Economics v Finance
Can anyone explain what is different between Econ and Finance? Specifically as how it relates to data analysis?
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Economic data is a set of input data used to feed recurring economic events like the Monthly consumer price index (CPI) which is the cost of a basket of goods in the current period divided by the cost of the basket in the base period times 100. A consumer price index measures changes in the price level of a weighted average market basket of consumer goods and services purchased by households.
Financial data represents a variety of input data used to feed the literally 1000s of financial models. The models are as simple as computing the price of the bond, or a stock, or a monthly interest rate on a 5-year car loan. It gets more complicated if you are using a financial model to figure out the Value at Risk of a banks portfolio of assets which can be anything from interest rate swaps, swap options, credit derivatives, index funds, over the counter derivatives, mortgage-backed securities, asset-backed securities, foreign exchange instruments, etc. In this complicated model, you would need all the current mark to market prices for all the instruments being valued, all the model inputs that could include yield curves, interest rates, various conventions, and then you run various Monte Carlo simulations on the portfolio under different scenarios to stress test the portfolio against possible market conditions. As you can imagine the financial data required to run a daily VaR is quite daunting and perhaps encompasses literally millions of individual data points. No one does this by hand and all the major investment banks use multiple data feeds from various Exchanges like the CME, CBOT, NYMEX, NYSE, Nasdaq, OTC market providers like ICAP, and CantorFitzgerald and Market data providers like Thomson Reuters, Bloomberg, and other vendors as well. Most of this kind of work is not learned in Business School but through internships while you are at business school most likely at the MBA level or if you are getting a Masters in Computational Finance.
Here's a link to a paper on VaR from NYU Stern.
The finance field is very broad and deep. There are literally 100s of asset classes and many ways these assets trade in the marketplace from exchanges to OTC markets. There are many jobs in finance from something as simple as data collection to the rocket scientists that create financial models to price and model new instruments. Most highly skilled quantitative analysts or traders typically have a very strong math and physics background and programming skills as well. Many investment banks hire PhDs to join their quant teams.
From what I can deduct, a finance major would study minutiae of personal and corporate finance: banking, credit, and assets. An econ major studies how the production and distribution of goods and services affects the economy, both on a micro and macro level.
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