What intrigues you about economics?


#1

What intrigues you about economics and why study it in university?


#2

For me, Economics provided a great window into humanity (that sounds a bit aetherial but bear with me). It explains everyday problems people face, and allows you to be more educated in forming opinions about problems not classically regarded as ‘economic’. If you take the housing crisis, for example, economics provides a great insight into the problem - the causes, and methods for rectifying.

Studying at University leads to a great many different paths. I know someone who studied it at UChicago and got drafted into Credit Suisse, and someone else who studied it at Stanford and now works for one of the top American-based economics firms. You can go into consulting - and also there are a huge number of constituent fields in economics.

As you probably know, macro and micro are sub-categories. In Macro, you can work as an analyst, work in public policy, teach etc. In Micro, you can work as a consultant or professor, and there are a huge number of specialisations (antitrust etc.). Economists often don’t just work with classic economics graphs either. They often are asked to testify in court and before the Commerce Commision with antitrust issues (protecting consumers in big-business operations).

Basically, Economics is one of those degrees that opens a huge number of different doors, even if you don’t plan on becoming an actual economist.


#3

I studied economics at Harvard and since falling academically in love with it when I was 17 and picked up AS Economics I haven’t looked back.

Here are my top 5 reasons:

  1. Economics applies to literally everything in a way that can’t be matched by virtually any other field - there are quality v quantity trade off models for having children (Professor Edward Glaeser), there is economic analysis of the value of the human life (compare the compensation of a miner to a job that employs similar types of people in safe physical labor and use the death rate in the risky job (mining) and the variance in compensation to back out the implied value of the life) and there is deep analysis of many kinds of decision making frameworks incorporating multiple variations (prospect theory, efficient, hyperbolic discounting)

  2. Economics is critical for success in business and politics - as a politician, the most important thing you do is empowering your constituents to find meaningful jobs. If your economy is doing badly, no matter how lovely your social message is, people will the economic and psychological pain of unemployment and underemployment and you won’t last very long. Being talented in the field of economics is probably the single most useful arrow you have in your quiver

  3. Economics is now going through fascinating integrations with neuroscience, computer science and psychology and has moved beyond simple characterizations of the economic decision maker. This trend is making the field substantially more nuanced and powerful as a predictive tool.

  4. Real economics necessitates a strong quantitative skill set combining everything from statistics (econometrics) to real analysis (foundational microecphonics) so you receive very strong training in math as you develop as an economist but with a practical lens.

  5. Economic analysis questions and probes many incorrect assumptions and gives you a lens to consider them critically. So many people have sweeping socially charged statements made from blind intuition. For example, that minimum wage always helps the most vulnerable. In many market structures, a minimum wage forces the most unskilled to compete with marginally more skilled people for a fixed amount of jobs. Some who is illiterate may not be competitive at a 15/HR price but if they can charge 5/HR they may become attractive and unemployable.