College: Andrew Young School of Policy Studies
Degrees: B.A., B.S., minor, M.A., Ph.D.
See Also: Andrew Young School of Policy Studies
Economics is about knowing about how the economy works – and why sometimes it doesn’t. It involves deciding the best way to use resources – whether money, people, land or machines – and it’s great preparation for a variety of careers. Economics majors learn how to analyze complex questions relevant to business, government, and nonprofit organizations. Entire courses are devoted to the important and controversial issues of today, including globalization, welfare reform, environmental problems, health care for the poor and elderly, school privatization, arts and entertainment, and urban issues like congestion and race. Among the many other topics discussed in economics courses are the minimum wage, recessions, unemployment, inflation, racial and gender discrimination, taxes, crime, the distribution of income, housing policy, the Federal Reserve System, economic growth, Social Security and Medicare-Medicaid… and the list goes on.
Employers and graduate schools find the techniques used in economic analysis extremely useful. So economics majors have all kinds of careers. In the private sector, economists are employed in economic and marketing research firms, management consulting firms, banks, securities and commodities brokerages, and computer and data-processing companies. Economics graduates also work at all levels of state and federal government. Economists hold positions at non-profit organizations such as the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, and the United Nations. Data show that economics majors have higher earning potential than other business or social science majors. A recent U.S. Census Bureau study showed that college graduates who majored in economics were among the highest-paid employees, with the field ranking as the third most lucrative major.