Earn Macroeconomics College Credits On Your Schedule.
Macroeconomics is the part of economics that you hear reported on the nightly news. It includes things such as the unemployment rate, economic production, investment, the stock market, interest rates, and so on. In this course, you’ll learn why these macroeconomic variables are so important, and what determines them.
This section will focus on the basics of economics in general, and macroeconomics in particular. One thing people often talk about is how the economy is doing. What does this mean?
The economy refers to the part of a society that determines what goods and services should be produced, how resources should be used to produce them, and to whom they should be distributed. Based on this definition, we can see the makeup of an economy answers three fundamental questions: What to produce? How to produce it? And for whom is it produced?
For example, will an economy produce more apples or oranges (what to produce)? Will it use land in Florida or Washington (how to produce it)? Where will the apples or oranges be shipped after they’re produced (for whom is it produced)? Put another way, economics is the study of how a society produces, distributes, and consumes goods and services. Although a lot of economic theory can seem complicated, it’s important to remember that it all comes back to the study of how an economy, or society, answers these three fundamental questions.
The field of economics is broken down into two categories: microeconomics and macroeconomics. Microeconomics is the study of the individual participants within an economy, such as workers, businesses, and households, and how markets work to allow for transactions between them. Macroeconomics, on the other hand, focuses on the economy as a whole.
Put a little more simply, microeconomics is concerned with the economics of the “small.” Not small in terms of significance, but rather in terms of focusing on only one part of the economy. Macroeconomics, on the other hand, focuses on the “big.” It’s concerned with the performance of the overall economy, rather than just a portion of it.
1.1 Economics and the Economy - This section will focus on the basics of economics in general, and macroeconomics in particular. One thing people often talk about is how the economy is doing. What does this mean?
1.2 Markets - A market is simply an institution that brings together buyers and sellers of goods and services.
1.3 Microeconomics - In this section, we’ll look at one particular branch of economics: microeconomics. Microeconomics is the study of individual parts of the economy called markets. This also includes the buyers and sellers that make up those markets.
1.4 Macroeconomics - In this section, we’ll introduce more about macroeconomics. We’ll look at some of the basics it covers and some of its goals.
1.5 Policy Tools - Every government has a wide variety of goals for the macroeconomy. In this section, we’re going to examine some of the policy tools available to help achieve those goals. There are two basic economic policy tools a government has at its disposal: monetary policy and fiscal policy.
1.6 Labor Market - Explore one of the most important markets in macroeconomics: the labor market. We’ll examine why it’s so critical, and how it has helped create a high standard of living in modern economies.
1.7 Globalization - Examine how changes have affected the world economy.
2.1 Choosing What to Consume - Think about the last time you really wanted to buy something. You probably had to make choices about if you needed it and could afford it. In this section, we’ll examine how people choose what to consume.
2.2 Personal Preferences Labor or Leisure? - When it comes to making a choice, the decision you make may not be exactly the same one someone else would make. Why not? Well, mostly it has to do with the things that you like and want, and how they influence your decision-making. In this section, we’ll look at how personal preferences determine specific choices.
2.3 Labor or Leisure? - Making economic choices isn’t just about choosing what goods to buy. We also have to decide how much time to spend working so we can earn money to buy those goods. In this section, we’ll look at the choices we make between labor and leisure time.
2.4 Present or Future Consumption? - Making a decision can be easy in the moment: you know what you want, because you want it right now. How do we make decisions about choices for the future, though?
2.5 Interest Rates and Compound Interest - Interest rates play an important part in making choices about present and future consumption. If you need to borrow money essentially “from the future” to allow for consumption in the present, you need to understand how interest rates are determined and how they affect your repayment.
2.6 Opportunity Cost - When making choices, economic or otherwise, you inevitably lose out on the opportunity of whatever you don’t choose. Let’s look at the concept of opportunity cost, and how it affects your economic decisions.
2.7 Marginal Decision Making - Decisions in the real world usually aren’t all-or-nothing choices. Most result in getting some amount of one thing you want and some amount of other things. Let’s better understand this by looking at the concept of marginal decision-making.
2.8 Sunk Costs - When using the budget constraint model to think about how we make economic decisions, it usually involves what will happen next: what quantities of goods will be consumed, how many hours will be worked, or how much will be saved. These decisions do not look back to past choices.
2.9 The Production Possibilities Frontier - In a world of scarcity, people cannot have everything they want and must instead make a choice along a budget constraint. Companies cannot have all the profits they want and must struggle to come up with new ways of pleasing customers. Society as a whole cannot have everything it might want, either.
2.10 The Shape of the PPF - The Production Possibilities Frontier (PPF) is a budget constraint for the economy as a whole. Whereas budget constraints for individual choices are generally straight lines, the PPF is curved. In this section, we’ll see why the PPF is curved and what that curve means.
2.11 Productive and Allocative Efficiency - Making a choice that only affects you is hard enough. So, how do whole societies make economic decisions? Let’s look at the concept of efficiency and how it helps societies make all sorts of economic decisions.
2.12 Objections to the Economic Approach To Decision-Making - There are two main objections to using the economic approach: one, that people don’t actually behave in the ways described by this economic model; and two, that even if people did behave in those ways, they should try not to.
3.1 This course contains 18 more sections teaching you about Macroeconomics, including Supply and Demand, Labor and Financial Capital Markets, Globalization, Economic Growth, Unemployment, Monetary Policy, The Keynesian Perspective, The Neoclassical Perspective, Government Budgets and Fiscal Policy. -
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