“The point of studying economics is so as not to be fooled by economists”

Studying economics, even in its most basic form, is a great way of gaining knowledge about how the world works around you. Maybe even enough knowledge to avoid being deceived by economists. This doesn't mean go out and get a degree in economics, but simply that it is important to learn key ideas about economic principles. 

Taking economics courses or even just reading up about the subject can be extremely beneficial. Economics can give you insight into the decisions being taken that affect the market and its prices. Business and economics represent the aggregate choices of millions of individuals. 

This social science covers developmental economics, applied economics, environmental economics and a range of other fields.

By becoming an economics student, you could learn about supply and demand, costs and benefits, as well as what is affecting the decisions of other consumers around you. The economic systems around us are constantly changing, learning how to predict trends and make an informed decision about your personal finances in the future.

Taking economics classes in high school can prepare you to reach your career goals or just help you better understand economic public policy. 

What Is Economics?

According to the American Economics Association, economics is "the study of scarcity, the study of how people use resources and respond to incentives or the study of decision making”.

Most of the resources and incentives also relate to money. Economics is the umbrella for a multitude of topics, including wealth and finance.

graphing data
Economics tries to understand the correlation between market trends and individual decisions. (Photo by Isaac Smith on Unsplash)

Economics can also be broken down into two very broad subjects. Microeconomics is the study of individual decisions, the decisions of one person or a small group of people while macroeconomics focuses on the economy as a whole, the effect of all of those smaller decisions.

Both micro and macroeconomics consists of an abundance of theories that help explain the decision society makes.

Economists study ideas of …

  • Scarcity - the basic economic problem that all of our resources are scarce, nothing is limitless. This pushes people to make decisions that will help them allocate their resources in the most efficient way.
  • Supply and Demand - our markets are guided by supply and demand. The demand is how much of a supply (commodity or product) is desired by the buys, this, in turn, regulates the price. Supply and demand are inversely correlated to one another.
  • Costs and Benefits - these are the factors that dictate the rational choices of consumers. In every circumstance, the goal of a person would be to maximize benefits and minimize costs. These decisions are not only financial; you can assess the costs and benefits of spending time and effort as well.

Since economics is also a science, the above theories and correlations have all been demonstrated by a multitude of data and statistics.

When people choose to study economics it is not only focused on the economy or money, but rather on a larger spectrum of ideas and theories. These economic theories help explain some of the following questions:

  • What causes inflation?
  • Why is there a wage gap?
  • Why are there some poor and some rich countries?

Whether you are looking for the answers to these questions or a career in economics, studying economics can help you get started.

If you are already on track and taking an economics course, we have a list of past papers that might help you ace your upcoming exams.

Why Study Economics?

Studying economics can give you an insight into not only understanding economic phenomenon but also into theories of reasoning that are applicable to a variety of fields.

transferable skills
Studying economics helps cultivate a multitude of transferable skills. (Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash)

Some choose to study economics because they hope to make a career in the field of economics while others choose to study economics in order to simply better understand the world around them.

Being knowledgeable in economics can help you better understand your own financial wealth and help you gain wisdom in the decisions associated with that wealth.

Even if you are not thinking about taking on a career in economics, there are still a lot of benefits to knowing basic knowledge about the field. The skills learned can be applied to just about any job.

Majoring in economics or even simply taking a couple of econ courses in high school can help cultivate analytical and argumentative skills that are extremely important for any kind of job.

Learning about economics can enhance your personal organization and career. Here are five advantages you can take away from staying in economics.

  1. Expanding Your Vocabulary - during your introductory economics courses you will learn basic Econ vocabulary. Being fluent in econ jargon can help you better understand the market dynamics or at least not be so lost when reading about economic forecasts.
  2. Using Your New Vocabulary - your new vocabulary and knowledge about basic economic theories can help you develop a viable business strategy for any field you might be working in.  Understanding these theories can help you create a pricing model to maximize your revenue.
  3. Understanding Your Finances - if you learn about how the general market behaves, you then can apply those same prognostics to your own spending habits. If you are running a business or an organization it helps to understand how the rest of the market is making decisions, you can gear your business model to what is being predicted in the market.
  4. Economic Theory - a lot of economic theory is based on rational decisions, however, there are a lot of choices being made that do not always correspond to the norm. Economists also take into consideration cognitive bias and can help others understand more realistic human behavior.
  5. Using Economic Tools - through education is economics you will receive tools to help make better business decisions, regardless of the field you are working in.

If you are taking economics courses you can check out some of the review material that includes a more detailed description of the above theories. 

Careers In Economics

Understanding economics can open doors to a wide range of careers. Studying economics is not only for those who hope to become economists. If you have a background in econ you will be able to apply to jobs in:

  • Banking
  • Insurance
  • Real estate
  • Consulting
  • Government
  • And Non-profits
hiring for economics majors
The skills gained when studying economics are easily transferable to a multitude of fields. (Photo by Free To Use Sounds on Unsplash)

A large variety of companies and corporations hire employees with a background in economics in order to help them prepare forecasts for future costs and benefits.

Economics students are able to learn skills such as communication, numeracy, problem-solving, computing, and analytical skills. All which make you a great candidate for an assortment of jobs.

If this is a little too far in the future for you and for now you are ok with just taking a couple of courses to explore the economics field, you can check out our guide to economics classes in high school.

Becoming An Economist

A more obvious career you can take on with an economics background is becoming an economist. The job of an economist consists of conducting research, collecting and analyzing data, monitoring trends and developing forecasts about a variety of economic factors.

local government
You can work at your local government if you study. (Photo by Angelo Abear on Unsplash)

The most common track to becoming an economist is being an economics major in college. Through your college career, you will be able to learn about the intricacies of this science. Everything from economic analysis to the details and trends of international trade.

In addition to an undergrad degree, most people who aspire to be economists must look into graduate programs. Many follow their master's degree with a Ph.D. in economics.

However long your route might take, that the job market for economists is always growing. Career opportunities will always appear as the financial markets continue to grow and more people will see the benefits of being able to correctly predict upcoming fluctuations in the market.

Many economists end up working for the economics department of a university or a think tank.

You can choose to specialize in a range of subjects. Some of the most common specializations include the following:

  • business economics
  • international economics
  • labor economics
  • political economy
  • experimental economics
  • managerial economics
  • econometrics
  • mathematical economics

These specializations will take you down very different paths of teaching and research, but they all center around the knowledge you learn from an undergraduate and graduate study of economics.

Most universities across the US will have a department of economics. Meaning that you can start studying economics right in your area.

You can earn your economics degree in prestigious universities like Georgetown University, Auburn University, and the University of Chicago. These universities have some of the best economic research facilities and postgraduate programs for economics research. 

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Maria