Difference Between Political Science and Economics

Edited by Diffzy | Updated on: October 20, 2023


Difference Between Political Science and Economics

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Social science one of the major branches of science is the study of societies and relationships among the individuals living in the societies. The term includes problem areas, applied social sciences, and discipline branches within itself. Some of the areas are- economics, industrial relations, political science, communication studies, geography, media studies, criminology, and many more. Two of the most important disciplines of social sciences are political science and economics.

Political science concentrates on the theory of government and politics at the local, central, state, national, and international levels. Like other social sciences, it also focuses on human behavior as an individual or a whole. Political science has a systematic approach to studying governance by using scientific and analytical methods. It is a powerful and dynamic branch of social science. Political science introduces an individual especially students to the vast knowledge of authority, democracy, citizenship, equality, freedom, justice etc.

Economics focuses on the theory of scarcity, resources, production of goods and services, production, welfare, and various other issues of vital concern to society. Studying economics is an important aspect as it ensures an individual's successful future. It makes us understand how markets work, and how decisions are made. Economics is also referred to as the study of choice. Some principal subfields of economics are money, growth and development, public finance, labor, agriculture, etc.

Political Science vs. Economics

Political science is the study of politics and power from domestic, national, international, and comparative viewpoints. It includes an understanding of political views, ideas, ideologies, institutions, and policies as well as classes, government, diplomacy, and war. Background in political science has proven beneficial for career-oriented students. Knowing politics is valuable for citizenship and the best career option in government, civil, law, media, or public services. Although political science being borrowed from other social sciences overlaps with political philosophy, both fields are distinct from each other. Sometimes political science is misunderstood by the people as they assume the subject to be boring. But it is important to understand that government and politics affect every individual's life daily. The subject is not only an excellent option for employment and education but also aware citizens and makes them active.

On the contrary, economics is the study of effective uses of resources, production and employment, investment and savings, health, money, government policies, international trade, and urbanization from the economists' viewpoint. Over the past few decades, demand for economists has increased at a fast pace. Economists study how society distributes scarce resources, land, labor, and capital to produce goods and services. Indeed this era can be considered as 'the age of Economists'. After pursuing a background in economics everything seems possible. There are broader career options in economics which gives immense knowledge and job opportunities to an individual.

Political science and economics both stand out in understanding the workings of society. Both the fields approach the field or area from different angles. Both the disciplines are important in their ways. It is important to understand the differences between the two to avoid confusion and misassumptions.

Difference Between Political Science and Economics in Tabular Form

Parameters of ComparisonPolitical ScienceEconomics
DefinitionPolitical science is the science of the study of political relations, political interactions, and political institutions.Economics is the science of the study of money, material resources, economic relations, and economic institutions.
Subject MatterThe main subject here is the state.The main subject is money and property.
StreamPolitical science is related to the humanities or arts stream.Economics is related to the commerce stream.
PeoplePolitical science involves the work of the politicians.Economics involves the studies and research conducted by the economists.
Nature of ExchangePolitical science involves the exchange of votes, information, and financial support.Economics involves the exchange of money and other goods by barter system.
ScopeThe scope of political science is wide with other aspects like political, religious, cultural, ethical, etc.The scope of economics is narrow with other aspects like monetary or economic.

What is Political Science?

In simple words, political science is a social science and the scientific study of politics, systems of governance, and its impact on people of the societies. It started taking shape in the later half of the 19th century by separating itself from political philosophy and history. Political science emerged as a discipline after the creation of the subject’s title in the university departments and chairs in the late 19th century. During the inaugural issue of the journal Political Science Quarterly, American Jurist and Historian Munroe Smith defined political science as, “the science of the state.” The International Political Science Association was founded in 1949, and national associations in France, Britain, and West Germany were founded in 1949, 1950, and 1951 respectively by UNESCO as an initiative to promote political science.

The definition of political science varies according to every political scientist's perspective. According to JW Garner, "Political Science begins and ends with state." According to Professor Leacock, “Political science deals with government.” According to George Catlin, “Political science is the study of the act of human and social control.”

Political science includes various subfields under it. Some of the important sub-fields are:-

  1. Comparative Politics- Comparative politics is a field in political science that uses comparative or empirical methods to explore with and within countries. It uses a subject encyclopedia to research major political theories and concepts. It locates basic information, facts, and statistics about individual countries by the use of country profiles.
  2. Political Psychology- Political psychology is an interdisciplinary academic field that uses socio-political perspectives to understand politics, politicians, and political behavior from a psychological point of view.  It examines political phenomena through social or cognitive theories from sociology or psychology.
  3. Global Politics- Global politics is a discipline that studies the political and economic patterns of the world and the studied field. It examines public issues like justice, governmental policy, voting, citizen rights, and governments. It helps students to understand abstract political concepts by giving them real-world examples and case studies.
  4. Political Methodology- Political methodology is the subfield that studies the quantitative and qualitative methods used to study politics. It offers a wide range of courses to help the students gain expertise in the methodologies.
  5. Public Law- Public law is the part of law that governs relations between legal persons and a government. It includes heads like constitutional law, administration law, criminal law, and criminal procedure.

