Economics careers include positions in business, finance, research, and government. Economics degrees prepare graduates for these careers by developing analytical and critical thinking skills through core coursework in math, statistics, and data analysis.

The following guide covers the projected job outlook, education requirements, and next steps for careers in economics at every level.

Close-up of a man's hand holding a fountain pen and pointing to a bar graph on a piece of paper

Why Pursue a Career in Economics?

Students with strong math and analytical skills are well-suited for economics careers. The best economics programs teach learners the quantitative and qualitative analysis techniques required to succeed as a top economics professional. Additionally, employers increasingly prefer economists with experience using statistical analysis software.

Beginning in master's programs, students may choose a specialization in economics to hone specific skills, distinguishing themselves from fellow job seekers in the field. Bachelor's degree-holders typically face more intense competition for jobs than candidates with relevant experience and a master's degree or a doctorate.

Economics Career Outlook

Economists generally enjoy stable, lucrative, in-demand careers. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the number of economists in the U.S. is projected to grow by 8% between 2018 and 2028. Job prospects are the best for graduate degree-holders with statistical analysis software experience.

The BLS also reports that economists earn a median annual salary of $105,020. Within the field, economists working in finance and insurance earn the highest salaries, with a median annual wage of $120,770.

Career opportunities for economists are diverse and unique, spanning business, education, and healthcare fields. Many economists work for local, state, or federal governments, while others practice forecasting and perform research for international corporations, think tanks, and research firms.

Median Annual Salary for Economics Careers
Job Title Entry-Level
(0-12 months)
Early Career
(1-4 Years)
Midcareer
(5-9 Years)
Experienced
(10-19 Years)
Economist $57,980 $68,390 $92,730 $98,980
Market Research Analyst $49,170 $53,400 $63,450 $75,050
Financial Analyst $54,620 $60,210 $68,370 $71,670
Actuary $60,900 $76,340 $104,970 $121,900

Source: PayScale

Skills Gained With an Economics Degree

Many students pursue economics degrees because they are curious why the world works the way it does. Learners combine that curiosity with a methodical, organized mindset to research and analyze data to reach conclusions.

By completing statistical analysis, research papers, and presentations, students in economics programs develop skills that will benefit them throughout their careers. University programs with internship or cooperative learning opportunities allow students to further hone their abilities.

Analysis

Economists evaluate data from several sources to identify patterns and draw conclusions about how economic policies impact businesses, personal budgets, and the overall economy. Analytical skills allow economists to investigate questions from multiple angles to spot trends, understand how variables impact those trends, and accurately communicate those insights to others.

Critical Thinking

Economists must evaluate data sources and choose the most relevant data points to analyze. This process requires sound judgment, logical thinking, and the ability to infer missing information and identify potential biases.

Communication

Economists must share their data-informed conclusions with business leaders and policymakers. Strong communication skills allow economics professionals to present data in an engaging and effective manner. Many economics programs require presentations that hone students' public speaking skills for their future career.

Writing

Economists often translate vast amounts of data into written reports. These reports summarize information, highlight relevant trends, and provide insight for future action. Students in economics programs develop their writing skills through presentations and research projects.

Economics Career Paths

Aspiring economists can pursue careers at government agencies, corporate businesses, and global organizations. While programs may emphasize different coursework and prepare graduates for different roles, the following options are some of the most popular economics specializations.

Finance

Economics students planning on careers as financial analysts or finance managers often pursue a concentration in finance, taking classes that cover topics like quantitative research, portfolio management, and asset valuation. Some general economics degrees include a built-in finance specialization.

Econometrics

Pursuing a specialization in econometrics trains students to apply mathematical and statistical methods to economic data evaluation. Courses include algebra, markets, and macroeconomics. Studying data analysis techniques prepares students for positions involving quantitative analysis, market research, and economic development.

International Economics

An international economics concentration typically combines coursework in finance, statistics, and economics in the context of the global marketplace. Graduates can pursue careers as financial consultants and investment managers for international clients and corporations.

