Economics focuses on the study of the production, distribution and consumption of goods and services and their impact on the economy. Economics has been and continues to be one of the most important elements of domestic and international policy making in topics that range from educational organization to environment analysis. There are two fundamental ways of studying economics, at the micro level and at the macro level. Microeconomics focuses on the specific and individual aspects of the economy while macroeconomics studies the overall general aspects and processes of the economy. There is also another interesting area of study that economics has increased in demand over the last few decades that involved the statistical analysis of economic theories and practices known as econometrics. Due to the advancement of information technology, so has the demand for econometrics, thus making it a highly marketable skill.
Advanced degrees in economics can lead to an MA, MS or PhD. Most economic programs include nine traditional fields of study: comparative economic systems, econometrics, economic development, environmental and natural resource economics, economic thought, international trade and finance, labor, monetary theory and financial institutions, and public finance. There are master degree options which include the ability to combine economics with environmental analysis and practice as well as business economics. Any one of these combinations could also lead you into the field of policy analysis and policy making, too. It’s important to investigate several programs to determine which will be the best fit for you.
For more general information about economics, visit the Association for Social Economics website.
In the International Context
Economic systems do not function in a vacuum, and when there is a crisis in one corner of the world the effects are transmitted globally. There are a variety of jobs and organizations that work both domestically and abroad to assess and evaluate international economic systems and policies to ensure positive economic benefits are distributed equally and negative economic effects do not pose a threat to local and global economies. Working internationally in this field could put you as a Policy Analyst for the World Bank or at the International Monetary Fund, or working as a Foreign Service Officer for the USA International Development Agency (USAID). There are also a number of opportunities in smaller organizations like the National Democratic Institute and the Brookings Institute where you could work on policy analysis and research development with specific topic and regional foci.
Job Opportunities In the Field
There are a number of diverse positions in both the public and private sectors available to you if you decide to pursue a degree in economics. Some examples of potential jobs include research and administrative positions with government agencies and international organizations, teaching, law, banks and financial institutions, as well as non-profit organizations.
For information about pursuing a career in economics, visit the EconJobs website.