Other than to meet a course requirement for your academic degree, why should you study economics? Your motivations might include making money in the stock market, forecasting demand for your product, or understanding how the laws of supply and demand affect gasoline prices. You may study economics in order to increase your chance of getting into a graduate or professional degree program.

Regardless of the reason a person might decide to study economics, it is a fact that each of us is affected by the powerful forces of economics every day of our lives. The cost of attending college or traveling abroad, the income you receive from your occupation, the interest rate you pay on a home mortgage, the prices you pay for the products you purchase, the value of your retirement savings, and your quality of life are all largely determined by economic forces beyond your control. Understanding these forces and why they change can help you make decisions that will improve your life.

Economic issues, such as unemployment, health insurance, taxes, inflation, and inequality, usually dominate the political landscape in national political elections. As a voter, you must understand economic principles in order to properly assess and evaluate candidates’ policy proposals. Virtually all national political issues—including national security—contain direct or indirect economic components. State and local elections are also dominated by economic issues such as taxes, welfare, and spending on highways and education.

At the most basic level, then, studying economics allows you to understand the world around you in a way that will help you make better decisions for yourself, your family, and—as a voter—for society.

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