Economics is the study of how people satisfy their needs and wants through the activities of production, consumption and exchange. These economic activities require the allocation of time, energy, and scarce material and financial resources. Different allocations are observed depending on the choice of production technique and preferences in consumption.
Economic activities are carried out by individuals, households, businesses, banks, and government agencies. Microeconomics is concerned with how decisions are made, and should be made, by these units, and how these decisions interact through exchange and market competition. Since national economies are comprised of millions of individuals and organizations, their detailed study is extremely difficult. Macroeconomics helps overcome this difficulty by studying the behavior of aggregate economic variables which represent how an economy is working in general, or as a whole. Economic organizations are created and influenced by various political and legal processes. Political economy is concerned with the study of these interactions.
Microeconomics, macroeconomics, and political economy form the basic perspectives from which the discipline of economics tries, first to understand economic behavior; second, to determine how to improve economic performances; and third, to predict the effects of the policies and actions of government and private organizations on the economy. All these areas of study are important for the formulation and evaluation of economic policy.
The Economics Program at UH Hilo offers a solid core of required courses in economics and quantitative methods along with a flexible group of elective courses. During the first two years of study, students are expected to fulfill the General Educational Requirements for the Bachelor of Arts Degree. Introductory micro- and macroeconomics (Econ 130-131) may also be completed during the sophomore year. In the third and forth years of the program, students complete the Economics Core Requirements and selected Economics Electives along with several general course electives.
Economic analysis, forecasting and cost-benefit studies have become routine requirements of management information in most medium and large business firms. Because of its rigorous preparation in economic theory and quantitative methods, a bachelor's degree in economics from UH Hilo is in demand both in industry and government. The department program also provides an excellent background for law and other professional schools, as well as graduate study in economics.