Unlike the other social sciences we have discussed economics concentrates primarily on a single institution in society-the economy (see Chapter 13. “The Economy and Work in Global Perspective”). Economists attempt to explain how the limited resources of a society are allocated among competing demands. Economics is divided into two different branches. Macroeconomics looks at such issues as the local amount of goods and services produced by a society; microeconomics studies such issues as decisions made by individual businesses. Thus. consumerism and credit card debt would be of interest to economists because such topics can be analyzed at global. national, and individual levels. However, a distinction between economics and sociology is that economists focus on the complex workings of economic systems (such as monetary policy. inflation. and the national debt). whereas sociologists focus on a number of social institutions. one of which is the economy.