Economics has a reputation (but not among economists!) as a somewhat dry topic. It's a generalization that's wrong in several ways. First of all, economics isn't a single topic, but rather many topics. It's an approach that lends itself to many different fields, from microeconomics to industrial organization, government, econometrics, game theory and dozens of other fields.
You may not enjoy some of these fields, but if you are fascinated by the complexity of capitalism and would like to understand better how things work in a capitalist society, you'll probably find at least one of these areas that you'll really enjoy.
Terrific Job Opportunities for Economics Graduates
There are many opportunities for economics graduates. You are not guaranteed a good-paying job with an economics degree, but your chances are higher than in many other programs. With an economics degree, you can work in a variety of different fields from finance and banking to public policy, sales and marketing, civil service (government departments, the Federal Reserve, etc.), insurance and actuarial work. You can also go on to do further studies in economics, political science, business, or a variety of other fields. If you're certain your interest is in the business world, a business degree may also be a good fit, but an economics degree does open a lot of doors.
Economics Knowledge Is Useful at a Personal Level
When pursuing a degree in economics, you'll learn a lot of skills and knowledge that you can apply to other jobs or to your personal life. Learning about interest rates, exchange rates, economic indicators and equity markets can help you make better decisions about investing and obtaining mortgages. As computers become more and more important in both our business and private lives, being able to use data intelligently gives you a tremendous advantage over persons with fewer skills who make a lot of decisions on impulse.
Economists Understand Unintended Consequences
Economics teaches students how to understand and spot secondary effects and possible unintended consequences. Most economics problems have secondary effects - the deadweight loss from taxation is one such secondary effect. A government creates a tax to pay for some needed social program, but if the taxation is careless crafted, a secondary effect of that tax may be that it changes people's behavior, causing economic growth to slow. By learning more about economics and working on hundreds of economics problems, you will learn to spot secondary effects and unintended consequences in other areas. This can help you make better decisions about your personal life and make you more valuable to business; "what are the possible secondary effects from the proposed marketing campaign?" It likely won't help you get a job, but being able to spot and understand the importance of secondary effects, may help you to keep a job or earn a promotion that much faster.
Economics Provides an Understanding of How the World Works
You will learn more about how the world works. You will learn more about the impact decisions have on specific firms, entire industries, and on a national level. You will learn more about the impact of international trade, both good and bad. You will discover the effect government policies have on the economy and on employment; again both good and bad. It will help you make more informed decisions as both a consumer and as a voter. The country needs better-informed politicians. Economics is a very good way of improving public sector performance and Economics gives us all the tools to think of things more clearly and to understand the implications of assumptions we may be making.
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