Macro Review


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Table of Contents

The Macro Economy

The Circular Flow Model

Measuring the Macro Economy

Business Cycles

AD/AS Analysis

Money, Banking and Growth


Key Formulas in Macroeconomics





The Macro Economy

Sectors and Functions

1. Household sector: all people seeking to satisfy unlimited wants and needs … responsible for consumption

2. Business sector: those combining resources to produce goods and services … responsible for the production.

3. Government sector: federal, state and local governments … responsible for regulation, pass laws, collect taxes and force other economic sectors to do things that they wouldn't do voluntary

4. Foreign sector: everyone and everything beyond the boundaries of the domestic economy


Sector Expenditures

  1. Household consumption of final goods and services

a.      Nondurable goods lasting less than a year

b.      Durable goods lasting more than a year

c.      Services / Intangible activities

  1. Business investment in final goods and services, mainly capital goods … most volatile of the four expenditures

a.      Fixed structures: buildings, factories, housing

b.      Equipment: machinery and tools

c.      Inventories: raw materials and unsold goods

  1. Government purchases of final goods and services produced by the economy … does not include transfer payments

  2. Foreign net exports: exports (purchases of domestic production by everyone who is not a citizen of the domestic economy) minus imports (purchases of foreign production by the domestic economy)



1.  Product markets: The combination of all markets in the economy that exchange final goods and services. These markets are the mechanism that exchanges gross domestic product. These are also called the aggregate market.

2.  Resource markets: These markets exchange the services of the economy's resources, or factors of production — labor, capital, land and entrepreneurship. These are also called factor markets.

3.  Financial markets: These are markets that trade financial instruments like stocks and bonds. They play an important role in capital investment.



1.  Physical flow: the physical movement of goods and services

2.  Payment flow: the movement of money payments from the household to the business sector in exchange for final goods and services and from the business to the household sector in exchange for the services of resources






The Circular Flow Model

The circular flow is a model of the continuous production and consumption interaction among the four major sectors that takes place through the three aggregated markets.


Household and Business Sectors

The physical flow is the flow of resources from the household to business sector and production from the business to the household sector:

o   Production flows from the business sector (supply) to the household sector (demand) through product markets.

o   Resources flow from the household sector (demand) to the business (supply) sector through resource markets.

o   The household sector sells resources through resource markets and buy goods through the product markets.

o   The business sector buys resources through the resource markets and sells goods through the product markets.

The payment flow goes in the opposite direction of the physical flow:

o   The household sector buys production from the business sector in exchange for payment through product markets.

o   The business sector buys resources from the household sector in exchange for payment through resource markets.

o   Revenue received by the business sector for selling goods is used to pay the resources of production.

o   Factor payments become income used by household sector to buy production from the business sector.

Financial markets divert income from household consumption to business investment. Saving is not consumption … it does not disappear, it is income diverted away from the consumption flow and supplied, or loaned, to the financial markets.


Government Sector

The government sector plays a key role in the economy and the circular flow with government spending and taxes.

o   Government spending is divided into government purchases and transfer payments.

o   Government purchases include: national defense, roads, educational system, post offices, fire and police protection, parks, sewage treatment plants, etc.

o   Taxes are used to divert household sector income to the government sector to pay for these purchases.

o   When government does not collect enough taxes to pay for purchases, it borrows through the financial markets.

o   The diversion of income into taxes used to purchase government production shows up in the circular flow model.


Foreign Sector

The foreign sector is made up of households, businesses and governments outside the domestic economy. Market exchanges are a natural means of addressing the scarcity problem. Mutually beneficial exchanges aren't limited by geographic location or political boundaries. Foreign trade, the exchange among buyers and sellers in different nations, is an extension of mutually beneficial exchanges among people of the same country.

o   Exports are goods and services produced by the domestic economy and purchased by the foreign sector.

o   Imports are goods and services produced by the foreign sector and purchased by the domestic economy.

o   Exports flow from the foreign sector and join GDP before reaching the business sector.

o   Imports flow away from the consumption, investment and government purchases streams and go to the foreign sector.

