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Economics question

  1. Nov 16, 2007 #1
    Assuming I were to major in Economics, there are a few different specializations available: Business Economics, Macroeconomics and Finance, Economic Theory, Econometrics and Empirical Economics, and International Economics and Development.

    Economic Theory seems the most appealing to me, however, I am not sure how employable this major is and what career options I would have, aside from academia. In conjunction with one of these economics specializations, I want to do a second major in pure maths, although, I think applied maths would have better synergy with an economics degree, but I enjoy the study of pure mathematics more.

    Any information and advice regarding this situation, would be highly appreciated.
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 17, 2007 #2
    Based on the economics courses I took as an undergrad, I've got to say none of them delve too deeply into mathematics even though most of the models rely heavily on mathematics for justification. It's just your average economics major can't handle all that much math.

    I don't know much about employability of the subjects, but it's always best to choose what you like and do well. I tend to like macroeconomics and international economics the best out of those. Microeconomic theory seems a little too dull to me. Same with econometrics. But to each his own.
  4. Nov 17, 2007 #3
    There is not much mathematics actually used in economics? I was under the impression economists use high-level mathematics and computer models.
  5. Nov 17, 2007 #4
    Economics is widely known as "the dismal science". The grand theoretical aspect of the subject is a farce, IMO, just a bunch of mathematical gee-whiz where such-and-such convex model is shown to have an equilibrium i.e. non-constructive existence theorems which make too many unrealistic assumptions to seem powerful or interesting.

    Then you mention computer models. If you like statistics and stochastic processes this could be a way to go, but these guys seem to be 20 years behind the cutting edge of nonlinear dynamics found in physics or applied math. Here there is a lot of constructive predictive work, and this is the sort of economist who is hired in industry.

    Honestly, the only reasons I can think to recommend economics are (1) worried about your future earning potential, would rather be a big fish in little pond or (2) you want to go theoretical and be a pioneer.

    I once had a economics teacher who said "what could be more interesting then money". I guess if you agree with him, that might be a reason to become an economist as well.
  6. Nov 17, 2007 #5
    There isnt much mathematics in undergraduate economics. The two mathematical oriented econ classes are probably mathematical econ and econometrics. However in regular school they are just calculus and statistics for econ.
    You can make it be more mathematical than it supposed to be yourself. Study on stochastic calculus and BSM model can advanced you from many other students.
  7. Nov 17, 2007 #6
    It is mathematical, but as an undergrad it's at the level of elementary algebra, calculus, and some statistics in econometrics.

    I didn't take any electives for the major though, just the core courses at michigan (intermediate micro, intermediate macro, intro econometrics). I suppose some undergrads could elect to take more advanced courses their fourth year.
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