Behavior and Strategy

Sometimes labeled as "market research," the study of the behavior and strategy of consumers and producers in economic markets is critical to a career in economics. Specialists in economic behavior and strategy are qualified for positions as financial consultants and market research analysts.

Data Science

Specializing in data science can prepare students for careers as data scientists, market research analysts, and economists in government agencies, financial trading companies, and the corporate sector.

How to Start Your Career in Economics

With abundant opportunities in business, finance, and government, economics careers are a natural choice for students adept at math and statistics. Students with an associate or bachelor's degree may qualify for entry-level positions in government agencies, although many employers require a master's degree or a doctorate.

Economics employers also prefer candidates with experience and specialized skills in finance management, international economics, and/or analytics.

Graduates of an associate program can pursue careers as bookkeepers, accounting clerks, and administrative assistants in economics-related fields. Bachelor's degree-holders can become entry-level economists, actuaries, accountants, and financial analysts.

Graduates of a master's or doctoral program qualify for jobs as senior economists, postsecondary teachers, and postsecondary education administrators.

Associate Degree in Economics

An associate degree in economics or finance typically requires about 60 credits and introduces students to the principles of economics. While most economics careers require at least a bachelor's, an associate degree allows students to try out entry-level careers as accounting clerks or bookkeepers to gain valuable experience and learn whether an economics career suits them.

An associate degree also provides an excellent foundation for future bachelor's-level study.

Bookkeeper

Bookkeepers track financial transactions for an organization, ensuring proper documentation of income and expenses. These professionals work in office environments, using various computer accounting programs. Bookkeepers may work full or part time depending on business needs.

Salary: $41,230

Accounting Clerk

Accounting clerks track financial statements for a business or organization, including accounts payable and accounts receivable ledgers. These employees may contact customers regarding past-due accounts or help prepare financial statements with auditors. Most clerks work in office environments with minimal travel requirements.

Salary: $41,230

Administrative Assistant

A company may assign an administrative assistant to a particular department or individual. Tasks vary by assignment, but may include customer correspondence, calendar management, and monthly expenditure tracking. Administrative assistants need strong communication skills and proficiency in word processing and spreadsheet software.

Salary: $39,850

Brokerage Clerk

Working closely with investment brokers, clerks write orders for stock purchases and sales and confirm that those transactions take place. They also document daily operations, review orders for accuracy, and manage data entry and filing systems.

Salary: $52,750

Insurance Sales Agent

Insurance sales agents communicate with clients about insurance products, helping them make complex coverage decisions. Their work primarily takes place in an office setting, but agents may need to travel to meet with clients. Agents must communicate effectively to learn about client needs and identify sales opportunities.

Salary: $50,940

Source: BLS

Bachelor's Degree in Economics

The economics and finance courses that students take during a bachelor's program prepare them for entry-level economics careers like market research analyst and actuary. Electives may allow students to specialize in areas like healthcare and marketing, opening up additional career opportunities.

Accountant

Accountants process financial data for individual clients and companies. They prepare tax documents and review reports for income forecasts. A bachelor's degree in a financial field gives students a foundational accounting education, but some employers may prefer to hire certified public accountants, who must complete additional educational requirements beyond a bachelor's.

Salary: $71,550

Actuary

Actuaries help insurance companies evaluate risk. Using statistical analysis, they review the cost of accidents, disability, sickness, and mortality. The conclusions they draw help insurance and retirement programs make sure they offer adequate funds to cover claims. Actuaries can work for government agencies and insurance companies.

Salary: $108,350

Financial Analyst

Financial analysts help companies understand their resources and make decisions about future investments. Analysts identify and evaluate risks and provide information on companies' financial health, short-term outlook, and long-term growth potential. They also track performance against budgets and offer advice for weathering economic downturns.

