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Table of contents
  1. Preface
  2. 1 Welcome to Economics!
    1. Introduction
    2. 1.1 What Is Economics, and Why Is It Important?
    3. 1.2 Microeconomics and Macroeconomics
    4. 1.3 How Economists Use Theories and Models to Understand Economic Issues
    5. 1.4 How To Organize Economies: An Overview of Economic Systems
    6. Key Terms
    7. Key Concepts and Summary
    8. Self-Check Questions
    9. Review Questions
    10. Critical Thinking Questions
  3. 2 Choice in a World of Scarcity
    1. Introduction to Choice in a World of Scarcity
    2. 2.1 How Individuals Make Choices Based on Their Budget Constraint
    3. 2.2 The Production Possibilities Frontier and Social Choices
    4. 2.3 Confronting Objections to the Economic Approach
    5. Key Terms
    6. Key Concepts and Summary
    7. Self-Check Questions
    8. Review Questions
    9. Critical Thinking Questions
    10. Problems
  4. 3 Demand and Supply
    1. Introduction to Demand and Supply
    2. 3.1 Demand, Supply, and Equilibrium in Markets for Goods and Services
    3. 3.2 Shifts in Demand and Supply for Goods and Services
    4. 3.3 Changes in Equilibrium Price and Quantity: The Four-Step Process
    5. 3.4 Price Ceilings and Price Floors
    6. 3.5 Demand, Supply, and Efficiency
    7. Key Terms
    8. Key Concepts and Summary
    9. Self-Check Questions
    10. Review Questions
    11. Critical Thinking Questions
    12. Problems
  5. 4 Labor and Financial Markets
    1. Introduction to Labor and Financial Markets
    2. 4.1 Demand and Supply at Work in Labor Markets
    3. 4.2 Demand and Supply in Financial Markets
    4. 4.3 The Market System as an Efficient Mechanism for Information
    5. Key Terms
    6. Key Concepts and Summary
    7. Self-Check Questions
    8. Review Questions
    9. Critical Thinking Questions
    10. Problems
  6. 5 Elasticity
    1. Introduction to Elasticity
    2. 5.1 Price Elasticity of Demand and Price Elasticity of Supply
    3. 5.2 Polar Cases of Elasticity and Constant Elasticity
    4. 5.3 Elasticity and Pricing
    5. 5.4 Elasticity in Areas Other Than Price
    6. Key Terms
    7. Key Concepts and Summary
    8. Self-Check Questions
    9. Review Questions
    10. Critical Thinking Questions
    11. Problems
  7. 6 The Macroeconomic Perspective
    1. Introduction to the Macroeconomic Perspective
    2. 6.1 Measuring the Size of the Economy: Gross Domestic Product
    3. 6.2 Adjusting Nominal Values to Real Values
    4. 6.3 Tracking Real GDP over Time
    5. 6.4 Comparing GDP among Countries
    6. 6.5 How Well GDP Measures the Well-Being of Society
    7. Key Terms
    8. Key Concepts and Summary
    9. Self-Check Questions
    10. Review Questions
    11. Critical Thinking Questions
    12. Problems
  8. 7 Economic Growth
    1. Introduction to Economic Growth
    2. 7.1 The Relatively Recent Arrival of Economic Growth
    3. 7.2 Labor Productivity and Economic Growth
    4. 7.3 Components of Economic Growth
    5. 7.4 Economic Convergence
    6. Key Terms
    7. Key Concepts and Summary
    8. Self-Check Questions
    9. Review Questions
    10. Critical Thinking Questions
    11. Problems
  9. 8 Unemployment
    1. Introduction to Unemployment
    2. 8.1 How Economists Define and Compute Unemployment Rate
    3. 8.2 Patterns of Unemployment
    4. 8.3 What Causes Changes in Unemployment over the Short Run
    5. 8.4 What Causes Changes in Unemployment over the Long Run
    6. Key Terms
    7. Key Concepts and Summary
    8. Self-Check Questions
    9. Review Questions
    10. Critical Thinking Questions
    11. Problems
  10. 9 Inflation
    1. Introduction to Inflation
    2. 9.1 Tracking Inflation
    3. 9.2 How to Measure Changes in the Cost of Living
    4. 9.3 How the U.S. and Other Countries Experience Inflation
    5. 9.4 The Confusion Over Inflation
    6. 9.5 Indexing and Its Limitations
    7. Key Terms
    8. Key Concepts and Summary
    9. Self-Check Questions
    10. Review Questions
    11. Critical Thinking Questions
    12. Problems
  11. 10 The International Trade and Capital Flows
    1. Introduction to the International Trade and Capital Flows
    2. 10.1 Measuring Trade Balances
    3. 10.2 Trade Balances in Historical and International Context
    4. 10.3 Trade Balances and Flows of Financial Capital
    5. 10.4 The National Saving and Investment Identity
    6. 10.5 The Pros and Cons of Trade Deficits and Surpluses
    7. 10.6 The Difference between Level of Trade and the Trade Balance
    8. Key Terms
    9. Key Concepts and Summary
    10. Self-Check Questions
    11. Review Questions
    12. Critical Thinking Questions
    13. Problems
  12. 11 The Aggregate Demand/Aggregate Supply Model
    1. Introduction to the Aggregate Supply–Aggregate Demand Model
    2. 11.1 Macroeconomic Perspectives on Demand and Supply
    3. 11.2 Building a Model of Aggregate Demand and Aggregate Supply
    4. 11.3 Shifts in Aggregate Supply
    5. 11.4 Shifts in Aggregate Demand
    6. 11.5 How the AD/AS Model Incorporates Growth, Unemployment, and Inflation
    7. 11.6 Keynes’ Law and Say’s Law in the AD/AS Model
    8. Key Terms
    9. Key Concepts and Summary
    10. Self-Check Questions
    11. Review Questions
    12. Critical Thinking Questions
    13. Problems
  13. 12 The Keynesian Perspective
