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Are you interested in the know-how of national and international economies? Want to delve deeper into how economies work? Then think of pursuing your higher studies in the economics subject. This article is for all economics enthusiasts who wish to learn and make a career in economics.  

Let’s understand step-by-step about the economics subject and what the various branches of economics are.

What is Economics?

Let us start with a simple definition of economics: Economics a branch of social sciences that studies how the scarce resources of the world are being utilized and distributed among individuals and organizations and how people make choices to get what they want. It is defined as the “study of scarcity and choice” and includes the effects of production, distribution, and consumption of goods and services in an economy.

Alfred Marshall, one of the most influential economists, in his textbook Principles of Economics, explains the definition of Economics in a more simplified way. He says:

Economics Subject: A Comprehensive Guide on Top courses; List of #100 Colleges, Job Opportunities and more 1
Definition of Economics Subject by Alfred Marshall

What do Economists do?

  • Economists study and research the ways people, nations, and businesses utilize scarce resources (resources that are limited or in short supply) such as land, labor, raw materials, and machines to produce goods and services. They analyze the costs and benefits of distributing, producing, and consuming goods and services.
  • In general terms, economists research and study how the rupee’s fluctuation against foreign currencies affects import and export markets, how government policies regarding taxes, subsidies, etc.effect the consumers, what economic activities change or influence consumer behavior, how markets change, how to solve the problem of unemployment, what economic factors affect and disturb the labor and migrants population and so on.
  • The research, collect, and analyze data, monitor economic trends, and develop forecasts on topics and issues relating to energy, costs, inflation, interest rates, rents, imports/ exports, employment, GDP, and so on.  
  • Depending on the specialization they choose to study, Economists devise and develop methods to study the data they need. For example, economists may use sampling techniques to conduct a survey or use econometric modeling techniques to develop forecasts.

It’s time to dig a little deeper in the economics subject and know about the various branches of Economics.

Branches of Economics

Economics subject is a diverse field of social sciences that combines sociology, politics, psychology, and history. As a branch of social science, it is primarily concerned with the behavior and relationships of people and societies and is applied to the real world to study and analyze the activities and interactions between people, markets, businesses, and governments.  

Let us understand each of the branches of economics subject one by one:

  1. Macroeconomics is the branch of economics that studies the behavior and performance of an economy as a whole, meaning it focuses on the sum total of changes in the economy such as GDP, unemployment, national income, price indices, and the interrelations among the different sectors of the economy.
    The study also focuses on questions such as: what causes unemployment? What influences or impacts growth? What causes inflation? Etc. In short, macroeconomics attempts to measure how the economy is performing to understand what factors drive it upwards or downwards. 
  2. Microeconomics is the branch of economics that studies what choices people make, what factors influence their choices, what other aspects change consumer behavior, and how their decisions affect the markets by influencing the price, demand as well as supply. It is the study of an individual’s behavior in decision making and distribution of resources.
  3. Behavioral Economics approach psychology and economics to explore and understand why people make irrational decisions and how their behavior does not follow the predictions of economic models. Decisions such as how much to spend on lunch, whether to go for higher education, how much money to save or invest, etc. and other decisions that most people make in their lives. Behavioral economists try to explain why consumers decided choice A instead of choice B.
  4. Business Economics is the field of applied economics that uses economic theory and quantitative methods to study and analyze business enterprises. Business Economists study and evaluate the business economic aspects that directly impact the growth and development of the organization. The study focuses on how and why corporations expand, what is the impact of entrepreneurs, how large corporations interact, and what is the role of governments in regulation.
  5. Computational Economics uses advanced computer-based economic modeling for solving analytically and statistically- formulated economic problems. (Computational modeling refers to the process of mathematical modeling which is carried out on a computer to predict the behavior or the outcome of a real-world or an objective system).
    Economists use advanced modeling techniques like machine learning, evolutionary algorithms, (neural) network modeling; computational aspects of dynamic systems, optimization, optimal control, games, equilibrium modeling; hardware and software developments, modeling languages, etc. to understand and solve economic problems.
  6. Developmental Economics focuses on improving the fiscal, economic, and social state of affairs in developing countries. In simpler words, it studies the transformation or the development of emerging nations into more prosperous economies. Developmental economists determine to what extent the growing population impacts the development, what is the role of education and healthcare in the development, and what leads to the structural transformation of economies.
    This branch of economics subject considers factors such as health, education, working conditions, national and international policies, and market conditions with a focus on boosting growth and development in the developing countries.
 Economics subject: Various branches
Economics subject branches
  1. Econometrics and Quantitative Economics is a branch of economics that studies and analyses data using various statistical methods to test or develop economic theories. These statistical methods depend on statistical assumptions to quantify and analyze economic theories. This field of study uses tools such as frequency distributions, probability, correlation analysis, etc.
    The initial steps in econometric methodology include obtaining and analyzing data sets and defining a specific hypothesis which further explains the nature of the set. Now, this data set can be anything: historical prices for a stock index, unemployment rate, inflated rate, or even the observations collected from a survey of consumer finances. So, if you want to understand the relationship between the annual price change of a stock and the unemployment rate or lower GDP and rising taxes, then you would collect data sets of both the variables. You would first define your hypothesis and then go on to study these different data.
  2. Political Economics is the study of how several economic theories such as capitalism, socialism, and communism work in the real world. Political economics draws on economy, law, and politics and their interdependence and how these economic theories impact, develop and influence the economy of nations. It can also be understood as the study of how a country is governed or regulated accounting to the interests and influences of both political and economic factors.
  3. Environmental Economics is that area of economics subject which deals with environmental issues and the relationship of the economy and the environment. Environmental economists study to determine how the economy and environmental policies influence each other.