Salary: $85,660

Compensation and Benefits Manager

Compensation and benefits managers make sure that companies remain competitive in the labor market by offering pay and employee benefits that meet or exceed industry expectations. They often work in the human resources department, enforcing employment laws, regulations, and company policies. These managers collect data on standard compensation packages and work with employees in groups and individually.

Salary: $122,270

Market Research Analyst

Market research analysts help companies design marketing messages that resonate with their target market. They often work with marketing strategists. These professionals use a variety of data sources to understand the consumer experience and decision-making process. They also assist with pricing decisions and product distribution.

Salary: $63,790

Source: BLS

Master's Degree in Economics

Earning an online master's degree in economics demonstrates advanced knowledge of economic theories and principles. A master's degree also allows students to specialize in a particular area of economics.

Graduates can take on leadership and managerial roles as policy analysts, senior economists, and statisticians. A master's degree can also serve as a stepping stone to a doctorate in economics.

Policy Analyst

Policy analysts evaluate how policies and regulations impact a region or nation. They may work for the government or for nongovernmental organizations that lobby for policy changes. Some analysts specialize in a particular sector, such as energy. Analysts need an in-depth understanding of political processes and strategies.

Salary: $59,390

Statistician

Statisticians seek out the most reliable data to produce actionable advice for their employers. They combine the latest data collection methods with mathematical formulas and specialized software to compile numerical data and present their findings. They often work in office settings.

Salary: $92,030

Data Analyst

Data analysts evaluate large data sets to answer specific questions. They use a variety of data sources, including surveys, to gather information and draw informed conclusions. They typically present their findings through charts, graphs, and other visual representations of data. They may work with a specific company or freelance for multiple companies.

Salary: $60,530

Economist

Economists work in a variety of industries, including business and government. They use computer software to gather and analyze data and present their findings to decision-makers. They often design surveys and develop other data collection methods for various segments of the economy. Aspiring economists typically need a graduate-level education.

Salary: $105,020

Sources: BLS and PayScale

Doctoral Degree in Economics

Students interested in a career in academia or research-intensive industries should consider earning a doctoral degree in economics. The terminal degree in the field, a doctorate prepares students to take on high-level economics roles as quantitative analysts and department chairs. The degree also prepares students for tenure-track professorial positions.

Postsecondary Professor

Higher education institutions typically require professors to hold a doctorate. Professors with a doctoral degree in economics often teach business administration or management classes. These educators design lesson plans, deliver lectures, and attend conferences. They also conduct research and publish in their field.

Salary: $79,540

Senior Economist

Primarily employed by companies in the financial industry, senior economists may make policy recommendations or develop plans of action for future risk scenarios. They usually work in an office environment.

Salary: $124,560

Postsecondary Education Administrator

Some college professors take on more responsibilities by becoming postsecondary education administrators. Academic deans, provosts, and department chairs coordinate faculty research, manage budgets, and participate in hiring decisions. Business professors may run undergraduate business departments or graduate-level management schools.

Salary: $95,410

Sources: BLS and PayScale

How to Advance Your Career in Economics

Beyond earning a degree in economics, students can advance their careers by earning professional certification or licensure and completing continuing education courses. Economists do not always need certification or licensure; however, these credentials highlight professional qualifications in specializations like finance and research.

Likewise, continuing education is not typically required for career advancement in economics; however, it can help ambitious candidates set themselves apart in this highly competitive field.

While occupations vary, economics employers tend to favor candidates with relevant experience and expertise, which can be earned through a career training course, internship, or fellowship.

Certifications and/or Licensure

Many careers in economics do not require licensure or certification, but earning these credentials provides a competitive edge when entering the field or pursuing career advancement. Gaining licensure and/or certification may involve completing coursework and passing competency examinations, preparing students to apply economic theory and training to practical experiences.

