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Economic Studies: History: Part 1

Posted on March 3, 2022 by ankesh

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The study of economics has evolved over the centuries, and its effect on our world is undeniable. From what we think about how money works , to the ways we assess and balance risks and uncertainty, there is no doubt that economics has shaped our society – In this article, we will uncover what economics studies is, its divisions, when economics as a discipline began, and who is considered as the father of economics and the economic revolution and its repercussions.

What is Economic Studies?

Economic study is the scientific study of decision-making. It explains why people make decisions about how to allocate scarce resources. It is also about understanding how markets work, how prices are determined, and what tools are available for policy-makers to improve the efficiency of markets. It is a social science that deals with understanding the issues of production, distribution, and consumption of goods and services. Economic historians mainly focus on economic changes, reasons behind these changes and why certain nations have more successful economies as compared to those that fall behind. The history of economic studies also enables economists to investigate patterns and root causes that are derived from complex economic, social and political issues in the past.

Two types of Economic Studies

Macroeconomics: Macroeconomics is the study of the performance of an economy on a large scale. It also focuses on how to best use available resources to create desirable outcomes.

Macroeconomics is broken up into 6 main fields: analysis, business cycle, economic fluctuations, economic growth, economic institutions, and general equilibrium.

Microeconomics: Microeconomics is the study of how sellers and buyers interact in a market.

It analyzes how prices are determined in various markets, supply and demand, which factors drive prices, the effect of government regulation, and how changes in one part of an economy can affect other parts.

History of World Economics

The first economic study traces back to the Ancient Greeks, who viewed how population size influenced economic growth.

Early Economics started during the Bronze Age (4000-2500 BCE) and influenced many parts of the world. There were written texts from four major areas like Sumer and Babylonia; Indus River Valley Civilization; along the Yangtze River in China; and Nile Valley in Egypt that date back to 3500 BCE.

There were accounting systems in written language, later on it progressed to recording debts and interest payments and other scribes that had recorded the collection and redistribution of goods and property.

Economic frameworks mainly began in the late 18th century. At this point, economics studies focused solely on production, distribution and consumption.

Hammurabi, the ruler of Babylon, created the code of Hammurabi (1810-1750 BCE) which is considered as one of the earliest works of economic synthesis. It was created to provide a detailed framework of commerce that included important aspects like business ethics specifically made for merchants and tradespeople.

Who was the father of Economics and what were his findings?

Adam Smith was a Scottish philosopher and economist who is popularly known as the father of economics. He was the pioneer behind the concept of classical free market theory.

The first economic study was done by Adam Smith in 1776 with his book “An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations”. This was one of the first books to introduce economics to the world. It included how to measure objects, trade, and money among many other topics that are still studied today. Smith and a few other economic thinkers like David Hume and Alfred Marshall gave birth to economics around the time of the Industrial Revolution.

Smith argued that individuals have a natural tendency to promote their own interests in a free market economy in coordination with others in a social environment. He believed that this would lead to an equilibrium in which everyone’s economic decisions benefit themselves. He developed the concept of division of labour and stressed upon the fact that rational self-interest and competition could lead to economic prosperity.

World Economic Revolution

The economic revolution was a time of incredible change in the Western world at the start of the 19th century.

The Industrial Revolution began to reshape how people lived. Factories popped up all over Europe and America, which required workers.

People moved to cities, often far from home, to find jobs. They were attracted by better wages that factories offered for often tedious work. During this time, many people believed that workers deserved better working conditions and fair wages.

This led to improved conditions of the working class as working men and women led labor strikes to demand safer working conditions and higher pay, which invariably led to advancements in transportation, basic infrastructure, urbanization, and better economy.

History of Indian Economic Studies

The history of economics in India goes back to the medieval era when there was anecdotal evidence of activities that resemble economic activity.

Indian economics can be classified under Western economic theory but with an emphasis on social welfare and poverty alleviation

Chanakya (350 BC-275 BC), an ancient philosopher, economist , professor and royal adviser was known to have considered economic issues who later authored the political treatise, the Arthashastra. Many of the topics discussed in this ancient texts are still prevalent in Modern Economics.

However, it was not until the 1800s when the first official documents containing economic principles were published by Indian writers.

There are many economists who developed their theories based on India’s specific climate and needs. The most well-known include Amiya Kumar Bagchi, P C Mahalanobis, Prasanta Chandra Mahalanobis, Jagdish Saran Sharma, Ashok Rudra, and Raj Krishna.

