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WHAT IS ECONOMICS
Economics is the science of decision-making. Students of economics learn to identify and analyze the costs and benefits of financial and social decisions. Skills in cost-benefit analysis, the core of economists' training, are widely applicable and highly valued in current job markets. A major in Economics provides students with a unique blend of the perspective gained from a liberal arts education and the practical skills necessary for intelligent decision-making and administration in business, government and independent agencies, and academic. In addition to providing a sound theoretical foundation in economic theory and economic statistics, the economics major introduces students to a variety of applied fields that focus on international, national, and regional economic problems, issues, and policies. An economics degree can also be considered a stepping-stone to further education in other areas.
Economists tend to be interested in issues concerning taxes, poverty, the deficit, health discrimination, inflation, the environment, unemployment, the causes and consequences of economic and social events, and the human behavior. They also tend to enjoy solving puzzles, logical reasoning, careful observation, detecting patterns, breaking complex problems into parts, focusing on the heart of the issue, working with numbers and writing clearly.
What are Economics Career Options you ask?
Many economists with graduate degrees are employed in colleges and universities as administrators, professors (in subjects such as economics, history, geography, or sociology), and researchers. Economics professors often provide consulting services to various private and governmental organizations.
These economists study farm management, agricultural policy, crop values, farm credit, agricultural marketing, and commodity exchanges. They look at the ways these operations affect farm income and food prices. They study agricultural trade, resources, and economic development overseas, though more so in Third World countries.
Applied & Resource Economics
These economists apply economic principles and analytical techniques to the study of particular industries, activities, or the exploitation of particular resources. They master subjects such as economic theory, regulatory and consumer factors, microeconomic analysis and modeling of specific industries and commodities, the economic consequences of resource allocation decisions, and the technical aspects of specific subjects as they relate to economic analysis.
An economics degree is excellent preparation for starting positions in countless business industries, and is not only a substitute for a business administration degree but also provides adequate preparation for a Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree. As you may or may not know, firms engaged in banking, government agencies, insurance, manufacturing, private firms consulting, securities and investment, and wholesale and retail trade hire economists to forecast economic trends, analyze and interpret the economic environment in which the firm operates, and interpret the effects of government policies on the firm. In addition to helping firms formulate strategies for developing and marketing products and services, such economists also analyze survey data, assess demand conditions, conduct price and cost analysis, forecast sales, and perform a variety of statistical work by gathering and processing economic data. Economics are also found in the actuarial department of banks, insurance companies, and other financial institutions as they assess risk and help evaluate the credibility of clients.
Development Economics and International Development
These economists apply subjects like economic development theory, industrialization, land reform, infrastructure development, investment policy, the role of governments and business in development, international development organizations, and the study of social, health, and environmental influences on economic development, to the study of economic development and its application to the problems of specific countries and regions.
These economists study the systematic mathematical and statistical analysis of economic phenomenon and problems. They would focus on economic statistics, optimization theory, cost/benefit analysis, price theory, economic modeling, or/and economic forecasting and evaluation.
These economists may do research, either on their own or for others. They use data to suggest a course of action for the government or for industry. Consultants sometimes hold administrative posts in government or business.
Government and Independent Agencies
The Department of Agriculture, Commerce, Labor, and State are the largest federal employers of economists. There are jobs for economists in the Congressional Budget Office and the Office of Management and Budget for the President and various regulatory commissions. The state and Local governments also provide ample opportunities for economists. The job descriptions of economists in the Bureau of Labor Statistics include analyzing data on prices, wages, employment, and productivity. Government economists in the US Department of Commerce study domestic production, distribution, and consumption of goods and services. Economists in the Federal Trade commission prepare industry analysis to help enforce federal statutes. Economists working in the Agency for International Development or the CIA may work as experts on overseas countries. At the state and local level, economists are more involved in state and local taxation issues, natural resource and environmental issues, budgetary expenditure analysis and developing good state and regional databases. Federal research economists are noted for original research in banking, regional economics, and monetary theory. International organizations like the World Bank, International Monetary Fund and the United Nations also provide tremendous opportunities for professional growth to first-rate economists. Although salaries in government are somewhat lower than those in the private sector, the work often deals with interesting public policy questions.
These economists examine business systems and the ways production and distribution methods affect these systems. They study prices, costs, wholesale and retail trade, government rulings, investment programs, and other forces on industry. They may direct their efforts to the making of goods (cars, for instance) of the processing of goods (such as logging). They may work in shipping and transport or in utility companies.
These economists apply topics like international trade theory, tariffs and quotas, commercial policy, trade factor flows, international finance and negotiation, and international payments and accounting policy, to the study and analysis of international commercial behavior and trade policy.
These economists deal with the movement of goods among nations. They study developments, such as social unrest, that affect this movement. They keep informed on tariffs, foreign exchange, worldwide investments, and transfer of capital.
These economists study the forces that affect the supply, demand, and organization of labor. They focus on employment, wages and hours, pensions, and insurance. They analyze management policies, labor legislation, and arbitration rulings. They study demographics and social changes that affect the labor market.
These economists analyze how changes in financial markets affect the banking business. With this knowledge they can suggest policies and methods to protect and to increase the earnings of the bank or financial institution. They study the methods banks use to create buying power and to control lending. They look at the ways economic activity affects interest rates and the buying power of money. These specialists study loans, investments, and institutional savings. They look at assets and liabilities. They study business cycles, money markets, and the effects of taxes on the economy. The Federal Reserve, the nation's central bank, employs numerous economists who play a critical role in researching, formulating, and establishing monetary policy.
These economists study the effects of local economic events on a population. These events include population growth and shift, job distribution, conservation of natural resources, and regional planning.
These economists study urban issues such as the growth and decline of cities, the local impact of national policies, and public services and finances. They examine urban renewal, new town growth, and measures to reduce urban poverty and crime.
An economics degree is also considered adequate preparation for fields such as law, journalism, or planning; it is in fact acceptable for all subjects where an advanced degree is required. Economists write and edit magazines, trade journals and newspapers. These publications interest the public as well as specialists. Lawyers who plan to practice corporate law or join the legal department of a government agency would find knowledge of economics helpful. Economic statisticians with government or private agencies, or actuaries with insurance firms are experts in both mathematics and economics. Diplomatic and consular staff or Foreign Service officers may deal with the economics of the nation to which they are posted.
Similar information can be obtained from Chronicle Guidance: Economists: Brief 233, G.O.E. 11.03.05; D.O.T. (4th ed.) 050; and ExPAN's Economics