Written in an informal colloquial style, this student-friendly Principles of Economics textbook does not sacrifice intellectual depth in its quest for accessibility. The author's primary concern is to instill "economic sensibility" in the student. Colander emphasizes the intellectual and historical context to which the economic models are applied. The seventh edition has been significantly revised to make it simpler, shorter, more organized and more applicable to the real world.
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Less technical coverage of the macro policy model in Chapter 25. This treatment has been simplified with the emphasis shifted from the technical model to a less-involved policy discussion. In response to reviewer feedback, the macro model is presented as simply as possible. This more conventional framework, using standard terminology, allows for a quicker transition to policy and applications of the AS/AD model. Students will now grasp this core material more quickly.
Microeconomics now precedes Macroeconomics. Colander has made this change in response to the discipline's emphasis on an early understanding of markets. This early microeconomic foundation helps students better understand important macroeconomics issues (unemployment, for instance) within a context that has first examined the impact of individual and household decisions. The ordering of chapters now fits the way most teachers teach. For example, in micro, the supply and demand chapters lead directly to the elasticity chapter. However, the book is flexible and will lend itself to a macroeconomics-first organization.
A new chapter on growth has been added to the fourth edition. Although complete coverage is given to growth, it is placed in a framework that does not diminish the importance of short-run issues to the macroeconomy. The growth chapter immediately precedes the AS/AD chapter.
A new micro chapter (7) presents an early application of supply and demand to policy issues. This chapter discusses taxation and government intervention into markets within a consumer and producer surplus context.
Over 100 pages briefer with 5 fewer chapters and 15 fewer appendixes. This edition gets more in tune with the 'less is more' trend in Economics texts by focusing student attention on central concepts. Many issue-oriented micro policy chapters have been condensed into fewer concept-based chapters. The tightened exposition still maintains Colander's celebrated student-friendly writing style.
New open design is friendlier and less intimidating for the student. A lighter color makes graphs easier to read. Many graphs and tables are annotated with URLs, which these encourage student online research. Internet icons direct readers to text-enhancing content on the Colander web site. Questions that refer students to the web have been added to the end of each chapter. Margin material now provides a running commentary clarifying difficult concepts. Functioning as a 'portable tutor,' the margin now provides clarifications, reminders, ties to the learning objectives, and useful study hints. These new features enhance learning for the reader and provide teaching flexibility for the instructor.
A 'Knowing the Tools' box has been added to most chapters to reinforce the basic tools presented in the text and to help students learn the basics.
Revised chapter on Politics, Surpluses, Deficits, and Debt (now 28) still covers deficits and debt but now examines surpluses, including the role of the Social Security Trust Fund. This coverage is important because the fate of Social Security is now being debated in Congress and is regularly discussed in the media.
Covers recent economic developments such as growth, the Asian financial crisis, technology, the Internet, the Microsoft antitrust suit, and e-commerce.
Colander covers standard economic concepts but does not present them as inflexible rules. Rather, he treats them as tools for making real-world judgments and analyses. Once students understand these tools, they can consider real- world applications, along with their strengths and weaknesses.
While the author provides all the standard economic models, they are not presented as gospel nor in isolation. After the models (tools) are presented, the text discusses how economists actually use these models in policy. It also points out those interpretative problems economists face. Economists are presented as fallible human beings making judgements and analyzing situations using a certain way of thinking. Colander describes that 'economic' way of thinking and discusses both its strengths and weaknesses.
The author's historical perspective and his attempt to open doors to multiple interpretations will be especially interesting to liberal arts students not majoring in economics. The book gives these students a real sense of economics and economic thinking.
Throughout the book, Internet addresses help students update key statistics and teach them to use the Web for research. New Web-based end-of-chapter questions also encourage Internet research.
Writing in conversational English, not 'textbookese,' the author conveys economic sensibility to the reader with passion and humor. Students feel as though David Colander is speaking to them directly as a personal tutor. Students actually enjoy reading this textbook.
David Colander is the Christian A. Johnson Distinguished Professor of Economics at Middlebury College. He has authored, coauthored, or edited over 40 books and over 150 articles on a wide range of economic topics.
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