    There are environmental costs of economic growth and economists study how economic policies could act in favor of environmental policies. For example, if a state is trying to adapt to clean energy, the government can enforce a limit on carbon emissions or offer subsidies to companies that use renewable power sources.
  4. Financial Economics is a branch of economics subject that analyses the utilization and distribution of resources in the markets in which decisions are made under uncertainty. Making financial decisions depends on numerous external factors such as time, risk, opportunity costs, etc. this branch of economics evaluates how certain factors impact decision making.
  5. Geo-economics also called economic geography is the study of the location, distribution, and spatial structure of economic activities all across the world. In other words, it is a combination of economic and geographic factors relating to international trade. Economists seek to find answers to questions like how geographic factors, internal and external trade, international politics, and other external factors influence the economic standing of nations.
  6. Health Economics is concerned with the issues related to the efficiency, effectiveness, value, and behavior in both production and consumption of health and healthcare. Health economists study in determining how health outcomes and lifestyle patterns can be improved, what influences or impact health, how healthcare systems are made more economical and feasible, and so on.
  7. Industrial Economics is the study of industries, firms, and markets. It analyses and understands the levels at which capacity, output, and prices are set; how much firms invest in research and development (R&D); and how different or similar are products from each other, etc.
  8. Transport Economics is a branch of economics subject that deals with the allocation of resources within the transport segment. It studies the movement of people and goods over space and time.
  9. International Economics deals with the impact upon economic activity from the international differences in productive resources and consumer preferences as well as the international institutions that affect them. It studies the patterns and outcomes of trade, investment, and transactions between the residents of different countries.
  10. Labor Economics studies the functioning and dynamics of the markets for wage labor. (Labor is a measure of the work done by humans and wage is the amount paid to them in exchange). Labor economics also studies the factors influencing the efficacy of workers, their employment between different industries and occupations, and the determination of their pay/wages.
  11. Monetary Economics is a branch of economics subject that studies the various competing theories of money i.e. it provides a structure for analyzing money and considers its functions such as the medium of exchange, store of value and unit of account, and much more. It also studies the effects of monetary systems, including regulation of money and related financial institutions.

Why study Economics subject?

Now that you are fully equipped with the quite simple definition of economics and the numerous branches economics subject has, let us shift our focus over the questions many students like you may have: How can you know if studying economics is right for you? Why study economics at all?

Well the answer is simple!

At its core, Economics is the study of how individuals, groups, organizations and entire nations manage and utilize resources. Students who go for economics degree not only acquire the skills really needed to understand and solve complex markets issues, but gain strong analytical and problem-solving skills.

Take a look at some of the common skills you gain from an economics degree:

Skills learned from Economics Subject
Skills learned from Economics subject

Economics subject is a broad field of social science and students graduating with an economics degree acquire an expansive set of transferable skills that are highly in demand in the workplace. Whether you want to pursue a specific career in economics or wish to take a broader approach, the skills you gain today would not only make you ready for the future of workplaces but teach you to think like an economist.

If you want to know how to think like an economist or want to add on the most in-demand industry skills, then jump right on to iDX’s Young Economists Program and upgrade your skillset on the go.