  • Chartered Financial Analyst

    The curriculum of the chartered financial analyst program incorporates knowledge and skills in 10 subject areas, including quantitative methods, equity, and fixed income. It also explores derivatives, alternative investments, and portfolio management as students prepare to work as experts in the investment management field. Students must pass an exam to earn this certification.

  • Professional Researcher Certification

    Well-suited for market research analysts, professional researcher certification (PRC) includes 12 credits of coursework that learners must complete before taking a certification exam. Candidates can access exam preparation tools that cover topics like market research principles, techniques, technologies, and ethics.

  • Actuarial Certification

    To become an actuary, learners must pass a series of exams. The Casualty Actuarial Society and the Society of Actuaries (SOA) offer programs that lead to certification at several professional levels. To become an SOA associate, learners must become adept at risk management modeling, learning to assess financial concerns as they relate to uncertain future events. Additional training in financial business decisions, advanced mathematical concepts, and actuarial techniques can lead to certification as an SOA fellow.

Continuing Education

Students looking to advance their career in economics can do so by completing continuing education classes. Learners can take free online courses in topics like economic theory, statistical methods, and energy economics through programs at schools like Yale and MIT.

Employers also prefer candidates with specialized work experience for senior positions. Many students participate in internships or fellowship programs while earning a master's degree or doctorate in economics.

Next Steps

Economics jobs require candidates who continually sharpen their skills and pursue professional development opportunities to further their career. Common methods of continuing education include open courseware, seeking out professional networking opportunities, and joining a professional organization.

Since economics encompasses a variety of specializations, many professional organizations offer membership specifically for business economists, researchers, and international analysts. Students may also pursue junior membership and scholarships through fraternities and sororities for economics majors.

How to Switch Your Career to Economics

Individuals with any business-related postsecondary degree should be able to transition into the field of economics fairly easily. These workers may be best suited for entry-level positions as associate or assistant economists, allowing them to gain relevant experience and prepare for career advancement.

However, to pursue a higher ranking job title, it may be necessary to go back to school and earn a graduate degree. Many master's in economics programs require applicants to hold a related undergraduate degree. Alternatively, some programs may accept students with a bachelor's in any field, although these individuals may need to take bridge classes or other prerequisites.

Where Can You Work as an Economics Professional?

Industries

Salary potential varies by industry due to varying education and experience requirements. For example, economists in finance and insurance make a median annual salary of more than $120,000, while economists who work for state governments typically take home about $74,000 per year.

The following table highlights some of the most popular industries for economists.

Federal Executive Branch

The federal executive branch of the U.S. government employs the most economists and economic specialists. All branches of government require economic insight and analysis.

Average Salary: $123,210

Scientific Research and Development Services

Economists working in scientific research and development services industries include data scientists, market research analysts, and financial managers. This industry includes some crossover employment from management, scientific, and technical services.

Average Salary: $125,220

Management, Scientific, and Technical Services

Employers in this sector include business and financial institutions and management occupations.

Average Salary: $126,340

tate Government (excluding schools and hospitals)

Like the federal government, state governments need economists with expertise in budgeting, financial forecasting, and data analytics for campaign management, fiscal management, and legislation.

Average Salary: $74,310

Local Government (excluding schools and hospitals)

Economists can pursue entry-level jobs in local governments to gain experience and prepare for a position in the federal government. Local government economists analyze productivity, employment rates, and wages at the civic level.

Average Salary: $89,210

Source: BLS

Locations

Economics careers vary from state to state, with employment rates and average salaries largely dependent on each individual location. The District of Columbia employs the highest number of economists (6,480 workers) as the location of the federal government's national headquarters. While the District of Columbia employs the nation's highest concentration of economists, New York pays economists the highest average annual salary ($145,840).

Beyond location, the availability of economics jobs depends on each candidate's experience and education.

