Thursday, 3 September 2015

Why study economics? AEA video edition...

A few weeks ago, the American Economics Association (AEA) released a new video entitled "A career in Economics... it's much more than you think", that shows the value of studying economics. From their press release:
The 9-minute film is aimed at prospective or first-year students who may be investigating economics as a career option but are unclear how broadly a degree in economics can be applied. 
The film makes effort to dispel entrenched misconceptions about who economists are and what they do. Economics can be broadly defined as the study of human behaviors aimed at finding solutions to help improve peoples' lives. Viewers are reminded that a degree in economics doesn't have to be about finance, banking, business, or government, . . . it can be useful to all individuals and can lead to many interesting and fulfilling career choices. 
The video features four individuals offering insights on how economics can be a tool for solving very human problems and they provide some interesting perspectives on how they chose economics as a career path. The film also helps raise awareness about the need for more diverse voices in the field of economics.
  • Marcella Alsan, a physician of infectious disease, discusses why she needed to pursue a degree in economics to improve the lives of her patients.
  • Randall Lewis, a research scientist at Google, uses economics and "big data" as tools to improve the functioning of markets.
  • Britni Wilcher, a PhD student of economics, offers insight on some misconceptions about economists and factors influencing her career path decision.
  • Peter Henry, dean at the NYU Stern School of Business, points to the true nature of economics and the importance of diverse voices informing the field.
Access the video at this link. Enjoy!

The only thing I would add is that there is value to studying economics even if you are not strong mathematically - the intuition that underlies the economic way of thinking is itself valuable, and important. Understanding economics helps you to evaluate choices and make better decisions. Which is of course why economics is in the core of business and commerce degrees, but I would argue economics is also highly valuable for students in other disciplines as well (as the story of Marcela in the video should demonstrate).

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