Resources > Publications > Magazines > The Economist

The Economist Review


1 year: $

Published: monthly

Web site:
The Economist is well-respected weekly magazine about global political and economic issues. Despite it's name, most of the content is related to politics, and not economics. It is also well-known for it's Big Mac Index. The focus areas of the content are listed below (the share of their content in each area is in parenthesis):

  • Politics (55%)
    These articles deal with all aspects of politics. Most of these are non-US articles.

  • Business (30%)
    These are articles about all aspects of business. About two-thirds are about non-US businesses.

  • Social (15%)
    These are articles about science, technology books, and art.

The Economist is unqiue in that it is the only publication that presumes a working familiarity with fundamental concepts of classical economics. For example, an author won't stop to explain to the reader the meaning of a term like "utility-maximization". At the same time, readers don't feel alienated by any esoteric writing.

My Opinion

I consider The Economist to be almost exclusively a political magazine - mainly because of the ratio of political content to economic content - but also because the economic issues they do cover are often looked at from a political aspect. For example, if they write an article about fixing a weak American economy, they would be more likely to talk about what politicians will do as opposed to the influence of companies or consumers.

It would be useful to me if they had more content focused purely on the economy and financial markets of different countries, but I know this isn't their focus. Although they do publish current macro-economic statistics about many countries in the last two pages every week, there is no analysis or historical data so the current statistics by themselves have no context.

My Recommendation

Despite its status as being a well-respected publication, The Economist has very little content that is useful to traders. Their economic content tends to be long-term in nature and tends to be more theoretical than practical. The magazine may be useful to specific investors - like global macro or forex traders who want to analyze fundamental data like trade deficits. But for the typical US equity trader, there is nothing useful here. Even for traders of foreign stocks, the amount of relevant content is very fragmented and random.

The magazine can be a fun read during your downtime. I usually find two to three good economics or politics articles per issue, but I consider these casual reading. Even though I do like to make an occasional trade on a foreign stock index like the Nikkei or Heng Seng when I see a good opportunity, almost all of the content in The Economist is inconsequential to trading.


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