像经济学中的大多数定义一样，有许多相互竞争的想法和解释微观经济学术语的方法。作为经济学研究的两个分支之一，对微观经济学及其与其他分支（宏观经济学）的关系的理解至关重要。即便如此，如果学生转向互联网寻求答案，他或她会找到很多方法来解决这个简单的问题，“什么是微观经济学？”以下是一个这样的答案的示例。这个定义没有任何错误，并且存在许多其他权威定义，这些定义仅仅是对相同核心概念的变化。但是，这个定义可能缺少的是强调选择的概念。 “经济学人”经济学词典将微观经济学定义为“个体消费者，消费者群体或企业层面的经济学研究”，指出“微观经济学的普遍关注点是在替代用途之间有效分配稀缺资源，但更具体地说，涉及到通过经济主体的优化行为确定价格，消费者最大化效用和企业最大化利润。“粗略地说，微观经济学处理的是低水平或微观水平的经济决策，而非宏观经济学从宏观层面接近经济学。从这个角度来看，微观经济学有时被认为是研究宏观经济学的起点，因为它需要一种更“自下而上”的方法来分析和理解经济。小企业和个人的微观经济决策主要受成本和收益考虑的驱动。成本可以是财务成本，例如平均固定成本和总可变成本，也可以是机会成本，考虑替代品。然后，微观经济学考虑了个人决策的总和以及影响这些成本 – 收益关系的因素所决定的供需模式。微观经济学研究的核心是分析个人的市场行为，以便更好地理解他们的决策过程以及它如何影响商品和服务的成本。微观经济学难题的这一部分被“经济学人”在“个人消费者，消费者群体或企业”这一短语中的定义所捕获。然而，作为经济学教授和About.com经济学专家，我会采用一种稍微简单的方法来定义微观经济学。事实上，我将从这里开始：“微观经济学是对个人和群体做出的决策的分析，影响这些决策的因素，以及这些决策如何影响他人。”为了理解微观经济学与宏观经济学之间的关系，将这些问题与宏观经济学家可能会提出的问题进行对比，例如“利率的变化如何影响国民储蓄？为了完成这一分析，微观经济学家会考虑类似的问题”考虑到竞争对手使用的策略，“消费者将节省多少？”和“公司应该生产多少？”和“人们为什么同时购买保险和彩票？”About.com的经济学有很多有用的资源。微观经济学：微观经济学资源中心有关于大量微观经济学主题的文章，例如弹性和机会成本。微观经济学提示和技巧为希望获得下一次微观经济学测试或任务的学生提供了许多有用的链接。页面资源微观经济学还包含大量有价值的微观经济学信息。
Like most definitions in economics, there are plenty of competing ideas and ways to explain the term microeconomics. As one of the two branches of the study of economics, an understanding of microeconomics and how it relates to the other branch, macroeconomics, is critical. Even so, should a student turn to the internet for answers, he or she would find a plethora of ways to address the simple question, “what is microeconomics?” Here is a sample of one such answer. There is nothing false about this definition, and there exist many other authoritative definitions that are merely variations upon the same core concepts. But what this definition may be missing is an emphasis on the concept of choice. The Economist’s Dictionary of Economics defines microeconomics as “the study of economics at the level of individual consumers, groups of consumers, or firms” noting that “the general concern of microeconomics is the efficient allocation of scarce resources between alternative uses but more specifically it involves the determination of price through the optimizing behaviour of economic agents, with consumers maximizing utility and firms maximizing profit.” Roughly speaking, microeconomics deals with economic decisions made at a low, or micro, level as opposed to macroeconomics which approaches economics from a macro level. From this standpoint, microeconomics is sometimes considered the starting point for the study macroeconomics as it takes a more “bottom-up” approach to analyzing and understanding the economy. Microeconomic decisions by both small businesses and individuals are mainly motivated by cost and benefit considerations. Costs can be either in terms of financial costs such as average fixed costs and total variable costs or they can be in terms of opportunity costs, which consider alternatives foregone. Microeconomics then considers patterns of supply and demand as dictated by the aggregate of individual decisions and the factors that influence these cost-benefit relationships. At the heart of the study of microeconomics is the analysis of the market behaviors of individuals in order to better understand their decision-making process and how it impacts the cost of goods and services. This piece of the microeconomics puzzle was captured by The Economist’s definition in the phrase “individual consumers, groups of consumers, or firms.” As an economics professor and About.com economics expert, however, I would take a slightly simpler approach to defining microeconomics. In fact, I would begin here: “Microeconomics is the analysis of the decisions made by individuals and groups, the factors that affect those decisions, and how those decisions affect others.” To understand the relationship between microeconomics and macroeconomics, contrast these questions with one that might be asked by a macroeconomists such as, “how does a change in interest rates influence national savings? To accomplish this analysis, microeconomists consider questions like, “what determines how much a consumer will save?” and “how much should a firm produce, given the strategies their competitors are using?” and “why do people buy both insurance and lottery tickets?” Economics at About.com has a number of useful resources on microeconomics: The Microeconomics Resource Center has articles on a great deal of microeconomics topics, such as elasticity and opportunity costs. Microeconomics Tips and Tricks has a number of useful links for students who are looking to ace their next microeconomics test or assignment. The page Resources for Microeconomics also contains a great deal of valuable microeconomics information.