What are the roles of an economist in the nation's development?

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Economists essentially evaluate the health and wellness of the economy of a nation by analyzing the Gross Domestic Product, the available reserves, and imports and exports. Economists will create a dynamic overview of how much money a nation is generating or saving, which gives an idea of the health of...

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Economists essentially evaluate the health and wellness of the economy of a nation by analyzing the Gross Domestic Product, the available reserves, and imports and exports. Economists will create a dynamic overview of how much money a nation is generating or saving, which gives an idea of the health of the economy.

This is extremely useful to a nation's development because this information will help to guide the nation along its economic growth. As economists observe, for instance, events like the Great Depression or the recent economic recession, they can provide analyses of the underlying causes of these events to prevent them from occurring in the future as well as suggestions to pull the nation out of economic recessions.

A recent example of this is the decision to lower the Federal Interest Rate. As the economy has been performing healthily for an unprecedented length of time, there are worries that it will rebound and drop into a recession. To combat this, economists have counseled, and the Fed has cooperated, to lower the interest rate.

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To answer your question briefly, economists can help policymakers avoid pursuing bad ideas. We currently have nearly a century of data and experience when it comes to watching nations transition from developing countries to developed ones with modern economies. We have a tremendous amount of data about what sets nations back in the quest for development. For instance, the strength of the evidence that free trade improves nations and barriers to trade make nations poorer is ridiculously strong.

Unfortunately, as in many areas of life, policymakers frequently ignore this advice. On a national level, they implement things like tariffs and export subsidies. On the state and local level, they implement things that economists (whether liberal or conservative) nearly unanimously agree are bad ideas, like rent control.

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Economics is a social science that has very wide applicability in numerous fields. Economists can work in the development field both in governmental and non-governmental organizations. According to the American Economic Association, there is considerable demand for economists in state and federal government, as well as international associations such as the World Bank. The field of development economics encompasses both macro- and microeconomics. Among the areas that development economists address are health, education, labor, and business growth. While many economists focus on improving the standard of living overall, some focus on specific policy applications. An economist might work for a corporation or for a watchdog organization that aims to limit corporate influence. In sum, the roles that economists can play in national development are virtually unlimited.

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In the answer that you posted to your own question, you say that economists “are the summary of the year’s financial business done by a country.”  This is not a good definition of economists or of the role economists play in a country’s development.  The “summary of the year’s financial business done by a country” might be a way to define gross domestic product.  That is an indicator of how the country’s economy did in a given year. But GDP itself only tells us how rich the country’s economy is.  It does not play any role in actually causing development.

Economists can play at least two roles in country’s development.  First, economists can help to measure the country’s development or lack thereof. They have the skills needed to understand how to measure economic production.  Without economists, it is very hard to know whether the country’s economy is weak or strong, growing or shrinking.  Second, economists may be able to suggest ways to help the country’s economy develop.  Economists are supposed to know the best ways to help a country’s economy grow.  They are supposed to have ideas about fiscal and monetary policy and about which sectors of the economy a country should be focusing on. This knowledge gives them a greater ability to help guide a country’s economy.

Economists, then, can play two roles in a country’s development.  They can measure the development to help government leaders understand how the country is doing and they can offer advice as to the best ways to increase development.

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