According to a recent Georgetown University report, 35% of new job openings through 2020 will require at least a bachelor’s degree, preferably in a field that utilizes mathematics and critical thinking. Having developed expertise in both of these subjects, graduates of economic studies are able to enjoy high rates of employment and compensation.
Student and Professional Organizations
Professional organizations are an invaluable resource for newly minted economists; they provide networking opportunities, job boards, training, and online resources. By joining one of the following organizations, you are taking an essential step toward launching a successful career.
- American Economic Association – Founded in 1885, the American Economic Association (AEA) offers its members a wide variety of online resources and top-rated publications, including The American Economic Review, which is one of the most respected academic journals in the country. The AEA’s 18,000 members can be found throughout a variety of professional U.S. sectors, including business, academia, non-profit organizations, and government agencies.
- Economics Research Network – As part of the Social Science Research Network, the Economics Research Network (ERN) provides its members with access to the most up-to-date economic research, opportunities for publishing, and access to its professional job board. Members also receive the weekly ERN Professional Announcements, which includes calls for papers, meetings, conferences, and job openings.
- International Association for Applied Econometrics – Young professionals who join the International Association for Applied Econometrics (IAAE) receive its monthly newsletter and online access to the prestigious Journal of Applied Econometrics (JAE). Conference grants and the JAE Dissertation Prize are also available to members in good standing.
- National Association for Business Economics – Members enjoy access to networking and other opportunities such as those found through the National Association for Business Economics’ (NABE) Consultants and Services Registry. Young professionals find guidance with its Mentoring Program and are able to further hone their skills by obtaining a Certification in Applied Economics and Data Analytics.
- Omicron Delta Epsilon – Economists interested in a career in academia benefit greatly from an Omicron Delta Epsilon (ODE) membership, which allows both graduate and undergraduate scholars the opportunity to get published in the The American Economist. Members of this fraternity are also eligible to compete for awards and cash prizes, including the Irving Fisher Award.
- Phi Chi Theta – A Phi Chi Theta (PCT) membership offers professional development and scholarship opportunities, and gives young economists the opportunity to network with business professionals. The active alumni network has chapters in 11 major cities across the country.
- Royal Economic Society – The Royal Economic Society (RES) is one of the oldest economic associations in the world. RES members have online access to two prestigious academic publications: The Economic Journal and The Econometrics Journal. RES also offers a variety of training and support, including the RES Junior Fellowship Scheme, which provides financial support for doctoral students and post-doctoral students who wish to continue their studies.
Economics Open Courseware
Students interested in furthering their economics education while sticking to a budget may take advantage of open courseware, which is frequently offered by the top schools in the country. Courses in economics are available on a wide range of subjects, as well as educational and skill levels.
- Economic History of Financial Crises – MIT – Having a good understanding of financial catastrophes can be critical for economists. This course, taught by Prof. Peter Temin, offers a historical perspective on financial crises from the Great Depression, through the Japanese stagnation, and up to the market meltdown and subsequent subprime loan crisis of 2007-2008.
- Energy Economics – MIT – This course covers the major energy sectors of electricity, natural gas, oil, and nuclear power, and includes topics such as price regulation, taxes, efficiency, deregulation, and emission policies. Both theoretical and empirical perspectives on supply, demand, markets, and public policy are applied.
- Financial Markets – Yale – The institutions, methods, and ideas that allow society to encourage enterprise and mitigate risks are explored in this class, which is taught by Prof. Robert Shiller. In this free online class, students will develop an understanding of the behaviors that allow banking, insurance, and security industries to function.
- Game Theory – Yale – Introducing game theory, this course explores traditional concepts in the field, including commitment, dominance, evolutionary stability, credibility, and the Nash equilibrium. Ideas in the field are applied to real-world examples and demonstrated through game play.
- International Economics – Utah State – Designed to meet the needs of upper level undergraduate students, those who take this course get an overview of international finance, trade theory, and policy. Students who complete the course are better prepared to work in international finance and trade.
- Managerial Economics – Utah State – This course focuses on applying microeconomic theory to managerial decision-making. Designed for students who wish to lead in business, government, or non-profit organizations, this upper-level undergraduate course explores the foundational tools and principles of the subject.
- Microeconomic Theory I – MIT – Providing an introduction to microeconomic theory at the Ph.D. level, this course covers consumer and producer theory, competition and markets, and tools of comparative statics. A less challenging course, offered at the undergraduate level, is also offered.
- Statistical Method in Economics – MIT – Students in this course develop a basic knowledge of the statistical theory that supports econometrics. Probability, regression analysis, hypothesis testing, interval estimation, and autocorrelation are all covered in this graduate level course.
