What is Economics – Definition, Methods, Types

What is Economics



Economics is the study of how people use resources. It looks at how people use their time, land, and money to produce and consume goods and services. The term economics comes from the Greek οἰκονομία (oikonomia, “management of a household, administration”).

Economics focuses on the behavior and interactions of economic agents; how they use scarce resources to produce various commodities and how these activities impact upon one another.

History of Economics

A brief history of economics would start with the Ancient Greeks, who developed ideas that would eventually become the foundation for modern economic thought. The first economist is usually considered to be Xenophon, an Athenian philosopher who wrote about economic principles in his work Oeconomicus.

Other ancient Greek philosophers who made significant contributions to economic thought include Aristotle and Plato. Aristotle’s ideas on natural resources and labor value were particularly influential, while Plato’s work Republic laid out many of the principles that would later be codified in Adam Smith’s Wealth of Nations.

The next major figure in the history of economics is Smith himself, whose groundbreaking book was published in 1776. Smith argued that a free market economy based on competition and self-interest would ultimately lead to greater wealth and prosperity for all.

Branches of Economics

Economics is decided into two types or Branches:

  • Microeconomics
  • Macroeconomics
  • Public economics
  • International economics
  • Labor economics
  • Development economics


Microeconomics is the study of how people manage their limited resources to satisfy their unlimited wants. It focuses on understanding and predicting human behavior in small economic units such as firms or households.

Microeconomic theory typically begins with the study of a single rational and utility maximizing individual. This individual has several constraints that limit his or her choices: time, income, wealth, preferences, and technology. With these variables held constant and given the individual’s preferences, microeconomic theory predicts how much of each good or service the person will purchase.

Microeconomics Key Factors:

  • Production, cost, and efficiency
  • Specialization
  • Supply and demand
  • Firms
  • Uncertainty and game theory
  • Market failure
  • Welfare
Production, cost, and efficiency

In microeconomics, production is the conversion of inputs into outputs. Costs are the opportunity costs of the resources used in production. Efficiency is the efficient use of resources to produce the desired output.

Production functions are used to describe the relationship between inputs and outputs. They can be linear or nonlinear. Linear production functions show constant returns to scale, while nonlinear production functions show diminishing returns to scale.

Costs can be classified as fixed or variable. Fixed costs are those that do not change with changes in output, while variable costs do change with changes in output. Total cost is the sum of fixed and variable costs. Average cost is total cost divided by output. Marginal cost is the change in total cost when output changes by one unit.


In microeconomics, specialization is the process of focusing on the production of a particular good or service. Specialization allows for greater efficiency in the production process, as workers are able to develop expertise in a particular area. This increased efficiency can lead to lower costs and higher profits.

Supply and demand

Supply and demand are the two most important factors in any market economy. They are what drive prices and determine how much of a good or service is produced. The law of supply and demand is a basic economic principle that states that when there is more demand for a good than there is supply, the price of the goodwill go up. Conversely, when there is more supply than there is demand, the price will go down. The amount of product that a company can produce at a given price is its supply curve, while the amount of product that consumers are willing to buy at a given price is its demand curve.


Firms in microeconomics are economic units that produce goods and services. In a free market economy, firms are private businesses that are owned by individuals or groups of people. Firms can be small businesses, such as corner stores, or large corporations, such as General Motors. The size of the firm does not matter; what matters is that firms produce goods and services that people want to buy.

Uncertainty and game theory

In microeconomics, uncertainty is an important concept that helps to understand and predict human behavior. Game theory is a branch of microeconomics that deals with the strategic interaction between two or more people. I

Market failure

In microeconomics, market failure is a situation in which the allocation of resources by the market fails to produce the desired outcome. It can be due to a variety of factors, including imperfect information, externalities, and government intervention.

Market failure does not mean that the market is not working. It simply means that the market is not working as efficiently as it could be.


In microeconomics, welfare is defined as the overall well-being of an individual or a group. It encompasses all aspects of an individual’s or group’s life, including their health, happiness, and economic security.


Macroeconomics is the study of large-scale economic factors, such as interest rates, inflation, and unemployment. It focuses on how these factors affect the economy as a whole.

Macroeconomics is a branch of economics that looks at the big picture of the economy. It asks questions about what drives economic growth, how recessions happen, and what policies can be used to stabilize the economy.

Macroeconomics is important because it helps us understand how the economy works and identify problems early on. By understanding macroeconomic principles, we can make better decisions about personal finance, business strategy, and public policy.

Key factors in Macroeconomics:

  • Growth
  • Business cycle
  • Unemployment
  • Inflation and monetary policy
  • Fiscal policy

In macroeconomics, growth is defined as an increase in the production of goods and services in an economy. This can be measured by an increase in gross domestic product (GDP) or per capita income. Growth can be either positive or negative, but most economists are interested in understanding and promoting positive economic growth.

