FOUR MYTHS ABOUT ECONOMICS


MYTH 1: ECONOMICS REQUIRES A GREAT DEAL OF MATH AND STATISTICS.

Fact: Most economics courses require less math than you would find in a high school Algebra I course. Some courses require a bit of algebra, and one required course (Economics 370) actually teaches some calculus and statistics tools, but the major neither presupposes nor requires a strong background in mathematics.

MYTH 2: ECONOMICS IS ONLY ABOUT BUSINESS AND GOVERNMENT POLICIES.

Fact: Economics is a social science. Some aspects of economics are certainly concerned with business behavior and government policies. But economics has been applied to a variety of areas of human behavior. There are economists who specialize, for example, in such areas as the economics of crime, sports economics, the family, the environment, and voting behavior. Important work has been done by economists on such issues as obesity, divorce, addiction and abortion.

MYTH 3: ECONOMICS IS A LOT LIKE BUSINESS, BUT A BUSINESS DEGREE IS A LOT MORE MARKETABLE.

Fact 1: When Business Week asked CEOs what undergraduate degrees they consider most valuable, their top choice was engineering. Economics was second.

Fact 2: A 2005 survey conducted by the National Association of Colleges and Employers showed the average starting salary in economics/finance was $42,928—a 7.8 percent premium over starting salaries in business administration.*

MYTH 4: ECONOMICS ONLY APPEALS TO PEOPLE WHO ARE INTERESTED IN MAKING MONEY.

Fact: While people who study economics as undergraduates frequently go on to very remunerative careers in the private sector, many others, including many of the most prominent in the profession, cite a desire to make the world a better place as their principle motivation. Graduates with degrees in economics often pursue successful careers in public service.

* Source: Microeconomics, 8th Ed., by Roger A. Arnold, Thomson/Southwestern, 2008.