Why have some countries experienced rapid growth in incomes over the past century while others stay mired in poverty? Why do some countries have high rates of inflation while others maintain stable prices? Why do all countries experience recessions and depressions—recurrent periods of falling incomes and rising unemployment—and how can government policy reduce the frequency and severity of these episodes? Macroeconomics, the study of the economy as a whole, attempts to answer these and many related questions.
To appreciate the importance of macroeconomics, you need only read the newspaper or listen to the news. Every day you can see headlines such as INCOME GROWTH SLOWS, FED MOVES TO COMBAT INFLATION, or STOCKS FALL AMID RECESSION FEARS.Although these macroeconomic events may seem abstract, they touch all of our lives. Business executives forecasting the demand for their products must guess how fast consumers’ incomes will grow. Senior citizens living on fixed incomes wonder how fast prices will rise. Recent college graduates looking for jobs hope that the economy will boom and that firms will be hiring