    1. Introduction to the Keynesian Perspective
    2. 12.1 Aggregate Demand in Keynesian Analysis
    3. 12.2 The Building Blocks of Keynesian Analysis
    4. 12.3 The Phillips Curve
    5. 12.4 The Keynesian Perspective on Market Forces
    6. Key Terms
    7. Key Concepts and Summary
    8. Self-Check Questions
    9. Review Questions
    10. Critical Thinking Questions
  14. 13 The Neoclassical Perspective
    1. Introduction to the Neoclassical Perspective
    2. 13.1 The Building Blocks of Neoclassical Analysis
    3. 13.2 The Policy Implications of the Neoclassical Perspective
    4. 13.3 Balancing Keynesian and Neoclassical Models
    5. Key Terms
    6. Key Concepts and Summary
    7. Self-Check Questions
    8. Review Questions
    9. Critical Thinking Questions
    10. Problems
  15. 14 Money and Banking
    1. Introduction to Money and Banking
    2. 14.1 Defining Money by Its Functions
    3. 14.2 Measuring Money: Currency, M1, and M2
    4. 14.3 The Role of Banks
    5. 14.4 How Banks Create Money
    6. Key Terms
    7. Key Concepts and Summary
    8. Self-Check Questions
    9. Review Questions
    10. Critical Thinking Questions
    11. Problems
  16. 15 Monetary Policy and Bank Regulation
    1. Introduction to Monetary Policy and Bank Regulation
    2. 15.1 The Federal Reserve Banking System and Central Banks
    3. 15.2 Bank Regulation
    4. 15.3 How a Central Bank Executes Monetary Policy
    5. 15.4 Monetary Policy and Economic Outcomes
    6. 15.5 Pitfalls for Monetary Policy
    7. Key Terms
    8. Key Concepts and Summary
    9. Self-Check Questions
    10. Review Questions
    11. Critical Thinking Questions
    12. Problems
  17. 16 Exchange Rates and International Capital Flows
    1. Introduction to Exchange Rates and International Capital Flows
    2. 16.1 How the Foreign Exchange Market Works
    3. 16.2 Demand and Supply Shifts in Foreign Exchange Markets
    4. 16.3 Macroeconomic Effects of Exchange Rates
    5. 16.4 Exchange Rate Policies
    6. Key Terms
    7. Key Concepts and Summary
    8. Self-Check Questions
    9. Review Questions
    10. Critical Thinking Questions
    11. Problems
  18. 17 Government Budgets and Fiscal Policy
    1. Introduction to Government Budgets and Fiscal Policy
    2. 17.1 Government Spending
    3. 17.2 Taxation
    4. 17.3 Federal Deficits and the National Debt
    5. 17.4 Using Fiscal Policy to Fight Recession, Unemployment, and Inflation
    6. 17.5 Automatic Stabilizers
    7. 17.6 Practical Problems with Discretionary Fiscal Policy
    8. 17.7 The Question of a Balanced Budget
    9. Key Terms
    10. Key Concepts and Summary
    11. Self-Check Questions
    12. Review Questions
    13. Critical Thinking Questions
    14. Problems
  19. 18 The Impacts of Government Borrowing
    1. Introduction to the Impacts of Government Borrowing
    2. 18.1 How Government Borrowing Affects Investment and the Trade Balance
    3. 18.2 Fiscal Policy and the Trade Balance
    4. 18.3 How Government Borrowing Affects Private Saving
    5. 18.4 Fiscal Policy, Investment, and Economic Growth
    6. Key Terms
    7. Key Concepts and Summary
    8. Self-Check Questions
    9. Review Questions
    10. Critical Thinking Questions
    11. Problems
  20. 19 Macroeconomic Policy Around the World
    1. Introduction to Macroeconomic Policy around the World
    2. 19.1 The Diversity of Countries and Economies across the World
    3. 19.2 Improving Countries’ Standards of Living
    4. 19.3 Causes of Unemployment around the World
    5. 19.4 Causes of Inflation in Various Countries and Regions
    6. 19.5 Balance of Trade Concerns
    7. Key Terms
    8. Key Concepts and Summary
    9. Self-Check Questions
    10. Review Questions
    11. Critical Thinking Questions
    12. Problems
  21. 20 International Trade
    1. Introduction to International Trade
    2. 20.1 Absolute and Comparative Advantage
    3. 20.2 What Happens When a Country Has an Absolute Advantage in All Goods
    4. 20.3 Intra-Industry Trade between Similar Economies
    5. 20.4 The Benefits of Reducing Barriers to International Trade
    6. Key Terms
    7. Key Concepts and Summary
    8. Self-Check Questions
    9. Review Questions
    10. Critical Thinking Questions
    11. Problems
  22. 21 Globalization and Protectionism
    1. Introduction to Globalization and Protectionism
    2. 21.1 Protectionism: An Indirect Subsidy from Consumers to Producers
    3. 21.2 International Trade and Its Effects on Jobs, Wages, and Working Conditions
    4. 21.3 Arguments in Support of Restricting Imports
    5. 21.4 How Governments Enact Trade Policy: Globally, Regionally, and Nationally
    6. 21.5 The Tradeoffs of Trade Policy
    7. Key Terms
    8. Key Concepts and Summary
    9. Self-Check Questions
    10. Review Questions
    11. Critical Thinking Questions
    12. Problems
  23. A | The Use of Mathematics in Principles of Economics
  24. B | The Expenditure-Output Model
  25. Answer Key
    1. Chapter 1
    2. Chapter 2
    3. Chapter 3
    4. Chapter 4
    5. Chapter 5
    6. Chapter 6
    7. Chapter 7
    8. Chapter 8
    9. Chapter 9
    10. Chapter 10
    11. Chapter 11
    12. Chapter 12
    13. Chapter 13
    14. Chapter 14
    15. Chapter 15
    16. Chapter 16
    17. Chapter 17
    18. Chapter 18
    19. Chapter 19
    20. Chapter 20
    21. Chapter 21
  26. References
  27. Index

