Economics focuses on the behaviour and interactions of economic agents and how economies work. Within mainstream economics, microeconomics is a field which analyzes what’s viewed as 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 economy as a system where production, consumption, saving, and investment interact, and factors affecting it: employment of the resources of labour, capital, and land, currency inflation, economic growth, and public policies that have impact on these elements.

Other broad distinctions within economics include those between positive economics, describing “what is”, and normative economics, advocating “what ought to be”;[5] between economic theory and applied economics; between rational and behavioural economics; and between mainstream economics and heterodox economics.[6]

Economic analysis can be applied throughout society, including real estate,[7] business,[8] finance, health care,[9] engineering[10] and government.[11] It is also applied to such diverse subjects as crime,[12] education,[13] the family,[14] feminism,[15] law,[16] philosophy,[17] politics, religion,[18] social institutions, war,[19] science,[20] and the environment.[21]