Total spending doesn’t always match total output at the desired full-employment–price-stability level. The circular flow of income illustrates how this undesirable outcome happens and how it might be resolved.

A leakage is income not spent directly on domestic output, but instead diverted from the circular flow. Saving is a primary leakage from the circular flow. It represents income not directly returned to the product markets. Imports and taxes represent leakage from the circular flow. Business saving is also a leakage from the circular flow of income.

Injections of investment, government spending and exports help offset leakages from saving, imports and taxes. An injection is an addition of spending to the circular flow of income.






Measuring the Macro Economy

The Gross Domestic Product equals the total market value of all final goods and services produced in the economy in a given period of time, usually one year. A larger GDP means that we have more goods and services to satisfy our unlimited wants and needs. The four sectors of the economy buy ALL current economic production and those aggregated sectors give us GDP. 


The four sectors and their expenditures:

  1. Household: Consumption (C).

  2. Business: Investment (I).

  3. Government: Government Expenditures (G).

  4. Foreign: Net Exports (X), the difference between exports and imports


Expenditures on GDP:          GDP = C + I + G + X

o   C, I and G buy not just domestic goods and services, but also imports.

o   When we aggregate C, I, G and X we have domestic production plus net exports. To measure only domestic production, we subtract imports.

Economic Goals:

o   Full employment: using all available resources for production

o   Stability: avoiding inflation and/or fluctuations in the economy

o   Growth: lessening the problem of scarcity by increasing production capabilities … an outward shift in the PPC






Business Cycles

The macro economy is unstable. It has periods of falling production, rising inflation and/or high unemployment.

Business cycles are recurring expansions and contractions of the aggregate economy.

o   Expansion is a general period of increasing economic activity, or rising production, which is associated with low or falling unemployment and high or rising inflation.

o   Contraction is a general period of decreasing economic activity, or falling production, which is associated with high or rising unemployment and low or falling inflation.


Causes of Instability

  1. Consumption: If households decide to buy more or less, the rest of the economy follows suit. Aggregate demand (see below) is the prime source of economic instability.

  2. Capital Investment: Big swings in investment levels can create upward or downward spirals of total production.

  3. Government Purchases and Taxes: Government purchases can have a contractionary or an expansionary effect over the economy. Taxes affect the ability of the household and business sectors to buy production.

  4. Net Exports: Changes in exports can trigger expansions and contractions of the domestic economy.

  5. Circulating Money: Too much money can trigger an inflationary expansion, too little money can trigger contraction and unemployment.

  6. Resource Supply Considerations: Resource supply changes (energy prices, technology, wages, etc.) can trigger expansions and contractions.







AD/AS Analysis

The aggregate market (AD/AS analysis) is the key model used to explain and analyze the workings of the macro economy. The aggregate market operates through:

o   aggregate demand (expenditure)

o   aggregate supply (production)

o   price level

Aggregate Demand

Aggregate demand is the total quantity of output demanded at alternative price levels in a given time period, ceteris paribus.

It refers to the collective behavior of all buyers in the marketplace.

  1. Household consumption on final goods and services (66% of total spending)

    1. Nondurable goods lasting less than a year

    2. Durable goods lasting more than a year

    3. Services / Intangible activities

  2. Business investment in final goods and services, mainly capital goods … most volatile of the four expenditures

    1. Fixed structures: buildings, factories, housing

    2. Equipment: machinery and tools

    3. Inventories: raw materials and unsold goods

  3. Government purchases of final goods and services produced by the economy … does not include transfer payments

  4. Foreign net exports: exports (purchases of domestic production by everyone who is not a citizen of the domestic economy) minus imports (purchases of foreign production by the domestic economy)

 Aggregate demand shows the relationship between total expenditures (measured as real GDP) and the price level (measured as the GDP price deflator) — How much will be purchased at various price levels?

The aggregate demand curve shows the aggregate demand for various price levels. The AD curve has a negative slope — from top left to bottom right — because sectors are inclined to increase their aggregate spending if the price level decreases and decrease spending if the price level increases.

