What is an 'Economist'

An economist is an expert who studies the relationship between a society's resources and its production or output. The societies studied may range from the smallest of local communities to an entire nation or even the global economy.

The expert opinions and research findings of an economist are used to help shape a wide variety of policies, including interest rates, tax laws, employment programs, international trade agreements and corporate strategies.


There is a good chance that someone interested in a career as an economist will work for the government. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, roughly 50% of all economists work for either a federal or state agency. The remainder are employed as professors, by corporations or as part of economic think tanks.

A career as an economist has two main requirements. First, economists generally hold advanced degrees, such as a PhD or a master's degree. Second, economists typically develop an area of specialization where they focus their research efforts.

  1. Building Society

    Building society is a type of financial institution that provides ...
  2. Rate Of Adoption

    The number of members of a society who start using a new technology ...
  3. Lawrence Klein

    An American economist and winner of the 1980 Nobel Memorial Prize ...
  4. Hollowing Out

    The deterioration of a country’s manufacturing sector when producers ...
  5. Growth Recession

    An expression coined by economists to describe an economy that ...
  6. Business Economics

    The study of the financial issues and challenges faced by corporations. ...
Related Articles
  1. Financial Advisor

    What does a 'Chief Economist' do?

    Vanguard's Chief Economist Joe Davis discusses his role helping portfolio managers and clients.
  2. Investing

    How Influential Economists Changed Our History

    Find out how these five groundbreaking thinkers made contributions to financial theory that crossed over into many aspects of social history as well.
  3. Insights

    Pay Attention to These Economic Indicators

    Vanguard's Chief Economist on the three economic forces you should watch for.
  4. Insights

    Economists Seriously Can't Forecast Recessions

    In the month of April before a recession, economists' growth predictions for the following year have been off by 200% on average. Why even try?
  5. Insights

    How a Chess Champion Became a Renowned Economist

    Harvard economist and former Chief Economist for the IMF, Kenneth Rogoff, shares his journey from high school chess champion to being one of the world's leading economic minds.
  6. Personal Finance

    Career Benefits From The CFA Institute

    The CFA Institute provides members with a variety of ongoing career and networking benefits.
  7. Insights

    The Fed, Investors, Economists Now Love Rate Hikes

    Interest Rate Harmony: a consensus has emerged that several rate hikes are needed
  8. Investing

    How Globalization Affects Developed Countries

    The increase in communications technology has companies competing in a global market.
  9. Insights

    Main Characteristics of Capitalist Economies

    Commerce is based on the principles of capitalism, but there are few, if any, examples of pure capitalism except in theory.
  1. What do economists believe causes economic growth?

    Learn the different theories for what economists believe causes economic growth, including the big differences between supply-side ... Read Answer >>
  2. In economics, what is an index number?

    Read about the role of an index number in economics and how index numbers can be applied to all kinds of data, such as inflation ... Read Answer >>
  3. Why do economists think it is important to track discretionary income?

    Learn about the importance of discretionary income to economists, particularly for economists who emphasize consumer spending ... Read Answer >>
  4. What Are the Best Measurements of Economic Growth?

    Learn how economists and statisticians track economic growth and why GDP might not be the best measurement of real economic ... Read Answer >>
  5. What are some of the ways economic growth can be achieved?

    Discover some of the different ideas economists promote to achieve economic growth and how there is little agreement about ... Read Answer >>
  6. What is the difference between accounting and economics?

    Discover the difference between accounting and economics by comparing and contrasting the financial discipline of accounting ... Read Answer >>
Hot Definitions
  1. Standard Deviation

    A measure of the dispersion of a set of data from its mean, calculated as the square root of the variance. The more spread ...
  2. Entrepreneur

    An Entrepreneur is an individual who founds and runs a small business and assumes all the risk and reward of the venture. ...
  3. Money Market

    The money market is a segment of the financial market in which financial instruments with high liquidity and very short maturities ...
  4. Perfect Competition

    Pure or perfect competition is a theoretical market structure in which a number of criteria such as perfect information and ...
  5. Compound Interest

    Compound Interest is interest calculated on the initial principal and also on the accumulated interest of previous periods ...
  6. Income Statement

    A financial statement that measures a company's financial performance over a specific accounting period. Financial performance ...
Trading Center