Welcome to Principles of Macroeconomics 3e (3rd Edition), an OpenStax resource. This textbook was written to increase student access to high-quality learning materials, maintaining highest standards of academic rigor at little to no cost.

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About Principles of Macroeconomics 3e

Principles of Macroeconomics 3e aligns to the topics and objectives of most introductory microeconomics courses. The text uses conversational language and ample illustrations to explore economic theories, and provides a wide array of examples using both fictional and real-world scenarios. The third edition has been carefully and thoroughly updated to reflect current data and understanding, as well as to provide a deeper background in diverse contributors and their impacts on economic thought and analysis.

Coverage and scope

In response to faculty feedback and to ease transition to a new edition, Principles of Macroeconomics 3e retains the organization of the previous editions. The book covers the breadth of economics topics and also provides the necessary depth to ensure the course is manageable for instructors and students alike. We strove to balance theory and application, as well as the amount of calculation and mathematical examples.

The book is organized into seven main parts:

  • What is Economics? The first two chapters introduce students to the study of economics with a focus on making choices in a world of scarce resources.
  • Supply and Demand, Chapters 3 and 4, introduces and explains the first analytical model in economics: supply, demand, and equilibrium, before showing applications in the markets for labor and finance.
  • Elasticity and Price, Chapter 5, introduces and explains elasticity and price, two key concepts in economics.
  • The Macroeconomic Perspective and Goals, Chapters 6 through 10, introduces a number of key concepts in macro: economic growth, unemployment and inflation, and international trade and capital flows.
  • A Framework for Macroeconomic Analysis, Chapters 11 through 13, introduces the principal analytic model in macro, namely the aggregate demand/aggregate supply Model. The model is then applied to the Keynesian and Neoclassical perspectives. The expenditure-output model is fully explained in a stand-alone appendix.
  • Monetary and Fiscal Policy, Chapters 14 through 18, explains the role of money and the banking system, as well as monetary policy and financial regulation. Then the discussion switches to government deficits and fiscal policy.
  • International Economics, Chapters 19 through 21, the final part of the text, introduces the international dimensions of economics, including international trade and protectionism.

