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Economics Research

[University of California at Berkeley]


It Takes More than Economics To Be a Great Economist

Nobody can be a great economist who is only an economist --
The economist who is only an economist is likely to become a nuisance if not a positive danger.



- Overview

Economics research can help companies understand consumer trends and preferences, helping them generate more revenue and build a stronger business. It can also help companies understand their supply chains.

Economic research can also help shape a variety of policies, including interest rates, tax laws, employment programs, international trade agreements, and corporate strategies.

Some topics studied in economics include: Business cycle analysis; Economic growth and income inequality; Macroeconomic impacts of fiscal and monetary policy; Macroeconomic forecasts. ​Microeconometric analysis of consumer and firm models; labor economics; health economics; economics of corruption; behavioral economics.

Some organizations that conduct economic research include: National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER), Oxford Economics, Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research (SIEPR)


- Microeconomics and Macroeconomics

Microeconomics is the study of the behavior of individuals, households, and companies in decision-making and resource allocation. It generally applies to the market for goods and services, dealing with personal and economic issues. The study of microeconomics deals with the choices people make, the factors that influence their choices, and how their decisions affect commodity markets by affecting prices, supply and demand. 

Macroeconomics, the study of the behavior of a country or region's economy as a whole. It is concerned with understanding economy-wide events such as the total amount of goods and services produced, unemployment levels, and the general behavior of prices. Macroeconomics is the study of an entire economy - the part of economics that deals with large-scale or general economic factors and how they interact in an economy. 

Unlike microeconomics, which studies how individual economic actors (such as consumers and companies) make decisions, macroeconomics focuses on the aggregate outcomes of those decisions. Therefore, in addition to using microeconomic tools such as supply and demand analysis, macroeconomists use composite indicators such as gross domestic product (GDP), unemployment rate, and consumer price index (CPI) to study the large-scale impact of micro-decisions. 

Microeconomics focuses on supply and demand, and other forces that determine price levels, making it a bottom-up approach. Macroeconomics takes a top-down approach, looking at the economy as a whole, trying to determine its process and nature. Investors can use microeconomics in their investment decisions, while macroeconomics is an analytical tool primarily used to formulate economic and fiscal policies.  

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- Econometrics and Quantitative Economics

Quantitative economics looks at measurable characteristics of financial systems. Econometrics is the study of quantitative techniques or procedures used to validate economic theories or make economic decisions from quantitative measurements. It uses mathematical and statistical methods such as regression analysis.

Econometrics is the quantitative application of statistical and mathematical models that use data to develop theories or test existing assumptions in economics and predict future trends based on historical data. It conducts statistical experiments on real-world data, then compares and contrasts the results with the theory or theories being tested.

Depending on whether you are interested in testing existing theories or using existing data to develop new hypotheses based on these observations, econometrics can be broken down into two broad categories: theoretical and applied. People who regularly practice this practice are often referred to as econometricians.


- Political Economy

Political economy is the study of production and trade and their relationship to law, custom, and government; and the distribution of national income and wealth. Political economy is an interdisciplinary branch of the social sciences that focuses on the interrelationships between individuals, governments, and public policy. 

Political economists study how economic theories such as capitalism, socialism, and communism work in the real world. Fundamentally, any economic theory is a methodology that is used as a means to guide the allocation of a limited amount of resources in a way that benefits most people.


- Economics and Finance

Economics and finance are interrelated disciplines, even if the details differ. Finance as a discipline has its roots in economics; it involves evaluating money, banking, credit, investment and other aspects of the financial system. Finance can be further divided into three related but separate categories - public finance, corporate finance and personal finance. 

Economics looks at how goods and services are made, distributed, and used, as well as how the economy works as a whole and who drives economic activity. The two main branches of economics are macroeconomics, which looks at the economy as a whole, and microeconomics, which looks at specific factors in the economy. 

Generally speaking, the focus of economics is more on the big picture, such as the performance of a country, region or market. Economics also focuses on public policy, while finance focuses more on companies or industries. Finance also focuses on how companies and investors evaluate risk and reward. Historically, economics was more theoretical and finance was more practical, but over the past 20 years, the distinction has become less pronounced. 

In fact, economics and finance seem to be converging in some ways. Economists and financial professionals are employed by governments, businesses and financial markets. At some fundamental level, there will always be separation, but the two are likely to remain very important to the economy, investors, and markets for years to come.


- The Ultimate Goal of Economic Science

Economics focuses on how an economy and its participants function and behave. Economics studies how goods and services are produced, distributed, and consumed by individuals and businesses throughout the economy. Economics also focuses on how governments and businesses allocate resources to meet the needs of consumers. One of the focuses of economics is the study of efficiency around production and the exchange of goods as a result of incentives and policies designed to maximize efficiency. 

Economics generally falls into two broad categories; one of them is called macroeconomics, and it focuses on the economy in general. Another category, called microeconomics, focuses on individual consumers and businesses. Macroeconomics and microeconomics are two of the most common fields in economics. 

The ultimate goal of economic science is to improve the living conditions of people in their daily lives. Economists study how to use the scarce resources available to maximize value and thus profit. The focus of today's economics is primarily on issues of opportunity cost, consumption and production, borrowing, saving, investing, occupation and employment, trading markets, pricing, and human behavior in relation to economic decision-making.



[More to come ...]



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