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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

If potatoes cost Jane $1 per kilogram and she has $5 that could possibly spend on potatoes or other items. If she feels that the first kilogram of potatoes is worth $1.50, the second kilogram is worth$1.14, the third is worth $1.05 and subsequent kilograms are worth $0.30, how many kilograms of potatoes will she purchase? What if she only had $2 to spend?
Susan Reply
cause of poverty in urban
DAVY Reply
QI: (A) Asume the following cost data are for a purely competitive producer: At a product price Of $56. will this firm produce in the short run? Why Why not? If it is preferable to produce, what will be the profit-maximizing Or loss-minimizing Output? Explain. What economic profit or loss will the
Falak Reply
what is money
DAVY Reply
what is economic
Stephen Reply
economics is the study of ways in which people use resources to satisfy their wants
Falak
what is Price mechanism
Dhany Reply
introduction to economics
Uday Reply
welfare definition of economics
Uday
examine the wealth and welfare definitions of economics
Uday
read book by ml jhingan
Anand
What do we mean by Asian tigers
Aeesha Reply
Dm me I will tell u
Shailendra
Hi
Aeesha
hi
Pixel
What is Average revenue
KEMZO
How are u doing
KEMZO
it is so fantastic
metasebia
uday
Uday
it is a group of 4 countries named Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan and Hong Kong because their economies are growing very faster
Anand
fyn
EDWARD
Please, average revenue is an amount of money you gained after deducted your total expenditure from your total income.
EDWARD
what's a demand
Edward Reply
it is the quantity of commodities that consumers are willing and able to purchase at particular prices and at a given time
Munanag
quantity of commodities dgat consumers are willing to pat at particular price
Omed
demand depends upon 2 things 1wish to buy 2 have purchasing power of that deserving commodity except any from both can't be said demand.
Bashir
Demand is a various quantity of a commodities that a consumer is willing and able to buy at a particular price within a given period of time. All other things been equal.
Vedzi
State the law of demand
Vedzi
The desire to get something is called demand.
Mahabuba
what is the use of something should pay for its opportunity foregone to indicate?
Random Reply
Why in monopoly does the firm maximize profits when its marginal revenue equals marginal cost
astrid Reply
different between economic n history
Falma Reply
If it is known that the base change of RM45 million, the statutory proposal ratio of 7 per cent, and the public cash holding ratio of 5 per cent, what is the proposed ratio of bank surplus to generate a total deposit of RM 300 million? 
Jeslyne Reply
In a single bank system, a bank can create a deposit when it receives a new deposit in cash. If a depositor puts a cash deposit of RM10,000 into the bank, assume the statutory reserve requirement is 7% and the bank adopts a surplus reserve of 8%. a. Calculate the amount of deposits made at the end o
Jeslyne
the part of marginal revenue product curve lies in the _ stage of production is called form demand curve for variable input.
Bashir Reply
The cost associated with the inputs owned by the farmer is termed as
Bashir
the cost associated with inputs owned by the farmer is termed as ____
Bashir
why do we study economic
Nwobodo Reply
we study economics to know how to manage our limited resources
Eben
တစ်ဦးကျဝင်​ငွေ
myo
we study economics the know how to use our resources and where to put it
Mamoud
what is end
Nwobodo
we study economics to make rational decision
Gloria
we study economics only to know how to effectively and efficiently allocate our limited resource in other to meet our unlimited wants
Kpegba
We study economics inorder for us to know the difference of the needs and wants and aslo how to use the limited resources that are available
Bongani

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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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