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“The back story on front page economics.” These accessible essays cover the basics of economic topics, with a separate version for use in the classroom. Special “Focus on Finance” essays cover personal finance.

Posted 2013-11-01

The Global Economy: It's a Small World After All

by Erin A. Yetter

To understand why people trade, suppose you were limited to consuming only items you could find within walking distance of your house. Or, perhaps even worse, only items you could produce yourself. For most of us, this restriction would severely diminish the variety of goods and services we enjoy on a daily basis. Therefore, the simplest answer to the question is that people (or entire countries) trade because they will enjoy a wider variety of goods.

Posted 2013-10-01

Why Scarce Resources Are Sometimes Unemployed

by Erin A. Yetter

The unemployment rate always seems to be in the news, but did you know there are different kinds of unemployment? There is the natural rate of unemployment; cyclical, frictional, and structural unemployment; plus underemployment. Read the October 2013 Page One Economics Newsletter, "Why Scarce Resources Are Sometimes Unemployed," to learn the differences.

Posted 2013-09-01

What Are the "Ingredients" for Economic Growth?

by Scott A. Wolla

Is there a recipe for economic growth? Perhaps some Miracle-Gro for the economy? If only it were that easy. While the exact recipe is a mystery, economists have identified some of the key ingredients. This month's newsletter discusses the role that economic institutions play in fostering long-term economic growth.

Posted 2013-08-01

Making Sense of the Ups and Downs of Prices

by Erin A. Yetter

"Back in my day, a gallon of gas cost a quarter!" Has your grandfather ever said something like this to make a point about how expensive things are now? The price of gasoline indeed used to be much lower. In fact, the price of gasoline has risen from a little over $1 per gallon in 1992 to a little over $3.50 per gallon 20 years later.

Posted 2013-05-01

GDP: Does It Measure Up?

by Scott A. Wolla

How is the total value of all the goods and services produced in a country's economy measured? Gross domestic product (GDP) is one common and fairly comprehensive measure. This month's newsletter explains GDP components and how it is calculated. It also describes what GDP does—”and does not—”measure.

Posted 2013-04-01

Prices: The Marketplace’s Communication System

by Erin A. Yetter

Remember when airlines started charging for checked bags? What happened to the number of checked bags after this added charge? And what happened to the availability of in-cabin storage space on planes? This month's newsletter answers these questions and discusses the pivotal role price plays in a market economy.

Posted 2013-03-01

Money and Inflation: A Functional Relationship

by Scott A. Wolla

They say that "money makes the world go round." Just imagine a world without money as our method of payment for everyday transactions. Without money, we would all need to barter for necessary goods and services. For example, suppose an accountant needs to have her car fixed. Under a barter system, she would have to find someone who needed some tax advice in exchange for car repairs. The search to find a barter partner is time consuming and wasteful. Money solves this problem and many others. Read more about the three main functions of money and the damaging effects of too much inflation on these functions.

Posted 2013-02-01

Investing in Yourself: An Economic Approach to Education Decisions

by Scott A. Wolla

"Human capital" may not be the first thing that comes to mind when we think about investments, but investing in education and training is an important economic decision. Learn about human capital and the return on such an investment in the February 2013 Page One Economics Newsletter—"Investing in Yourself: An Economic Approach to Education Decisions."

Posted 2013-01-01

Choices Are Everywhere: Why Can’t We Just Have It All?

by Scott A. Wolla

As the Rolling Stones song says, "You can't always get what you want." So we make choices. Every day, governments and individuals choose how much money to spend and what to purchase. The January 2013 Page One Economics Newsletter, "Choices Are Everywhere: Why Can't We Just Have It All?" discusses opportunity costs and scarcity and how they effect our spending decisions.

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