Economics is the social science that analyzes the production, distribution, and consumption of goods and services. The term economics comes from the Ancient Greek οἰκονομία (oikonomia, "management of a household, administration") from οἶκος (oikos, "house") + νόμος (nomos, "custom" or "law"), hence "rules of the house(hold)". Political economy was the earlier name for the subject, but economists in the late 19th century suggested 'economics' as a shorter term for 'economic science' that also avoided a narrow political-interest connotation and as similar in form to 'mathematics', 'ethics', and so forth.
A focus of the subject is how economic agents behave or interact and how economies work. Consistent with this, a primary textbook distinction is between microeconomics and macroeconomics. Microeconomics examines the behavior of basic elements in the economy, including individual agents (such as households and firms or as buyers and sellers) and markets, and their interactions. Macroeconomics analyzes the entire economy and issues affecting it, including unemployment, inflation, economic growth, and monetary and fiscal policy.
Other broad distinctions include those between positive economics (describing "what is") and normative economics (advocating "what ought to be"); between economic theory and applied economics; between rational and behavioral economics; and between mainstream economics (more "orthodox" and dealing with the "rationality-individualism-equilibrium nexus") and heterodox economics (more "radical" and dealing with the "institutions-history-social structure nexus").
Economic analysis may be applied throughout society, as in business, finance, health care, and government, but also to such diverse subjects as crime, education, the family, law, politics, religion, social institutions, war, and science. At the turn of the 21st century, the expanding domain of economics in the social sciences has been described as economic imperialism. An increasing number of economists have called for increased emphasis on environmental sustainability; this area of research is known as Ecological economics.
Other articles related to "economics, economic":
... Welfare economics is a branch of economics that uses microeconomic techniques to evaluate economic well-being, especially relative to competitive general ... It analyzes social welfare, however measured, in terms of economic activities of the individuals that compose the theoretical society considered ... Accordingly, individuals, with associated economic activities, are the basic units for aggregating to social welfare, whether of a group, a community ...
... in his work The Great Transformation, argues that the term 'economics' has two meanings the formal meaning refers to economics as the logic of rational action and ... The substantive meaning of 'economics' is seen in the broader sense of 'economising' or 'provisioning' ... Economics is simply the way society meets their material needs ...
... Economics has been subject to criticism that it relies on unrealistic, unverifiable, or highly simplified assumptions, in some cases because these assumptions simplify the proofs of ... The field of information economics includes both mathematical-economical research and also behavioral economics, akin to studies in behavioral psychology ... such as Keynes and Joskow have observed that much of economics is conceptual rather than quantitative, and difficult to model and formalize quantitatively ...
... Constrained optimization plays a central role in economics ... The Lagrange multiplier has an economic interpretation as the shadow price associated with the constraint, in this example the marginal utility of income ...
Famous quotes containing the word economics:
“The animals that depend on instinct have an inherent knowledge of the laws of economics and of how to apply them; Man, with his powers of reason, has reduced economics to the level of a farce which is at once funnier and more tragic than Tobacco Road.”
—James Thurber (18941961)
“Womens battle for financial equality has barely been joined, much less won. Society still traditionally assigns to woman the role of money-handler rather than money-maker, and our assigned specialty is far more likely to be home economics than financial economics.”
—Paula Nelson (b. 1945)
“I am not prepared to accept the economics of a housewife.”
—Jacques Chirac (b. 1932)