Open Access Economic Journals
Although in the past academic journals were subscription-only, the 21st century’s push toward openness has encouraged institutions and universities to make their scholarships available to all. For young professionals, keeping current on the latest economic research is a priority, and these open access journals help make that affordable.
- Agricultural and Food Economics – Published on behalf of the Italian Association of Agricultural Economics, this free open access journal covers a wide array of agricultural economic issues. Articles often focus on the implications of innovative results and applied analysis on policy and managerial decisions. Representative articles include “Factors influencing farmers’ behavior in rice seed selling in the market: a case study in the Tarai region of Nepal,” and “Determinants of sheep and goat meat consumption in Switzerland.”
- Cogent Economics & Finance – This peer-reviewed journal, which is free and open access, seeks to quickly publish new research and reach a global audience. Theoretical and empirical articles, as well as letters, are included. A wide range of economic fields are embraced, including ecological economics, labor and demographic economics, and political economy. Representative pieces include the article, “Is there financial integration in the equity markets of the European Union?”, and the letter, “How does the non-Ponzi game condition work in an optimal consumption problem?”
- Economics – This free and open journal uses a two-step peer-review process, whereby traditional critique is supplemented with comments from the journal’s community at large. Readers become reviewers and are encouraged to upload comments and recommend other papers. Recent papers include, “Chinese Food Security and Climate Change: Agriculture Futures,” and “The Literacy Impact on Tax Revenues.” Registration is required.
- Health Economics Review – With an international editorial board of well-respected economists, this double-blind, peer-reviewed publication provides high quality articles at no charge. Focusing on policy and economics in healthcare, both theoretical and empirical studies are covered in articles and reviews such as “Genome sequencing: a systematic review of health economic evidence,” and “The national health insurance scheme: perceptions and experiences of health care providers and clients in two districts of Ghana.”
- International Journal of Economics and Finance – This double-blind, peer-reviewed publication is bi-monthly and covers finance and economics from an international perspective. Recent articles include “Role of Foreign Direct Investment in Economic Growth of Pakistan,” and “The Impact of Auditor Changes on CEO Compensation.” The International Journal of Economics and Finance remains open access in order to meet its goal of supporting the global exchange of knowledge.
- Journal of Economic Perspectives (JEP) – Provided by the American Economic Association, all issues of the JEP are available via open access online. Articles cover a wide range of topics, including incorporating ideas from other disciplines, analyzing topical public policy issues, and providing insight into the future of economic research. Recent posts include “The Economics of Slums in the Developing World,” and “Reclaiming Virtue Ethics for Economics.”
- Research Papers in Economics (RePEc) – Maintained by volunteers from 80 countries, RePEc offers free online access to over one million pieces of economic research, including books, journal articles, book chapters, working papers, and software components. Articles downloadable for free from the site include “Mapping risk factors of innovation activity enterprises,” and “Two deficits and economic growth: case of CEE countries in transition.” Contributions come from well-respected sources, including Elsevier, Springer, Wiley Blackwell and the Oxford University Press.
- Theoretical Economics – Published three times each year by the Econometric Society, this open access journal includes both applied and purely theoretical research. All submissions must include a substantial and innovative theoretical component. Recent articles include “The good, the bad, and the ugly: An inquiry into the causes and nature of credit cycles,” and “Adverse selection and unraveling in common-value labor markets.”
Francis Bacon wrote, “some books should be tasted, some devoured, and but only a few should be chewed and digested thoroughly.” Here’s a short list of satisfying meals for the aspiring economist:
- The Affluent Society – Written by John Kenneth Galbraith, a Harvard professor, this work warns against economic inequality in a thriving economy, and calls for public investment in infrastructure. Galbraith’s ideas helped build the foundation of the 1960’s “war on poverty.”
- Capitalism and Freedom – First published in 1962 by author Milton Friedman, a Nobel Prize winner, this discourse has been called “one of the most influential books since the war.” Friedman’s basic argument, and one adopted by many today, holds that the competition of capitalism is necessary in order for people to obtain both economic and political freedom.
- Das Kapital – Published in 1867, and written by Karl Marx (also of The Communist Manifesto fame), this critique of political economy argues against capitalism and in favor giving ownership of the means of production to the people. Filled with quotations from classic literature, such as when he quoted Shakespeare in describing money as the “common whore of mankind,” this classic is educational in more ways than one.
- Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything – In this captivating work, Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner demonstrate that at its heart, economics is about incentives and what motivates economic (and other) activity.