Florida FL Texas TX New Mexico NM Arizona AZ Alaska AK California CA Nevada NV Utah UT Colorado CO Oregon OR Washington WA Idaho ID Hawaii HI Oklahoma OK Montana MT Wyoming WY North Dakota ND South Dakota SD Nebraska NE Kansas KS Minnesota MN Iowa IA Missouri MO Arkansas AR Louisiana LA Mississippi MS Alabama AL Georgia GA South Carolina SC Illinois IL Wisconsin WI Michigan MI Indiana IN Ohio OH Tennessee TN Kentucky KY North Carolina NC West Virginia WV Virginia VA Pennsylvania PA New York NY Maine ME Vermont VT New Hampshire NH Rhode Island RI Connecticut CT New Jersey NJ Delaware DE Massachusetts MA Maryland MD District of Columbia DC

Interview With a Professional in Economics

Sacha Nitsetska

Sacha Nitsetska


Sacha Nitsetska has an economics degree from City University of Seattle. Following an internship in a boutique private equity firm, Nitsetska joined JPMorgan in its leveraged finance team, later switching to industrial mergers and acquisitions.


After six years in finance, she decided to leave the bank to create Mavenli.com, recently launching a free app that helps users find a mentor. Nitsetska currently works with top clients in the finance, legal, and tech industries to provide high-performance teams in mission critical environments with on-demand mentorship from internal and external experts.

Why did you decide to pursue a career in economics?

Honestly, I initially chose economics because I did not have a clue about what I wanted to do for a career, and economics seemed to be a good combination of analytical thinking and the potential to use people skills at some point in the future.

What are the most essential skills you gained in your economics program?

Numerical skills, teamwork, and some presentation skills, but most importantly the ability to analyze and synthesize large amounts of data and present it in a structured and coherent way. Project management is another important skill.

What was the job search like after graduating?

It was not easy at first because I chose to go into mergers and acquisitions and wanted to get into a top-tier bulge bracket investment bank, which is incredibly competitive, and the applications are very long and quite complicated. Thankfully, I managed to find a mentor who helped me get an internship in private equity, which, combined with a relevant degree, allowed me to get into JPMorgan with relative ease.

What advice would you give undergraduate students who are considering a graduate degree in economics? Is it worth it?

Like all things, you get out of it what you put in. Personally, I think economics is a great study to undertake because it leads to a flexible career path. You can go into banking with as much ease as you could go into teaching or sales or any number of things. Employers really like graduates who have proven numerical, project management, and teamwork skills and the ability to think strategically and be commercially minded.

If, like me, you end up deciding that you want to build your own company, economics is a great place to start since you already have a decent background in business and a commercial mindset, not to mention a network of people who are probably doing things related to finance and can help act as angel investors, which has been my case.

What additional advice would you give to those considering a degree in economics?

My advice is based on things I wish I had known earlier on in my course. First, find a mentor, or ideally about 3-5 mentors, one from each field you are interested in.

The time will pass faster than you think. Before you know it, you will be in the final exam season and still have no idea where you want to apply for your first position. Start talking to people in interesting careers early. By the time you are graduating, not only will you have a clear idea of what you want to do, but you will have the contacts who will be able to get you a job with ease (referrals are always the easiest way in).

You can use the Mavenli app to find the right mentor for you for free or contact your alumni resources.

Also, apply for internships and work experience very early on. While you can get an average job very quickly, elite organizations often want to see excellent academic qualifications as well as relevant work experience before they will consider inviting you for an interview.

Resources for Economics Majors

Joining a professional organization can benefit both recent graduates and seasoned economists. These organizations offer networking opportunities and access to exclusive job boards.

Economics professionals looking to study on their own and engage in lifelong learning can also take advantage of open courseware -- often offered by top schools and organizations -- and many different types of reading material.

Professional Organizations

Professional organizations are an invaluable resource for new economists. They provide networking opportunities, job boards, training, and online resources. Joining one of the following organizations can help you prepare to launch a successful career.

American Economic Association: Established in 1885, the AEA serves more than 20,000 economics professionals in government, consulting, business, and academic organizations. Members enjoy access to eight journals, discounts on professional resources, and continuing education programs. The website also offers information and resources for economics students, educators, and professionals.


