Economics is a social science that studies the behavior of social systems – such as markets, corporations, unions, international institutions, legislatures, and even families – through the lens of a unified analytical framework. The focus is on the way individuals make decisions and how those decisions add up and interact with one another, to produce the social systems we observe. Ultimately, economics offers insights into the study and design of policies to improve the performance of the system. To understand and apply this approach, the student must learn the following:
- The basic elements of microeconomic theory including consumer choice, the impact on resource allocation of different market structures, game theory, general equilibrium analysis, and asymmetric information.
- The measurement of output and prices, along with theories of economic growth, business cycles, and fiscal and monetary policy.
- The fundamentals of international trade and finance.
- Elementary statistics, probability theory, statistical inference, electronic data acquisition, and computer applications.
- The theory and applications of regression analysis, with emphasis on the main techniques for estimating economic relationships and testing economic hypotheses.
- The application of economic theory and empirical analysis to a range of topics including labor, industrial organization, development, and the public sector.
- The elements of original research and writing, from posing a question, to summarizing the literature, modeling, gathering data, establishing causality and drawing conclusions.