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What Exactly is Economics?

Let’s start with what economics isn’t. Economics isn’t a meal ticket to make lots of money in the stock market, although economics helps you understand how stock markets and other markets work. Economics also isn’t a business degree, although economics teaches important business skills. Economics, first and foremost, is a social science. As such, economics helps to explain the mysteries of how people and society operate.

The field of economics rewards creative and curious thinkers. Whether you realize it or not, you already have a rich personal experience with economics. You make dozens of economic choices every week: how much to study, work, and spend; what courses to take; and what to do on Saturday night.

An economics major or minor draws on that experience to help understand how the economy works, not only for you personally but across the region, the country and the world. Economics builds models to explain why people behave the way they do. And economists use these models, in conjunction with their observations of the world, to analyze and explain why things happen the way they do.

Economic theory helps you cut through the hype of the 24-hour news cycle. What are the implications of not raising the ceiling on the national debt? Why is the national debt so high? Who owns the national debt? What are the “true” economic costs of the national debt? Ultimately, studying economics prepares you to deal with a rapidly changing world and develop skills valued by employers.

With the major changes that have taken place in the world of work, the rapid changes in technology and globalization, it is not uncommon for individuals to make several career changes during their lives. Today’s hot specialized degree has often become tomorrow’s target for downsizing. Companies that were relatively unchallenged in the domestic market have suffered because of global competition. As a result, experts in career development recommend seriously considering a flexible degree such as economics.

What Famous People Have a Degree in Economics?

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Kathleen Burns

Administrative Assistant, Economics
Cushing 103A



Anthony Laramie

Professor and Chair, Economics