Eastern Economic Association: Headquartered at Ramapo College, EEA promotes student research and discussion through its annual conference and publication of the Eastern Economic Journal. The association also presents the Eckstein Prize, which is awarded biennially to the author of the best journal article.


National Association for Business Economics: Members of NABE enjoy access to the association's journal, subject-specific rountables, and continuing education certificates. Members can also access an exclusive job board with a salary survey offering insight into market rates for compensation and benefits.


National Bureau of Economic Research: This organization includes about 1,400 professors across North America who conduct research in more than 30 areas of economics, with special projects in retirement, disability, income and wealth, and the science and engineering workforce. In addition to gaining access to the latest research related to these topics, students can connect with fellowship opportunities.


Economics Departments, Institutes, and Research Centers in the World: EDIRC offers an index of more than 14,000 institutions in 232 countries. Students can search the list by country or field, identifying relevant economics organizations. EDIRC's website also includes links to economics literature, research papers, and rankings.


Economics Research Network: The network offers subscriptions to electronic journals, providing access to recent research from around the world. The network's research paper series allows schools to distribute the work of their faculty and students, while weekly announcements ensure that users know about upcoming conferences, calls for papers, and job openings.


Russell Sage Foundation: Established by Margaret Olivia Sage in 1907, this foundation strives to inform policy discussions regarding social and living conditions in the United States, including urban housing, labor reform, and social work research. The foundation's peer-reviewed journal offers access to empirical research papers. The foundation also provides grant and scholarship opportunities.


Centre for Economic Policy Research: CEPR provides a clearinghouse of information about economic policy within Europe and around the globe. The nonprofit organization allows affiliated economists to network and collaborate on research projects and publications, with more than 1,000 top economists undertaking research on current issues in Europe. The site includes numerous discussion papers, e-books, and reports.


International Association for Applied Econometrics: Young professionals who join IAAE receive its monthly newsletter and online access to the Journal of Applied Econometrics.


Omicron Delta Epsilon: Economists interested in a career in academia benefit greatly from ODE membership, which gives graduate and undergraduate students 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: PCT membership offers professional development and scholarship opportunities, giving young economists the chance to network with business professionals. The active alumni network has chapters in 11 major cities across the country.


Royal Economic Society: RES is one of the oldest economic associations in the world, and members gain 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 postdoctoral students who wish to continue their studies.

Open Courseware

Students interested in furthering their economics education while sticking to a budget can take advantage of open courseware.

Economic History of Financial Crises - MIT: Having a good understanding of financial catastrophes is critical for economists. This course offers a historical perspective on financial crises from the Great Depression through 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. Topics include 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: This course explores the institutions, methods, and ideas that allow society to encourage enterprise and mitigate risks. Students develop an understanding of the behaviors that allow banking, insurance, and security industries to function.


Game Theory - Yale: This course explores introductory game theory, including commitment, dominance, evolutionary stability, credibility, and the Nash equilibrium.


Microeconomic Theory and Public Policy - MIT: Providing an introduction to microeconomic theory at the doctorate level, this course covers consumer and producer theory, competition and markets, and tools of comparative statics.


Statistical Method in Economics - MIT: Students in this graduate-level course develop a basic knowledge of the statistical theory that supports econometrics. Topics include probability, regression analysis, hypothesis testing, interval estimation, and autocorrelation.

Publications

Open Access Economic Journals

The 21st century's push toward openness has encouraged institutions and universities to make their publications 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 Economic: Published on behalf of the Italian Association of Agricultural Economics, this journal covers agricultural economic issues. Articles often focus on the implications of innovative results and applied analysis on policy and managerial decisions.


Cogent Economics & Finance: This peer-reviewed journal seeks to publish new research quickly for a global audience. Theoretical and empirical articles and letters are included. Articles cover topics like ecological economics, labor and demographic economics, and the political economy.


