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By the end of this section, you will be able to:

  • Describe microeconomics
  • Describe macroeconomics
  • Contrast monetary policy and fiscal policy

Economics is concerned with the well-being of all people, including those with jobs and those without jobs, as well as those with high incomes and those with low incomes. Economics acknowledges that production of useful goods and services can create problems of environmental pollution. It explores the question of how investing in education helps to develop workers’ skills. It probes questions like how to tell when big businesses or big labor unions are operating in a way that benefits society as a whole and when they are operating in a way that benefits their owners or members at the expense of others. It looks at how government spending, taxes, and regulations affect decisions about production and consumption.

It should be clear by now that economics covers a lot of ground. That ground can be divided into two parts: Microeconomics focuses on the actions of individual agents within the economy, like households, workers, and businesses; Macroeconomics looks at the economy as a whole. It focuses on broad issues such as growth of production, the number of unemployed people, the inflationary increase in prices, government deficits, and levels of exports and imports. Microeconomics and macroeconomics are not separate subjects, but rather complementary perspectives on the overall subject of the economy.

To understand why both microeconomic and macroeconomic perspectives are useful, consider the problem of studying a biological ecosystem like a lake. One person who sets out to study the lake might focus on specific topics: certain kinds of algae or plant life; the characteristics of particular fish or snails; or the trees surrounding the lake. Another person might take an overall view and instead consider the entire ecosystem of the lake from top to bottom; what eats what, how the system stays in a rough balance, and what environmental stresses affect this balance. Both approaches are useful, and both examine the same lake, but the viewpoints are different. In a similar way, both microeconomics and macroeconomics study the same economy, but each has a different viewpoint.

Whether you are looking at lakes or economics, the micro and the macro insights should blend with each other. In studying a lake, the micro insights about particular plants and animals help to understand the overall food chain, while the macro insights about the overall food chain help to explain the environment in which individual plants and animals live.

In economics, the micro decisions of individual businesses are influenced by whether the macroeconomy is healthy; for example, firms will be more likely to hire workers if the overall economy is growing. In turn, the performance of the macroeconomy ultimately depends on the microeconomic decisions made by individual households and businesses.

Microeconomics

What determines how households and individuals spend their budgets? What combination of goods and services will best fit their needs and wants, given the budget they have to spend? How do people decide whether to work, and if so, whether to work full time or part time? How do people decide how much to save for the future, or whether they should borrow to spend beyond their current means?

What determines the products, and how many of each, a firm will produce and sell? What determines what prices a firm will charge? What determines how a firm will produce its products? What determines how many workers it will hire? How will a firm finance its business? When will a firm decide to expand, downsize, or even close? In the microeconomic part of this book, we will learn about the theory of consumer behavior and the theory of the firm.

Macroeconomics

What determines the level of economic activity in a society? In other words, what determines how many goods and services a nation actually produces? What determines how many jobs are available in an economy? What determines a nation’s standard of living? What causes the economy to speed up or slow down? What causes firms to hire more workers or to lay workers off? Finally, what causes the economy to grow over the long term?

An economy's macroeconomic health can be defined by a number of goals: growth in the standard of living, low unemployment, and low inflation, to name the most important. How can macroeconomic policy be used to pursue these goals? Monetary policy , which involves policies that affect bank lending, interest rates, and financial capital markets, is conducted by a nation’s central bank. For the United States, this is the Federal Reserve. Fiscal policy , which involves government spending and taxes, is determined by a nation’s legislative body. For the United States, this is the Congress and the executive branch, which originates the federal budget. These are the main tools the government has to work with. Americans tend to expect that government can fix whatever economic problems we encounter, but to what extent is that expectation realistic? These are just some of the issues that will be explored in the macroeconomic chapters of this book.

Key concepts and summary

Microeconomics and macroeconomics are two different perspectives on the economy. The microeconomic perspective focuses on parts of the economy: individuals, firms, and industries. The macroeconomic perspective looks at the economy as a whole, focusing on goals like growth in the standard of living, unemployment, and inflation. Macroeconomics has two types of policies for pursuing these goals: monetary policy and fiscal policy.

