2 Macroeconomics LESSON 2

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1 2 Macroeconomics LESSON 2 Macroeconomic Goals and GDP Introduction and Description The goals of U.S. macroeconomic policy makers are captured in two laws: the Employment Act of 1946 and the Full Employment and Balanced Growth Act of 1978 (Humphrey-Hawkins Act). The 1946 law committed the federal government to maximize employment and economic growth, and maintain a stable price level. The 1978 law went further and committed the government to reach an unemployment rate of 4 percent, to stabilize the price level with a target inflation rate of zero percent and to maintain steady economic growth. In this lesson the students should learn the components of gross domestic product and how we measure the economy to see if we are meeting macroeconomic policy goals. This lesson continues an emphasis on definitions and describes the limitations of the measures of macroeconomic activity. In Activity 11, the students practice calculating the unemployment rate, the labor force participation rate, a price index and the short-run change in output. Activity 12 helps the students determine what is included in gross domestic product (GDP) and what is included in government spending, household spending and business spending. It also asks them to explain the basic reasoning for inclusion or exclusion of economic activity in GDP. Objectives 1. Describe the economic goals of U.S. society. 2. Define full employment, inflation and economic growth. 3. Explain the methods of measuring macroeconomic goals. 4. Describe the construction of a price index. 5. Explain the difference between real GDP and nominal GDP. 6. Explain the importance of GDP as a measure of economic activity. Time Required One class period or 45 minutes Materials 1. Activities 11 and Visual 2.4 Procedure 1. Project Visual 2.4. Discuss each goal and why it is important. Discuss the variables used to evaluate the performance of the U.S. economy at different times. In general, the goals conflict, and society is faced with trade-offs among the goals. If the students understand the goals and validity of the measurement of economic variables, it will help them understand the implications of the trade-offs among goals. 2. Have the students read the Activity 11 overview and discuss macroeconomic policy goals. Stress that the unemployment rate is a broad measure of economic activity. However, if policy makers are going to create and implement programs to help the unemployed, they need to know more about the unemployed: skill level, ethnic and racial groups, and age groups. Have the students complete Part A and review the answers. 3. Have the students complete Activity 11 and review the answers. Here are the critical issues: (A) The CPI measures the price level; and from this, the inflation rate can be calculated. (B) The CPI is only one of several price level measures. (C) There is discussion about how well the CPI measures the inflation that most people experience. The CPI includes items that people don t buy every year: house, car, etc. Thus, the CPI may overstate the actual change in the cost of living. Advanced Placement Economics Teacher Resource Manual National Council on Economic Education, New York, N.Y. 397

2 2 Macroeconomics LESSON 2 (D) The growth rate in real GDP is a better measure of the change in the macroeconomic conditions than the growth rate of nominal GDP because nominal GDP includes the effects of inflation. The growth rate in real GDP per capita captures a measure of changes in the standard of living. 4. The students should understand the difference between fluctuations in output (short-run economic growth) and long-run economic growth. Fluctuations in output are measured by the changes in real gross domestic product from quarter to quarter or year to year. In general, fluctuations in output are caused by greater or lesser utilization of the existing capital stock and technology. So we are actually measuring changes in real output because of more or less labor applied to the existing level of technology and plant and equipment. Long-run economic growth refers to changes in the productive capability of the economy through changes in the amount of plant and equipment and technology. Economists use the term economic growth to refer to long-run economic growth and fluctuations in real output to refer to the short-run phenomenon. However, the media frequently refer to short-run changes in output as economic growth. The Advanced Placement Examination uses the term economic growth to refer to the long-run changes in the economy s ability to produce. 5. Have the students read in their text about GDP and national income accounting, then complete Activity 12 for homework. 6. Review Activity 12 to ensure the students understand that only final goods and services are included in GDP, that only market activities are included and that financial transactions are not included. The students must understand the identity GDP = C + I + G + NX and what types of expenditures are included in each component. This is the point of Part B of Activity Review the answers to Activity 12 with the students. 398 Advanced Placement Economics Teacher Resource Manual National Council on Economic Education, New York, N.Y.

3 2 Macroeconomics LESSON 2 ACTIVITY 11 Answer Measuring Broad Economic Goals Part A Measuring Employment The unemployment rate (UR) is defined as number of unemployed UR = x 100 labor force The labor force participation rate (LFPR) is defined as: number in labor force LFPR = x 100 adult population How well has the U.S. economy met the goal of full employment? Use the formulas just given to fill in the last three columns of Figure All of the population and labor-force data are in millions. Figure 11.1 Civilian Employment 1960 to 2000 Civilian Noninstitutional Population Labor Force Aged 16 Civilian Labor Forceeei Unemployment Participation Year and Over Employed Unemployed Total Rate Rate % 60% % 61% % 64% % 66% % 67% 1. In which year was the economy very close to full employment as indicated in the Humphrey- Hawkins Act? The unemployment rate was the lowest in that year. 2. Why has the labor force participation rate increased since the 1960s? More women and retirees have entered or re-entered the labor force. 3. Do the data on the national unemployment rate in Figure 11.1 reflect the extent of unemployment among a particular group in our society, such as teenagers aged 16 to 19? Explain. No, the data are too aggregated. The data do not provide information for different demographic groups. Advanced Placement Economics Teacher Resource Manual National Council on Economic Education, New York, N.Y. 399

