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Economics and Finance Research

The UChicago_DS_0103
(The University of Chicago, Alvin Wei-Cheng Wong)



- The Ultimate Goal of Economic Science

Economics is concerned with how an economy and its participants function and behave. Economics studies how goods and services are produced, distributed throughout the economy, and consumed by individuals and businesses. Economics also is concerned with how resources are allocated by governments and businesses to satisfy the wants and needs of consumers. One of the key focuses of economics is the study of the efficiency surrounding production and the exchange of goods as a result of incentives and policies that are designed to maximize efficiency. 

Economics is typically broken down into two main categories; one of which is called macroeconomics, which is concerned with the aggregate economy. The other category is called microeconomics, which focuses on individual consumers and businesses. Macroeconomics and microeconomics are the two most general fields in economics. The United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 17 has a target to enhance global macroeconomic stability through policy coordination and coherence as part of the 2030 Agenda.

The ultimate goal of economic science is to improve the living conditions of people in everyday lives. Economists study how to utilize the available scarce resources to maximize value and thus profits. The concerns of economics today are largely focused on issues such as opportunity cost, consumption and production, borrowing, saving, investments, occupations and employment, trades markets, pricing and human behavior concerning making economic decisions. 


- Microeconomics and Macroeconomics

Microeconomics is the study of individuals, households and firms' behavior in decision making and allocation of resources. It generally applies to markets of goods and services and deals with individual and economic issues. Microeconomic study deals with what choices people make, what factors influence their choices and how their decisions affect the goods markets by affecting the price, the supply and demand.

Macroeconomics, study of the behaviour of a national or regional economy as a whole. It is concerned with understanding economy-wide events such as the total amount of goods and services produced, the level of unemployment, and the general behaviour of prices. Macroeconomics is the study of whole economies - the part of economics concerned with large-scale or general economic factors and how they interact in economies. 

Unlike microeconomics - which studies how individual economic actors, such as consumers and firms, make decisions - macroeconomics concerns itself with the aggregate outcomes of those decisions. For that reason, in addition to using the tools of microeconomics, such as supply-and-demand analysis, macroeconomists also utilize aggregate measures such as gross domestic product (GDP), unemployment rates, and the consumer price index (CPI) to study the large-scale repercussions of micro-level decisions.


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- Econometrics and Quantitative Economics

Econometrics is the quantitative application of statistical and mathematical models using data to develop theories or test existing hypotheses in economics and to forecast future trends from historical data. It subjects real-world data to statistical trials and then compares and contrasts the results against the theory or theories being tested.  

Depending on whether you are interested in testing an existing theory or in using existing data to develop a new hypothesis based on those observations, econometrics can be subdivided into two major categories: theoretical and applied. Those who routinely engage in this practice are commonly known as econometricians.


- Economics and Finance

In general, the focus of economics is more a focus on the big picture, such as how a country, region, or market is performing. Economics also focuses on public policy, while the focus of finance is more company- or industry-specific. Finance also focuses on how companies and investors evaluate risk and return. Historically, economics has been more theoretical and finance more practical, but in the last 20 years, the distinction has become much less pronounced.

In fact, economics and finance seem to be converging in some respects. Both economists and finance professionals are being employed in governments, corporations, and financial markets. At some fundamental level, there will always be a separation, but both are likely to remain very important to the economy, investors, and the markets for years to come.



[More to come ...]



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