Economics is the social science that studies the production, distribution, and consumption of goods and services. Economics focuses on the behaviour and interactions of economic agents and how economies work.
Economics focuses on the behaviour and interactions of economic agents and how economies work. Microeconomics analyzes basic elements in the economy, including individual agents and markets, their interactions, and the outcomes of interactions. Individual agents may include, for example, households, firms, buyers, and sellers. Macroeconomics analyzes the entire economy (meaning aggregated production, consumption, savings, and investment) and issues affecting it, including unemployment of resources (labour, capital, and land), inflation, economic growth, and the public policies that address these issues (monetary, fiscal, and other policies).
Economics can be defined in a few different ways. It’s the study of scarcity, the study of how people use resources and respond to incentives, or the study of decision-making. It often involves topics like wealth and finance, but it’s not all about money. Economics is a broad discipline that helps us understand historical trends, interpret today’s headlines, and make predictions about the coming years.
Economics ranges from the very small to the very large. The study of individual decisions is called microeconomics. The study of the economy as a whole is called macroeconomics. A microeconomist might focus on families’ medical debt, whereas a macroeconomist might focus on sovereign debt.
Scope of Economics
The scope of economics is the area or boundary of the study of economics. In scope of economics we answer and analyze the following three main questions:
(i) What is the subject matter of economics?
(ii) What is the nature of economics?
(iii) What are the limitations of economic?
(i) Subject Matter of Economics:
There is a difference of opinion among economists regarding the subject-matter of economics. Adam Smith, the father of modern economic theory, defined economics as a subject, which is mainly concerned with the study of nature and causes of generation of wealth of nation.
Marshall introduced the concept of welfare in the study of economics. According to Marshall; economics is a study of mankind in the ordinary business of life. It examines that part of individual and social actions which is closely connected with the material requisites of well being. In this definition, Marshall has shifted the emphasis from wealth to man. He gives primary importance to man and secondary importance to wealth.
The Robbinsian’s concept of the subject-matter of economics is that: “economics is a science which studies human behavior as a relationship between ends and scarce means which have alternative uses”.According to Robbins (a) human wants are unlimited (b) means at his disposal to satisfy these wants are not only limited, (c) but have alternative uses. Man is always busy in adjusting his limited resources for the satisfaction of unlimited ends. The problems that centre round such activities constitute the subject-matters of economics.
Paul and Samuelson, however, includes the dynamic aspects of economics in the subject matter. According to them, "economics is the study of how man and society choose with or without money, to employ productive uses to produce various commodities over time and distribute them for consumption now and in future among various people and groups of society”.
(ii) Nature of Economics:
The economists are also divided regarding the nature of economics. The following questions are generally covered in the nature of economics.
(a) Is economics a science or an art?
(b) Is it a positive science or a normative science?
(iii) Economics As a Science or An Art:
Economics is both a science and an art. Economics is considered as a science because it is a systematic knowledge derived from observation, study and experimentation. However, the degree of perfection of economics laws is less compared with the laws of pure sciences.
An art is the practical application of knowledge for achieving definite ends. A science teaches us to know a phenomenon and an art teaches us to do a thing. For example, there is inflation in Pakistan. This information is derived from positive science. The government takes certain fiscal and monetary measures to bring down the general level of prices in the country. The study of these fiscal and monetary measures to bring down inflation makes the subject of economics as an art.
After arriving at a conclusion that economics is both a science as well as an art. Here arises another controversy. Is economics a positive science or a normative science?
(iv) Economics is Positive or Normative Science:
There again difference of opinions among economists whether economics is a positive or normative science. Lionel Robbins, Senior and Friedman have described economics as a positive science. They opined that economics is based on logic. It is a value theory only. It is, therefore, neutral between ends.
Marshall, Pigou, Hawtrey, Keynes and many other economists regard economics as a normative science. According to them, the real function of the science is to increase the well-being of man. They have given suggestions in their works for promotion of human welfare.
For example, Malthus has given suggestions of checking the rising population. M. Keynes has suggested measures to remove unemployment.
We agree with Mr. Frazer, that an economist who is only an economist is a poor pretty fish. An economist must come forward to give advice to the problems facing the human being like depression, unemployment, high prices, etc., for increasing his welfare.
Economics, to conclude, has both theoretical as well as practical side. In other words, it is both a positive and a normative science.
Skills and Competencies Required in Economics
You'll need developed valuable transferable skills including:
- communication - presenting findings and explaining complex data;
- numeracy - handling complex data and applying mathematical and statistical analysis methods;
- problem solving - extracting information, drawing conclusions and making recommendations;
- computing - using specialised software;
- time management - completing specific tasks within designated time frames;
- Analytical skills. Economists must be able to review data, observe patterns, and draw logical conclusions.
- Communication skills. Economists must be able to explain their work to others.
- Critical-thinking skills.
- Detail oriented.
- Math skills.
- Writing skills.
Career Options and Job Prospects in Economics
- Actuarial analyst
- Chartered accountant
- Chartered certified accountant
- Chartered public finance accountant
- Data analyst
- Financial risk analyst
- Forensic accountant
- Investment analyst
- Civil Service fast streamer
- Data scientist
- Diplomatic service officer
- Local government officer
- Management consultant
- Quantity surveyor
Admission Requirements for the study of Economics in Nigeria
For most high institutions in Nigeria, to study Economics as a course you need to meet specific academic requirements. Candidates seeking admission through the Jamb are required to have five credit level passes in the Senior Secondary Certificate Examination (S.S.C.E.) or its equivalent. These should include English Language, Literature in English,and two other approved science subjects.
In UTME, please note that English Language is Compulsory for this course. Therefore, the three (3) other JAMB UTME subject combination needed to study Economics under the Faculty of Social & Management Sciences in the below universities include Economics, Mathematics and any of Government, History, Geography, Lit-in-English, French and CRK/IRK.