The branch of the social sciences concerned primarily with analyzing and explaining human behavior in making decisions about the allocation of scarce resources. Economists study the complex ways in which the following are determined within a society:

  1. What goods and services are to be produced (and in what amounts)?
  2. By what means are these goods and services to be produced (using what combinations of the various substitutable factors of production)?
  3. How are the goods and services that are produced to be distributed among the individual members and groups in the society's population?

[See also: allocation]