• Course name: Introduction to Principles of Macroeconomics

Introduction to the Principles of Macroeconomics begins with an overview of economics itself, contrasting microeconomics and macroeconomics. Macroeconomics, unlike microeconomics, focuses on exchanges that occur across all markets within a country, taking into account the interrelated actions of consumers, businesses, government agencies, financial intermediaries, and global trading partners as they exchange resources, goods, and services as well as facilitate currency and quantity flows. It addresses what should be done to achieve a greater, broader set of goals besides profit maximization.

We will look at a major focal point of macroeconomics: the total output generated within an economy, which can be measured by the Gross Domestic Product (GDP), the dollar value of all final goods and services produced within a nation’s borders during the course of one year. You will learn the difference between nominal GDP and real GDP.

Economic growth, which is the increase in real GDP over time, is one of three major goals. The other two goals are full employment and price level stability. The lessons here will uncover scenarios and philosophical debates about the role of government in a market-based economy and whether the GDP is an accurate measure of societal well-being, quality of life, and the standard of living.

Finally, most individuals probably understand the economic concepts of unemployment and inflation. Here we will take a deeper look at these concepts, as well as their interrelationship, defining and describing three types of unemployment: frictional unemployment (or temporary unemployment); structural unemployment (affecting whole sectors of the economy); and cyclical unemployment (caused by downturns in the economy).

Course metrics

  • Approximate learning hours: 54 hours
  • Course: One of three micro courses for Principles of Macroeconomics
  • Level: 1st year Bachelor Degree

About Principles of Macroeconomics

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Economics is traditionally divided into two parts: microeconomics and macroeconomics. The main purpose of these three micro courses is to introduce you to the principles of macroeconomics.

Macroeconomics is the study of how a country’s economy works while trying to discern among good, better, and best choices for improving and/or maintaining a nation’s standard of living and level of economic and societal well-being. Historical and contemporary perspectives on the roles and policies of government are part of the mix of interpretations and alternatives that surround questions of who or what gains and loses the most or least within a relatively small set of key interdependent players. In the broadest view, that set consists of households, consumers, savers, firm owners, investors, agency and elected officials, and global trading partners in which some wear many hats and face price considerations at two levels.

Consider one distinction between macroeconomics and microeconomics through the way prices are taken into account in both divisions. On one hand, microeconomics focuses on how supply and demand within a given market determine prices. On the other hand, macroeconomics focuses on changes in the price level across all markets. Another distinction resides within goals. A study of microeconomics orients itself toward firm profit maximization and output optimization as well as consumer utility maximization and consumption optimization. In contrast, a study of macroeconomics situates itself around a number of goals including economic growth, price stability, and full employment.

Macroeconomic performance relies on measures of economic activity, focusing on variables and data at the national level within a specific period of time. Macroeconomics entails analyses of aggregate measures such as national income, national output, unemployment and inflation rates, and business cycle fluctuations. These courses will prompt you to think critically about the national and global issues we currently face, to consider competing views that may agree or disagree with your own, and to draw challenging conclusions from a vast array of perspectives, tools, and alternatives.