Subspecialties Within Economics

Economists develop expertise and conduct research in various specialized disciplines within the field of economics.

The UC Davis Department of Economics encompasses faculty who are widely recognized for their contributions to the literature in these subspecialties.


  • Applied Economics focuses on the application of economic theory and econometrics in specific settings.
  • Development Economics is a branch of economics that deals with economic aspects of the development process in low-income countries.
  • Econometrics is the application of mathematics, statistical methods and computer science as a means to draw inferences from statistical evidence in economics.
  • Economic History is an exploration of changes in economic well-being over time and how economic institutions have evolved, as a means of lending perspective to current economic issues.
  • Economic Theory is the subspecialty that elucidates relationships by applying quantitative economic models and mathematical description of economic phenomena.
  • Environmental Economics is the study of the ways in which environmental problems, such as global climate change, and government environmental policies affect the economy.
  • Experimental Economics is the discipline thorough which economic theories are tested in laboratories and in the field.
  • Game Theory applies studies of the processes by which rival players choose strategies, and projects them in analysis of economic phenomena, including interactions between firms.
  • Health Economics focuses on the markets and government policies that shape access to health care.
  • Industrial Organization is the study of individual markets, the nature of competition and the role of prices.
  • International Economics encompasses the history of trade, balance of payments and exchange rates as means of helping to explain international economic phenomena.
  • Labor Economics examines the dynamics of the markets for wage labor, including how wages are set, the nature of worker incentives, and the role of minimum wage laws, unions, pensions plans and training programs.
  • Macroeconomics, from the Greek "makro," meaning "large," is a branch of economics that encompasses the "big picture," encompassing the performance, structure, behavior, and decision-making of an economy as a whole.
  • Microeconomics, from the Greek "mikro," meaning "small," focuses on the functioning of individual markets to improve understanding of the market behavior and decision-making processes of business sectors, individual businesses and groups of consumers.
  • Public Economics is the study of the ways in which government finance and policies influence the economy.
  • Regional and Urban Economics focus on the study of crime, education, public transit, housing and local government finance from the perspective of economics.