For two-semester or one-semester, freshman/sophomore-level courses in Principles of Economics.By emphasizing the five key principles, this text teaches students how to think like economists by showing them how to use economic concepts in their everyday lives and careers. The authors make the material both accessible and motivating for students by using key concepts repeatedly, illustrating them with compelling real-world examples, and giving students lots of practice at "Active Learning;" doing their own economic analysis.
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Preface Our Story
When we set out to write an economics text, we were driven by the vision of the sleeping student. A few years ago, one of the authors was in the middle of a fascinating lecture on monopoly pricing when he heard snoring. It wasn't the first time a student had fallen asleep in one of his classes, but this was the loudest snoring he had ever heard—it sounded like a sputtering chain saw. The instructor turned to Bill, who was sitting next to the sleeping student and asked, "Could you wake him up?" Bill looked at the sleeping student and then gazed theatrically around the room at the other students. He finally looked back at the instructor and said, "Well professor, I think you should wake him up. After all, you put him to sleep."
That experience changed the way we taught economics. It highlighted for us a basic truth—for many students, economics isn't exactly exciting. We took this as a challenge—to get first-time economics students to see the relevance of economics to their lines, their careers, and their futures.
In order to get students to see the relevance of economics we knew that we had to engage them. With the first edition of Economics: Principles and Tools, we helped professors to do that by emphasizing an active learning approach. We engaged students by teaching them how to do something—economic analysis. We kept the book brief, lively, and to the point, and used the five key principles of economics as an organizing theme.
The first edition was a success in classrooms across the country, but it wasn't enough because we knew that we could do even better. Our Mission
Our objective was to make the sequel even better than the original. Although the first edition of the book was successful, we set ourselves a higher standard: to make it better. We knew that students and other instructors would provide the most important help, so we began an extensive review process. We had dozens of professors and students review the first edition, encouraging them to give us lots f constructive criticism. We gave them free rein to tell us what they liked and disked about the book—and asked them to suggest ways to make the text a better teaching instrument. In addition, several focus groups took a critical look at the first edition and suggested ways to improve the book.
Armed with the comments and suggestions from the reviewers, student users, and focus groups, we locked ourselves up in a hotel for 48 hours with the top-notch editorial staff from Prentice Hall. We examined, discussed, debated, and reexamined all of the information we had gathered. The end result was a clearly defined revision plan for the second edition. Our plan carefully incorporated the comments and suggestions of professors and students. After thoroughly revising the manuscript based on this feedback, we sent the revised manuscript for another set of peer reviews. We were pleased that the second round of reviews confirmed our belief that we had achieved our goal of improving an already good book.
At the end of this process, we met our goal: We wrote a better textbook. We are proud to present Economics: Principles And Tools, Second Edition. Over the next few pages, we will show you exactly what we have done to make it better. At the same time, we will point out what made this book such a success in its first edition. Key Improvements
We knew that our text's brevity and student accessibility were strengths, so we made it even more focused and accessible by streamlining chapters. In particular, we made these key changes:
We thoroughly revised the chapter on production cost (now called Production and Cost) to integrate the concepts of production and cost. We use key ideas from production theory to explain the shapes of the firm's short-run and long-run cost curves. The reviewers asked for a more detailed discussion of the link between production and cost, and we delivered.
We reorganized the chapters on different market structures along more traditional lines. In addition, we wrote two applied chapters on market structure: Using Market Power: Price Discrimination and Advertising (Chapter 13) and Controlling Market Power: Antitrust Policy and Deregulation (Chapter 14).
We reorganized the first two chapters on macroeconomics, with Chapter 20 devoted to production and income, and Chapter 21 focusing on unemployment and inflation. Our original version put these two concepts together. Our peer reviewers wanted two separate chapters in order to add depth.
The chapter on supply and demand (Chapter 4) has been reorganized to provide a more thorough and methodical presentation of the basics of supply and demand.
We undertook an unprecedented review of our test bank to ensure accuracy. We hired an outside team of economists, writers, and fact checkers to check and double-check the over 7,000 test questions in both the Microeconomics and Macroeconomics Test Bank manuals. We also had the questions thoroughly reviewed by educational psychologists to evaluate the effectiveness of the format and wording of the questions. The questions were then tested on a group of dedicated honors students at Oregon State University. Teaching Philosophy
We began with the idea that an introductory economics course should be taught as if it is the last economics class a student will ever take. Because this is true for most students, we have just one opportunity to teach them how to use economics. The best way to teach economics is to focus on a few key concepts and ideas and apply them repeatedly in different circumstances.
We start the book with the five key principles of economics and then apply them throughout the book. This approach provides students with the big picture—the framework of economic reasoning. We make the key concepts unforgettable by using them repeatedly, illustrating them with intriguing examples, and giving students many opportunities to practice what they've learned.
Our book is designed to be accessible to students. We have kept the writing lean, the examples lively and topical, and the visuals exciting. Principles And Tools
In keeping with the themes of relevance and student accessibility, we have once again organized our text around the five key principles of economics. Throughout the text, every point of theory is tied back to the five key principles and is indicated by the key symbol.
The Principle of Opportunity Cost. The opportunity cost of something is what you sacrifice to get it. The Marginal Principle. Pick the level of an activity at which the marginal benefit equals the marginal cost. The Principle of Diminishing Returns. If we increase one input while holding the other inputs fixed, output will increase, but at a decreasing rate. The Spillover Principle. In some circumstances, decision makers do not bear all the cost or experience all the benefits from their decision. The Reality Principle. What matters to people is the real value of money or income—its purchasing power—not the face value of money or income.
We use these principles to explain the logic underpinning the most important tools of economics. By using these five principles repeatedly, we reveal the logic of economic reasoning and demystify the tools of economics. Students see the big picture and also earn how to use the tools of economics properly. "What I Do, I Understand" — Confucius
Our book is based on Active Learning, a packing approach based on the idea that students learn best by doing. Our book gages students by letting them do actives as they read. We implement Active Learning with the following features:
Economic Detective exercises provide ' a few clues and then ask the student to ~, solve the economic mystery. Using the Tools questions at the end of each chapter give students opportunities to dog their own economic analysis.. Complete answers appear at the: end of each chapter. Economic Experiments actively involve the student in role-playing as consumers, producers" and policy makers. All these activities are designed to be funs for students and easy for professors, who decide when and how, to use them. Test Your Understanding questions help students determine whether they understand the preceding material before continuing. These are straightforward questions that ask students to review and synthesize what they have read. Complete answers appear at the end of each chapter. Chapter-opening stories open each chapter and motivate the chapter's subject matter. Each chapter starts with a list of practical questions that are answered in the chapter. Lively Examples are integrated throughout the text and help bring economic concepts to life. We have hundreds of fresh, new examples in this edition. A Closer Look boxes are featured throughout the text and provide brief, interesting examples of the tools and concepts discussed in the text. Macro Organization
Because the U.S. economy has performed so well in recent years—low inflation, low unemployment—and our last recession in the early 1990's, economists have been iFrom the Back Cover:
This interactive student CD-ROM includes a tutorial walk-through of the key graphs in the text and self-assessment quizzes for each chapter. Also featured on the CD-ROM are more than 60 Active Graphs selected from key figures in the text (and referenced with an icon) which allow students to manipulate variables in the graphs and note the changes and effects.
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