What is Economics?
The following are some characterizations of the discipline by some of its prominent members:
"Economics is the study of people in the ordinary business of life."
--Alfred Marshall, Principles of economics; an introductory volume (London: Macmillan, 1890)
"Economics is the science which studies human behavior as a relationship between given ends and scarce means which have alternative uses."
--Lionel Robbins, An Essay on the Nature and Significance of Economic Science London: Macmillan, 1932)
"Economics is the 'study of how societies use scarce resources to produce valuable commodities and distribute them among different people."
--Paul A. Samuelson, Economics (New York: McGraw-Hill, 1948)
In short, economics includes the study of labor, land, and investments, of money, income, and production, and of taxes and government expenditures. Economists seek to measure well-being, to learn how well-being may increase over time, and to evaluate the well-being of the rich and the poor. The most famous book in economics is the Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of The Wealth of Nations written by Adam Smith, and published in 1776 in Scotland.
Although the behavior of individuals is important, economics also addresses the collective behavior of businesses and industries, governments and countries, and the globe as a whole. Microeconomics starts by thinking about how individuals make decisions. Macroeconomics considers aggregate outcomes. The two points of view are essential in understanding most economic phenomena.
How can one use an Economics degree?
The following are just some occupation descriptions that the Bureau of Labor Statistics show requiring significant economic training.
International Financial Markets
Country Risk Analyst
Law and Economics
Credit Union Economist
Central Bank Economist
Many Chief Executive Officers and Chief Financial Officers have economics backgrounds as well. An Economics major is one of the best preparations for Law School.
For more information on the specialties in Economics you might want to check out
What kind of pay might one expect with an economics degree?
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics: “Median annual wage and salary wages of economists were $83,590 in May 2008. The middle 50 percent earned between $59,390 and $113,590. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $44,050, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $149,110.” Naturally salaries are dependant on the level of education, tenure and Seniority. A bachelor’s degree is essential and for the higher salaries a Masters or PhD would be required.
For more on salaries for college students with economics degrees go to
What is required of an Economics Major or Minor at Missouri Valley College?
The Major and Minor requirement according to the 2011-2012 Missouri Valley College Catalog are:
- Major requirements include the basic Business Core of the following: AC 210, AC 220, EC 206, EC 216, BA 212, BA 232, BA 282, CS 119, or 3 hours of computer science above that level. The Economic major also requires EC 355, EC 375, EC 385, EC 435, EC 450, EC 455, BA 302, BA 322, BA 324, MA185, BA 442, or EC 485.
- Minor requirements include EC 206, EC 216, EC 375, EC 385, plus two elective courses in Economics numbered at the 300 level or above. (Total 18 hours)
Who could one speak to for more information about economics at Missouri Valley College?
Chair Business Division