The Department offers courses in Economics, Financial Economics and Statistics at the basic/introductory, intermediate and advanced levels.
What is Economics? Most people would probably associate Economics with issues like economic growth, market fluctuations, inflation, interest levels and unemployment. Those types of issues are often discussed in the media. However, there are lots of other issues that economists can look into and work with as well. Let’s for example take a look at some degree projects completed by BA students in the spring of 2012 – this gives a good example of the great variety of issues:
• Less work – less emissions? A study of the influence of shorter working hours on greenhouse gas emissions
• The housing market in Sweden – is there a price bubble?
• Socio-economic impacts of CSR
• Ethiopian Coffee and Fair Trade – An empirical study
• Ethical funds’ performance
• Italy and the stability and growth pact
• Fiscal and macroeconomic impacts of privatization – the case of Zambia
The theoretical base in economics is comprised of microeconomics and macroeconomics. Microeconomic theory focuses on the components of an economy. How can we explain what is going on in the market; what guides supply and demand; what rules and explains the reactions of consumers, companies and public authorities; and how are their decisions coordinated? Why don’t all markets function well?
Macroeconomic theory, on the other hand, explains an economy at a more general level. For example, what affects and explains unemployment, inflation and economic growth?
The history of economics. The modern version of economics science has its roots in the book “Wealth of Nations” by the 18th century philosopher Adam Smith. In the book, Smith analysed the links between various economic factors in a more elucidatory way than had ever been done before. The subject of Economics has since then developed in different directions. This development is still going on as the economic reality keeps changing.
Economics of today is characterized by the fact that there are many specializations where micro/macroeconomics is used as a tool and a starting point for the study of various problems. In our Department we have active and successful researchers within areas such as:
• Behavioural economics
• Development economics
• Environmental economics
• Financial economics
• Industrial economics
• Public economics
Many of today’s problems and phenomena are very complicated. Therefore economists sometimes tend to interact with other sciences and researchers in other disciplines, such as psychology, political science, sociology, and biology.
Finally – as economists we not only try to understand how the economy works but also how it should work.
By tradition, economists are supposed to work in the public sector as analysts. We have noticed, however, that the job market for economists is much wider than that. In fact, most of our former students work in the private sector (approx. 80%), while only around 20% are found in the public sector. About 50% of the graduates work as specialists or consultants and 20% have some kind of managerial position.
Our Economics students start out with an introductory course in their first semester. The course gives them basic knowledge in economic theory and policy as well as an ability to apply economic theory to current problems. It also gives them an awareness of economic conditions and trends. The introductory course consists of four sub-courses, each worth 7½ higher education credits (“högskolepoäng”): Macroeconomics, Microeconomics, Applied Economics and Trade, and Financial Economics.
For those who choose to continue beyond the introductory course, an intermediate course follows during the second semester. The course offers a continuation of the introductory course, and consists of the sub-courses Methods for Economic Analysis, Macroeconomic Theory, Microeconomics Theory, Corporate Finance and International Economics & Financial Markets.
After finishing the intermediate course, the student may continue on to the advanced course. Here the sub-courses are taught in English. First there is a compulsory course in Econometrics (Basic Econometrics), followed by a specialization course chosen by the student. The choice of courses reflects the research fields at the Department and therefore the supply of courses may to some extent vary over time. Some examples of specialization courses are Development Economics, Portfolio Investment, Policy Evaluation, Environmental Economics, and Industrial Economics. Not all courses are offered in both autumn and spring semesters. During the final half of the semester, each student writes an exam paper.
To be able to offer high quality education, it is of utmost importance that our teachers generally are active researchers as well. The research work at the Department is carried out partly by PhD candidates in our PhD programme and partly by employed teachers and researchers. We also have visiting researchers from other universities working at our Department.
Why can we draw conclusions from studies where results are based on just a limited sample? How large do the samples need to be, and how valid are the results?
Statistics is the science of collecting, analysing and interpreting empirical data which means that there are a large number of application areas. Statistical methods are invaluable in various social science subjects when it comes to collecting and analysing quantitative data. All types of decisions, all planning of economic activities, and all control and supervision of the environment demand statistically correct data.
Statistics is a scientific field where scientific methods are formalized comprising much of what is today called information science. Along with the increased use and capacity of computers, statistical methods have become essential tools in a variety of areas – medicine, teaching and learning, psychology, management, investment planning, polls, market analyses, political science, economic forecasts, transport analyses, telecommunication and law. In other words – knowledge in Statistics is becoming more and more important in order to apply a critical attitude towards all information that we face daily in private and professional life.
People with good statistical knowledge included in their degrees are very attractive on the Swedish labour market, especially in the private sector (e.g. in pharmaceutical companies, poll institutes, market analysis companies, financial departments of banks) but also in the public sector at the local and national levels.
Courses in Statistics are included in the Business Management Program (Ekonomprogrammet) and the Logistics Program and are also offered as freestanding courses at the introductory, intermediate and advanced levels in Economics.