Top 30 Courses in Economics Subject

Some of the most common degree courses in economics are:

  1. B.A. Economics
  2. B.A. (Hons) Business Economics
  3. B.Sc. Economics
  4. B.Sc. (Hons) Business Economics
  5. B.B.E. Business Economics
  6. Master of Arts in Applied Economics
  7. Master of Arts in Economics
  8. Master of Science in Economics
  9. Masters in International and Development Economics
  10. Master of Science in Econometrics and Quantitative Economics
  11. Master of Science in Finance and Economics
  12. Master of Science in Policy Economics
  13. Master’s Quantitative Economics
  14. M.B.E. Business Economics
  15. Master’s Economics (Economic Development)
  16. Ph.D. in Quantitative Economics
  17. Ph.D. in Business Economics
  18. M.A. Economics
  19. M Phil Economics
  20. Master’s in  Monetary Economics
  21. Master of Health Economics (MHS)
  22. Master’s in Global Health Economics
  23. M.Sc. in Financial Economics
  24. M.S. Quantitative Financial Economics
  25. M.Sc. in Geopolitics and Geo-economics
  26. Master in Economic Security, Geopolitics and Intelligence
  27. M.Sc. International Political Economy
  28. Master of Political Economy
  29. M.Sc. Developmental Economics
  30. Master of Science in Behavioral and Computational Economics

List of Top 100 Indian Colleges/Universities offering courses in Economics subject

There a pool of colleges and universities in India and all across the world that offer economics degree at various undergraduate, Post Graduate and Doctoral level. Let us take a look at some of the Indian colleges and universities offering these degree programs:

  1. Jawaharlal Nehru University
  2. Delhi School of Economics
  3. Shri Ram College Of Commerce (SRCC), New Delhi
  4. University of Delhi
  5. Indian Statistical Institute, Delhi  
  6. Jadavpur University
  7. Presidency College Kolkata
  8. Sri Guru Gobind Singh College of Commerce, Delhi       
  9. University of Calcutta DAV Institute of Management Faridabad           
  10. College of Vocational Studies Delhi University   
  11. Aryabhatta College          
  12. S.G.T.B. Khalsa College, Delhi     
  13. Kurukshetra University                
  14. Jamia Millia Islamia Madras School of Economics, Tamil Nadu
  15. Chaudhary Devi Lal University, Haryana             
  16. Kamla Rai College
  17. Jai Prakash Vishwavidyalaya 
  18. Sri Venkateswara College
  19. Babasaheb Bhimrao Ambedkar Bihar University
  20. TERI University New Delhi
  21. Loyola College, Chennai
  22. Symbiosis School of Economics
  23. B. D. Arts College for Women, Gujarat   
  24. Magadh University          
  25. Thiruvalluvar University              
  26. M E S College of Arts Science & Commerce, Karnataka
  27. Pithubar Girls’ Degree College, Assam   
  28. Ratnapith College, Assam
  29. Jorhat College, Jorhat      
  30. Vimala College Thrissur, Kerala  
  31. MVM Madhav Science College, Madhya Pradesh          
  32. Shri Bhikhabhai Patel Arts College, Gujarat        
  33. Kalicharam Degree College, Uttar Pradesh        
  34. Maulana Azad National Urdu University (Lucknow)       
  35. Acharya Institute of Management and Science
  36. Indian Institute of Psychology and Research Bangalore 
  37. Gokhale Institute of Politics & Economics           
  38. St. Xavier’s College, Mumbai
  39. Kottureshwara Degree College Kottur, Karnataka
  40. Christ University, Bangalore
  41. Chandigarh University
  42. Ashoka University
  43. Fergusson College, Pune
  44. NIMS University, Jaipur
  45. Jain University, Pune
  46. Mahila Vidyalaya Degree College                       
  47. St. Joseph’s college
  48. Birla Institute of Technology and Sciences Pilani (Goa)  
  49. Krea University
  50. School of Interwoven Arts and Sciences Punjab School of Economics        
  51. Department of Economics Krantiguru Shyamji Krishna Verma Kachchh University      
  52. Ambedkar University Delhi (Kashmere Gate)     
  53. Department of Economics, University of Calicut
  54. Centre for Development Studies Thiruvananthapuram  
  55. Maulana Azad National Urdu University (Srinagar)        
  56. TPS College Patna
  57. TERI University New Delhi           
  58. Department of Germanic & Romance Studies Delhi University 
  59. Government City College, Telangana     
  60. Government Science College Bangalore 
  61. The Oxford College of Arts, Karnataka   
  62. T.T.S.C.G & T.T.C.M.A Government Degree & P.G College        
  63. Government Arts & Science College, Kozikhode 
  64. Parul Institute of Arts, Parul University   
  65. Shri Bhagawan Mahaveer Jain College   
  66. DharmapuramGnanambigai Government Arts College for Women      
  67. Indira Gandhi Institute of Development Research          
  68. Alphonsa College, Pala, Kerala    
  69. Indian Institute of Science Education & Research Bhopal          
  70. KMM Government Women’s College     
  71. Indian Institute of Foreign Trade Kolkata
  72. St. Stephen’s College
  73. Al Ameen Degree College, Karnataka     
  74. Agrawal P. G. College Jaipur       
  75. St. Xavier’s College Kolkata
  76. North Gauhati College     
  77. Agra College        
  78. Ambah Post Graduate College, Madhya Pardesh           
  79. St. Joseph’s College for Women, Andhra Pradesh          
  80. Babubhai B. Avichal Arts & Commerce College 
  81. S.K.P. Government Degree College Guntaka, Andhra Pradesh   
  82. Gujarat Arts and Commerce College      
  83. Sardar Patel Institute of Economics & Social Research  
  84. Holy Cross Institute of Management & Technology, Kozhikode 
  85. Chitamber School of Humanities and Social Sciences
  86. C. B. Patel Arts College
  87. B. Barooah College, Assam         
  88. Jawaharlal Nehru Medical College Belgaum, Karnataka           
  89. Sibsagar College Sibsagar, Assam           
  90. SN College, Cherthala      
  91. MES Kalladi College, Kerala        
  92. St. Teresa’s College Ernakulam, Kerala  
  93. Rajah R.S.R.K. Ranga Rao Degree College, Andhra Pradesh      
  94. Dr B R Ambedkar Memorial Government Arts & Science College, Kozhikode  
  95. Sri Sathya Sai College for Women Bhubaneswar
  96. Christian College, Chengannur, Kerala   
  97. Kottureshwara Degree College Kottur    
  98. St. Michael’s College Cherthala, Kerala             
  99. The Bhopal School of Social Sciences      
  100. Sree Narayana College Tottada