Changes to the third edition

The revision process incorporated extensive feedback from faculty who have used the book in their courses. They advised that the third edition changes focus on currency updates, integration of newer perspectives and more diverse contributors, and relevance to students’ lives and careers.

Current data and analysis: The authors have updated dozens of explanations, graphs, and tables containing financial, demographic, employment, and related economic data. The corresponding discussions provide context and interpretations of the data, including descriptions of change over time, cause-and-effect relationships, and balanced analysis of policies and opinions.

Diverse perspectives and contributors: The third edition highlights the research and views of a broader group of economists. These include people from across the spectrum of economic thought, with a particular focus on those who take what are often considered non-traditional views of economic policy and government action. Examples include:

  • Chapter 1: Esther Duflo, Abhijit Banerjee, and Michael Kremer regarding experimental analysis in development economics.
  • Chapter 4: Walter Williams and Thomas Sowell regarding the downsides of minimum wages.
  • Chapter 6: Kate Raworth, regarding concepts for expanding economic measures beyond GDP and similar metrics.
  • Chapter 19: W. Arthur Lewis and the dual sector economy; Dambisa Moyo regarding the benefits and detriments of foreign aid.

Relevance and engagement: In order to show the importance and application of economics in students’ lives and careers, the third edition directly addresses and expands topics likely to connect to various industries, issues, groups, and events. Brief references and deeply explored socio-political examples have been updated to showcase the critical—and sometimes unnoticed—ties between economic developments and topics relevant to students. Examples include education spending, the value of college degrees, discrimination, environmental policies, immigration policies, entrepreneurship and innovation, healthcare and insurance, and general financial literacy. Finally, the COVID-19 pandemic is referenced frequently to demonstrate its deep and evolving impacts on financial data, employment, and other aspects of the economy.

FRED Data and Graphs: As in previous editions, the authors have included and referenced data from the Federal Reserve Economic Data (FRED). In some cases, interactive FRED graphs are embedded directly in the web view of the book; students may magnify and focus on specific time periods, analyze individual data points, and otherwise manipulate the graphs from within the OpenStax reading experience. In others cases (and in the PDF), links to the direct source of the FRED data are provided, and students are encouraged to explore the information and the overall FRED resources more thoroughly. Note that other data sources, such as the Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Census Bureau, and World Bank, usually include links in the captions or credits; instructors and students can also explore those sites for more detailed investigations of the topics at hand.

Updated art

Principles of Macroeconomics 3e includes updated and redesigned art to clarify concepts and provide opportunities for graphical interpretation. Many graphs are shown with accompanying data tables and explanations of the drivers and consequences of change.

This graph illustrates the market for credit card borrowing and lending.  It shows what happens when there is a price ceiling on credit card interest rates, set below the equilibrium credit card interest rate. A shortage of or excess demand for credit card borrowing is illustrated as the horizontal distance between the now higher quantity demanded of credit card borrowing, and the now lower quantity supplied of credit card lending.
The first illustration shows that workforce, human capital, physical capital, and technology produce GDP. The second illustration shows that human capital per person, physical capital per person, and technology per person produce GDP per capital.

Pedagogical foundation

The narrative explanations and analysis presented in Principles of Macroeconomics 3e have been carefully crafted to provide a solid basis in economic concepts, flexibly approach skills and assess understanding, and deepen students’ engagement with the course materials. You will also find features that promote economic inquiry and explorations, including:

  • Bring It Home: These explorations include a brief case study, specific to each chapter, which connects the chapter’s main topic to the real word. It is broken up into two parts: the first at the beginning of the chapter (in the intro module) and the second at chapter’s end, when students have learned what’s necessary to understand the case and “bring home” the chapter’s core concepts.
  • Work It Out: These worked examples progress through an analytical or computational problem, and guide students step by step to find out how its solution is derived.
  • Clear It Up: These boxes are deeper explanations of something in the main body of the text. Each CIU starts with a question. The rest of the feature explains the answer.

Questions for each level of learning

Principles of Macroeconomics 3e offers flexibility in practice and assessment, and provides a range of opportunities to check understanding and encourage deeper thinking and application.

