Last Updated on June 3, 2022
Economics, at its very heart, is the study of people. It seeks to explain what drives human behaviour, 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.
Right here on infolearners, you are privy to a litany of relevant information on best economics phd programs in the world, best undergraduate economics programs, advantages of studying economics, best economics schools in europe, and so much more. Take out time to visit our catalog for more information on similar topics.
What Is Economics?
Economics is a social science concerned with the production, distribution, and consumption of goods and services. It studies how individuals, businesses, governments, and nations make choices about how to allocate resources. Economics focuses on the actions of human beings, based on assumptions that humans act with rational behavior, seeking the most optimal level of benefit or utility. The building blocks of economics are the studies of labor and trade. Since there are many possible applications of human labor and many different ways to acquire resources, it is the task of economics to determine which methods yield the best results.
ADVANTAGES OF STUDYING ECONOMICS
1. You’ll Expand Your Vocabulary
Whether it’s scarcity (limited resources), opportunity cost (what must be given up to obtain something else), or equilibrium (the price at which demand equals supply), an economics course will give you fluency in fundamental terms needed to understand how markets work. Even if you don’t use these words often in your current role, studying these economic terms will give you a better understanding of market dynamics as a whole and how they apply to your organization.
2. You’ll Put New Terms into Practice
Economics isn’t just learning a fancy set of words, it’s actually using them to develop a viable business strategy. When you understand these terms, you can use theories and frameworks like Porter’s Five Forces and SWOT analyses to assess situations and make a variety of economic decisions for your organization, like whether to pursue a bundled or unbundled pricing model or the best ways to maximize revenues.
3. You’ll Understand Your Own Spending Habits
Economics will teach you about how your organization and its market behaves, but you’ll also gain insight into your own spending habits and values. For example, Willingness to Pay (WTP) is the maximum amount someone is willing to pay for a good or service. There’s frequently a gap between hypothetical and actual WTP, and learning about it will help you decode your own behavior and enable you to make economically sound decisions.
For Shamari Benton, the concepts he learned in Economics for Managers opened his eyes to how everyday decisions are infused with economic calculations and principles.
“A simple grocery store visit becomes filled with economic references and analytical ponders,” Benton says.
4. You’ll Understand the Nuances of the Field
Many people think of economics as just curves, models, and relationships, but in reality, economics is much more nuanced. Much of economic theory is based on assumptions of how people behave rationally, but it’s important to know what to do when those assumptions fail. Learning about cognitive biases that affect our economic decision-making processes arms you with the tools to predict human behavior in the real world, whether people act rationally or irrationally.
5. You’ll Learn How to Leverage Economic Tools
Learning economic theory is one thing, but developing the tools to make business decisions is another. Economics will teach you the basics and also give you concrete tools for analysis. For example, conjoint analysis is a statistical approach to measuring consumer demand for specific product features. This tool will allow you to get at the surprisingly complicated feature versus price tradeoffs that consumers make every day.
For example, imagine you work for Apple Inc. and you want to know what part of the iPhone you should improve: Battery life, screen size, or camera. A conjoint analysis will let you know which improvements customers care about and which are worth the company’s time and money.
6. You’ll Be Better-Prepared for Graduate School
In addition to helping you make better decisions in both your personal and professional life, learning economics is also beneficial if you’re considering a graduate business degree. Studying economics can equip you with the problem-solving skills and technical knowledge needed to prepare for an MBA.
An MBA typically includes courses in finance, accounting, management, marketing, and economics, so if you do decide that an MBA is right for you, you’ll be one step ahead. Furthermore, with a foundational knowledge of economics, you’ll be able to use economic theories and frameworks to decide if graduate school is worth the investment.
7. You’ll Improve Your Career Prospects
An education in economics can improve your employability in a variety of industries. According to the World Economic Forum’s Future of Jobs Report, analytical thinking and complex problem-solving skills top the list of skills that employers will find increasingly important by 2025, both of which can be gained by studying economics.
In addition, many careers require knowledge of economic concepts, models, and relationships. Some possible career paths for economics students include finance, banking, insurance, politics, and healthcare administration. You’ll also be able to further your career in your current industry, as an understanding of the economics that power your industry can help you to be more effective in your role.
Is economics a good college major?
If you’re wondering whether economics is a good major, you can rest assured that it can very well be. In fact, a recent Forbes article named economics as #10 in their list of best master’s degrees. This subject can offer a great deal of value and a solid base for a variety of professions.
Best Undergraduate Economics Programs
1. University of Michigan
Economics is the foundation of a variety of career opportunities, which has led many Michigan graduates on to successful careers in business, government, law, and education. In pursuing an economics concentration, students develop analytical skills, a strong quantitative background, and clarity and precision of thought and expression. Through this curriculum, students are prepared for graduate or professional studies in fields such as law, business administration, urban planning, social work, consumer advocacy, and natural resource management. Students are encouraged to be a part of the Michigan Economics Society and participate in undergraduate research.
