PhD in Business Economics: Career & Salary

May 13, 2019

A person with a PhD in business economics may work as an economics professor, economist or researcher, among other careers. Learn about these three career fields, including salary information, below.

A Doctor of Philosophy degree, or PhD, in business economics opens up additional career opportunities beyond those available to graduates with a bachelor's or even a master's degree. Below are three common career options for PhD holders.

Careers and Salaries for PhD in Business Economics Graduates

Job Title Median Salary (2018)* Job Growth (2016-2026)*
Economics Teacher - Postsecondary $101,480 11%
Economist $104,340 6%
Survey Researcher $57,700 2%

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Career Information for Graduates with a PhD in Business Economics

Economics Teacher - Postsecondary

A postsecondary economics teacher, or professor, works at a college or university. The job duties include teaching economics to students, conducting research, creating a course syllabus and grading or otherwise assessing student performance. Economics professors instruct students in such topics as micro- and macroeconomic theory, econometrics and economic analysis. Those working as graduate students also act as advisers on students' master's theses or PhD dissertations. Teaching is the main focus of those who work at colleges and smaller universities, particularly if they are part-time (adjunct) professors, while those at large universities tend to do more research. The research portion of an economics professor's job includes applying for grants, supervising research assistants and publishing the results.


Economists collect production and distribution data for goods, services, and resources through surveys and other means. They analyze data and identify trends, then use that information to advise their employers or clients on courses of action. Those who work for the government, nearly one-third of economists, provide recommendations on remediating economic problems or otherwise improving the economy. Government work can be a good fit for those who hold a PhD in business economics, as government economists research such topics as productivity, wages and pricing. However, PhD graduates can of course also work in business, where they might perform analysis in such areas as business cycles, levels of employment, supply and demand, or taxation. Economists often work independently, but they might work with other economists and statisticians as well. Occasionally, they may be required to attend conferences.

Survey Researcher

As PhD degrees give a strong grounding in research methods and techniques, a career as an economic researcher is a good fit for those with a PhD in business economics. One type of research career is that of a survey researcher, one who collects data via surveys. Survey researchers then analyze that data and draw conclusions. For example, an economic survey researcher might ask questions about employment or salary to gain quantitative data. Or, they might ask qualitative questions in order to determine people's opinions or preferences. Survey researchers decide which survey methods to use; plan and test their surveys; coordinate those conducting the interviews, focus groups or other data collection techniques; solve any problems with the survey; and analyze the collected data. Economics survey researchers must be comfortable with both statistics and analytical software. While designing surveys and analyzing data, researchers typically work alone, but they make work with the public if they go out to collect data, such as during interviews.

In conclusion, doctoral degree holders in business economics can be employed as an economist, teacher, or researcher. Median salaries are in excess of $100,000, except for survey researchers, who earn considerably less.

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