Chapter 1 SOLUTIONS TO TEXT PROBLEMS: Quick Quizzes 1. The four principles of economic decisionmaking are: (1) people face tradeoffs; (2) the cost of something is what you give up to get it; (3) rational people think at the margin; and (4) people respond to incentives. People face tradeoffs because to get one thing that they like, they usually have to give up another thing that they like. The cost of something is what you give up to get it, not just in terms of monetary costs but all opportunity costs. Rational people think at the margin by taking an action if and only if the marginal benefits exceed the marginal costs. People respond to incentives because as they compare benefits to costs, a change in incentives may cause their behavior to change.
2. The three principles concerning economic interactions are: (1) trade can make everyone better off; (2) markets are usually a good way to organize economic activity; and (3) governments can sometimes improve market outcomes. Trade can make everyone better off because it allows countries to specialize in what they do best and to enjoy a wider variety of goods and services. Markets are usually a good way to organize economic activity because the invisible hand leads markets to desirable outcomes. Governments can sometimes improve market outcomes because sometimes markets fail to allocate resources efficiently because of an externality or market power.
3. The three principles that describe how the economy as a whole works are: (1) a country’s standard of living depends on its ability to produce goods and services; (2) prices rise when the government prints too much money; and (3) society faces a short-run tradeoff between inflation and unemployment. A country’s standard of living depends on its ability to produce goods and services, which in turn depends on its productivity, which is a function of the education of workers and the access workers have to the necessary tools and technology. Prices rise when the government prints too much money because more money in circulation reduces the value of money, causing inflation. Society faces a short-run tradeoff between inflation and unemployment that is only temporary and policymakers have some ability to exploit this relationship using various policy instruments.