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Normative Versus Positive Economics 1. Microeconomics is the study of the behavior of individual economic agents.
Microeconomics asks how individuals allocate their time, income and wealth among various opportunities for labor, leisure, consumption, and savings. Microeconomics also studies the process by which individual firms decide on output levels, possibly prices, and the resources that will be used in the production process.
Macroeconomics, on the other hand, is concerned with the economic issues that involve the overall economic performance of the nation, rather than that of particular individuals or firms. Macroeconomics does implicitly deal with the behavior of individual economic agents in the sense that national outcomes are the sum of individual actions.
But macroeconomics deals with totals, or aggregate measures of the economy, like national income or average unemployment rates, rather than differences among individuals. Macroeconomics asks how economic aggregates are determined, why problems related to aggregate economic performance occur, and what government can and should do about such problems.
The full text of this book is available from the History of Economic Thought web site. Macroeconomics - analysis of the behavior of an economy as a whole.
Microeconomics - analysis of the behavior of individual decision-making units individuals, households, firms.
Macroeconomic Goals One objective of macroeconomics is to develop better laws and government policies to maximize the welfare of society. More specifically, economists focus on several major goals, such as: Some economists may give higher priority to other goals such as an equitable distribution of income, elimination of the government budget deficit, balanced foreign trade, economic efficiency, reduction of pollution, economic security, and so on.
Nevertheless, we highlight these three goals because these are the primary subjects of this course. Low Unemployment Rate Unemployment is a very personal problem. A high unemployment rate may mean the job you had was eliminated, the job you have is less secure, or the new job opportunities you hope to consider may not exist.
For the macroeconomist unemployment represents a societal problem -- unemployed workers do not produce goods and services but they continue to consume them. Unemployment Rate - number of unemployed individuals divided by the total of those employed and unemployed the total labor force.
In fact, you may come to recognize that some government policies that purportedly save American jobs may do just the opposite.
Price Stability Inflation and Deflation When the average level of prices increases over time, the economy is said to be experiencing inflation. When the average level of prices declines, as it did in the s, we have deflation.
Inflation Rate - percentage increase in the average level of prices Deflation Rate - percentage decline in the average level of prices Figure Every month the Bureau of Labor Statistics sends out people to determine prices and quantities from producers, stores, and households nationwide.
The prices on all the different goods and services are weighted according to quantities sold or purchased to arrive at an average price, or price index.
Of course the devil is in the details. There are many different price indexes and different ways of calculating each one. In a later chapter we will cover the most commonly cited measures of average prices and inflation, such as the Consumer Price Index, and how they are calculated.
The CPI is based on a typical "market basket" of goods and services purchased by the average household. It is important to recognize that we can have inflation even though the prices on some products are falling. For example, during the s, the rate of inflation averaged about 4 per cent per year even though the prices of computers and other electronic products declined significantly.
Price increases in some sectors of the economy must have outweighed price declines in other sectors in order for the average level of prices to rise. Changes in Purchasing Power and Uncertainty Inflation isn't necessarily detrimental to everyone. Who is hurt and who benefits from inflation?
Take a person who has been saving for retirement. With an unexpected increase in inflation, those savings suddenly represent less purchasing power. Retirement may no longer be as comfortable as hoped for. Now consider a young couple who has just borrowed to buy a home.Professional Testimonials "Be transformed by the renewing of your mind.
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