- The General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money – John Maynard Keynes’ masterpiece is the foundation of Keynesian economics. It calls for the active intercession by government during periods of recession and depression. According to political economist, Robert Reich, “his radical idea that governments should spend money they don’t have may have saved capitalism.”
- Making Globalization Work – Joseph E. Stiglitz, the former chief economist for the World Bank and Nobel Prize winner, is known for his take on globalization, which calls for the reform of international financial institutions, intellectual property protections, trade agreements, and the economic disparity between nations.
- The Wealth of Nations – Published in 1776, Adam Smith was the first to describe the complex organization of a market economy. In this work, he argues strongly in favor of free markets and against economic privileges like monopolies and tax breaks.
- Zombie Economics: How Dead Ideas Still Walk among Us – Australian economist John Quiggin presents a rebuke of blind faith in free markets. Decrying trickle down economics, deregulation, and privatization, Quiggin argues in favor of government intervention within a mixed economy.
Online Economics Magazines
The best magazines for coverage of economics issues have an online presence, and many do not require a subscription. To keep current on hot topics, innovative ideas, and current events in economics, economists make a habit of frequently perusing these sites.
- Bloomberg – This full service news site provides in-depth coverage of economics issues. On its Bloomberg Markets site, data on a variety of markets, commodities, rates, and bonds are available. The economy link under its Quick link gives busy professionals easy access to the latest news. Recent market news included “U.S. Stocks Fluctuate as Payrolls Report Tops Estimates,” and “Mexico Currency Declines as Consumer Sentiment Misses Forecast.”
- The Economist – Covering a wide variety of news with its unique mix of in-depth analysis and quick reads from around the world, The Economist is a must read for professional economists; however, a subscription is required to access portions of the site, including the Markets & Data page, which provide forecast indicators, exchange and interest rates, reserves, sales, and budget data. Recent articles include “Unemployment: Long time gone,” and “Free exchange: All men are created unequal.”
- Financial Times – Providing coverage of financial news since 1884, this London-based magazine provides full news coverage and in-depth financial and economic reporting. Under its Global Economy tab, with articles such as “Eurozone retail sales bring welcome boost,” analysis of the latest developments in economic news from around the world may be found.
- Forbes – With reporting on all aspects of the business world, Forbes is also a leader in publishing stories important to economists, like “Taxing Bitcoin: IRS Review Has Big Implications for Investors in Virtual Currency.” Its famous lists, such as the Fortune 500, provide a fun diversion from its full coverage of financial and economic news.
- The Nation – Founded in 1865, The Nation calls itself the “flagship of the left,” which is certainly true, given its thorough economic reporting. With articles like “Who’s Really Waging the Class War?” and “How Wall Street Has Turned Housing into a Dangerous Get-Rich-Quick Scheme – Again,” economists keep current on the latest in progressive thinking.
- NYSE Euronext – Although technically not a magazine, the website of the New York Stock Exchange provides full economic and financial news coverage. Reports and data on a wide variety of global market topics are available, as are market status updates, notices, and alerts.
- Reuters – Since 1799, Reuters has been reporting financial news. From its Markets page, economic data on the major markets, indices, and currencies can easily be found. Insight and analysis of the latest issues in economic policy and markets can also be found on its Breakingviews page. Representative pieces include “Global shares, dollar rise on signs of global recovery,” and “Monetary policy similarity outweighs divergence.”
- Wall Street Journal’s MarketWatch – Since 1889, the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) has been reporting on financial and economic news. Although much of WSJ’s content requires a subscription to access, the following content is free: MarketWatch, domestic, and international economic data. In addition, in-depth reporting and analysis of the major economic and political news of the day is provided.
Far less formal than academic journals, and frequently more up-to-date than newspapers and magazines, blogs are an excellent way to get the latest news on what’s happening in economics. Although many of the best blogs in this field are sponsored by traditional news outlets, independent blog sites can be just as insightful, and offer a unique take on current events.
- The Conscience of a Liberal – Writing for The New York Times, Nobel Prize winner Paul Krugman writes on topical issues in economics and politics from a Keynesian perspective, and with a dry, sometimes ironic, humor. Krugman is a Professor of Economics and International Affairs at Princeton University and Centenary Professor at the London School of Economics. Recent posts include “On Fighting the Last War (On Poverty)’ and ‘In Praise of Art Laffer (No, really).”
- DealBook – Also from the The New York Times, DealBook publishes financial and economic news as it happens. Edited by the Times’ Andrew Ross Sorkin, this site receives contributions from several of The New York Times reporters, including Peter Edmonston and Liza Klaussman; posts include: “Despite Stock Market Exuberance, a Tempered Reaction,” and “What the JP Morgan Settlement Means.”
