Career opportunities available in economics

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Many parents choose economics as a non-scientific field of study for their children. Students also say they are aiming for a “career in economics”. But economics is not a professional course and there are no entry level jobs for “economists”. It is a social science subject just as physics or biology are scientific subjects and can at best be a gateway to certain areas of work. Here’s a quick primer on the economy and the avenues it opens up.

What is the economy?

Economics analyzes the behavior of people, institutions, and countries to create models that measure and predict optimal prices, actions, and outcomes in almost any situation. Some economic analysis tools include price, demand, supply, opportunity cost, marginal utility, and assumptions.

An economist’s way of thinking can help structure almost any decision by placing important factors, stakeholders, and options into a neat model. This approach can be used for just about anything: building a house, throwing a party, investing in stocks, or even writing a movie script.

Areas of specialization

Economics is a highly academic subject, and to be considered an “economist” you have to do a doctorate. Typically, undergraduate courses don’t require a specialization, but here are some of the great areas you can consider if you want to become an economist.

Microeconomics studies the action of individuals and firms to determine prices, production and consumption in single markets. Supply and demand, game theory, monopolies, oligopolies, and nudge theory are some highlights in this area.

Macroeconomics studies the interactions of institutions such as governments, banks, countries and businesses. It predicts and optimizes economic output, inflation, interest, exchange rates, and trade.

Development economics analyzes the impact of policies, programs, grants, and global events on developing and low-income countries. The aim is to advise governments, banks and institutions to develop policies and programs that create the fastest or most equitable growth. The main areas of research are theories of poverty, inequality and growth.

Econometrics applies tools and statistical models to analyze data in order to test and optimize models and relationships between economic factors.

A simple analysis can be the impact of price changes on demand across brands, products and regions. A more complex analysis may be the impact of the provision of free education on employment and salary levels in the country.

Behavioral economics combines elements of economics and psychology to understand and predict actual human behavior. Are people more likely to donate money for education or health care? When does a monetary incentive motivate people versus an emotional incentive or disciplinary action?

Career choice

Investment and financing: Financial professionals swear by an education in economics when it comes to understanding the factors that impact the value of a business or product, and creating and using models for the decision making. Courses in finance, risk management, or even data analysis help build a career as an investment analyst or investment banker. With cryptocurrencies and blockchain changing the face of financial transactions, microeconomists will find plenty of opportunities for growth.

Data analysis: Training in econometrics is very useful in data analysis careers, particularly in policy making, think tanks, finance and investing. Several undergraduate courses combine economics and data analytics to analyze data to create results in government, fintech, marketing, or even tech careers.

Government and Policy Development: Economists with advanced training in macroeconomics, development economics, and international economics are well equipped to use these skills for careers as decision-makers and economic analysts working with governments, think tanks, or multilateral organizations like the World Bank, the IMF or the WTO.

Academics: The economy commands the fastest growing research budgets in universities and governments, as research often uses real data to highlight problems and propose solutions to current and proposed policies.

Business: Economists are equipped to plan pricing strategies, advertising and marketing strategies, and writing to appeal to the media. A degree in economics combined with a degree in commerce would open up all management careers.

The writer is the founder and CEO of Inomi Learning, a career and academic guidance company. info@inomi.in

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