If you are an educator , you might be looking for ways to make economics more exciting in the classroom , get complimentary journal access for high school students, or incorporate real-world examples of economics concepts into lesson plans. Or, you might just want to learn more ; our Research Highlight series is a great place to start. No matter why you are interested in economics, the American Economic Association is here to help.
We are dedicated to helping the public discover the field of economics. A few economists at the AEA Annual Meeting offered their thoughts about the most urgent question that economists are tackling today. The responses ranged far and wide, but a theme emerged: inequality. Much more than finance, banking, business and government, a degree in economics is useful to all individuals and can lead to many interesting career choices.
These four diverse individuals offer their insights on how a background in economics can be a tool for solving very human problems. Economists can study a wide variety of topics. The following videos highlight some of the ways economists use data to explore everything from college reputations in Colombia to education in the Philippines. More videos. Home Resources Resources for Students What is economics? What is economics? Understanding the discipline Why are some countries rich and some countries poor?
What Every Economics Student Needs to Know, 2nd Edition
Why do women earn less than men? How can data help us understand the world? Why do we ignore information that could help us make better decisions? Despite these arguments, economics shares the combination of qualitative and quantitative elements common to all social sciences. Social sciences , which include fields such as law, anthropology and pedagogy, differ from natural sciences, such as physics and chemistry, in that they revolve around the relationships between individuals and societies, as well as the development and operation of societies.
Unlike most natural sciences, social sciences rely heavily on interpretation and qualitative research methodologies. However, social sciences also use a number of quantitative tools used in the natural sciences to chart and understand trends.
For example, economists use statistics and mathematical theories to test hypotheses and forecast trends, a process known as econometrics. In addition, many social sciences use surveys and other rigid research methodologies to determine trends and provide clarity to future practices.
The increased reliance on mathematical models to study the economy began with neoclassical economics in the late 19th century and remained essential to new classical economic theories of the latter 20th century. One of the primary arguments made against classifying economics as a science is a lack of testable hypotheses. Underlying the difficulty in developing and testing an economic hypothesis are the nearly unlimited and often unseen variables that play a role in any economic trend.
The frequency of immeasurable variables in economics allows for competing, and sometimes contradictory, theories to coexist without one proving the other infeasible. This uncertainty has led some observers to label economics the dismal science. Much of the uncertainty of the dismal science, however, applies to the theoretical and overarching questions of macroeconomics.
Economic Models vs. The Real World | Mises Wire
The scientific method, on the other hand, is regularly applied by economists in the field of microeconomics , including conducting quantitative studies in real world settings that produce verifiable and retested results. Additionally, continued advances in computing power and data processing allow economists to model increasingly complex simulations. While economics increasingly uses scientific and mathematical methods to track and predict trends, conflicting models, theories and results at the macroeconomic scale prevent economics from providing empirical data as found in many of the natural sciences.
These discrepancies and conflicts, however, are inherent in any social science, all of which require an element of interpretation rarely found in the natural sciences.
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- The Rubik's Cube of economics;
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The field of economics contains quantitative and qualitative elements common to all social sciences, and as long as social sciences exist as a class of sciences, economics fits within the class. For related reading, see: Economics Basics. Financial Analysis.