Questions & Answers

can opportunity cost be zero
OBED Reply
how many types of transportation do we have
Jacob
yes. when a customer's purchasing power is high, he may have d ability to purchase all he needs, dt makes opportunity cost zero
George
please can give more explanation on this question
OBED
what are the factors production
PETER Reply
Labour capital entrepreneurs
Leta
Land,capital, labour,and the entrepreneur
Tantoh
I will like to know use of calculus in economics
JHUMA Reply
do they use it in economics?
Pranav
I want to know if I should take calculus or statistics and probability my senior year of highschool
Yahir
yes for example in monopolistic competitive market..... TR=TC* & THIS CALCULATED BY CHANGING( DERIVATIVE LAW) MR =MC ** WILL BE THE FORMULA THAT USE.
Leta
please in which topic in economic is the question coming from.
Tantoh
from PCF in economics
Leta
why is unitary proportional to responsiveness
Etim Reply
any tip for igcse economics exam?pls
Stacey Reply
well
The
What is a market
Divine Reply
what are the variables that affect demand
Divine
what are the variables that affect demand
Divine
what are the variables that affect demand
Divine
what are the variables that affect demand
Divine
what are the variables that affect demand
Divine
price of the related goods 2 price of the given commodity 3 income of the consumer 4 taste and preference 5 expectation in the future price
John
pls the taste and preference
Nas
explain briefly
Nas
a consumer taste and preference commodity changes for a time the man becomes
John
sorry sorry
John
is when the price of a commodity becomes high and can't afford example Samsung instead of iPhone
John
consumers who have high intense for goods will purchase the goods even if the price of that commodity increases because he or she preferred that commodity.people will be prefer iphone as its price increase
Yussif
as usual bad taste of preference is when a consumer regrets from one commodity to another in terms of the price
John
thanks alot
Nas
you're welcome
John
#Preference; #Income #Test
Dereje
#price Of Commodity #Income #Taste #Preference
Dereje
#Market is The Place Where Buyers And Sellers Are Exchanging Their Goods And service. #
Dereje
difference between macro and micro economics
Lawrence
Microeconomic Study about individual consumers market But Macroeconomis Study General economic Process Such As #Aggregate Demand #Aggregate Supples #GDp= #GNp
Dereje
nice so can u run down a brife discussion on GDP
Lawrence
good
Chinex
pls can someone differentiate between the perfectly elastic, perfectly inelastic and unitary
yhar Reply
and then again pls what are the types of elasticity, the methods of calculating it thank u
yhar
Perfectly inelastic is when the coefficient is equal to zero Unitary is when the coefficient is equal to one But am not sure if we have perfectly inelastic
John
I'm kind off confuse abt the PED, IED and co are they the types of elasticity we've
yhar
Yh the types are price elasticity cross and income elasticity of demand
John
do we've specific formulaes to calculate for each of them
yhar
yes. PED. changes in quantity demanded divided by changes in price
Vealmurugan
so pls what's the general name given to unitary, elastic n inelastic ? are the names given to the final result after doing the calculations?
yhar
P2-P1÷P1×100or Q2-Q1×Q1×100 PED
John
***tutor2u.net/economics/reference/price-elasticity-of-demand
Vealmurugan
They are elasticity coefficient
John
@John I don't get u well pls
yhar
whichone
John
P2-P1÷P1×100or Q2-Q1×Q1×100 PED @john pls tis is what m talking abt
yhar
Yh is the formula for PED
John
Pls are you having a for PED
John
thank u very
yhar
dy
Jobang
what is economics
Tayyeb
economics is a science which studies human behaviour as a relationship between ends and scarce means which have alternative use
John
is a science which study human behavior as a relationship between ends and scarce means which have alternative uses
Divine
yes this is because economic provide a body of knowledge on human economic principles under theories and these theories can be verified with real world data using science method in other words it was scientific method in arriving at solution identification of problem or basic data collection among
John
unitary ElasticWhen Elasticty =1 Perfectily Elastic When 0<1 inelastic when 0>
Dereje
Pls is anyone having the NovDec questions?
John Reply
No
Emmanuel
what is micro economics
Rakesh Reply
What is PPF
Endam
Production Possibility Frontier
John
It refers to a curve or graph which shows the possible contributions of maximum alternative of commodity that can be produced in an economy
John
thanks
Endam
Thanks John talkx of defination pls
Endam
I don't get you
John
guys Any One With Novdec Questions 2019?
Diana Reply
what did Adam Smith introduce?
Sunday Reply
what is supply
Awunyo Reply
supply relationship shows that the higher the price, the higher the quantity supplied. 
SDADY
what are the dissadvantages of large scale production
Atanga Reply
depreciate of quality taste
Kosiso
Some of the Disadvantages are:- 1. Production not according to individual Tastes 2. Monopoly 3. Not Flexible 4. Over-Production 5. Heavy loss and Dislocation 6. Decline of Cottage and Small Scale Industries 7. Adverse Effect on Labourers 8. Unequal Distribution of Wealth
Asrar
And what can be the advantages too
Enow
1.adequate satisfaction 2.reduce importation
Yussif
Reduce importation how pls
Enow
the country will have enough products.this will reduce the level of government expenditure on imported goods especially
Yussif
Some of Advantage 1. Division of Labour 2. More Production 3. Use of machines 4. Low Cost of Production 5. Standard Goods 6. Advertisements and Salesmanship
Asrar
Some of its disadvantages are : (i) Less Supervision (ii) Individual tastes ignored (iii) Absence of Personal Element (iv) Possibility of depression (v) Dependence on Foreign Markets (vi) International complications and war (vii) Cut-throat Competition (viii) Less Adaptability
Kalu
what are the types of trade cycle
Kenny Reply
depression
DG
explain the following 1.supply 2.mobility of labour 3.why the demand slope downward from left to right
Theresa Reply
Mobility of labor is a the movement of labor (people) geographically or occupationally
Olotu

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Source:  OpenStax, Principles of economics. OpenStax CNX. Sep 19, 2014 Download for free at http://legacy.cnx.org/content/col11613/1.11
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