What Are the Branches of Economics?

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The two major branches of economics are microeconomics and macroeconomics. Microeconomics deals largely with the decision-making behavior of individual consumers and firms in markets, while macroeconomics focuses largely on the aggregated behavior of all consumers and firms in an economy.

In a typical introductory microeconomics course, students focus on consumer theory and producer theory to learn how these economic actors behave and interact under different types of market conditions. In a typical introductory macroeconomics course, students study the economy-wide phenomena that arise from the millions of microeconomic interactions occurring every day throughout an economy. Topics of study include economic growth, inflation, unemployment and the business cycle. Macroeconomics also includes the study of government monetary and fiscal policy.

Both microeconomics and macroeconomics are founded upon the economic laws of supply and demand. The branches rely on many of the same fundamental economic ideas, from scarcity to opportunity cost.

In addition to these two major branches, numerous other subfields exist in the economics discipline. Many subfields cannot be neatly categorized under microeconomics or macroeconomics because they utilize some tools and analytical frameworks from both branches. Some of the more well-known subfields in economics include behavioral economics, energy economics, game theory, health economics, welfare economics, labor economics, economic geography, development economics, international economics and information economics.