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Economics and Economic Reasoning

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1 Economics and Economic Reasoning
Chapter 1

2 Laugher Curve Q. Why did God create economists?
A. In order to make weather forecasters look good.

3 What Economics Is Economics is the study of how human beings coordinate their wants and desires, given the decision-making mechanisms, social customs, and political realities of the society.

4 What Economics Is One of the key words in the definition is “coordination.”

5 What Economics Is Any economic system must solve three central coordination problems: What, and how much, to produce. How to produce it. For whom to produce it.

6 What Economics Is Scarcity exists because individuals want more than can be produced. Scarcity – the goods available are too few to satisfy individuals’ desires.

7 What Economics Is The degree of scarcity is constantly changing.
The quantity of goods, services, and usable resources depends on technology and human action.

8 What Economics Is Economics is the study of how to get people to do things they're not wild about doing and not to do things they are wild about doing.

9 What Economics Is To understand the economy, you need to learn:
Economic reasoning. Economic terminology. Economic insights economists have about issues, and theories that lead to those insights.

10 What Economics Is To understand the economy, you need to learn:
Information about economic institutions. Information about the economic policy options facing society today.

11 A Guide to Economic Reasoning
Economic reasoning is making decisions by comparing costs and benefits.

12 Marginal Costs and Marginal Benefits
The relevant costs and benefits that matter are the expected incremental, or additional, costs incurred and the expected incremental benefits of a decision.

13 Marginal Costs and Marginal Benefits
Economist use the term marginal when referring to additional or incremental.

14 Marginal Costs and Marginal Benefits
Marginal cost – the additional cost to you over and above the costs you have already incurred. This means not counting sunk costs – costs that have already been incurred and cannot be recovered.

15 Marginal Costs and Marginal Benefits
Marginal benefit – the additional benefit above and beyond what you’ve already accrued.

16 Marginal Costs and Marginal Benefits
According to the economics decision rule: If the relevant benefits of doing something exceed the relevant costs, do it. If the relevant costs of doing something exceed the relevant benefits, don’t do it.

17 Economics and Passion Economic reasoning is based on the premise that everything has a cost. It leads to a better society for the majority of people.

18 Opportunity Cost Opportunity cost is the basis of cost/benefit economic reasoning It is the benefit foregone, or cost, of the next-best alternative to the activity you have chosen.

19 Opportunity Cost In economic reasoning, opportunity cost must be less than the benefit of what you have chosen.

20 Opportunity Cost Opportunity costs are not limited to individual decisions but to government decisions as well.

21 Economics and Market Forces
The opportunity cost concept applies to all aspects of life. It is fundamental to understanding how society reacts to scarcity.

22 Economics and Market Forces
When goods are scarce, they must be rationed. That means a mechanism must be chosen to determine who gets what.

23 Economics and Market Forces
Economic forces are the necessary reactions to scarcity.

24 Economics and Market Forces
A market force is an economic circumstance that is given relatively free rein by society to work through the market.

25 Economics and Market Forces
Market forces ration by changing prices. When there is a shortage, the price goes up. When there is a surplus, the price goes down.

26 Economics and Market Forces
Economic reality is controlled by three forces: Economic forces (the invisible hand). Social and cultural forces. Political and legal forces.

27 Economics and Market Forces
The invisible hand is the price mechanism, the rise and fall of prices, that guides our actions in a market.

28 Economics and Market Forces
Social, cultural, and political forces play a major role in deciding whether to allow market forces to predominate.

29 Economics and Market Forces
Political and social forces often work together against the invisible hand. Social and political forces are active in all parts of your life.

30 Economics and Market Forces
What happens in society can be seen as a reaction to, and interaction of, economic forces, political forces, social forces, and historical forces.

31 Economic Terminology You’ll need to learn economic terminology.
Hundreds of economic terms will be introduced in this book.

32 Economic Insights General insights into how economies work are often based on generalizations called economic theories.

33 Economic Insights Theory ties together economists’ terminology and knowledge about economic institutions and leads to economic insights.

34 Economic Insights Economic theories are too abstract to apply to specific cases. A theory is often embodied in an economic model or an economic principle.

35 Economic Insights Economic model – a framework that places the generalized insights of the theory in a more specific contextual setting.

36 Economic Insights Economic principle – a commonly held insight stated as a law or general assumption.

37 Economic Insights Economists cannot test their models with controlled experiments. It is impossible to hold “other things constant,” as is done in laboratory experiments.

38 Economic Insights Theories, models, and principles must be combined with a knowledge of real-world economic institutions to arrive at a specific policy recommendation.

39 The Invisible Hand Theory
Economist have come to the following insight: Price has a tendency to fall when the quantity supplied is greater than the quantity demanded. Price has a tendency to rise when the quantity demanded is greater than the quantity supplied.

40 The Invisible Hand Theory
According to the invisible hand theory, a market economy, through the price mechanism, will allocate resources efficiently. Efficiency means achieving a goal as cheaply as possible.

41 Economic Theory and Stories
Economic theory and its models are a shorthand means of telling a story. If you can’t translate a theory into a story, you don’t understand the theory.

42 Microeconomics and Macroeconomics
Economic theory is divided into two parts: microeconomic theory and macroeconomic theory.

43 Microeconomics Microeconomics is the study of individual choice, and how that choice is influenced by economic forces.

44 Microeconomics Microeconomics studies such things as:
The pricing policy of firms. Households’ decisions on what to buy. How markets allocate resources among alternative ends.

45 Macroeconomics Macroeconomics is the study of the economy as a whole.
It considers the problems of inflation, unemployment, business cycles, and economic growth.

46 Economic Institutions
To apply economic theory to reality, you’ve got to have a sense of economic institutions. Economic institutions – laws, common practices, and organizations in a society that affect the economy.

47 Economic Institutions
Economic institutions differ significantly among nations. They sometimes seem to operate in ways quite different than economic theory predicts.

48 Economic Policy Options
Economic policies are actions (or inactions) taken by government to influence economic actions.

49 Economic Policy Options
To carry out economic policy effectively, one must understand how the economic policy might change institutions.

50 Objective Policy Analysis
Good objective policy analysis keeps the value judgments separate from the analysis. Subjective policy analysis is that which reflects the analyst’s view of how things should be.

51 Objective Policy Analysis
To make clear the distinction between objective and subjective analysis, economics is divided into three categories: Positive economics Normative economics Art of economics

52 Objective Policy Analysis
Positive economics – the study of what is, and how the economy works. Normative economics – the study of what the goals of the economy should be.

53 Objective Policy Analysis
Art of economics – the application of the knowledge learned in positive economics to achieve the goals determined in normative economics.

54 Objective Policy Analysis
Maintaining objectivity is easier in positive economics – harder in normative economics.

55 Objective Policy Analysis
It is hardest to maintain objectivity in the art of economics. It embodies the problems of both positive and normative economics

56 Policy and Social and Political Forces
The choice of policy options depends on more than economic theory. As soon as economists apply economy theory to policy, political and social forces must be taken into account.

57 Economics and Economic Reasoning
End of Chapter 1

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