Economics: This journal uses a two-step, peer-review process that includes traditional critique and comments from the journal's readership. Readers become reviewers and are encouraged to upload comments and recommend other papers.


Health Economics Review: With an international editorial board of respected economists, this double-blind, peer-reviewed publication provides quality articles at no charge. This publication focuses on policy and economics in healthcare, and both theoretical and empirical studies are covered in articles.


International Journal of Economics and Finance: This double-blind, peer-reviewed publication covers finance and economics from an international perspective.


Journal of Economic Perspectives: Provided by the American Economic Association, all issues of the JEP are available for free online. Articles incorporate ideas from other disciplines, analyze topical public policy issues, and provide insight into the future of economic research.


Research Papers in Economics: 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.


Theoretical Economics: Published three times each year by the Econometric Society, this journal includes both applied and purely theoretical research. All submissions must include a substantial and innovative theoretical component.

Economics Books

Below is a short list of books that may appeal to aspiring economists and economics students.

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 "War on Poverty."


Capitalism and Freedom: First published in 1962 by author Milton Friedman -- a Nobel Prize winner -- this book has been called "one of the most influential books since the war." Friedman's basic argument 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, 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, 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 economics is about incentives and motivation.


The General Theory of Employment, Interest, and Money: John Maynard Keynes' publication 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 a 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: In this book, which was originally published in 1776, Adam Smith was the first to describe the complex organization of a market economy. 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

Many of the best magazines that cover economics have an online presence, and many of these do not require a subscription. To learn about current ideas and events in economics, economists make a habit of frequently perusing these sites.

Bloomberg: This news site provides in-depth coverage of economics issues. The site provides data on a variety of markets, commodities, rates, and bonds.


The Economist: Covering a variety of news through a mix of in-depth analysis and quick reads from around the world, The Economist is a useful resource for professional economists. However, a subscription is required to access portions of the site, including the Markets & Data page, which provides forecast indicators, exchange and interest rates, reserves, sales, and budget data.


Financial Times: Providing coverage of financial news since 1884, this London-based magazine features full news coverage and in-depth financial and economic reporting. Its Global Economy page provides analysis of the latest developments in economic news from around the world.


Forbes: Known for reporting on all aspects of the business world, Forbes is also a leader in publishing stories important to economists. Its famous lists, such as the Fortune 500, complement its full coverage of financial and economic news.


The Nation: Founded in 1865, The Nation calls itself the "flagship of the left." The magazine helps economists stay current on the latest ideas in progressive thinking.


New York Stock Exchange: 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 variety of global market topics are available, as are market status updates, notices, and alerts.


Reuters: Reuters has reported financial news since 1799. This publication provides economic data on the major markets, indices, and currencies. Reuters also offers insight and analysis of the latest issues in economic policy and markets.


Wall Street Journal's MarketWatch: The Wall Street Journal has reported on financial and economic news since 1889. Although much of WSJ's content requires a subscription to access, visitors can access MarketWatch, domestic, and international economic data for free.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is economics a good career?

Careers with an economics degree cover a variety of fields and are generally quite lucrative. Economists earn a median annual salary of $105,020, and the BLS projects that this field will grow by 8% between 2018 and 2028.

What kind of jobs can you get with a degree in economics?

Earning a graduate degree in economics and gaining professional experience prepares graduates for jobs in business, research, and international relations. Some entry-level economics jobs only require a bachelor's degree, although senior positions may require a graduate degree.

What is the highest-paying job in economics?

Economists working in the finance and insurance industries, as well as those who work for the federal government, are among the highest earners in the field. Specifically, the finance and insurance industries pay the highest median annual wage of $120,770.

What does an economist do?

Economists gather and evaluate data, study market trends, and research economic issues. The most lucrative economics careers are reserved for professionals with a graduate degree, a strong background in analytics, and statistical analysis software experience.

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