Negative slope due to:

    real-balance effect: a change in price level changes aggregate expenditures on real production because the purchasing power of money changes

    interest-rate effect: a higher price level leads to a higher interest rate which increases the cost of borrowing and discourages investment and consumption … and vice versa

    net-export effect: an increase in the US price level discourages foreign buyers from buying US goods, and encourages US buyers to buy relatively cheaper foreign goods … and vice versa


Aggregate Supply

Aggregate supply is the total quantity of output producers are willing and able to supply at alternative price levels in a given time period, ceteris paribus.

  1. Labor: the people who work

  2. Capital: tools and equipment used by producers

  3. Land: raw materials used in production

  4. Entrepreneurship: those who assume the risk of production

The aggregate supply curve shows the relation between total real production (measured as real GDP) and the price level (measured as the GDP price deflator) — How much will be produced at various price levels?

We study aggregate supply over two time periods: the short run and the long run. How the price level affects real production depends on the difference between the short run and long run.

  1. Long run

    1. period in which all prices are flexible so that that all markets (product, resource, financial) are in equilibrium

    2. prices rise to eliminate market shortages and fall to eliminate market surpluses, resulting in equilibrium

    3. price level does not affect the aggregate supply of real production

    4. the LRAS curve is a straight, vertical line ... equilibrium with all resources fully employed

  2. Short run

    1. period in which some prices are flexible and some are rigid

    2. rigid prices prevent markets (especially resource and labor) from eliminating surpluses and reaching equilibrium, e.g. unemployment

    3. the price level does affect the aggregate supply of production

    4. the SRAS curve is a positively-sloped line ... higher price levels correspond to higher levels of real production


Aggregate Market

The aggregate market (AD/AS analysis) combines aggregate demand and aggregate supply as a way of understanding the macro economy, especially the problems of inflation and unemployment.

o   The aggregate demand force is the four sectors who want GDP at the lowest price level possible.

o   The aggregate supply force is the scarce resources who want to sell GDP at the highest prices possible.

o   Equilibrium in the aggregate market occurs when the forces of aggregate demand and aggregate supply are balanced.

o   A market is in equilibrium when buyers and sellers come upon a price that generates the same quantity demanded and quantity supplied.

o   Long-run equilibrium: All three aggregate markets (product, resource, financial) achieve equilibrium simultaneously.

o   Short-run equilibrium: Price and wage rigidity prevent equilibrium in the resource markets, even though the product and financial markets are in equilibrium.


Classical Theory

Prices and wages are flexible.

The economy “self-adjusts” to deviations from its long-term growth trend.

Say’s Law: supply creates its own demand

Unsold goods and unemployed labor disappear as soon as people have time to adjust prices and wages.

Keynesian Theory

A market-driven economy is inherently unstable and requires government intervention.

Changes in aggregate demand (or aggregate expenditures) especially investment expenditures are the primary source of business-cycle instability and the most important cause of recessions.

Effective Demand: the principle that consumption expenditures are based on the disposable income (personal income after personal taxes) actually available to the household sector rather than income that would be available at full employment. (consumption function)

Variables in addition to the interest rate influence saving and investment: household saving is based on household income and business investment is based on the expected profitability of production. (investment function)

Prices are inflexible or rigid, especially in the downward direction. and can prevent markets from achieving equilibrium.

Markets, especially resource markets, do not automatically achieve equilibrium, meaning full employment is not guaranteed.

Persistent unemployment problems are caused by a lack of aggregate demand.

Full employment is maintained through government intervention, especially fiscal policy changes in government purchases.

Discretionary government policies, especially fiscal policy, are the primary means of stabilizing business cycles.