Factors that led to Indian Economic Revolution

The revolution of Indian economics is known to have come from Amartya Sen. The original study of macroeconomics was done by Sen. He was also awarded the nobel prize in 1998 in Economic Sciences.

He studied how economic disequilibrium affects the growth of the economy. Sen became one of India’s most celebrated economists because he focused on problems that came up due to globalization and modernization in India.

On the contrary, Indian economics post independence was also influenced by European colonialists, which shaped the intellectual tradition of the subcontinent until 1990.

The new economic policy in 1991 and the advent of the IMF (International Monetary Fund) and World Bank compelled India to liberalize its economy and remove trade barriers with other countries. Some of these economic policies led to structural reforms and stabilization measures. There were reforms like privatization, liberalization and globalization which led to improvement in the economy and also increased its international competitiveness.

A need to rethink Economic Studies.

In spite of the revolution that economics has witnessed in the last many decades there is still an increased need to rethink what economic studies is and what economic growth really means in the current century.

Economics is not just about profit and numbers anymore. Sustainability, equal opportunity and a society that is fair to all is what should be the driving factors of the new economy.

There are a number of academic institutions who now focus on economics with an interdisciplinary approach. In order to foster an inclusive framework, universities use this approach that enables them to impart knowledge from different disciplines within an economic framework

This enables students to make co-relations between societal challenges and influencing factors to gain a broader knowledge that help them drive to effective solutions.

When we make changes at the grassroot level, we are prepared in the coming generations to tackle unpredictable world situations and geographical impacts that may affect the lives of our people and the economy of our country.


With the increase in globalization, our economy has become more interconnected with other economies. This creates a need to rethink and study new economic models that can be used to better understand both national and global economies. In order to do that, we have to create new leaders and thinkers who will help us determine the best way to maximize economic growth potential while minimizing social inequality.

Learn more about Interdisciplinary Undergraduate and Postgraduate Programmes in Economics

Also read, “Economic Studies: Rethinking the Fundamentals: Part 2” to gain more insights on what is missing in economic studies and what are the steps that need to be taken to create better economic outcomes.

Posted under: RV University

Economic Studies: Rethinking the Fundamentals: Part 2

Posted on by ankesh

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Why is it important to rethink economic studies? And what are the changes needed for economics studies in the future?

In the first blog post from the series, “Economic Studies: History: Part 1”, we discussed the history of economic studies and key elements that influenced the economic development of India and the world. Here is the 2nd blog post from the series that will give you insights on why there is a need to rethink the fundamentals of economic studies.


Economics is one of the most important subjects in the world. The economy of a country is what shapes its social, economic and political systems, and without it, the system would be nothing more than a randomly ordered set of production processes.

Economic studies is one of the most popular programmes for students to take, but with an outdated curriculum, it will just not provide the right skill sets to thrive in a career relating to economics.

The Problem in Economic studies. What is missing?

Why does academia need to rethink the future of economics?

We need to start at grassroot levels in order to create a much more prepared environment for the economic sector. Schools and colleges are where we should begin this new progression. We need to build a new curriculum because we can’t rely on old methods to understand and analyze our future; we need a new approach to economics, in which we will integrate knowledge from other fields like sociology, psychology and anthropology.

The traditional economic theory based on the idea of scarcity and scarcity of resources, is increasingly irrelevant. New realities require rethinking the way we look at economics that goes beyond a single-minded focus on material goods. The insights that emerge in the new economic paradigm are very different from what many of us have learned.

Why use Interdisciplinary Teaching methods while teaching Economics?

The idea of interdisciplinary teaching is to have people study economics from perspectives not typically studied in economics courses. For example, if you are studying economic theory, you might want to also cover the literature on cognitive psychology. Similarly, if you are studying environmental economics, it would be important to understand what behavioral ecology has to say about the way habits work in humans.

What are the benefits of rethinking economic studies?

There are many benefits. The first is that it would be easier for economists to plan the future if they have a better understanding of how the economy evolved in the past. Secondly, it would allow them to be more effective when it comes to economic policies. And thirdly, it would make future economists more prepared for drastic changes and they will be well equipped to recover a drowning economy by taking the most effective steps necessary in that particular situation.


Economics is a constantly changing field; economics theory and policy must be constantly adapting to the changing needs of the people. One way to do this is for universities to create new economic curricula to cater to the needs of the current century. This will enable graduates to be ready for a career in a constantly evolving economy. The world is going through a period of rapid change, and there are immense opportunities for economists, their colleagues in other social sciences, and policymakers alike to bring about a revolution in approach to economic studies.

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