4 2 Macroeconomics LESSON 2 ACTIVITY 11 Answer Part B Measuring Price Changes change in CPI Price change = x 100 beginning CPI Here s the calculation for the example above: Price change = x 100 = 10% 150 Fill in the blanks in Figure 11.2, and then use the data to answer the questions. Figure 11.2 Prices of Three Goods Compared with Base-Year Price Quantity Unit Unit Unit Bought in Price in Spending in Price in Spending Price in Spending Base Year Base Year Base Year Year 1 in Year 1 Year 2 in Year 2 Whole pizza 30 $5.00 $150 $7.00 $210 $9.00 $270 Prerecorded audio cassette $ $ $160 Six-pack of soda $ $ $150 Total $480 $530 $ What is the total cost of buying all the items in Year 2? $ What is the CPI for Year 2? [(580 / 480) x 100] 6. What is the percentage increase in prices from the base year to Year 2? 20.8% 7. In August 2000 the CPI was 172.8, and in August 2001 the CPI was What was the percentage change in prices for this 12-month period? 2.7% 400 Advanced Placement Economics Teacher Resource Manual National Council on Economic Education, New York, N.Y.

5 2 Macroeconomics LESSON 2 ACTIVITY 11 Answer Part C Measuring Short-Run Economic Growth Figure 11.3 Nominal and Real GDP Nominal GDP Price Index Population Year 3 $5, Year 4 $6, What is the real GDP in Year 3? $4,000 [(100 x $5,000) / 125] 9. What is the real GDP in Year 4? $4,400 [(100 x $6,600) / 150] 10. What is the real GDP per capita in Year 3? $364 ($4,000 / 11) 11. What is the real GDP per capita in Year 4? $367 ($4,400 / 12) 12. What is the rate of real output growth between Years 3 and 4? 10% [(4,400 4,000) / 4,000] x What is the rate of real output growth per capita between Years 3 and 4? (Hint: Use per-capita data in the output growth rate formula.) 0.82% [( ) / 364] x 100 Advanced Placement Economics Teacher Resource Manual National Council on Economic Education, New York, N.Y. 401

6 2 Macroeconomics LESSON 2 ACTIVITY 12 Answer All About GDP Part A Is This Counted as Part of GDP? Which of the following are included and which are excluded in calculating GDP? Explain your decisions. 1. A monthly check received by an economics student who has been granted a government scholarship Excluded: transfer payment from government to an individual 2. A farmer s purchase of a new tractor Included: business fixed investment 3. A plumber s purchase of a two-year-old used truck Excluded: Truck was not produced in current year. 4. Cashing a U.S. government bond Excluded: Bond is a financial asset. 5. The services of a mechanic in fixing the radiator on his own car Excluded: This is a nonmarket activity. 6. A Social Security check from the government to a retired store clerk Excluded: transfer payment from government to an individual 7. An increase in business inventories Included: Inventory is an investment. 8. The government s purchase of a new submarine for the Navy Included: government purchase of a good 9. A barber s income from cutting hair Included: income from services provided 10. Income received from the sale of Nike stock Excluded: Stock is a financial asset. 402 Advanced Placement Economics Teacher Resource Manual National Council on Economic Education, New York, N.Y.

7 2 Macroeconomics LESSON 2 ACTIVITY 12 Answer Part B GDP: Is It Counted and Where? For each of the following items, write one of the following in the space provided: C if the item is counted as consumption spending. I if the item is counted as investment spending. G if the item is counted as government spending. NX if the item is counted as net exports. NC if the item is not counted in GDP. C I C 11. You spend $7.00 to attend a movie. 12. A family pays a contractor $100,000 for a house he built for them this year. 13. A family pays $75,000 for a house built three years ago. 14. An accountant pays a tailor $175 to sew a suit for her. G 15. The government increases its defense expenditures by $1,000,000,000. I I C I NX C 16. The government makes a $300 Social Security payment to a retired person. 17. You buy General Motors Corp. stock for $1,000 in the stock market. 18. At the end of a year, a flour-milling firm finds that its inventories of grain and flour are $10,000 above the amounts of its inventories at the beginning of the year. 19. A homemaker works hard caring for her spouse and two children. 20. Ford Motor Co. buys new auto-making robots. 21. You pay $300 a month to rent an apartment. 22. Apple Computer Co. builds a new factory in the United States. 23. R.J. Reynolds Co. buys control of Nabisco. 24. You buy a new Toyota that was made in Japan. 25. You pay tuition to attend college. Advanced Placement Economics Teacher Resource Manual National Council on Economic Education, New York, N.Y. 403

8 2 Macroeconomics LESSON 2 ACTIVITY 12 Answer Part C Why Are Items Counted or Not Counted in GDP? 26. We count only the final retail price of a new good or service in GDP. Why? To avoid double counting 27. A purely financial transaction will not be counted in GDP. Why? A financial transaction does not involve production of a good or service. It is a transfer of assets. 28. When a homeowner does home-improvement work, the value of the labor is not counted in GDP. Why? The labor does not involve a market transaction, and it is difficult to compute the value. 404 Advanced Placement Economics Teacher Resource Manual National Council on Economic Education, New York, N.Y.

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