AE = C + I + G + X


Household Sector

consumption function: the relationship between planned consumption and various levels of disposable income

autonomous consumption: Household consumption expenditures that are unrelated to and unaffected by the level of income … minimum level of consumption the household sector undertakes if income falls to zero

induced consumption: consumption expenditures that are based on the level of disposable income

marginal propensity to consume: only a portion of additional income is used for consumption … MPC is the proportion of each additional dollar of household income that is used for consumption expenditures, what the household section does with additional income … MPC = ∆ consumption / ∆ disposable income (MPC + MPS = 1)

saving function: the difference between income and consumption

dissaving: negative saving that occurs during a given period of time in which consumption expenditures exceed income … only possible by spending past or future income on current consumption, using income saved from previous periods or borrowing income to be earned in future periods

induced saving: saving based on the level of disposable income

marginal propensity to save: only a portion of additional income is used for saving … MPS is the proportion of each additional dollar of household income that is used for saving, what the household section does with additional income … MPS = ∆ saving / ∆ disposable income (MPC + MPS = 1)

multiplier: A measure of the interaction between consumption, production, resource payments and income that magnifies autonomous changes in investment, government spending, exports, taxes or etc. Relatively small changes in autonomous expenditures cause relatively large overall changes in aggregate production and income.

MPC + MPS = 1

Multiplier = 1 / (1—MPC)      OR      1 / MPS

Multiplier X ∆ autonomous spending (consumption) = ∆ equilibrium GDP


Business Sector

investment function: the relationship between planned investment (expenditures on (production of) new plant, equipment, and structures (capital) in a given time period, plus changes in business inventories) and various levels of interest rates. An increase in investment spending shifts the aggregate demand curve to the right.

autonomous investment: changes in investment expenditures by the business sector that are unrelated to income … influenced by factors such as interest rates, technology, expectations and wealth

marginal propensity to invest: indicates the extent to which investment expenditures are induced by changes in income or production. If, for example, the MPI is 01, then each dollar of extra income in the economy induces 10 cents of investment expenditures … MPI = ∆ investment / ∆ disposable income


Government Sector

Discretionary Fiscal Policy: The discretionary changing of government expenditures and/or taxes in order to achieve national economic goals, such as high employment with price stability. If consumption and investment spending decline, the subsequent decline in state-local government spending aggravates the leftward shift of the AD curve.

A fiscal stimulus is tax cuts or spending hikes intended to increase (shift) aggregate demand.

Fiscal restraint is using tax hikes or spending cuts intended to reduce (shift) aggregate demand.


Indirect Crowding Out

The Ricardian Equivalence Theorem

Direct Expenditure Offsets

The Supply-Side Effects of Changes in Taxes

Time Lags


Foreign Sector

The principal role played by the foreign sector in the circular flow is two-fold: (1) to add to the supply of output flowing into the product markets that can be purchased by the three domestic sectors (imports) and (2) to purchase part of the output supplied to the product markets by the domestic economy (exports). If exports exceed imports, then the overall flow increases. If imports exceed exports, then the overall flow decreases. Net exports can be both uncertain and unstable, creating further shifts of aggregate demand.







Labor demand and labor supply are brought into equilibrium by the real wage. As a result there is no involuntary unemployment.

Workers and firms bargain for a money wage, not for a real wage. Money wages adjust slowly and workers resist any drop in the money wage.

While not putting forward his own theory of the labor market, Friedman argues that people do tend to think in "real" terms and not in nominal amounts.


Saving and Investment are brought into equilibrium by the interest rate.

Investment responds to the interest rate.

The interest rate is simply set by the interaction between saving and investment, in a loanable funds market.

Money demand is simply a transactions demand. In general, money has no effect on the real economy. Raising the money supply simply pushes up prices.

Saving and investment are brought into equilibrium by changes in income.

Investment is unstable because it is strongly influenced by expectations of the future, which is uncertain.

The interest rate is set by movements in and out of financial assets -- by decisions of wealth-holders of what form to hold their wealth in. It is thus unstable.

Money demand is affected by transactions, but also by other things, in particular fear, which may lead to a "speculative demand" for high money balances.

Money demand is mainly a transactions demand -- a stable function of income. There are other assets besides money and bonds that people can hold including some consumer goods, so speculative demand for money is unimportant.

A consequence of this is that any increase in the money supply spills over directly into increased purchases (consumption), which it will not do in Keynes' system in which consumption depends only on income.

Hence we get Classical result that inflation is caused by too much money.


Stable at full employment.

May be stable at many different levels, including levels with substantial unemployment. Government spending may raise output.

