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Economics: A Contemporary Introduction, 6th Edition by William A. McEachern PowerPoint Slides prepared by Dale Bails Christian Brothers University © 2003 South-Western/Thomson Learning The Art and Science of Economics CHAPTER 1 © 2003 South-Western/Thomson Learning

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economics a contemporary introduction 6th edition
Economics: A Contemporary Introduction, 6th Edition

by

William A. McEachern

PowerPoint Slides

prepared by

Dale Bails

Christian Brothers University

© 2003 South-Western/Thomson Learning

the art and science of economics
The Art and Science of Economics

CHAPTER

1

© 2003 South-Western/Thomson Learning

the economic problem
The Economic Problem
  • Basic economic problem wants are virtually unlimited
    • While the resources available to satisfy these wants are scarce
  • Economics examines the issue of how people use their scarce resources in an attempt to satisfy their unlimited wants
resources
Resources
  • Inputs, or factors of production, used to produce the goods and services
  • Four general categories
    • Labor
    • Capital
    • Land
    • Entrepreneurial Ability
labor
Labor
  • Broad category of human effort – physical and mental
  • Labor is scarce because the time that can be allocated to various tasks is scarce or limited
capital
Capital
  • Human creations used to produce goods and services
    • Physical capital: factories, machines, tools, buildings, airports, highways and other manufactured items employed to produce goods and services
    • Human capital: consists of the knowledge and skill people acquire to enhance their labor productivity
land entrepreneurial ability
Land &Entrepreneurial Ability
  • Land
    • Includes not only land in the conventional sense but also all other natural resources
    • Gifts of nature including bodies of water, trees, oil reserves, etc.
  • Entrepreneurial Ability
    • Talent required to dream up a new product or find a better way to produce an existing one
payments for resources
Payments for Resources
  • Wages payment for use of labor
  • Interest payment for the use of capital
  • Rent payment for use of land
  • Profit reward for entrepreneur’s talent
economic decision makers
Economic Decision Makers
  • Four types of decision-makers in the economy
    • Households
      • Consumers
      • Resource owners
    • Firms, governments, and the rest of the world
      • Demand the resources
      • Supply the goods and services
      • Rest of the world  foreign households, firms and governments
markets
Markets
  • Means by which buyers and sellers carry out exchanges
  • Product markets
    • Markets in which goods and services are bought and sold
  • Resource Markets
    • Markets in which the resources are exchanged
rational self interest
Rational Self Interest
  • Individuals try to maximize the expected benefit achieved with a given cost or minimize the expected cost of achieving a given benefit
  • Rational people try to make the best choices they can, given the available information
marginal analysis
Marginal Analysis
  • Economic choices are based on a comparison of expected marginal cost and the expected marginal benefit of the action under consideration
  • Marginal
    • Incremental
    • Additional
    • Extra
micro and macro economics
Micro and Macro “economics”
  • Microeconomics
    • Examines the factors that influence individual economic choices
    • Examines how markets coordinate the choices of various decision-makers
    • Studies the individual pieces of the economic puzzle
  • Macroeconomics
    • Studies the performance of the economy as a whole
    • Focuses on the big picture
science
Science
  • Economic theory or model
    • Simplification of economic reality
    • Used to make predictions about the real world
    • Focuses on the important elements of the problem under study
scientific method
Scientific Method
  • Identify the Question and Define the relevant variables
  • Specify Assumptions
    • Other-things-constant assumption: ceteris paribus
    • Behavioral Assumption rational self-interest consumers maximize satisfaction and firm maximizes profits
formulate and test hypothesis
Formulate and Test Hypothesis
  • Statement about how the key variables relate to each other
  • Provides the predictions of interest based on cause and effect relationships
  • Test involves comparing these predictions with real world
normative versus positive
Normative versus Positive
  • Positive economic statement
    • An assertion about economic reality that can be supported or rejected by reference to the facts
  • Normative economic statement
    • Reflects an opinion
    • Cannot be shown to be true or false by reference to the facts
    • Most of the disagreements in economics involve normative debates
normative versus positive19
Normative versus Positive

Normative or Positive?

Minimum wage laws cause unemployment among teenagers.

normative versus positive20
Normative versus Positive

Normative or Positive?

The government should increase the minimum wage.

pitfalls of economic analysis
Pitfalls of Economic Analysis
  • Fallacy that Association is Causation
    • Occurs when one assumes that event A caused event B simply because the two are associated in time
    • The fact that one event precedes another or that the two events occur simultaneously does not necessarily mean that one event caused the other
  • Fallacy of Composition
    • Erroneous belief that what is true for the individual or the part, is also true for the group, or the whole
pitfalls of economic analysis22
Pitfalls of Economic Analysis
  • Ignoring Secondary Effects - Unintended consequences of policies or choices
  • Primary Effects
    • Effects that are felt relatively quickly
    • Easily observed
  • Secondary Effects
    • Tend to develop more slowly
    • Frequently not obvious