Other notable subfields are- American Politics, Policy Analysis, Political Philosophy, Political Sociology, International Relations, Political Economy, and Ethnicity. Apart from subfields, there are various categories of cognate fields under political science. These include:-

  • Public Health- Public health is an area of study, research, and practice that promotes and protects the health of the people and the communities. It improves our quality of life, helps children thrive, reduces the suffering of humans, and saves money.
  • Human Resource Management- Human resource management is the strategic approach to nurture and support employees and ensure a positive workplace environment. It includes recruitment, compensation and benefits, training and development, and employee relations.
  • Geography- Geography is a field of science that studies the lands, features, inhabitants, and phenomena of the earth.
  • Data Science- Data science is the science that studies data to extract meaningful insights for business.
  • Operations Research- Operations research is a discipline that deals with the development and application of analytical methods to improve decision-making.

Over the decades, political science has progressed by adopting a variety of methods and approaches to study politics. Empirical political science methods involve the use of field experiments, surveys, case studies, process tracing, ethnography, analysis, and interview research. Theoretical tools like game theory and agent-based models are used by political scientists to study a host of political systems and situations.

There are many universities and institutions across the world that offer a wide range of degree options in political science. Some of the renowned universities are:-

  1. SOAS University of London [United Kingdom]
  2. The University of Queensland [Australia]
  3. Stanford University [California]
  4. The University of Chicago [United States]
  5. Michigan State University [United States]
  6. Columbia University [New York City]
  7. Northwestern University [United States]
  8. University of Southampton Highfield Campus [England]
  9. University of Oxford [England]
  10. The University of Manchester [England]

What is Economics?

In simple words, economics is a social science that studies the production, distribution, and consumption of goods and services. It determines the most logical and effective uses of the resources to meet private and social goals. Economics often involves topics like wealth and finance, but it’s not all about money. It focuses on efficiency in the production and exchange of goods and services.

Economics is divided into various schools of thought. Some of the known thoughts are:-

  1. Marxian Economics- It is based on the work of 19th-century economist and philosopher Karl Marx. It focuses on the role of labor in the development of an economy.
  2. Neoclassical Economics- Neoclassical economics is a broad approach that explains the production, pricing, consumption of goods and services, and income distribution through demand and supply. Alfred Marshall is known as the father of neoclassical economics.
  3. Keynesian Economics- Keynesian economics is a macroeconomic theory of total spending in the economy and its effects on output, employment, and inflation. It explains how aggregate demand strongly influences economic output and inflation.

Apart from these schools of thought, the two major branches of economics are- microeconomics and macroeconomics.

Microeconomics is the study of individuals, households, and firms' behavior in decision-making and allocation of resources. It is applied to the markets of goods and services and deals with the economic issues of an individual. For example- an individual creating a budget to put themselves in a better financial position and a business cutting costs to maximize profit. Adam Smith is known as the father of microeconomics.

On the other hand, macroeconomics is a branch of economics that studies an economy as a whole. It includes markets, businesses, consumers, and government behavior. Macroeconomics examines economic issues like inflation, rate of economic growth, national income, Gross Domestic Product [GDP], and changes in unemployment. John Maynard Keynes is known as the father of macroeconomics.

Other branches of economics include:-

  1. Public Economics- Public economics deals with the economic activities of a public sector, usually government. It addresses matters like tax incidence, cost-benefit analysis of government programs, effects on economic efficiency, and income distribution.
  2. International Economics- International economics is the study of determinants of goods and services flows across international boundaries. It concerns the size and distribution of gains from trade.
  3. Labour Economics- Labour economics explains the functioning and dynamics of the markets for wage labor. It functions through the interaction of workers and employers.
  4. Development Economics- Development economics studies the economic aspects of the economic development process in low-income countries. It focuses on structural change, poverty, and economic growth.

Some of the renowned universities that offer a wide range of career options in the field of economics are:-

  1. University of Cambridge [UK]
  2. New York University
  3. University of Manchester [England]
  4. Boston University [Massachusetts]
  5. Yale University [Connecticut]

Main Differences Between Political Science and Economics (In Points)

  • Political science concentrates on the study of politics at domestic, national, state, and international levels. While economics focuses on the study of economic issues as a whole or an individual.
  • The word Political science is derived from the Greek word 'polis' which means the city-state. On the other hand, the word economics is derived from the Greek word 'oikonomia' which means household management.
  • Aristotle is regarded as the father of the political science. Whereas, Adam Smith is regarded as the father of economics.
  • Political science is ideological. While economics is narrative.
  • Political science is studied from a moral and social point of view. On the other hand, economics is studied from a materialistic point of view.
  • Political science is a big concept comprising a region's economics, history, and geography. Whereas, economics is a smaller concept in comparison to political science.
  • Political science involves the work done by politicians. While economics involves the research and studies done by the economists.
  • Political science is theoretical and does not include an understanding of mathematics. On the other hand, economics is theoretical and involves mathematics in every aspect.


In short, political science and economics are two interrelated disciplines with different points of view. They influence the political and economic conditions of the country. While political science is related to the study of politics, economics is related to the study of the economy.


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  • wikipedia.org


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"Difference Between Political Science and Economics." Diffzy.com, 2024. Mon. 20 May. 2024. <https://www.diffzy.com/article/difference-between-political-science-and-economics>.

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