In the long run, tends toward full employment. May diverge in the short run, but (a) this is short-lived and (b) divergence is likely to be the fault of government.

Way of

Quantities adjust smoothly and rapidly to prices. This can be seen above in the adjustment of the labor market to the wage and the loanable funds market to the interest rate.

A modern economy in which production takes time, large capital expenditures are made on the flimsiest of guesses about the future, and in which the financial system permits rapid trading of financial assets, works differently from the economy envisioned by the Classicals. In this world quantities adjust to other quantities.

Strong faith in the ability of the private sector to produce growth and stability if it is not constrained by government.

and other

Laissez-faire: No government role.

Keynes argued that a government role was needed to preserve capitalism because without management, a modern capitalist economy is so unstable that it may threaten the social compact that it rests on. (See Dillard -- people's willingness to tolerate large disparities in wealth.)

Friedman is a libertarian, opposed to government interference on principle. He is both more optimistic than Keynes about the inherent stability of capitalism, and much more suspicious of the state.  He argues that government, even if well-intentioned, bungles intervention.


Late 1700s to 1920s

1930s-1960s (Depression plus apparent success of government intervention)

Late 1970s-Early 1980s (High inflation)






Money, Banking and Growth


The chart below shows those variables that have an impact on economic growth

and (to a limited extent) the relationship between growth and each.

growth in the level of national income

(economic growth tends to follow a cyclical pattern)


as labor and capital increase productivity, economic growth increases


population growth rate can’t overwhelm economic growth rate

Economic Freedom

the higher the level of economic freedom, the higher the level of economic growth

Political Freedom

positive relationship between political freedom and economic growth but not sure what

Capital Goods

capital is necessary for economic growth

Private International Financing

private markets used to direct capital goods to their best uses

International Institutions

can encourage or discourage economic growth



Functions of Money

Demand for Money

1.  medium of exchange

1.  transaction demand

2.  unit of accounting

2.  precautionary demand

3.  store of value or purchasing power

3.  asset demand

4.  standard of deferred payment



Liquidity: the ease with which assets can be turned into cash.

The most liquid asset is cash. Money can be kept in all sorts of different forms. Cash is universally accepted as a means of spending and so is the most liquid form of money. You may also chose to keep your money in an investment account and you may have to give, say, three months notice to withdraw it. You still have money but it is much less liquid than cash. We can show the liquidity of money as a spectrum - a range of different types.



Defining the Money Supply







The Federal Reserve System

The Fed is the most important regulatory agency in our entire monetary system and is considered the monetary authority.THE FEDERAL RESERVE STRUCTURE


Functions of the Federal Reserve System

  1. Supplies the economy with fiduciary currency

  2. Provides a system for check collection and clearing

  3. Holds depository institutions’ reserves

  4. Acts as the government’s fiscal agent

  5. Supervises depository institutions

  6. Acts as a lender of last resort

  7. Regulates the money supply

  8. Intervenes in foreign currency markets

Remember dealing with aggregate consumption, production and / or investment?

Government influences the economy with fiscal policy: Keynesian

The Fed influences the economy with monetary policy: Monetarism


The Fed's Tools

Open market operations

Buying and selling US Treasury securities by the Federal Open Market Committee to control the money supply.

When the Fed buys securities there is an increase in the money supply.

When the Fed sells securities there is a decrease in the money supply.

    Changes in the discount rate

The interest rate the Fed charges for loans to commercial banks.

Lowering the discount rate increases the money supply.

Raising the discount rate decreases the money supply.

    Changes in the reserve requirement

Reserves that banks must keep to back up their deposits.

Reserve requirements are the portion of deposits that banks may not lend and have to keep either on hand or on deposit at a Fed Bank.THE PHILLIPS CURVE


The Phillips Curve

Shows the relationship between the unemployment rate and inflation.


Key Formulas in Macroeconomics

I'm partial to the first list but all of the lists below are good.

Key Formulas in Macroeconomics

Key Formulas for Macroeconomics

Main Macroeconomics Formulas






Copyright 1996 Amy S Glenn
Last updated:   02/15/2021   1800

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