Macroeconomics is the study of large factors that affect a nation’s aggregate economy. Multiple applications are possible with this study, including government interaction in a free market, changes in gross domestic product, and inflation. Economists in this field generally look to solve questions and problems through a review of these aggregate factors. In some cases, economists may not actually be able to provide answers from studies in macroeconomics. Instead, they simply support one or more hypotheses that allow the researchers to create economic theories.
Free market economies allow individuals to pursue their own self-interests and rely on the market to focus the use of resources. Government interaction in markets can include taxes, regulations, and restrictions on using certain resources or engaging in specific activities. The applications of macroeconomics here may be to determine which government policies help a free market and which do not. Studies on international economies can also help domestic economists discover which portions of a free market may or may not need regulation. Most economies in the world are mixed, with some government interaction in alleged free markets, making this an important macroeconomic application.
Gross domestic product is typically the most important indicator of a country’s economic growth or decline. The classic definition for gross domestic product is market value for all goods produced by a nation, usually within domestic borders. Macroeconomics focuses on which areas provide growth and what other areas may be a drag on the nation’s economy. Applications for this use are typically on a quarterly basis, with the goal to track business cycles. Constant growth means a strong economy, peaked GDP represents a somewhat stagnant economy, and downward trends in GDP indicators can represent a business cycle decline.
Inflation is often another important part of microeconomics applications. Here, economists assess why consumer or wholesale prices are constantly increasing. Growing markets may experience natural inflation as the classic definition for the term is too many dollars chasing too few goods. Too much government interaction or other alterations to a naturally free market can result in inflation, however. Macroeconomics focuses on the source of inflation and what a country can do to impede its growth.
Other important aspects fall under macroeconomics. These include national unemployment, monetary or fiscal policy, price levels, and national income. Economists study all these applications in order to provide data on a country’s economy, often to compare to previous records or international economies.