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Economics is the social science that seeks to describe the factors which determine the production, distribution and consumption of goods and services.

The term economics comes from the Ancient Greek οἰκονομία{{#invoke:Category handler|main}} from οἶκος{{#invoke:Category handler|main}} (oikos{{#invoke:Category handler|main}}, "house") and νόμος{{#invoke:Category handler|main}} (nomos{{#invoke:Category handler|main}}, "custom" or "law"), hence "rules of the house (hold for good management)".<ref name="etymology">{{#invoke:citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=web }}</ref> 'Political economy' was the earlier name for the subject, but economists in the late 19th century suggested "economics" as a shorter term for "economic science" to establish itself as a separate discipline outside of political science and other social sciences.<ref name="MarshallJevons">• Marshall, Alfred, and Mary Paley Marshall (1879). The Economics of Industry, Macmillan, p. 2.
         • Jevons, W. Stanley (1879). The Theory of Political Economy, 2nd ed., Macmillan. p. xiv.</ref>

Economics focuses on the behavior and interactions of economic agents and how economies work. Consistent with this focus, primary textbooks often distinguish between microeconomics and macroeconomics. Microeconomics examines the behavior of basic elements in the economy, including individual agents and markets, their interactions, and the outcomes of interactions. Individual agents may include, for example, households, firms, buyers, and sellers. Macroeconomics analyzes the entire economy (meaning aggregated production, consumption, savings, and investment) and issues affecting it, including unemployment of resources (labor, capital, and land), inflation, economic growth, and the public policies that address these issues (monetary, fiscal, and other policies).

Other broad distinctions within economics include those between positive economics, describing "what is," and normative economics, advocating "what ought to be"; between economic theory and applied economics; between rational and behavioral economics; and between mainstream economics (more "orthodox" and dealing with the "rationality-individualism-equilibrium nexus") and heterodox economics (more "radical" and dealing with the "institutions-history-social structure nexus").<ref>Andrew Caplin and Andrew Schotter, The Foundations of Positive and Normative Economics, Oxford University Press, 2008, ISBN 0-19-532831-0</ref><ref>Davis, John B. (2006). "Heterodox Economics, the Fragmentation of the Mainstream, and Embedded Individual Analysis", in Future Directions in Heterodox Economics. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press.</ref>

Besides the traditional concern in production, distribution, and consumption in an economy, economic analysis may be applied throughout society, as in business, finance, health care, and government. Economic analyses may also be applied to such diverse subjects as crime,<ref>Friedman, David D. (2002). "Crime," The Concise Encyclopedia of Economics.'.' Retrieved October 21, 2007.</ref> education,<ref>The World Bank (2007). "Economics of Education.". Retrieved October 21, 2007.</ref> the family, law, politics, religion,<ref>Iannaccone, Laurence R. (1998). "Introduction to the Economics of Religion", Journal of Economic Literature, 36(3), pp. 1465–1495.{{ safesubst:#invoke:Unsubst||date=__DATE__ |$B= {{#invoke:Category handler|main}}{{#invoke:Category handler|main}}[dead link] }}.</ref> social institutions, war,<ref>Nordhaus, William D. (2002). "The Economic Consequences of a War with Iraq", in War with Iraq: Costs, Consequences, and Alternatives, pp. 51–85. American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Cambridge, Massachusetts. Retrieved October 21, 2007.</ref> science,<ref>Arthur M. Diamond, Jr. (2008). "science, economics of", The New Palgrave Dictionary of Economics, 2nd Edition, Basingstoke and New York: Palgrave Macmillan. Pre-publication cached ccpy.]</ref> and the environment.<ref>{{#invoke:citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=web }}</ref> Education, for example, requires time, effort, and expenses, plus the foregone income and experience, yet these losses can be weighted against future benefits education may bring to the agent or the economy. At the turn of the 21st century, the expanding domain of economics in the social sciences has been described as economic imperialism.<ref name="Imperialism">• Lazear, Edward P. (2000|. "Economic Imperialism", Quarterly Journal Economics, 115(1)|, p. 99–146. Cached copy. Pre-publication copy(larger print.)
   • Becker, Gary S. (1976). The Economic Approach to Human Behavior. Links to arrow-page viewable chapter. University of Chicago Press.</ref>

Countries by real GDP growth rate in 2014. Countries in red were in recession.
The ultimate goal of economics is to improve the living conditions of people in their everyday life.<ref>By Paul Samuelson : Economics</ref>
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