Starting salary: $54,000
2. University of Texas at Austin
Located in the gorgeous capitol of Austin, the UT Austin’s Economics Department is the largest department within the College of Liberal Arts with over 1,700 undergraduate majors. The undergraduate program prepares students for professional careers in industry, finance, government, law, and teaching with over 50 sections of undergraduate courses. In this B.A. program, students will study the interaction of theory, data, and policy and cover a wide range of issues. Students are taught to think objectively and independently, apply math knowledge, and develop their writing skills. Students are also encouraged to become a part of the campus life through organizations such as the Texas Economics Association (TEA) and the Omicron Delta Epsilon (ODE).
Starting salary: $50,400
3. University of Virginia
The undergraduate program in Economics at University of Virginia emphasizes applications of economic theory and statistical analysis to a wide variety of real-world events and arrangements in both the private sector and the public sector. Most graduates from this program will go directly into the workforce. On average, there are about 600 Economics majors. Intro classes start large (over 500 students) and higher level courses typically have 40-60 students.
Starting salary: $51,000
4. Georgia Institute of Technology
The B.S. in Economics degree at Georgia Tech requires a background in mathematics and statistics but lays a wide foundation, focusing on building skill sets leading to careers in management, the public sector, academics, the professions, and toward advanced degrees. This program includes 24 semester hours of required coursework and an additional 9 hours of upper-division economics electives. Students are also encouraged to use an additional 12 hours of non-major cluster electives and 20 hours of free electives to complete course sequences in Management, International Affairs, Public Policy, Mathematics, Statistics, or Industrial Engineering.
Starting salary: $60,700
5. University of California Berkeley
Founded in 1903, UC Berkeley was one of the first in the United States to name a Department of Economics. The department is consistently ranked among the world’s top research departments, is globally acclaimed, and known for creativity and advancement of women in academia. Those students that go on to earn Ph.Ds have been hired at Harvard, Yale, MIT, the U.S. Federal Reserve, and the World Bank. It also boasts five Nobel Prizes and five John Bates Clark Medals. The department is home to over 1,000 students who are encouraged to study abroad, participate in research, and take advantage of the many opportunities Berkeley has to offer.
Starting salary: $54,700
6. University of North Carolina
The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill provides a massive amount of programs to undergraduates, including but not limited to an undergraduate honors program, the Omicron Delta Epsilon international honorary society, internships, the UNC Economics Club, participation in the College Fed Challenge, and a joint degree program with the National University of Singapore.
Students choosing to establish a major in Economics devote a minimum of 24 hours to Economics courses out of the 120 hours required for graduation. Base courses use Economics 101 as a springboard to more detailed analysis. Students considering doing graduate work in economics should take additional math courses and/or major or minor in mathematics.
Starting salary: $44,200
7. Purdue University
Purdue offers two degrees: a B.S. through the Management School and a B.A. through the College of Liberal Arts, as well as an Economics honors Program and a Minor in Economics.The B.A. degree is for students seeking a degree in Economics in the context of a broader liberal arts education. Financial aid and study abroad programs are both available through their website. Post graduation, about 75 percent go into the workforce and 25 percent pursue further schooling.
Starting salary: $54,200
8. Texas A&M University
Texas A&M is located in Bryan/College Station, which has been named the #1 college town in the U.S. (www.livability.com). An attractive list of qualities pulls in many undergraduates, including but not limited to student-friendly housing near campus, efficient public transportation, low tuition rates, inexpensive living, numerous parks, athletic fields, and recreational centers.
Texas A&M offers a BA and BS in Economics, as well as M.S. and Ph.D. programs. In the undergraduate program, you will first take foundational courses in microeconomics, macroeconomics, and mathematics. Following is statistics and intermediate economic theory courses, and finally upper-level elective courses.
Starting salary: $51,900
9. University of Florida
The Economics faculty at Florida has broad intellectual interests in theoretical and applied research. Students can engage in weekly seminar series and research projects that are supported by funding from a variety of federal, state and private sources. UF offers at B.A. in Economics, which is appropriate for students intending to pursue advanced degrees in the social sciences and for enrollment in professional schools of management, law, or public administration.
Starting salary: $47,600
10. Massachusetts Institute of Technology
The undergraduate major in economics at MIT begins with a two-semester introductory sequence that explores theoretical and applied topics in microeconomics and macroeconomics. Additional training in microeconomics, macroeconomics, statistics, and econometrics follows. The undergraduate program is heavy on research and writing and even offers students the chance to publish original papers.
Innovation is consistent and new courses are constantly being added. Students can look forward to the Undergraduate Economics Association and the Cambridge-MIT exchange program. Due to MIT’s challenging intellectual environment, about 20 percent of MIT economics undergrads enter a graduate program in economics or finance.
Starting salary: $68,600