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Jan 11, 2018 at 12:00am ET By Alyssa Walker

If there’s one thing we hear a lot about, it’s the economy. It’s more than just financial news. The economy determines nearly everything—job creation, buying habits, stocks, bonds, and cryptocurrency play a role in the ebbs and flows of capital and people. The availability of goods and resources and how and when people demand them defines our economy.

Economics is the study of how we use those goods and resources to produce valuable commodities that are then distributed across populations.

Why should you earn a master’s degree in economics? To understand how and why it all works—and to maximize your likelihood of capitalizing on upswings and mitigating the damage in downturns.

Let’s take a closer look at five reasons to study economics.

1. You’ll understand how your everyday life works

Economics influence your daily decisions. If you want to be more aware of how and why—and want to maximize your personal economic situation, a master’s degree will help you. It will also help you understand financial trends—and understand how that work leads to high-paying jobs.

Want to know why gas prices change? How about why you make so little money in your part-time job? What about why the movies are more expensive at night? How about why a significant chunk of that meager paycheck goes to taxes?

If you want to understand how you fit into the financial picture, study economics. You’ll understand the cause and effect of the price of oil and transporting it to your local gas station. You’ll understand how sales work at the grocery store and the way the best day to shop to find the most sales varies by the time of year.

2.  Economics offers a unique perspective on the world

Economic analysis can generate insights into individual and community behaviors and relationships that can help society better use scarce resources in enterprising ways.

The ultimate goal of the study of economics is to improve the quality of life for people in their everyday lives. What does this mean? It means that increasing a country’s gross domestic product isn’t just about numbers—it means improving the allocation of resources so that people have better food, more comfortable houses, fantastic educational opportunities, clean water, and the ability to protect themselves and their communities against deadly diseases.

3. Economics is a great mix of social sciences and math

If you like the nitty gritty of mathematics and you enjoy studying and deriving solutions to social problems, economics is for you.

Economists solve problems by analyzing and extrapolating data, making predictions based on trends, and studying why individuals and communities make certain choices.

While economists must understand and interpret problems, they also need hard, numerical proof for the conclusions they make.

By earning a master’s in economics, you’ll be able to break down any large problem into its components, ask questions, and know how to collect and analyze data related to the problem so that you can derive a solution. Cool, right?

4. You’ll have great career prospects

Graduates of economics programs have a fantastic chance of finding a job within six months of graduating—they also earn a bit more than their fellow graduate school counterparts.

You’ll also have a wide range of job possibilities. With a master’s in economics, you can work in the fields of business, banking, financial services, government, consulting, non-profits, public policy, research, and others.

5. You’ll see things other people miss

Economists have a unique perspective on the world (see #2). Economists see trends that other people don’t necessarily see—and understand that unintended consequences of social policy often have economic consequences.

Look at taxes as an example. A government may create a tax to pay for a necessary social program. If the tax isn’t well-crafted, then the tax may change people’s behavior and cause a downturn in economic growth. This downturn can affect local economic markets.

As an economist, you’ll be able to see these trends, understand them, and propose realistic solutions.

Convinced? Good.


Learn more about studying economics

Alyssa Walker is a freelance writer, educator, and nonprofit consultant. She lives in the White Mountains of New Hampshire with her family.

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