  • Self-Checks are analytical self-assessment questions that appear at the end of each module. They “click to reveal” an answer in the web view so students can check their understanding before moving on to the next module. Self-Check questions are not simple look-up questions. They push the student to think beyond what is said in the text. Self-Check questions are designed for formative (rather than summative) assessment. The questions and answers are explained so that students feel like they are being walked through the problem.
  • Review Questions have been retained from Taylor’s version, and are simple recall questions from the chapter in open-response format (not multiple choice or true/false). The answers can be looked up in the text.
  • Critical Thinking Questions are new higher-level, conceptual questions that ask students to demonstrate their understanding by applying what they have learned in different contexts.
  • Problems are exercises that give students additional practice working with the analytic and computational concepts in the module.

Answers to Questions in the Book

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OpenStax is retiring Principles of Microeconomics and Principles of Macroeconomics for AP textbooks because they are outdated. We recommend that Advanced Placement instructors and students use the college-level textbooks.

About the Authors

Senior contributing authors

David Shapiro, Pennsylvania State University
David Shapiro is Professor Emeritus of Economics, Demography, and Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies at the Pennsylvania State University. He received a BA in economics and political science from the University of Michigan, and an MA as well as a PhD in economics from Princeton University. He began his academic career at Ohio State University in 1971, and moved to Penn State in 1980. His early research focused on women and youth in the United States labor market. Following a 1978-79 stint as a Fulbright professor at the University of Kinshasa in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, his research shifted focus to fertility in Kinshasa and more broadly, in sub-Saharan Africa. He has also received the top prize for teaching at both Ohio State and Penn State.

Daniel MacDonald, California State University, San Bernardino
Professor Daniel MacDonald is the Chair of the Economics Department at California State University, San Bernardino. He earned his BA in mathematics and economics from Seton Hall University in 2007 and his economics PhD from the University of Massachusetts Amherst in 2013. Macdonald conducts economic research in labor economics, public policy (housing), and the economic history of the U.S. Consulting. He is also the author of the weekly Inland Empire Economic Update newsletter, which he started in 2021.

Steven A. Greenlaw, Professor Emeritus at University of Mary Washington
Steven Greenlaw taught principles of economics for 39 years. In 1999, he received the Grellet C. Simpson Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching at the University of Mary Washington. He is the author of Doing Economics: A Guide to Doing and Understanding Economic Research, as well as a variety of articles on economics pedagogy and instructional technology, published in the Journal of Economic Education, the International Review of Economic Education, and other outlets. He wrote the module on Quantitative Writing for Starting Point: Teaching and Learning Economics, the web portal on best practices in teaching economics. Steven Greenlaw lives in Alexandria, Virginia with his wife Kathy. Since retiring from full-time teaching, he has been doing faculty development work and other writing projects.

Contributing authors

Eric Dodge, Hanover College
Cynthia Gamez, University of Texas at El Paso
Andres Jauregui, Columbus State University
Diane Keenan, Cerritos College
Amyaz Moledina, The College of Wooster
Craig Richardson, Winston-Salem State University
Ralph Sonenshine, American University


Bryan Aguiar, Northwest Arkansas Community College
Basil Al Hashimi, Mesa Community College
Emil Berendt, Mount St. Mary's University
Zena Buser, Adams State University
Douglas Campbell, The University of Memphis
Sanjukta Chaudhuri, University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire
Xueyu Cheng, Alabama State University
Robert Cunningham, Alma College
Rosa Lea Danielson, College of DuPage
Steven Deloach, Elon University
Michael Enz, Framingham State University
Debbie Evercloud, University of Colorado Denver
Reza Ghorashi, Stockton University
Robert Gillette, University of Kentucky
Shaomin Huang, Lewis-Clark State College
George Jones, University of Wisconsin-Rock County
Charles Kroncke, College of Mount St. Joseph
Teresa Laughlin, Palomar Community College
Carlos Liard-Muriente, Central Connecticut State University
Heather Luea, Kansas State University
Steven Lugauer, University of Notre Dame
William Mosher, Nashua Community College
Michael Netta, Hudson County Community College
Nick Noble, Miami University
Joe Nowakowski, Muskingum University
Shawn Osell, University of Wisconsin-Superior
Mark Owens, Middle Tennessee State University
Sonia Pereira, Barnard College
Jennifer Platania, Elon University
Robert Rycroft, University of Mary Washington
Adrienne Sachse, Florida State College at Jacksonville
Hans Schumann, Texas A&M University
Gina Shamshak, Goucher College
Chris Warburton, John Jay College of Criminal Justice, CUNY
Mark Witte, Northwestern University

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