The Economic Approach

The Economic Approach

GWARTNEY – STROUP – SOBEL – MACPHERSON

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To Accompany: “Economics: Private and Public Choice, 15th ed.”

James Gwartney, Richard Stroup, Russell Sobel, & David Macpherson

Slides authored and animated by: James Gwartney & Charles Skipton

Full Length Text —

Micro Only Text —

Part: 1

Part: 1

Chapter: 1

Chapter: 1

Macro Only Text —

Part: 1

Chapter: 1

Copyright ©2015 Cengage Learning. All rights reserved. May not be scanned, copied or duplicated, or posted to a publicly accessible web site, in whole or in part.

First page

What is Economics About?

15th

edition

Gwartney-Stroup

Sobel-Macpherson

Copyright ©2015 Cengage Learning. All rights reserved. May not be scanned, copied or duplicated, or posted to a publicly accessible web site, in whole or in part.

First page

Scarcity and Choice

Scarcity and choice are the two essential ingredients of an economic topic.

Goods are scarce because desire for them far outstrips their availability from nature.

Scarcity forces us to choose among available alternatives.

15th

edition

Gwartney-Stroup

Sobel-Macpherson

Copyright ©2015 Cengage Learning. All rights reserved. May not be scanned, copied or duplicated, or posted to a publicly accessible web site, in whole or in part.

First page

History is a record of our struggle to transform available, but limited, resources …

Scarce Goods

Food (bread, milk, meat, eggs, vegetables, coffee, etc.)

Clothing (shirts, pants, blouses, shoes, socks, coats, sweaters, etc.)

Household (tables, chairs, rugs, beds, goods dressers, television sets, etc.)

Education

National defense

Leisure time

Entertainment

Clean air

Pleasant (trees, lakes, rivers,

environment open spaces, etc.)

Pleasant working conditions

Limited Resources

Land (various degrees of fertility)

Natural (rivers, trees, minerals, Resources oceans, etc.)

Machines and other human-made physical resources

Non-human animal resources

Technology (physical and scientific “recipes” of history)

Human (the knowledge, skill, resources and talent of individuals)

into scarce goods – things that we would like to have.

Scarcity and Choice

15th

edition

Gwartney-Stroup

Sobel-Macpherson

Copyright ©2015 Cengage Learning. All rights reserved. May not be scanned, copied or duplicated, or posted to a publicly accessible web site, in whole or in part.

First page

Scarcity and poverty are not the same thing.

The absence of poverty implies some basic level of need has been met.

An absence of scarcity would imply that all of our desires for goods are fully satisfied.

We may someday eliminate poverty, but scarcity will always be with us.

Scarcity and Choice

15th

edition

Gwartney-Stroup

Sobel-Macpherson

Copyright ©2015 Cengage Learning. All rights reserved. May not be scanned, copied or duplicated, or posted to a publicly accessible web site, in whole or in part.

First page

Scarcity Necessitates Rationing

Every society must have a means to ration scarce resources among competing uses.

Resources and goods can be rationed in various ways (e.g. first-come, first served).

In a market setting, price is used to ration goods and resources.

When price is used, the good or resource is allocated to those willing to give up “other things” in order to obtain ownership rights.

When price is used to ration goods, people have a strong incentive to earn income so they will be able to pay the required price.

15th

edition

Gwartney-Stroup

Sobel-Macpherson

Copyright ©2015 Cengage Learning. All rights reserved. May not be scanned, copied or duplicated, or posted to a publicly accessible web site, in whole or in part.

First page

Competition Results from Scarcity

Competition is a natural outgrowth of the need to ration scarce goods.

Changing the rationing method used by society will change the form of competition, but it will not eliminate competitive tactics.

15th

edition

Gwartney-Stroup

Sobel-Macpherson

Copyright ©2015 Cengage Learning. All rights reserved. May not be scanned, copied or duplicated, or posted to a publicly accessible web site, in whole or in part.

First page

Questions for Thought:

1. How are grades rationed in your economics class? How does this rationing method influence student behavior? Suppose the highest grades were rationed to those who the teacher liked best. How would this method of rationing influence student behavior?

15th

edition

Gwartney-Stroup

Sobel-Macpherson

Copyright ©2015 Cengage Learning. All rights reserved. May not be scanned, copied or duplicated, or posted to a publicly accessible web site, in whole or in part.

First page

The Economic Way of Thinking

15th

edition

Gwartney-Stroup

Sobel-Macpherson

Copyright ©2015 Cengage Learning. All rights reserved. May not be scanned, copied or duplicated, or posted to a publicly accessible web site, in whole or in part.

First page

Guideposts to Economic Thinking

The use of scarce resources to produce a good or service is always costly.

Someone must give up something if we are to have more of a scarce good.

The highest valued alternative that must be sacrificed is the opportunity cost of the choice.

Individuals choose purposefully; therefore they will economize.

Economizing: gaining a specific benefit at the least possible cost.

15th

edition

Gwartney-Stroup

Sobel-Macpherson

Copyright ©2015 Cengage Learning. All rights reserved. May not be scanned, copied or duplicated, or posted to a publicly accessible web site, in whole or in part.

First page

Guideposts to Economic Thinking

Incentives matter:

As personal benefits (costs) from choosing an option increase, other things constant, a person will be more (less) likely to choose that option.

Economic reasoning focuses on the impact of marginal changes.

Decisions will be based on marginal costs and marginal benefits (utility).

Since information is scarce, uncertainty is a fact of life.