Top 25 International Colleges/ Universities offering courses in Economics subject

According to Top Universities, some of the top International colleges/ universities offering economics degree are as follows:

  1. Harvard University
  2. Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)
  3. Stanford University
  4. University of California, Berkeley (UCB)
  5. University of Chicago       
  6. The London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE)
  7. Princeton University
  8. Yale University
  9. University of Oxford
  10. University of Cambridge
  11. Columbia University
  12. Northwestern University
  13. University of Pennsylvania
  14. University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA)
  15. New York University (NYU)
  16. Bocconi University
  17. UCL
  18. National University of Singapore (NUS)
  19. University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
  20. The University of California, San Diego (UCSD)
  21. University of Toronto
  22. Duke University
  23. The University of Tokyo
  24. The University of Melbourne
  25. The Australian National University

Job opportunities and Future Prospects

A career in economics has expanded enormously majorly because of globalization and rapid economic development. The growth of any business or organization as well as a nation depends upon the economic policies undertaken. As global economies are coming together, the rise in demand for economic researchers, analysts, consultants, and strategists who are well qualified to understand the changing economic trends and other forces would see an upward trend.  

With an economics degree, students can find a number of exciting career options to choose from. Depending on what economics subject you major in, some of the career options you may find in economics:

  1. Economist
  2. Business Economist
  3. International economist
  4. Labor Economist
  5. Financial risk analyst
  6. Political economist
  7. Behavioral economist
  8. Geo-economist
  9. Health economist
  10. Environmental economist
  11. Data analyst
  12. Financial planner
  13. Economic researcher
  14. Financial consultant
  15. Investment analyst
  16. Market Research Analyst
  17. Economic Consultant
  18. Credit Analyst
  19. Financial Analyst
  20. Equity Research Analyst

Apart from the above job roles, with an economics degree, you could also work as Lecturer or Associate Professor in public/private colleges and universities.

Read more about UGC NET: Exam, Admission, Eligibility criteria, Detailed Syllabus

How to think like an Economist?

Thinking like an economist may seem like skill with just having the ability to solve problems of the marketplace. But, in fact, it is more than that. To build or develop the thinking of an economist, the skills gained are not just limited to your professional workplace, but this type of thinking can be applied in numerous other areas outside of an economics field.

Think like an Economist
Think like an Economist

Students leaning to build a thinking skill like an Economist can learn how to avoid irrational or illogical decision-making. At its core, thinking like an economist means evaluating and calculating the facts without letting personal opinion or logicalities to affect the decision.

As economists, you would learn the fundamentals of economic theory that individuals, organizations, and governments only have limited resources and must decide how and where those resources will be allocated. As economists, you would evaluate the “cost” of individuals and the societies to determine the best alternatives or choices out of limited and scarce resources.

Summing Up

Learning to think like an economist would not only add great value to your career aspirations but will also make complex decision making easier. One way you can obtain the thinking skills of an economist is to enroll in the Young Economist Program that teaches you economic thinking and how to apply it in your everyday life. iDX’s online Young Economist Program teaches students all of the necessary thinking skills to solve real-world problems.

Useful Links

  1. Know more about economics subject Delhi School of Economics
  2. Get all details about the B.A. Economics subject at SRCC
  3. Centre for Economic Studies at Jawaharlal Nehru University
  4. Check out courses in economics subject at Harvard University
  5. Find out all about economics subject at DOE Stanford University

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