The economy goes through fluctuations over time. This movement over time is called the “business cycle”.
Recession: The time over which the economy is shrinking or growing slower than trend
Recovery: The time over which the economy is growing more quickly than trend
Peak: A temporary maximum in economic activity
Trough: A temporary minimum in economic activity.
Australian business cycle
To be officially counted as “unemployed”, you must:
Not currently have a job; and
Be actively looking for a job
“Labour force”- the number of people employed plus those unemployed
(Number of unemployed)/(Labour force)
Working age population = Labour force + Not in labour force
Labour force = Employed + Unemployed
Inflation is the rate of growth of the average price level over time.
But how do we arrive at an “average price level”?
The Consumer Price Index surveys consumers and derives an average level of prices based on the importance of goods for consumers, ie. a change in the price of housing matters a lot, but a change in the price of Tim Tams does not.
Consumer Price Index
Then the CPI expresses average prices each year relative to a reference year, which is a CPI of 100.
CPIt = (Average prices in year t)/(Average prices in reference year) x 100
Inflation can then be measured as the growth in CPI from the year before:
Inflationt = (CPIt – CPIt-1) / CPIt-1
Gross domestic product- The total market value of all final goods and services produced in a period (usually the year).
Alternates methods of calculating GDP
Income approach: add up the incomes of all members of the economy
Value-added approach: add up the value added to goods at each stage of production
Expenditure approach: add up the total spent by all members of the economy
The expenditure approach forms the basis of the AD-AS model.
As the average price level rises, demand for goods and services should fall, with all else held constant.
We would like to have a relationship between the demand for goods and services and the price level. We call this the “aggregate demand” (AD).
The AD curve is downward-sloping in prices.
Shifts of the AD curve
Factors that affect the AE curve will affect the AD curve. For example, if household wealth rose, then C would increase for all levels of disposable income. Demand would be higher for all levels of prices, so the AD curve shifts to the right.
C: household wealth, household expectations about the future
I: interest rates, business expectation about the future, technology
G and T: changes in fiscal policy
NX: the currency exchange rate, change in output in foreign countries
AD and the multiplier
A change in I will shift the AE curve up. This will produce a shift to the right of the AD curve.
The shift in the AD curve will be the change in I times the multiplier.
Likewise, there must be a relationship between goods supply and the average level of prices- the aggregate supply (AS) curve.
How do prices affect goods supply?
Short-term: Since wages are determined by contracts, wages do not change in the short-term. A rise in prices holding wages fixed means that firms are making higher profits on production, so firms will expand supply of goods.
Long-term: Wage contracts will be renegotiated if prices rise. In the long-term, we would expect that there is no relationship between goods supply and prices.
There will be a short-run AS curve which is upward-sloping in prices.
Changes in prices of inputs, like land, capital energy or entrepreneurial skill
Changes in technology that affect productivity
Changes in taxes, subsidies or laws affecting business productivity
Shift in AD
Shift in AD in the SR
The price level rises, which pushes the AE curve back down to where the AD-AS curves intersect.
But output is above the potential rate of output at point C. This means that there is a shortage of labour and will push up wages.
Shift in AD in the LR
In the long-run, workers renegotiate wages based on the higher prices. This raises the cost of production to firm and shifts the short-run AS curve to the left.
It is only when we get back to potential output that wages stop rising, at point A’.
Investment refers to the purchase of new goods that are used for future production. Investment can come in the form of machines, buildings, roads or bridges.
What determines investment?
Businesses make an investment if they expect the investment to be profitable.
How to determine profitability of investment?
Example: An investment involves the current cost of investment (I). The investment will pay off with some flow of expected future profits. The future stream of profits is R1 in one year’s time, R2 in two year’s time, … up to Rn at the nth year when the investment ends.
Net Present Value (NPV) = Present Value of Future Profits (PV) – Investment (I)
Interest rates are a general term for the percentage return on a dollar for a year:
that you earn from banks for saving
that you pay banks for borrowing or investing
For example, the interest rate might be 10%, so if you put $1 in the bank this year, it will become $(1+i) in one year’s time.
Or if you borrow $100 today, you will have to repay $(1+i)100 next year.
Discounting future values
How do we place a value today on $1 in t years’ time?
This is called “discounting” the future value. One way to think about this question is to ask:
“How much would we have to put in the bank now to have $1 in t years’ time?”
Money in the bank earns interest at the rate at the rate i, i>0. If I put $1 in the bank today, it will grow to be $(1+ i)1 in one year’s time, will grow to be $(1+i)(1+i)1 = $(1+i)2 in two years’ time and will grow to $(1+i)n in n years’ time.
