How a Nation's Economy Works: An Introduction to Macroeconomics
This course is expected to run but has not yet been scheduled.
“Our economy is the result of millions of decisions we all make every day about producing, earning, saving, investing, and spending.”
-- Dwight David Eisenhower
Students should think of this three-week core course as An Intelligent Citizen’s Guide to Macroeconomics that provides them with a better understanding of many important public policy issues, plus insight into some of today’s heated debates. Macroeconomics focuses on concepts that often times show up in the daily news inflation, unemployment, economic growth, recessions, exchange rates, interest rates, budget deficits, and trade deficits. The goal of this course is to acquaint students with these concepts and with how the economy, with all of its moving parts, works as a whole. Students will analyze real-world situations in the context of macroeconomics. Some of the questions we will address are: What are the sources of long-term economic growth? Why are some countries much richer than others? How are inflation and unemployment affected by policy actions of the Federal Reserve Board? What are the consequences of government budget deficits? Students who take this course will be well prepared to study macroeconomics at the undergraduate level and be in a great position to take the Advanced Placement (AP) examination in macroeconomics.
The course will unfold across three major themes: core economic principles, national economy, and policy tools. First, students will be introduced to core economic principles and key concepts, such as scarcity, opportunity costs, comparative advantage, and laws of demand and supply all of which act as a foundation for the proceeding weeks. Using this knowledge, students will connect these principles to real-world examples of price floors, competitive markets, and international trade, as well as current events and how they create or sustain the economic value of a nation.
Then, as the course progresses, students will understand how the aforementioned forces interconnect and intertwine to create the national economy. Students will study how a nation’s economy is measured, what constitutes gross domestic product (GDP), and the consumer price index (CPI). Additionally, students will come to gain comfort in the inflows and outflows of national income and expenditure and how national surpluses or deficits come about. The course will also explain the destructive powers of high inflation or conversely deflation and unemployment.
Finally, the course will conclude with an examination of the arsenal of public, fiscal, and monetary policy tools at the disposal of a nation to direct economic outcomes. Students will grasp key concepts, such as the money supply curve and aggregate demand, as well as macroeconomic equilibrium. We will also cover just how quickly it can all go wrong for an economy by focusing on some of the more well-known financial crises and the lessons learned and how we can avoid falling into the same trap in the future.
No prior knowledge of economics is required to attend this course, although an understanding of mathematics at an Algebra II level is suggested.