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INTRODUCERE ÎN ECONOMIE

"Mini" studii de caz
În continuare, sunt prezentate 5 "mini" studii de caz, care conţin diverse subiecte din
domeniul economic. Studenţii vor alege două dintre textele următoare şi vor întocmi câte un
scurt eseu în limba română (maximum o pagină) pentru fiecare. În elaborarea eseului se vor
urmări câteva idei principale, respectiv:




categoriile economice abordate;
problema tratată în text;
importanţa subiectului în economia contemporană;
opinia personală a studentului privind tema prezentată în text;
concluzii.

La finalul fiecărui studiu veţi regăsi o întrebare, pentru care trebuie să elaboraţi un răspuns.
OBSERVAŢIE: pentru a elabora eseul în condiţii optime şi pentru a avea o imagine mai
clară privind subiectul ales, se vor parcurge în prealabil noţiunile teoretice aferente, pe care le
puteţi regăsi în suportul de curs.
Sursa textelor: Campbell R. McConnell & Stanley L. Brue, Economics. Principles,
Problems, and Policies, Seventeenth Edition, McGraw-Hill/Irwin, 2008, p. 9, 135, 233, 299,
309.

1. Opportunity costs
Opportunity costs come into play in decisions well beyond simple buying decisions. Consider
the different choices people make with respect to college. College graduates usually earn
about 50 percent more during their lifetimes than persons with just high school diplomas. For
most capable students, “Go to college, stay in college, and earn a degree” is very sound
advice.
Yet, Microsoft cofounder Bill Gates and talk show host Oprah Winfrey (she eventually went
back to school and earned a degree from Tennessee State University when she was in her
thirties) both dropped out of college, and baseball star Alex Rodriguez never even bothered to
start classes.
What were they thinking? Unlike most students, Gates faced enormous opportunity costs for
staying in college. He had a vision for his company, and his starting work young helped
ensure Microsoft’s success. Similarly, Winfrey landed a spot in local television news when
she was a teenager, eventually producing and starring in the Oprah Winfrey Show when she
was 32 years old. Getting a degree in her twenties might have interrupted the string of
successes and made her famous talk show possible. And Rodriguez knew that professional
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So Gates. The direction of future employment policies is unclear. Those numbers compare very unfavorably with the 5. the unemployment rates are roughly twice those in the United States. measurement concepts. and weakened incentives for people to take available jobs. Unemployment rate in Europe Several European economies have had exceptionally high unemployment rates recently. Winfrey and Rodriguez make bad choices? Explain the answer! 2.to 24-year-olds in France was 20 percent in 2005 (compared to 8. led to high job turnover. For example. but European economists generally point to government policies and union contracts that have increased the business costs of hiring workers and have reduced the individual cost of being unemployed. Examples: high legal minimum wages have discouraged employers from hiring low-skilled workers. the unemployment rate for 20. Unemployment rates are particularly high for European youth.8 percent. Furthermore. the high European unemployment rates do not appear to be cyclical. Even during business cycle peaks. Italy. Why is the unemployment rate in Europe so high? 2 .athletes have short careers. Did Gates. 9. going to college directly after high school would have taken away 4 years of his peak earning potential. For example.S. 9. in Spain. Therefore. Winfrey and Rodriguez understood opportunity costs and made their choices accordingly. in Germany. Also. and in Italy 7. Paid vacations and holidays of 30 to 40 days per year have boosted the cost of hiring workers. and Spain have met with stiff political resistance-including large rallies and protests. Attempts to make labor market more flexible in France. Short work weeks mandated by government or negotiated by unions have limited the ability of employers to spread their recruitment and training costs over a longer number of hours. high employer costs of pensions and other benefits have discouraged hiring. the percentage unemployment rate in 2005 in France was 9.6 percent. generous welfare benefits and unemployment benefits have encouraged absenteeism.1 percent in the United States that year. Restrictions on firing of workers have made firms leery of adding workers during expansions. but economists do not expect the high rates of unemployment in these nations to decline anytime soon. based on U. The size of opportunity costs greatly matters in making individual decisions. Germany. The causes of high unemployment rates in these countries are complex.7 percent.7 percent.8 percent in the United States).

