Copyright

What is Macroeconomics? - Definition & Principles

What is Macroeconomics? - Definition & Principles
Coming up next: What Is Microeconomics? - Definition & Topics

You're on a roll. Keep up the good work!

Take Quiz Watch Next Lesson
 Replay
Your next lesson will play in 10 seconds
  • 0:29 Importance of Macroeconomics
  • 1:10 Principles
  • 1:26 Economic Output
  • 3:34 Unemployment
  • 4:29 Inflation and Deflation
  • 5:03 Lesson Summary
Save Save Save

Want to watch this again later?

Log in or sign up to add this lesson to a Custom Course.

Log in or Sign up

Timeline
Autoplay
Autoplay
Speed

Recommended Lessons and Courses for You

Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Shawn Grimsley
Macroeconomics is one of the major subdivisions in the study of economics. In this lesson, you'll learn what it is, why it's important and its major principles. You'll also have a chance to take a short quiz after the lesson.

What is Macroeconomics?

Macroeconomics is the study of economics involving phenomena that affects an entire economy, including inflation, unemployment, price levels, economic growth, economic decline and the relationship between all of these. While microeconomics looks at how households and businesses make decisions and behave in the marketplace, macroeconomics looks at the big picture - it analyzes the entire economy.

Importance of Macroeconomics

We live in a complex and interconnected world. No one is unaffected by the economy. Most of us depend on the economy to provide job or business opportunities so we can make money to buy the goods and services we need to survive and function in modern society. The study of macroeconomics allows us to better understand what makes our economy grow and what makes it contract. A growing economy provides opportunities for better lives, while a contracting economy can be disastrous for most everyone. Macroeconomics provides the analysis for proper policy making so that we can develop and nurture the best economy possible.

Principles

Macroeconomic study focuses on three broad areas and the interrelationships between them. These three concepts affect all participants in an economy, including consumers, workers, producers and government. Let's look at each of these concepts.

Economic Output

Macroeconomics studies the national output, or income, of a country. National economic output is the total value of all goods and services produced in an economy during a specific time period. Economists measure national output by calculating the gross domestic product (GDP), which is the market value of final goods and services that an economy produces during a specific period of time. Economists will use the term real GDP, which is GDP valued at a constant price level, to compare current output with past output. This comparison will tell you if the economy is growing, is stagnant, or is contracting.

The basic model used in macroeconomics to study economic fluctuations is the model of aggregate demand and aggregate supply. The model involves two variables: the economy's output, which is measured by real GDP, and the economy's overall price level, measured by a price index (usually the GDP deflator or CPI). You can plot the general price level in an economy on the vertical axis of a graph and the quantity of output on the horizontal axis. The aggregate supply curve is upward sloping in the short-run, but vertical in the long-run. The aggregate demand curve is downward slopping. Economic output and price level will move towards the point where aggregate supply equals aggregate demand.

Fluctuations in economic output are generally caused by one of two things. First, fluctuations can occur when the aggregate demand shifts. If the aggregate demand curve shifts to the left, output and prices will decline. If the curve shifts to the right, output and prices will rise. Second, economic fluctuations may be caused by a shift in aggregate supply. A right shift in the aggregate supply curve means that the quantity of goods and services supplied will increase at a particular price level. If the short-term aggregate supply curve shifts to the left, output will fall and prices will rise - this is called stagflation.

To unlock this lesson you must be a Study.com Member.
Create your account

Register to view this lesson

Are you a student or a teacher?

Unlock Your Education

See for yourself why 30 million people use Study.com

Become a Study.com member and start learning now.
Become a Member  Back
What teachers are saying about Study.com
Try it risk-free for 30 days

Earning College Credit

Did you know… We have over 200 college courses that prepare you to earn credit by exam that is accepted by over 1,500 colleges and universities. You can test out of the first two years of college and save thousands off your degree. Anyone can earn credit-by-exam regardless of age or education level.

To learn more, visit our Earning Credit Page

Transferring credit to the school of your choice

Not sure what college you want to attend yet? Study.com has thousands of articles about every imaginable degree, area of study and career path that can help you find the school that's right for you.

Create an account to start this course today
Try it risk-free for 30 days!
Create an account
Support