Business cycle

A business cycle is the natural rise and fall of economic growth that occurs over time. The cycle is typically defined as four phases: expansion, peak, contraction, and trough.

In an expansionary phase, the economy grows at an increasing rate, culminating in a peak. After the peak, the economy enters a period of contraction during which growth slows and eventually reaches a trough. From the trough, the economy begins to expand again.

The business cycle is caused by a variety of factors, including changes in consumer spending, government policy, and international conditions. While some economists argue that the business cycle is inevitable, others believe that it can be managed through active economic policy.


Unemployment is a term used to describe when people are looking for work but cannot find a job. There are different types of unemployment, but the most common is cyclical unemployment, which occurs when the economy is going through a recession.

The official unemployment rate does not include people who are underemployed or who have given up looking for work. The real unemployment rate, which includes these people, is often much higher than the official rate.

Inflation and monetary policy

Inflation is a general increase in the prices of goods and services in an economy. The main cause of inflation is too much money chasing too few goods. This results in higher demand for goods, which then causes companies to raise prices.
Monetary policy is the process by which the government, central bank, or monetary authority manages the money supply to achieve specific goals. The main goals of monetary policy are to stabilize prices and keep unemployment low.

Fiscal policy

Fiscal policy is the use of government spending and taxation to influence the economy. Fiscal policy can be used to stabilize the economy, promote economic growth, or distribute resources.

The government uses fiscal policy to influence the level of economic activity in the economy. By changing the level of government spending and taxation, the government can affect aggregate demand and inflation. Fiscal policy can also be used to redistribute resources and income.

Public Economics

Public economics is the study of how government policy choices impact economic outcomes. It is a broad field that encompasses many different areas, such as tax policy, government spending, and the regulation of markets.

Public economics is a relatively new field of study, but it has already had a significant impact on policymaking around the world. For example, public economists have played a key role in designing and evaluating policies to reduce poverty and improve economic efficiency.

International Economics

International economics is the study of economic interactions between countries. It covers a wide range of topics, including trade, investment, migration, and exchange rates.

International economics is a broad field that covers many different topics. Trade is one of the most important topics in international economics. It includes the study of how countries trade with each other and the factors that affect trade patterns. Investment is another important topic in international economics. It includes the study of foreign direct investment and portfolio investment. Migration is also an important topic in international economics. It includes the study of both legal and illegal immigration. Exchange rates are another key topic in international economics. They can have a major impact on a country’s economy.

Labor Economics

Labor EconomicsLabor Economics is the study of how workers are employed and compensated, as well as how their labor market behavior affects the economy. It is a branch of economics that focuses on the market for labor services and the determination of wages.

In general, labor economics focuses on three main areas: Labor markets, human capital, and industrial relations. Labor markets analyze the supply and demand for labor and the factors that affect employment levels and wages. Human capital examines the investment in workers through education and training, which can impact an individual’s productivity and earnings potential. Industrial relations looks at the interaction between employers and employees, including issues such as unionization, job security, and working conditions.

Development Economics

Development economics is a field of economics that focuses on improving economic conditions in underdeveloped and developing countries. The ultimate goal of development economics is to reduce poverty and improve the standard of living in these countries.

Economics Research Methods

Economics research methods are the methods economists use to study economic phenomena. These methods can be divided into two broad categories:

  • Empirical Research
  • Theoretical Research

Empirical Research

Empirical research is a type of research that uses data that has been collected from experiments or observations to answer a question or test a hypothesis. This type of research is often used in economics, as it can be used to test economic theories and predict future economic trends.

The empirical research method involves collecting data and then analyzing it to see if there is a relationship between the two variables. For example, if an economist wants to know if there is a relationship between inflation and unemployment, they would collect data on both variables and then analyze it to see if there is a correlation.

Theoretical Research

Theoretical research is a method used in economics to evaluate and explain economic phenomena. It typically involves the use of mathematical models to derive predictions about how the economy will behave. Theoretical research can be used to understand past economic events, as well as to predict future economic behavior.

There are a number of different theoretical research methods that economists use, including game theory, microeconomic theory and macroeconomic theory.

  • Game theory is often used to study how firms compete with each other in markets.
  • Microeconomic theory is typically used to study individual consumer behavior.
  • Macroeconomic theory is usually used to study the overall behavior of the economy.

Purpose of Economics

In any society, the production and consumption of goods and services is a central activity. Economics is the social science that studies how people use their limited resources to satisfy their unlimited wants. The study of economics helps us to understand human behavior, which in turn helps us make better decisions in our own lives and improve the world around us.

The purpose of economics is to help us understand how people use their resources to satisfy their needs and wants. By understanding economic principles, we can make better decisions about how to use our own resources. We can also use economics to help solve social problems and improve the quality of life for everyone.

About the author

Muhammad Hassan

Researcher, Academic Writer, Web developer