Economics is the study of how people and organizations make decisions, how they interact with each other, and how institutions and policies can be designed to improve people’s lives. Economists strive to understand the world around them both as it is and as it ought to be. The basic principles of economics are applied to a wide range of social and political challenges that confront us today: international trade, environmental protection, health care, development, domestic spending and taxes (fiscal policy), Federal Reserve policies (monetary policy), work decisions and labor markets, and the regulation of private business.

At St. Olaf, students of economics find:

● One of the largest departments among undergraduate liberal arts colleges.

● Tenured professors who are experts in a wide range of subjects, from antitrust, environmental, and labor economics to the economics of developing countries in Latin America, Africa, and Asia.
● A varied curriculum that includes theory, applications, institutional studies, and quantitative analysis, as well as historical and ethical concerns.
● The option for emphases in finance, management, international economics, and policy analysis.

The economics major serves as excellent preparation for careers in a wide variety of fields, including economic analysis, banking, accounting, consulting, health administration, finance, business management, teaching, and international affairs. The major also provides a solid foundation for students wishing to pursue graduate studies in economics, business, public policy, and law.

Much more than finance, banking, business and government, a degree in economics is useful to all individuals and can lead to many interesting career choices. In the video below, four diverse individuals offer their insights on how a background in economics can be a tool for solving very human problems. (This video is presented courtesy of the American Economic Association.)