In addition to their initial impact, economic events often generate secondary effects that may be felt only with the passage of time.

15th

edition

Gwartney-Stroup

Sobel-Macpherson

Copyright ©2015 Cengage Learning. All rights reserved. May not be scanned, copied or duplicated, or posted to a publicly accessible web site, in whole or in part.

First page

Guideposts to Economic Thinking

The value of a good is subjective and varies with individual preferences.

The test of an economic theory is its ability to predict and explain events in the real world.

15th

edition

Gwartney-Stroup

Sobel-Macpherson

Copyright ©2015 Cengage Learning. All rights reserved. May not be scanned, copied or duplicated, or posted to a publicly accessible web site, in whole or in part.

First page

Questions for Thought:

1. In an effort to promote energy conservation, Congress mandates a minimum average gas mileage that car producers must achieve for the cars that they sell. Can you think of any secondary effects of these mandates that will conflict with energy conservation? With auto safety?

2. “The government should provide goods such as health care, education, and highways because it can provide them free.” — Is this true or false?

3. Would sound policy attempt to reduce pollution emissions to zero? Why or why not.

15th

edition

Gwartney-Stroup

Sobel-Macpherson

Copyright ©2015 Cengage Learning. All rights reserved. May not be scanned, copied or duplicated, or posted to a publicly accessible web site, in whole or in part.

First page

Positive & Normative Economics

15th

edition

Gwartney-Stroup

Sobel-Macpherson

Copyright ©2015 Cengage Learning. All rights reserved. May not be scanned, copied or duplicated, or posted to a publicly accessible web site, in whole or in part.

First page

Positive Economics

Positive Economics: The scientific study of “what is” among economic relationships.

Positive economic statements involve potentially verifiable statements.

Example: The inflation rate rises when the money supply is increased.

15th

edition

Gwartney-Stroup

Sobel-Macpherson

Copyright ©2015 Cengage Learning. All rights reserved. May not be scanned, copied or duplicated, or posted to a publicly accessible web site, in whole or in part.

First page

Normative Economics

Normative Economics: Judgments about “what ought to be” in economic matters.

Normative statements reflect subjective values. They cannot be proved true or false.

Example: The inflation rate should be lower.

15th

edition

Gwartney-Stroup

Sobel-Macpherson

Copyright ©2015 Cengage Learning. All rights reserved. May not be scanned, copied or duplicated, or posted to a publicly accessible web site, in whole or in part.

First page

Pitfalls to Avoid in Economic Thinking

15th

edition

Gwartney-Stroup

Sobel-Macpherson

Copyright ©2015 Cengage Learning. All rights reserved. May not be scanned, copied or duplicated, or posted to a publicly accessible web site, in whole or in part.

First page

Four Pitfalls

Violation of the ceteris paribus condition

Latin term meaning “other things constant.”

When describing the effect of a change, the outcome may be influenced by changes in other things.

Good intentions do not guarantee desirable outcomes.

An unsound proposal will lead to undesirable outcomes even if it is supported by proponents with good intentions.

Politicians may be able to gain by focusing attention on a problem even if their policy response is ineffective or even harmful.

15th

edition

Gwartney-Stroup

Sobel-Macpherson

Copyright ©2015 Cengage Learning. All rights reserved. May not be scanned, copied or duplicated, or posted to a publicly accessible web site, in whole or in part.

First page

Four Pitfalls

Fallacy of composition

The erroneous view that what is true for the individual (or the part) is also true for the group (or the whole).

Microeconomics focuses on narrowly defined units, while macroeconomics is focused on highly aggregated units.

One must beware of the fallacy of composition when shifting from micro- to macro-units.

Association is not causation.

Statistical association alone cannot establish causation.

15th

edition

Gwartney-Stroup

Sobel-Macpherson

Copyright ©2015 Cengage Learning. All rights reserved. May not be scanned, copied or duplicated, or posted to a publicly accessible web site, in whole or in part.

First page

Questions for Thought:

1. Which of the following are positive economic statements and which are normative?

(a) The speed limit should be lowered to 55 miles per hour on interstate highways to reduce the number of deaths and accidents.

(b) Higher gasoline prices cause the quantity of gasoline that consumers buy to increase.

(c) A comparison of costs and benefits should not be used to assess environmental regulations.

(d) Taxes on alcohol result in less drinking and driving.

15th

edition

Gwartney-Stroup

Sobel-Macpherson

Copyright ©2015 Cengage Learning. All rights reserved. May not be scanned, copied or duplicated, or posted to a publicly accessible web site, in whole or in part.

First page

Questions for Thought:

2. “Economist, n. – A scoundrel whose faulty vision sees things as they really are, not as they ought to be.” (chapter-opening quote)

What is the underlying message of this definition from Ambrose Bierce? Does it indicate that economists think with their heads or their hearts? Is this good or bad?

3. Suppose you were spending your own money to buy a new entertainment center (TV, DVD player, etc) for your apartment. Would you have an incentive to economize? Suppose your parents had given you permission to buy whichever entertainment center you wanted with their money. Would that influence what you buy? Why or why not?

15th

edition

Gwartney-Stroup

Sobel-Macpherson

Copyright ©2015 Cengage Learning. All rights reserved. May not be scanned, copied or duplicated, or posted to a publicly accessible web site, in whole or in part.

First page

End of

Chapter 1

Copyright ©2015 Cengage Learning. All rights reserved. May not be scanned, copied or duplicated, or posted to a publicly accessible web site, in whole or in part.

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