Macroeconomics by LIST JOHN ET.AL

By LIST JOHN ET.AL

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Economists believe that optimization explains most of our choices, including People make choices that are minor decisions like accepting an invitation to see a movie, and major decisions like deciding whom to marry. ­motivated by calculations of benefits 2. Equilibrium: The second principle of economics holds and costs. that economic systems tend to be in equilibrium, a situation in which no agent would benefit personally by changing his or her own behavior. The economic system is in equilibrium Equilibrium is the special situation when each agent feels that he or she cannot do any better by picking another course in which everyone is simultaneously optimizing, so nobody would benefit of action.

Indd 36 17/03/15 12:39 PM Positive Economics and Normative Economics We now have an idea of what economics is about: people’s choices. But what is the reason for studying choices? Part of the answer is that economists are just curious, but that’s only a small part of the picture. Understanding people’s choices is practically useful for two key reasons. 2 1. Describes what people actually do (positive economics). 2. Recommends what people ought to do (normative economics). 3 The first application is descriptive and the second is advisory.

Because global warming is partially caused by carbon emissions from coal, oil, and other fossil fuels, microeconomists design policies to reduce the use of these fuels. For example, a “carbon tax” targets carbon emissions. Under a carbon tax, relatively carbon-intensive energy sources—like coal power plants—pay more tax per unit of energy produced than energy sources with lower carbon emissions—like wind farms. Microeconomists have the job of designing carbon taxes and determining how such taxes will affect the energy usage of households and firms.

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