Careers in Economics

Employment Information

There is a book, available electronically from the USF library, called “College Majors Handbook with Real Career Paths and Payoffs” by Neeta P. Fogg, Paul E. Harrington, and Thomas F. Harrington. It is based on a large National Science Foundation study of college graduates.  One chapter details what people with Economics majors do in the working world — giving information on employers, types of jobs, salaries, and so forth.  At the link, Economics is Chapter 17; comparative salary data is in Chapter 3.

Recent Salary Updates

The first is from the 2013-2014 Payscale College Salary Report, an article called “Majors that pay you back” (Payscale is a web-based information company around since 2002).  It lists salaries for 129 majors.  Econ comes in 15th, after lots of engineering, physics, and math.

The second is from a New York Times blog, economix.  It includes a chart showing Economics as the 5th highest-paid major overall (after 4 kinds of Engineering). “Do Elite Colleges Produce the Best-Paid Graduates?

The third is from the Chronicle of Higher Education.  It also shows economics as the highest paid COB major.  This one is different, however, in that it splits Business Economics off from social science Economics (just as there are two Economics tracks at USFSP).  Business Econ is tied for the 11th highest paid major overall (after Pharmacy and various types of Engineering and math).  Social Science Econ is the highest paid social science, a little below Business Econ. “Median Earnings by Major and Subject Area

Economics and Law

According to the American Bar Association, economics is among the “traditional preparation for law school.”  The two fields use similar logic and analysis.  The three links below give evidence that an undergraduate economics degree is an excellent preparation for law school and a career in law.  The first link shows average LSAT (Law School Admissions Test) scores for economics majors and for others.  The economics majors are at or near the top.  The second gives similar information, and some explanation.  The last article presents evidence on the salaries of lawyers with Economics and other majors—it shows that lawyers with undergraduate degrees in economics earn higher salaries, and that the salary bump for the economics degree is more significant than that for any other degree.

LSAT Scores of Majors (.pdf)

“LSAT Scores of Economics Majors: The 2003-2004 Class Update” by Michael Nieswiadomy, Journal of Economic Education, Spring 2006.

“Do Economists Make Better Lawyers? Undergraduate Degree Field and Lawyer Earnings” byR. Kim Craft and Joe G. Baker, Journal of Economic Education, Summer 2003.

Economics and the Masters of Business Administration (MBA)

The analysis, forecasting, and critical thinking skills students acquire with their Economics majors are quite useful in advanced business study.  Economics might be the best preparation for future MBA students taking the GMAT (Graduate management Admissions Test, required for most MBA programs).  The link below shows that economics majors GMAT scores are very high on average, higher than any other business major.

Best GMAT Performance: Physics, Math and Engineering Undergraduates, Bottom Half: Hotel, Marketing & Education