The goal of economics is to make sense of the economy. Applied Intermediate Macroeconomics keeps that goal constantly in mind. It teaches macro economics as a tool of factual and interpretive understanding of the economy. It differs from most intermediate macroeconomics textbooks in its focus on applications to real-world data. The object is to prepare students to use economic theory and data to illuminate the information and policy debates that constantly bombard us in newspapers, on television and radio, and online. The strategy of the book is always to illustrate economic theory with data and detailed worked examples and to present the student with problems that involve the analysis and interpretation of actual data.
This strategy presupposes some facility with data manipulation and some familiarity with rudimentary statistics, such as constructing graphs, calculating growth rates, and taking means. The necessary level of statistical prowess is roughly things one can easily do with data using Microsoft's Excel or a similar spreadsheet without any special statistical add-ons. The text assumes a basic competence with Excel or another spreadsheet, and it gives frequent hints about particular applications. Most students will already have the necessary skills. But those who do not need to get quickly up to speed. The website www.appliedmacroeconomics.com, which is a resource for this book, contains some guidance on getting started with Excel.