How much is a future $1?
In order to have $1 next year, we would have to put x in today:
$1 = (1+ i) $x
x = 1/(1+i)
$1 next year is worth 1/(1 + i) today. Since i>0, $1 next year is worth less than $1 today.
In order to have $1 in n years’ time, we would have to put x in today:
x = 1/(1+i)n
$1 in n years’ time is worth 1/(1+i)n < 1 today.
Net present value
NPV = R1/(1+i) + R2/(1+ i)2 + … + Rn/(1+ i)n – I
If NPV >=0, then go ahead and make the investment. If NPV < 0, then the investment is not worthwhile.
As i rises, the PV of future profits will drop, so the NPV will fall. If we imagine that there are thousands of potential investments to be made, as i rises, fewer of these potential investments will be profitable, and so investment will fall.
We expect then that I falls as i rises.
If we graphed the investment demand for goods and services (I), it would be downward-sloping in i.
What can shift the I curve? Factors that affect current and expected future profitability of projects:
Business taxes and regulation
Money has three main functions in the economy.
Money is a medium of exchange. We use exchange money when we buy/sell to each other.
Money is a unit of account. Money is an agreed measure for stating the value of other goods and services.
Money is a store of value. Money can be kept under the bed or inside a jar and used to exchange for goods and services in the future.
So for every $1 floating in the economy in currency, we have $1/R in currency plus deposits in the economy. This ratio m = 1/R is called the “simple money multiplier”. For every $1 in currency that the government prints, the money supply increases by m.
Equilibrium in the money market
Equilibrium in the money market means supply of money equals demand for money.
Supply of money
The supply of money depends on the level of currency in the economy and the money multiplier. The supply of money does not depend on the interest rate.
Demand for money
People require money to make purchases, ie. How much currency is in your pocket?
Demand for money
The higher is income and prices, the greater the amount of money required to make the purchases people will wish to make.
But a $1 in your pocket is a $1 not in the bank. In the bank, that $1 would be accumulating interest, but in your pocket, it accumulates no interest. So the interest rate is the price of holding money as currency rather than as a deposit in the bank. So we would expect that as the interest rate rises, people will lower the level of currency that they hold.
The demand for money is downward-sloping in the interest rate, i, and increases in income and prices.
Equilibrium in the money market
The supply of money does not depend on the interest rate, so it is vertical.
The interest rate is the price of holding wealth as currency, so money demand falls as i rises.
The government can control the supply of money and thus the interest rate. These actions are called “monetary policy”.
“Open market operations” are a means of the government controlling the supply of money. The government (in our case the Reserve Bank of Australia or RBA) buys and sells government securities, such as government bonds to control the amount of money in the economy.
If the RBA buys a bond with currency, the RBA increases the money supply (by the change in currency times the money multiplier).
If the RBA sells bonds for currency, it decreases the supply of money.
Monetary policy shifts the money supply curve and so changes the equilibrium interest rate.
There are many resources available to you. Often students hurt themselves by not taking advantage of the resources they have.
Books: There are plenty of macroeconomics principles books. If you don’t understand Jackson and McIver’s coverage, get to a library and read a different textbook. There is also a study guide by Bredon and Curnow referenced in the subject outline.
Online: There is an enormous amount of material on the Web. Just use a search engine and look around.
Forum: Get into a habit of reading the CSU forums once a week. Post questions on the forum and join in the discussion.
Official websites: Have a look at the websites for government agencies like the Reserve Bank of Australia or the Australian Bureau of Statistics.
CSU help: Student Services at CSU has a lot of help it can provide students with problems- look at http://www.csu.edu.au/division/studserv/.
Tips for preparing for the exam
Practice. Do the problems in the back of the book chapters. Do the problems on the book’s website. Do the problems in the study guide.
Read the question. Read carefully.
Answer the question. Don’t answer the question you think was asked. Answer the question that actually was asked. Most exam errors happen here. Remember to read the question.
Tips for preparing for the exam
Be sure to answer all of the question.
Don’t put down too much. Don’t provide a whole background of a model unless the question asks for it. If the question asks you to analyse a scenario, go straight into the scenario.
Don’t put down too little. In an essay question, provide your reasoning and analysis. Draw a relevant graph and talk about the graph. Don’t just say “Yes.”
Final exam tip
Don’t panic! Relax and breath. You do not need to write for 3 hours to do well in an economics exam. Often a well-ordered sentence is worth more than 2 pages of semi-coherent babbling. Stop and think about your answer.