Introduction:  What Is Economics

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2 of 16. What Is Economics?. Economics studies the choices that can be made when there is scarcity.Scarcity is a situation in which resources are limited in quantity and can be used in different ways.. 3 of 16. What Is Economics?. Because our resources are limited, we must sacrifice one thing for a

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Introduction: What Is Economics

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1. Introduction: What Is Economics?

2. 2 of 16 What Is Economics? Economics studies the choices that can be made when there is scarcity. Scarcity is a situation in which resources are limited in quantity and can be used in different ways.

3. 3 of 16 What Is Economics? Because our resources are limited, we must sacrifice one thing for another. Economists are always reminding us that there is scarcity—that there are tradeoffs in everything we do.

4. 4 of 16 Positive versus Normative Analysis Positive economics predicts the consequences of alternative actions, answering the questions, “What is?” or “What will be?”

5. 5 of 16 Positive versus Normative Analysis Normative economics answers the question, What ought to be? Normative questions lie at the heart of policy debates.

6. 6 of 16 Decisions in a Modern Economy Economic decisions are made at every level in society. The choices made by individuals, firms, and governments answer three questions: What products do we produce? How do we produce the products? Who consumes the products?

7. 7 of 16 Economic Analysis and Modern Problems Economic analysis provides important insights into real-world problems. Economists attempt to diagnose and provide solutions to problems such as traffic congestion, poverty in Africa, or the problems of an entire economy.

8. 8 of 16 The Economic Way of Thinking The economic way of thinking is best summarized by British economist John Maynard Keynes (1883-1946) as follows: “The theory of economics does not furnish a body of settled conclusions immediately applicable to policy. It is a method rather than a doctrine, an apparatus of the mind, a technique of thinking which helps its possesor draw correct conclusions.”

9. 9 of 16 The Economic Way of Thinking Three elements of the economic way of thinking: Use assumptions to simplify Eliminate irrelevant details and focus on what really matters. Keep in mind that simplifying assumptions do not have to be realistic.

10. 10 of 16 The Economic Way of Thinking Isolate variables—Ceteris Paribus Economists are interested in exploring relationships between two variables. A variable is a measure of something that can take on different values. The expression ceteris paribus means that the effect of other tendencies is neglected for a time.

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