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How do people decide where to spend their money? What influences business and government spending? The study of economics examines those questions and more. Learn economics with online courses delivered through edX.

What is the definition of economics?

Economics is the study of how goods and services are produced, distributed and consumed, exploring the factors that affect supply and demand. It examines how markets work, how wealth is distributed, and how scarce resources are allocated. While the stock market can be a reflection of the economy, economics seeks to more broadly understand how people, businesses and countries choose to spend their money. Microeconomics refers to the study of how individuals make spending decisions, while macroeconomics looks at the economy as a whole.

Economic theory is widely studied around the world by researchers who seek to better understand the impact of certain policies or shocks on the economy. What is the effect of rising gas prices on household spending? How does incurring larger debt affect an individual’s long-term financial health? Will spending on government health care programs cause inflation? Researchers and economists aim to answer these kinds of questions using famous economic theories like Keynesian economic theory, which argues that government monetary and fiscal policy can stimulate business and increase employment.

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How to learn economics online

From tutorials to advanced courses, a variety of educational opportunities are available that can fit different learners’ needs. edX makes it easy to explore all available training and courses. Foundational courses and boot camps in economics can cover topics ranging from the effects of changes in the labor market to the implications of a supply chain breakdown. 

There are many different types of economics that learners can study, including:

  • Managerial economics: helps business managers make logical decisions about the allocation of scarce resources. Learn how to decide what goods and services should be produced, and at what cost or what markets a firm should enter.

  • International economics: studies how goods and services move across borders, exploring topics such as tariffs, exchange rates, and trade quotas.

  • Monetary economics: explores how institutions affect employment, commodity prices, interest rates, wages, production, and more.

  • Behavioral economics: examines how psychology affects economic decision-making, including decisions that are not economically rational.

  • Applied economics: applies economic theories to real-world scenarios to help predict outcomes.

Learners can also choose to take courses that cover specialized topics, such as entrepreneurship, energy markets, circular economies, corporate social responsibility, and more.

Careers in economics

Economics can be a rewarding career for anyone interested in driving economic policy and financial decision-making. A background in economics can lead to careers as financial analysts, market research analysts, political advisers, academics, and more. Whether they want to apply their knowledge to a career on Wall Street or want to help people and communities experiencing economic hardship, this field offers a range of possibilities for learners interested in changing or advancing their careers. Begin your learning journey today with edX.