UW-Milwaukee - Why Study Economics?

Economics is the science of choice! It is the study of how people, firms and governments make choices in the face of scarce resources. These choices can be personal (l Do I go to class or not? Should I eat Ramen noodles tonight or take my significant other out for a nice dinner? Or should I accept a job at one firm or another?) or they can involve crucial public policy questions (Do we provide public health care? Should we increase the age of Social Security eligibility? Should interest rates increase?). It is a rigorous discipline, but it combines many different skills - theory, empirics, math, history, public policy and business decisions. This makes it valuable for analyzing the choices that we make, both large and small.

Making the choice to major in economics can be lucrative. A 2013-14 survey shows that economics graduates have an average  starting salary of $50,100, among the highest for business related majors.  Another study in the peer-reviewed journal, Economic Inquiry, in July 2003 showed that economics undergraduate majors were among the highest paid workers over their careers. This is true even for those who went on and obtained graduate degrees in other fields (like an MBA). Also explore recent information from the Hamilton Project showing economics compared to other majors with or without any additional graduate school. The labor market shows that firms value the skills and abilities of economics majors and are willing to pay well for those skills. A 1998 study in the Journal of Economic Education shows that economics majors score the highest on the LSAT of all majors.

We are often asked "What can I do with my Economics Degree?"  The economics degree makes great preparation for many different careers. In addition to firms in economic research and analysis,  our economics majors are employed by a wide variety of businesses, nonprofits and governments. See our undergraduate alumni page for just some of the jobs in which our graduates are employed. 

For further information talk with our Undergraduate Economics Advisors and see the section of the American Economics Association website oriented toward undergraduates.