Friday, July 2, 2010

Things Economists Do

What do economists do? My teenage cousin obliquely asked me this last week. ("Economics is cool* but I don't know what economists do besides teach and research.") Here is the list I'm sending him. What else do you/we do?
  • make billions for investment companies
  • work in governments, either formulating and evaluating policy (a lot like research) or carrying it out (a lot like bureaucracy)
  • go to other countries and tell them that after 2 days spent in the country we can fix every problem there (a humble lot we are!)
  • banks need economists for things other than investing
  • most large companies are benefited by an economics team (Disney hires economists, for instance to evaluate business conditions, consider where to build the next theme park, improve human resource practices, and identify where money is most effectively spent)
  • consulting (do all that for a bunch of different firms)
  • get secondary journalism degrees to appear as a talking head on Fox
  • get a BA, then go on to study law, medicine, or engineering [they recognize economics as a rigorous undergrad degree that signals good brains, hard work, and mathematical ability]
  • get a BA, breeze through an MBA, and run a business
  • get an MA and work in a not-for-profit or non-governmental organization to help the poor, at home or abroad
  • write books claiming something just outlandish enough to make millions whether or not it comes true
  • write other books espousing our political views that get more attention because economists get pretty good at blowing bad ideas out of the water
  • lose billions for investment companies (but that's just a hobby)

Economics is Fun.
Economics is Easy.
Economics is Your Friend.
and now, for a limited time only,
Economics is Cool.

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