AP Economicsmacroeconomics

Unit 1A: Basic Economic Concepts

What better way to begin a study of Macroeconomics then to take a look at the basics? In this unit we will look at the important ideas of scarcity and opportunity costs. This is the introduction on how to think like an economist. In economics we will have to examine all choices from a cost - benefit perspective, "What is there to gain? What has to be given up? And is the cost too high?" To get a good look at this we will examine two important concepts, comparative advantage and trade. We will understand how opportunity costs are important to understand why we trade and why people benefit from trade."

Study Tools

Online Textbook Resources

Unfortunately, due to the age of the textbook, the publisher has removed all online content associated with our textbook. While we will use the book as an important source, the links given therein are no loner functioning. As a result, I will look online for other sources related to the topics in our text. Likewise, I encourage you to let me know of any useful websites that you come across in your studies so that I may add them to the site and share with everyone.


Slideshows are best if viewed in full screen.

The 10 Principles of Economics

Circular Flow Model




Video Link: Learner.org

Each episode is nearly 30 minutes and originally aired on PBS in the 1980s. This series investigates important economic concepts through historic events in American History. In the last 4-5 years, each episode has been updated with an additional, more current event that demonstrates the concept at hand.

Mankiw's "10 Principles of Economics" Part 1

Although we a re currently forgoing the use of Mankiw's textbook, his ideas on the basic principles of economics are still useful. He claims that there are 10 Basic Principles. This first segment focuses on How People Make Decisions.

Mankiw's "10 Principles of Economics" Part 2

Coninuing from the first segment, this second segment focuses on How People Interact.

Mankiw's "10 Principles of Economics" Part 3

Coninuing from the second segment, this third segment focuses on How the Economy Works as A Whole.

Principles of Economics Translated, by the Standup Economist

Now that you spent 40 minutes viewing the 10 Principles of Economics, why not take 5 minutes to step back and laugh at them.

Economics Made Memorable: Trade-Offs and Opportunity Costs, part1: Costs

This basic video introduces the concept of Opportunity Costs and illustrates, albeit, in a very mechanical way, that there are hidden costs to every decision beyond the obvious money costs.

Economics Made Memorable: Trade-Offs and Opportunity Costs, part2: Benefits

The second part of this series demonstrates that benefits are sometimes difficult to determine thereby making it even more difficult to compare them to the costs.

Return to Mocha

This is a fun video from the 1980s (broken into three parts to fit on YouTube). This video illustrates the operations of the three basic economic systems: Command, Traditional, Market. On a deeper level, it also illustrates the concepts of absolute advantage and comparative advantage.

Copyright M. Caggia 2016