Reasons for Studying Economics in Schools and Tertiary Institutions

There are various definitions of Economics

The earliest definitions were usually in terms of wealth such as the one by Adam Smith who defined economics as: “Inquiry into the nature and causes of wealth of nations.”

J.S Mill defined economics as “the practical science of production and distribution of wealth.”

Davenport defined economics as “the science that treats phenomena from the stand point of price.”

Professor pigou in his own definition described the subject as having a lot to do with welfare

Alfred Marshall defined economics as “a study of mankind in the ordinary business life.”

However, the most generally acceptable definition of economics is that of Lord Lionel C. Robbins. Since all things are scarce relative to limited supply, economic decisions are predicated on making choices. Therefore, Lord Lionel Robinson defined economics as “the science which studies human behavior as a relationship between ends and scarce means which have alternative uses.”

Economics as a Social Science

Economics is a social science because it deals with human beings whose behaviors are unpredictable. Examples of other social sciences are sociology, Political science, psychology and so on

However, in economics, because human beings are dealt with or are studied, predictions might not be accurate. Hence, economics is a social science

The Concept of Want

Wants are ends or desires of human beings. They are things that a person likes to have. Human wants are so numerous, insatiable and unlimited. The moment some wants are satisfied, others come

The Concept of Scarcity

Scarcity in Economics refers to the inability to get all the things you want. Scarcity may also be defined as limited supply of resources, which are required to satisfy for the satisfaction of human numerous wants. Human wants are numerous but unfortunately, the resources that is, factor of production required for producing things to satisfy these wants themselves are limited (scarce) in supply.

Scale of Preference

This is a list prepared by an individual or person and showing the goods and services that a person wants in the order of priority or in the order of relative importance. The most important want tops the list while the others follow in order of importance



Choice is defined as the method of choosing or selecting the alternative to be satisfied out of many human wants. Choice is necessitated by scarcity of resources, as it is extremely impossible or difficult for one to produce all his needs thus a choice has to be made

Opportunity Cost

It is the alternative foregone when a choice is made. The opportunity cost of a product is the alternative that must be given up to enjoy such a product or it can be described as satisfaction that a consumer enjoys by consuming one product at the expense of the other

Why do we study Economics?

  1. The study of economics provides students with the basic skills for analyzing economic problems and contributes to finding solutions to them
  2. The study of economics brings about equitable distribution of resources or resource allocation, distribution of income and opportunities
  3. The study of economics enables us to have a direction in the area of production, what to produce and the factors of production used
  4. The study of economics enables government to plan towards national integration and economic growth
  5. The study of economics helps government to evolve programmes that would benefit the citizens
  6. The study of economics helps students to understand his economic environment and take decision where it is necessary
  7. The study of economics gives us a factual background needed for rational decision-making
  8. Economics is studied in order to appreciate various government policies where choices have to be made such as allocating more money to provide free medical services or promoting free primary education
  9. Since economics is a social science which studies human behavior, its study makes it possible for us to have a smooth and cordial relationship with one another
  10. The study of economics has a logical structure, which makes it possible for us to solve most practical problems
  11. The study of economics reduces to the barest minimum, wastage’s of scarce resources as any decision taken relative to available resources are sound and accurate
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4 thoughts on “Reasons for Studying Economics in Schools and Tertiary Institutions”

  1. When I was in college and I took economics courses, I wish that the system of education here in my country revised and economics will be included in secondary level subjects because not at all have the opportunity to finish the degree. It is very interesting and in my point of view is best if younger generations will have a better understanding how everything evolves, starting how economy grow, downfall and rise. I am sure my country will have a greater chances if it is happen.

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