Daniel is a first-year undergraduate studying Economics and Politics at the University of Bristol. He is also an incoming intern at Goldman Sachs, and co-founder of a tech business in the student property space.
Why did you choose to study economics?
I have always been fascinated by the fact that the principles of economics act everywhere around us. Throughout my economics A-level, I thoroughly enjoyed applying the theory to real events. The beauty of this is that the world is constantly evolving, so you can never run out of interesting things to study.
I also realised that I wanted to be an agent of change in society, and economics provides the tools to enable this goal. For example, I have previously studied environmental and developmental economics.
Economics is a great tool when merged with other schools of thought, which is why I chose to take Economics and Politics at University.
How would you describe economics?
The origin of the word ‘Economics’ is a 16th-century Greek term for “household management”. This tells us a lot about Economics, which I would describe as dealing with the “management” of scarce resources in the most efficient way possible. This question of how to use resources is at the heart of every action within our society, from my decision to use three years of my time to pursue an Economics degree to the UK government’s recent £55 billion energy support package.
If you had a time machine and could meet your 16-year-old self, what advice would you give them?
Invest all of your money into Tesla stock. On a more serious note, I would tell myself to stay curious, as I believe curiosity is one of the most important facets of life. It has driven me to learn and develop as a person.
I would also suggest to start looking for more practical experience in the fields that I am interested in.
What is your favourite part of economics?
Behavioural Economics, or the study of human decision-making. Studying the ways in which we think and the mental shortcuts we rely on is not only incredibly interesting, but also helps us understand how to design policies that positively influence decisions.
Also, unlike other parts of economics (such as trade theory etc.), I can relate much of behavioural economic theory to myself and my own choices.
Is there anything you would do differently if you had the chance?
Behavioural economics explains the ‘hindsight bias’ (or the “knew-it-all-along phenomenon”) as the tendency to consider past events as more predictable than they actually were. I could easily think of different actions I could have taken over my life, but I would suffer from this bias in the process.
In reality, I’d like to think that I wouldn’t do anything differently because the course of actions that I have taken have led up to where I am now.