Why Economics?

Economics is a social science that provides you with a great mix of analytical and quantitative skills that open a lot of opportunities in a vast array of fields within the public and private sector. It addresses a vast array of topics and potential interests, but at its heart, it provides the tools for the analysis of and public engagement with a variety of important issues of public debate.

Economics opens a lot of opportunities in a vast array of fields. These range from the private financial sector to the public sector, or even education and nonprofit sectors. Many economists find positions as  investment bankers, statisticians, advisers to policy-makers, NGO leaders, teachers, budget analysts, financial analysts, trade specialists, programme analysts, insurance brokers, professors, revenue agents, consultants, and economic analysts.

If you are thinking of pursuing graduate school after your undergraduate studies instead, it is also possible to shift gears from economics and attend graduate school in many other fields in social sciences, but not the other way around. For example, economics is a strong background for further studies in law, business, graduate work in economics, public administration, health management, hospital administration, urban affairs, transportation studies, etc.  People can also often transfer to political science and other fields in the social sciences if you should wish.


A few interesting links on studying economics:

Why major in Economics? (Merrimack College)

What famous people have a degree in Economics? (Merrimack College)

Why you should major in Economics (College Confidential)

Economics for college students (AEAweb)

Want to Be Stinking Rich? Major in Economics. (Slate)

A career in Economics…it’s much more than you think (American Economic Association)


Preliminary reading

For those wishing to gain further insight into what economists study, we suggest looking at one or more of the following popular books or others like them:

  • A V Banerjee and E Duflo Poor Economics: Barefoot Hedge-fund Managers, DIY Doctors and the Surprising Truth about Life on Less than $1 a Day (Penguin, 2012)
  • T Harford The Undercover Economist (Abacus, 2007) and The Logic of Life (Little Brown, 2009)
  • P Krugman End This Depression Now! (W W Norton, 2012)
  • S D Levitt and S J Dubner Freakonomics (Penguin, 2007) and Superfreakonomics (Penguin, 2010)

It is also a very good idea to have a look at one or more economics textbooks, to have a clear idea of what the serious university study of the subject involves, which will differ from these popular presentations. Although the texts and editions listed below are currently recommended for the first year, other editions of these books and other university-level textbooks are also entirely valid for this first investigation.

  • N G Mankiw, Macroeconomics (7th edition, Worth, Publishers, 2010)
  • W Morgan, M L Katz and H Rosen, Microeconomics (2nd edition, McGraw-Hill, 2009)