- Econbrowser – Readers will find insightful daily analysis of current topics in economic policy and conditions on this blog. James Hamilton, Professor of Economics at UC San Diego (UCSC); and Menzie Chinn, Professor of Public Affairs and Economics at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, also provide access to current economic data, the UCSD Economics Department newsletter, Economics in Action, and UCSD Economics Roundtables. Recent posts include “Macro Implications of Extending Emergency Unemployment Compensation,” and “Is the U.S. economy really about to go boom?”
- Economists’ Forum – This blog, which is free with registration, is sponsored by the Financial Times and receives posts from guest contributors, such as Eswar Prasad and Karim Foda. The site also encourages vigorous debate through its comment section, where the Times’ chief economics commentator, Martin Wolf, often participates.
- Grasping Reality with a Sharp Beak – Published by Brad DeLong, Professor of Economics at UC Berkeley, this blog presents insight and analysis of economic news. Well-respected in the field, DeLong’s vitae boasts a stint as Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Treasury for Economic Policy, as well as a position with the National Bureau of Economic Research.
- Naked Capitalism – According to its founder, Yves Smith, this blog seeks to chronicle the “finance-led counter-revolution” where the “bargaining power and pay of ordinary workers relative to investors and elite technocrats” is drastically reduced – to everyone’s detriment. As its authors say, this site is “not for the faint-hearted,” with posts such as “Foreclosures by Homeowners’ Associations Rising as Their Financial condition Worsens.”
- Planet Money – Written in an approachable style, with posts titled “Will a Computer Decide Whether You Get Your Next Job?”, this blog seeks to both explain the economy to the uninitiated, as well as provide content that will satisfy economic wonks. As a multi-media platform, Planet Money can be heard on NPR news and feature programs, as well as podcasts.
- Wonkblog – This is the blog for The Washington Post, and is managed by its columnist, Ezra Klein. Wonkblog focuses on U.S. budgetary policy, and features posts like “Maybe the U.S. economic recovery isn’t that disappointing, after all,” “U.S. oil exports have been banned for 40 years. Is it time for that to change?”, and “America’s trade deficit is shrinking. Thank fracking.”
Who to Follow on Twitter
Twitter is an ideal forum for economists to share and discuss links to new publications, ideas and policy updates. It’s an interesting way to follow the latest discussions in economic theory and practice. Here’s a highlights reel of some of the greatest thinkers and think tanks actively following the academic and practical world of econ:
- @DeanBaker13 – Co-Director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research, Dean Baker tweets posts from his blog, Beat the Press. Baker’s tweets and posts frequently challenge the analysis (or lack thereof) and bias in traditional financial reporting. Baker also writes weekly for The Guardian and The Huffington Post.
- @kaushikcbasu – Chief Economist for the World Bank, The Daily Beast called Kaushik Basu a “rogue thinker.” Also a Professor of Economics and C. Marks Professor at Cornell University, Basu tweets from the perspective that promotes collective action and consideration of new economic paradigms.
- @KingEconomist – Not the horror author, this Stephen King is HSBC’s chief global economist and tweets economic insights from the banking perspective. King is also the author of When the Money Runs Out and Losing Control.
- @RBReich – Former Secretary of Labor under President Clinton, Robert Reich tweets his progressive perspective and identifies the best reads from his economic point-of-view. Reich also teaches at UC Berkeley, where he is the Chancellor’s Professor of Public Policy and Trustee at the Blum Center for Developing Economies.
- @Nouriel – Occasionally called “Dr. Doom” in 2005, Nouriel Roubini predicted the Recession of 2008. Roubini, a Professor of Economics and International Business at NYU’s Stern School and private economic consultant, tweets from an often pessimistic point of view.
- @Noahpinion – Assistant Professor of Finance at Stony Brook University, Noah Smith is known for his funny take on economic issues. Smith also writes for The Atlantic. A physics major for his undergrad degree, Smith brings a unique, sometimes dispassionate perspective to economic tweeting.
- @profsufi – Professor of Finance at the University of Chicago, Amir Sufi is known for tweeting graphs and analyses of consumer financial issues. From his profile page, access his collection of photos, videos, and graphs of economic news.
- @MarkThoma – Professor of Economics at the University of Oregon, Mark Thoma has been called “Matt Drudge of the economics blogosphere” by The Huffington Post. Thoma scours the economic news and shares the most worthy with the rest of us via his twitter feed.