeed, for example, what goods and services should be produced and at what cost, or what markets should a firm enter or exit.
International economics is the study of how good and services move across borders such as how tariffs affect trade, how exchange rates influence the movement of goods, or how trade quotas affect a market.
Monetary economics is the framework of studying how institutions affect employment, commodity prices, interest rates, wages, production, and more.
Behavioral economics is the study of how psychology affects economic decision making. Economic theory states that humans will make rational decisions whereas behavioral economics seeks to understand why humans make decisions that are not economically rational.
Applied economics refers to the application of economic theories to real world scenarios to help predict outcomes.
Taking a course in economics can help you understand a wide range of topics that drive economic policy and financial decision making. Learn about the principles of economics including both macroeconomics and microeconomics. Study theories of economic growth, economic policy, economic development, socioeconomic policy, risk management, debt sustainability, pricing models, and more.
There is no doubt that to be a great economist, one has to be able to master the methods used in the profession, and have good maths and statistical skills to do this.
You also need to be interested in the world around you from history, to politics, to international affairs and consumer behavior in your country and worldwide, as these all impact on how individuals, companies and governments behave and make decisions.