An economist is a professional and practitioner in the social science discipline of economics, whose goal is to interpret society and the economic behavior of its agents, identifying explanatory methods and theories through scientific research and analysis. The field of inquiry includes the study of the behavior of all economic agents: individuals, households, firms, institutions, social groups, public administration, etc.

Economists therefore normally tend to specialize in a specific area of economic science: the main ones are political economy (pure economics) and business administration (applied economics). Economic policy, financial science and industrial economics are considered to be disciplines integral to pure economics.

Instead, most of the other areas of economics go into business economics: management and its specialized articulations such as corporate governance, strategy and business organization; financial economics; corporate finance; and accounting. Related to economics, but distinct from it, are additional disciplines that are not strictly economic such as financial mathematics, econometrics, and statistics.

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