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Learn economics with online courses and programs

How do people decide whether to spend or save? What actions should a government take to address inflation? 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. 

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 economic theories, historical trends, and data.

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Online economics course curriculum

The study of economics can delve into a range of topics, introducing learners to a number of different theories and models. Introductory economics courses may start with exploring the fundamental economic concept of supply and demand. Learners will study supply and demand curves that represent the relationship between the quantity of a product or service that producers are willing to supply and the quantity of that same product or service that consumers are willing to purchase. These curves help explain pricing models. A related core topic that learners may also study is game theory, which explores how individuals or groups interact and the incentives that motivate them to make certain decisions.

Online economics courses can also take a look at the field from a macro or micro lens:

  • Microeconomics is a branch of economics that studies the behavior of individual households and firms in making decisions regarding the allocation of resources. It examines how individuals, firms, and governments interact within markets to determine prices, quantities, and distributions of goods and services. 

  • Macroeconomics is the study of the economy as a whole, including how economic variables such as inflation, unemployment, and gross domestic product (GDP) are affected by government policies and global events. It also looks at how the overall economic performance of a nation impacts the lives of individuals. 

The field of economics is rich with interesting topics to study, from the competitive equilibrium model and labor markets to antitrust policy and international trade. Build a better understanding of what drives economic decisions by embarking on your learning journey with edX. 

Explore jobs in economics

Economics can be a rewarding career for anyone interested in driving economic policy and financial decision-making. An education in economics can potentially lead to several different careers, including: 

  • Economist: Collect and analyze data, research trends, and evaluate economic issues to better understand how goods, services, and resources are distributed. They may focus on different fields, including education, health, environment, and development. Economists work in different environments, including state, federal, and local government, research firms, think tanks, and international organizations. 

  • Financial analyst: Evaluate ways that businesses or individuals can use money to make profits, such as stocks, bonds, and other investments. They make recommendations for investment portfolios, study economic trends, and prepare reports about their findings. Financial analysts may specialize in certain areas, like hedge funds, portfolio management, and financial risk.

  • Accountant or auditor: Validate the accuracy of financial records, identify opportunity and risk for their clients, and help businesses and individuals identify financial solutions. They prepare financial documents and written reports, make best-practices recommendations, and may identify ways that businesses can save money. They work in different settings. Some may be government accountants employed by federal, state, and local governments, while management accountants are employed by businesses and help to advise their decision-making processes. Public accountants may have clients that include individuals, nonprofits, corporations, and governments. 

  • Market research analyst: Help a business to determine key information about its customer base, so the business can increase the chances of its products or services selling. They monitor sales trends, develop methods to collect data, analyze the gathered data using software, compile the results into reports, and make recommendations to their clients based on the results of their research. 

Many of these roles have different educational and skills requirements to practice. Earning a bachelor’s degree or pursuing a master’s degree can be an important first step to enter these fields. 

How to learn economics online

From economics 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. Specialized coursework can cover topics such as entrepreneurship, supply chain management, energy markets, circular economies, corporate social responsibility, and more. If you are interested in learning about economics online, explore the range of opportunities made available through edX.

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