Your checking account balance that you use to pay your credit card bill is money. You may have to pay an annual fee for the services provided. "Since you are such good customers". If they paid their bill the way we pay our income taxes in America. they allow individuals and businesses to "economize" in the use of money. Rather. you will pay a sizable interest charge on the loan.3. The relation between credit cards and money You may wonder why we have ignored credit cards such as Visa and MasterCard in our discussion of how the money supply is defined. a purchase with a debit card creates a direct "debit" . you bunch your payments once a month. Are credit cards money? Explain why! 4. After all. They would still eat breakfast for free. the credit card is not money (a bank debit card. So now breakfast for the 10 people cost only $80. unlike a purchase with a credit card. fewer checkable deposits in their bank accounts. it is a convenient means of obtaining a short-term loan from the financial institution that issued the card.a subtraction . Tax cuts and supply Suppose that every day 10 people go out for breakfast together. and later you will reimburse the bank. however. the fifth would pay $1.is a part of monetary mass). and if you pay the bank in installments. prior to payment due dates. That is what they decided to do. Credit cards are also help people coordinate the timing of their expenditures with their receipt of income. But what about the other 3 . "I'm going to reduce the cost of your daily meal by $20". that checking account balance is money . and the tenth (the richest) would pay $59 (the total is $100). the eighth would pay $12. a tax cut). Rather than reduce your cash or checking account with each purchase. The 10 people ate breakfast in the restaurant every day and seemed quite happy with the arrangement until the owner threw them a curve (in tax language. the owner said. charging it a transaction fee. is very similar to a check in your check-book. The bill for all 10 comes to $100. it would go something like this: the first 4 people (the poorest) would pay nothing. Although credit cards are not money. the seventh would pay$7. credit cards are a convenient way to buy things and account for about 25% of the dollar value of all transactions in United States. The answer is that a credit card is not money. This group still wanted to pay their bill the way Americans pay their income taxes. the ninth would pay $18. What happens when you purchase an item with a credit card? The bank that issued the card will reimburse the store. So the first four people were unaffected. Credit cards are merely a means of deferring or postponing payment for a short period. the sixth would pay $3. Credit card enable people to held less currency in their billfolds and.from your checking account balance.

and we are not going to put up with it". "I saved only $1 too. What do you think about the fairness of income redistribution resulted from reduced fees? 5. But when it came time to pay the bill. The system exploits the poor!" The nine people angrily confronted the tenth and said.33. But if they subtracted that from the share of the six who were paying the bill. the seventh would pay$5. Today. that's right!" exclaimed the fifth person. "But the tenth man saved $7!". declared the sixth person. Next morning. "Why should he get $7 back when I got only $2.six-the paying customers? How would they divvy up the $20 windfall so that everyone would get their fair share? The six people realized that the $20 divided by six is $3. But once outside the restaurant. It is unfair that he received seven times as much as me". Each of the six people was better off than before and the first four continued to eat free. that number is 59 percent. the labor force and economic growth The substantial rise in the number of women working in the paid workforce in the United States has been one of the major market trends of the past half-century. "That's true!" shouted the seventh person. and the tenth person would pay $52 instead of the original $59 (the total is now $80). the ninth would pay $12. than the fifth and the sixth individuals would end up being paid to eat their breakfast! The restaurant owner suggested that it would be fairer to reduce each person's meal by roughly the same share as their previous portion of the total bill. Women. In 1965. Thus. 4 . the people began to compare their savings. the fifth person would now pay nothing. "We didn't get anything at all. they discovered what was very important. the tenth man did not show up for breakfast. "I only received $1 out of the $20". The wealthy get all the breaks!" "Wait a minute!" yelled the first four people unison. "Yeah. the eighth would pay $9. Critics point out that the tax cuts advocated by the supply-side economists usually provide the greatest tax relief to high-income individuals and households. They were $52 short. so the other nine sat down and ate without him. Morals of this supply-side story: • • The people who pay the highest taxes get the most benefit from a general tax reduction. the sixth would pay $2. Redistributing tax reduction at the expense of those paying the largest amount of taxes may produced unintended consequences. "This is not fair to us. some 40 percent of women worked full-time or part-time in paid jobs.

and more efficiently employed than ever before. antidiscrimination laws and enforcement efforts have reduced barriers that previously discouraged or prevented women from taking traditional male jobs such as business managers. and physicians. So. Also. In summary. what can you say about the relationship between women. wireless communications.Women have greatly increased their productivity in the workplace. conveyor belts. nursing. mostly by becoming better educated and professionally trained. Their increased presence in the labor-force has contributed greatly to U. personal computers. and office work. More recently. and containerized shipping. professors. are fuel-efficient commercial aircraft. integrated microcircuits. Greater access to jobs by women has also been a significant factor in the rising labor-force participation of women. Technological advance has been both rapid and profound. for instance that traditionally have employed many women have expanded rapidly in the past several decades. lawyers. particularly in the areas of computers. photography. Also the population in general has shifted from farms and rural region to urban areas. Gas and diesel engines. Those higher wages have raised the opportunity costs .S. Women have therefore substituted employment in the labor market for more expensive traditional home activities. Thus women who have lived their jobs during their children's early years return to the labor force sooner. More jobs are open to women today than a half-century ago. economic growth. women in the United States are better educated. Furthermore. Rising productivity has increased women's wage rates. where jobs are more abundant and more geographical accessible. Based on these evolutions in the United States. and assembly lines are significant developments of the past. technological advance has exploded. Other fertile areas of recent innovation are medicine and biotechnology. and the Internet. This substitution has been particularly pronounced among married women (single woman have always had high labor-force participation rates). xerography.the forgone wage earnings . but those children are spaced closer together in age. the labor-force and economic growth in Romania? Perhaps some statistics can be useful for you! 5 . Service industries .of staying at home.teaching. changing lifestyles and the widespread availability of birth control have freed up time for greater labor-force participation by women. An increased availability of part-time jobs has also made it easier for women to combine labor market employment with child-rearing and house hold activities. more productive. Women not only have fewer children. too.