There are many different categories you could focus on if economics is your passion, with each of these categories leading to different career options. Two of the most common branches are “regular” economics and applied economics. Although there is a lot of overlap between the two, there are also several differences between what they are and what areas they focus on.
A High-Level Overview
General economics is more theoretical as it covers the distribution, production, and consumption of goods and services. Applied economics, on the other hand, is a lot more practical as it focuses on the application of economics in everyday life. It does this through the use of analysis and research.
What Is Applied Economics?
Applied economics takes everything you will find in regular economics and arms you with the tools to apply what you learn in everyday situations. Applied economics makes use of research, numbers, and analysis to predict potential outcomes of economic models and theories.
Applied economics leads you to a deeper understanding of specific case studies to understand how different situations lead to other situations.
What Is Economics?
In addition to focusing on the production, consumption, and distribution of goods and services, economics also focuses on the way people, businesses, entire countries, and people manage money. This management of money is explored by looking at people’s needs, wants, demand, and supply.
When studying economics, you will also learn about macroeconomics and microeconomics, as well as theories of how suppliers and consumers interact.
From the above, it is easy to see that regular economics focuses on a border view of economics, which means that if you want to study economics, you will come across many different facets of this science without going too deep on any one single aspect.
The Key Differences Between the Two
Economics focuses on theories and their history while applied economics is used by companies, governments, businesses, and other parties to evaluate risks, which leads to the development of measures to mitigate against these risks and ensure stability. In doing so, applied economics makes heavy use of trends, data, and numbers.
While it is easy to think that applied economics is a branch of regular economics, that is not the case. Applied economics does make use of economic theories, models, and principles, but taking a closer look will reveal differences in what both of these areas focus on and how they are used in the real world.
Deciding Which One is Right For You
It might be difficult to choose because of how similar they seem. Both of them offer lots of different career options with economics offering many more options than applied economics which is a lot narrower. If you choose economics, you might find yourself working as an actuary or an analyst for a small business. Applied economics leads to a career working for bigger corporations and if you graduate with an MS in Applied Economics Boston College, you might even find yourself working for a governmental organization or the government itself.
If you want to study economics and do not know where to start, go with regular economics. That gives you many more career options, but if you want something a lot more focused and are interested in the practical application of economics, choose applied economics.