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Who is an Economist?

An Economist provides strategic direction to government and industry based on parameters such as national income, national output, consumption behaviour, sector-wise challenges etc. An Economist may be engaged by the government, industries and banks.


Candidates who wish to join Bachelor's degree programme should have passed 10+2 or equivalent examination securing a minimum of 50% marks in the aggregate (for some college of repute) or 45% in some cases with economics as one of the subjects at this level.

What does an Economist do?

An Economist studies the macro-economic parameters and advises the government on fiscal measures, inflation data and demand-supply issues. If the economist is working with the central bank, he will be involved in designing monetary policies for the country.

Economists serving a particular organization in a particular industry would assess the overall economy and would report the same to the decision-makers with analyses on product-specific demand and purchasing power scenarios.

What are the skills required?

As an Economist you are expected to have a clear understanding of the concepts of Economics. You should also be articulate about the current state of the national and global economy. The following traits are necessary to be an economist:

  • Analytical skill
  • Mathematical skill
  • Communication skill
  • Critical thinking skill

Top courses offering courses on Economics

To be an Economist you should have a master’s degree or a PhD in Economics.

The top colleges to pursue a Bachelor in Economics are

  • Shri Ram College of Commerce, Delhi
  • St. Stephen’s College, Delhi
  • Lady Shriram College, Delhi
  • Miranda House, Delhi
  • St. Xavier’s College, Kolkata
  • Loyola College, Chennai
  • Hindu College, Delhi
  • Madras Christian College, Chennai
  • Presidency University, Kolkata
  • Christ University, Bangalore

Similarly leading institutes to pursue Masters in Economics are

  • Delhi School of Economics, Delhi
  • Indian Statistical Institute, Kolkata
  • Indira Gandhi Institute of Development Research, Mumbai
  • Madras School of Economics, Chennai
  • Centre of Development Studies, Kerala
  • Gokhale Institute of Politics and Economics, Pune
  • Hyderabad School of Economics, Hyderabad
  • Jamia Milia Islamia, Delhi
  • School of Social Sciences, Jawaharlal Nehru University, Delhi

The above institutes are all leading institutes of higher education and they offer PhD programs in Economics as well. In addition to this, some of the IITs (Indian Institute of Technology) and IIMs (Indian Institute of Management) offer a PhD program in Economics. Internship options are available for students of Economics in government and private sectors and also in several educational institutes all across India.  

Career Scope

In the financial institutions the job role of an Economist may be that of a Data Analyst, Financial Risk Analyst, Equity Analyst, Investment Analyst etc. Indian Economic Service examination conducted by the UPSC is a good career option in the government sector. Reserve Bank of India conducts examinations to recruit Economists. International agencies such as the World Bank and International Labor Organization hire Economists.

To appear in the Indian Economic Service examination conducted by UPSC, you should hold a Master’s degree in Economics with minimum 55% marks. On selection, you will be placed in important ministries of the government of India. It is a Group A Central Service.

How much does an Economist make?

The junior-most Indian Economic Service officer is in pay band 3 with the scale of Rs. 15,600 - Rs. 39,100 plus grade pay.

In the private sector, compensation will vary with companies. The Chief Economist of an organization like SEBI may earn above Rs 50,00,000/ annum.

What are the books and study materials available?

The syllabus of Indian Economic Service contains four papers on Economics, one paper on General Studies and one paper on General English. You should be proficient in subjects taught up to post graduation level. Good grasp of Indian and world economy is also required.

Reading newspapers and journals such as Yojana, Economic and Political Weekly, Economic Times and Business Standard will be helpful. Important updates on the economy may be found on the website of Reserve Bank of India.

Some of the recommended books by 9CC are

  • Basic Economics by Thomas Sowell
  • Capitalism and Freedom by Milton Friedman
  • Principles of Microeconomics by HL Ahuja
  • Macroeconomics by R Dornbusch
  • Indian Economy by Datt and Sundaram
  • International Economics by Soderston and Mannur

Major Recruiters

  • Economists are recruited by varied organizations in the private and public sectors. Economists may be employed by
  • Government of India
  • State Governments
  • Public Sector and Private Sector Banks
  • Reserve Bank of India
  • Financial Institutions such as broking houses and NBFCs
  • Research Institutes such as National Council of Applied Economic Research, National Institute of Public Finance and Policy, India Development Foundation etc.

Interesting Facts

The Indian subcontinent has produced three Nobel laureates in recent decades who are also distinguished Economists. They are Amartya Sen, Muhammad Yunus and Abhijit Banerjee.