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Why I Majored in Economics

Cameron Greene '24

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I arrived at Yale thinking I would major in Ethics, Politics, and Economics and eventually attend law school. I took coursework in Directed Studies, Russian language, and political theory.

Taking intro microeconomics in the summer before sophomore year with Professor Koker, I enjoyed learning about the behavior of rational agents, such as the need to weigh opportunity costs. The economist’s way of thinking resonated with me. By providing new motivation, economics rekindled my love of math. Since sophomore year I have worked as an economic research assistant through the Tobin program and individual hires in the School of Management, Jackson School, and ISPS. Junior year, I switched to the Economics major for the opportunities to work more closely with economics faculty and to take more quantitative economics coursework.

The community is intimate. It is easy to find classmates to work on psets with. I have discovered new interests through the structure of the major and the research interests of faculty. Entering my senior year, I am looking forward to the challenge of writing my thesis. I am grateful for the support I have received from faculty mentors.

Marcella Villagomez '24

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When I got to Yale, I planned to major in Computer Science and Economics. I knew I wanted to explore and develop empirical models and understand their implications.

I decided on switching to just Economics at the end of my Sophomore year. I found a deep interest in the high-level programming required of econometrics, and found that there were a multitude of careers I could pursue within that realm. I have always found an interest in Economics due to its unique ability to bring together the quantitative (via modeling) and the qualitative (consistently diving into why the model appears the way it does).

I have thoroughly appreciated my experience within the major. Given that there are relatively few major requirements, I had the opportunity to explore so many different applications within the real-world, such as trade, industrial organization, and healthcare.

Nicholas Trenholm '24

Headshot Nick Trenholm

In high school, I developed a very strong interest in government and politics. This led me to enter Yale planning to major in Ethics, Politics, and Economics – an interdisciplinary program that prepares you for a career in public policy.

My freshman year, I took classes in all three of the disciplines under the umbrella of the EP&E major. After completing two semesters, one thing was clear. I enjoyed my economics classes far more than the others. I loved the real world applicability, the basis in quantitative and observable fact, and the logical puzzles that economics problems present you with. Yale's economics department boasts the best faculty in the world who, while producing industry-leading research, take deep care and pride in teaching undergraduates. The department also gives students the chance to participate in and contribute to innovative research projects. I have had the opportunity to learn from such an amazing array of professors, such as William Nordhaus and Costas Meghir. With course flexibility and a wide variety of electives, you can truly make the major your own. I decided to major in economics because I am passionate about the subject and value the support given by the wonderful advisors, staff, and faculty in the department.

My experience as an economics major has been one of growth and excitement. The major's core classes provide students with an excellent foundational knowledge of economics. You will be challenged at times and rewarded for the learning experience you are taking part in. I love the freedom provided by the major so that each semester I can put together a class schedule that excites me. From game theory to personal finance, each class is an opportunity to improve your economic toolkit and engage with a new and interesting subject matter. In addition to the world-class professors, the teaching assistants and advisors in the economics department really define the major. They always go the extra mile to ensure students are having a positive, constructive learning experience. The overall economics community at Yale is supportive, collaborative, and dynamic. I would encourage all new students to explore economics at Yale.

Annie Lin '24

Annie Lin Headshot

I arrived at Yale in September 2020 planning to double major in Economics and Electrical Engineering.

I've known that Economics was my major for me since my Junior year of high school, and it was probably not for the reason why everyone else majored in Economics. I like Economics because I sucked at it - I simply could not understand how one could translate social behavior down to models and numbers on a piece of paper. I think the challenge of delving into a field so unfamiliar and knowing that I had to work harder to strengthen my knowledge and build the necessary quantitative skills drove me to enjoy the work as I began to see Economics' practical applications in real life. I worked to build my understanding of the principles of microeconomics and macroeconomics brick by brick until I had a solid foundation that allowed me to explore other fascinating areas, such as labor economics and behavioral finance, and decided that it was the major for me ever since then.

My experience as an economics major has been very fruitful, especially as a student of another STEM major (electrical engineering), I could combine complementary skills from both majors to further my understanding of underlying concepts from both majors. I've particularly enjoyed using my coding background to work on data-driven projects as a Tobin RA or creating a simple regression model for PSETs. The best part of being an Economics major is that you are hands-on with applying the theories you've learned in class to history or your own models while working with the most up-and-coming researchers in your field.