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Transcript: Economics Pathway

Hello there, welcome to Warwick. My name is Isleide Zissimos, I am a Senior Teaching Fellow and the Director of Joint Degrees at the Economics Department here at Warwick. I have many years of experience with Liberal Arts and I think that what makes Liberal Arts really special is the ability that students develop to understand different points of view. This is a very important skill to have, especially now in the current state of affairs where we observe a lot of intolerance around us. So, it's invaluable to be able to understand the other points of view, even if you disagree with them. You can use it to start a conversation where we bring about more peace among people.

When when you talk about Liberal Arts, perhaps an Economics Pathway is not the first thing that comes to mind. If I ask you to picture the image of an economist, the chances are that some old man in a tie, talking about the Bank of England and the interest rates is something that pops up. Well, it's true that the interest rates and the Bank of England are really important because they influence the jobs we are going to get, or even if we are going to be able to afford to buy a house. But I think what I would like to point out to you is that economics is much more than prices, markets, finance, and money.

Economics is a way to think about the world and it's a very interesting way to think about the world because it tries, in essence, to understand incentives and incentives are the things that make people tick. So, for example, you can think of an incentive in its very fundamental form as: if two shops sell the same product, you're probably going buy the product from the shop where it's the cheapest. This is obvious and at the same time an incentive, but this can be really expanded to the big questions. For example, incentives help us to understand why it's so difficult to tackle climate change. Everybody knows what the right thing to do is and yet there are not enough people doing it. Understanding incentives then is the first step to understand how to tackle something so serious and at the same time seem so intractable as climate change and sustainable development.

Before you make up your mind, let me try then to show you some things that you can do if you decide to go through an Economics Pathway during your Liberal Arts degree. In the first year of your degree, we are going to build up the fundamentals and the intermediate concepts related to Microeconomics and Macroeconomics. So, it's true that we are going to talk about prices and markets and interest rates, but we are going to see much more interesting things than that. For example, you're going to see how economists define technology, which is not simply related to computers and information technology, and how that interacts with the population and which in turn will influence patterns of economic growth. We are also going to cover things like firms and consumers, and you will try to understand how property rights define the relationships between firms and consumers. We are also going to discuss topics that we see in the everyday news, such as unemployment, inflation, and economic policy.

In the second year, things go up a level. If you are a detailed person, you could emphasise your studies by looking more carefully at Microeconomics, or if you are interested in social issues you would try something like Economic Development which would help you to understand why it's so difficult for some countries to lift their populations out of poverty. If you are a big picture person, you could try something more like Macroeconomics and you could try out something like Money and Banking which would give you a very good overview of the mechanics of the financial systems. What makes economics a special discipline is its ability to combine social sciences with quantitative methods. So, if you like the idea, you can totally go for the maths and you can even model human behaviours in mathematical terms using game theory, or if you like the idea of working with big data you could try to take some modules related to Econometrics. Big data is going to be something really important and it's probably what's going to define the labour markets in the 21st century.

Finally, when you reach year three, the sky is the limit here. You can really use the third year to complement things that we saw during your Liberal Arts degree and they are not necessarily to complement things in economics. You could, for example, study Economic History in the 20th Century and try to understand that in the context of theories of revolution. You could also expand if you're interested in international issues, so expanded to international economics and try to understand issues such as the difficulties that the United Kingdom is now facing in the face of Brexit. Then, you could specialise more in finance if you wish, or you could really try to understand the labour markets or behavioural economics, and in both cases what you're going to see that's interesting is that there is a psychology flavour to both of those disciplines.

This was a very brief overview of the Economics Pathway, but I hope that you found this useful. If you would like to know more about the Economics modules, please visit the website for the Economics Department (the address is on the top left of the screen). And, if you would like to talk directly to us, please contact us via email at the Warwick Undergraduate Office. So, thanks for listening and I hope you consider the Economics Pathway as a possibility for the future. Thank you, bye.