Microeconomics (5th Edition)

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9780130330116: Microeconomics (5th Edition)

This book teaches microeconomics as a way of looking at the world, using plenty of new applications and examples to demonstrate the theory. Because it uses calculus (only in footnotes), this book is considered to be in the upper mid-range in its mathematical rigor. An optimal balance of theory and applications is maintained by working from the specific to the general—with many lively and interesting examples used as a means of developing economic theory in a careful and rigorous way. A seven-part organization covers numerous topics under the headings of: an introduction to microeconomics, individual choice, production and cost, markets for goods, resource markets and general equilibrium, imperfect competition, and uncertainty and asymmetric information. For individuals trying to apply the theory of microeconomics to the economics of the real world.

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From the Publisher:

This highly-regarded text teaches microeconomics as a way of looking at the world, using plenty of empirical data to focus the discussion. It is considered an upper mid-range text in its mathematical rigor while maintaining accessibility through examples and applications. Calculus is included in easy-to-refer-to footnotes. This is an entirely new and updated edition of Microeconomics, Second Edition that was previously published by Freeman.

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To the Student

We are all curious about the world around us, and we want to understand it. Unfortunately, the world is a complicated place and not always easy to understand. Economics provides a systematic way of understanding the human behaviour that we see every day, from mundane things such as how traffic behaves to less obvious things such as why some religious groups require commitments of time or money as a condition of membership. Economics does this by developing a model of behaviour. If the word model seems intimidating, let's think of a model as a well-articulated story that leads to specific conclusions: The nice thing about the economic model we are going to develop is that it is widely applicable, and so it saves a great deal of time in analyzing problems. Once you understand the basic mechanics of supply and demand, you will be able to shift easily from thinking about tariffs for corn to considering shortages of tickets for an 'N Sync concert. We have made an effort in this book to apply the model constantly as we develop it. We would encourage you to apply the economic ideas to your own life as you read along. As with anything you wish to master, the best way is to practise, practise, practise.

As authors we are not content to simply teach you a large body of theory, presented in a vacuum. For us economic theory is of little use if it cannot explain real-world puzzles. Our view has strongly influenced the way we have written this book. In every chapter we carefully go through the standard economic theory found in most economics textbooks. However, along the way we provide numerous applications some big, some small - that show how the theory can be used.

The use of in-chapter problems are meant to promote active reading in two ways: by encouraging you to check your understanding of material that you have just read and, sometimes, by challenging you to extend what you have learned one step farther. (We provide answers to all the in-chapter problems at the back of the book.) Our philosophy is that the only real way to learn microeconomics is to do it - every step of the way.

Of course, microeconomics is a field that is changing rapidly - and that is its real challenge. We not only cover the standard topics, but also provide an overview of current research and trends in many important areas. We bring you right up to the frontiers of modern microeconomic research - and also let you see just how much exciting work in microeconomics remains to be done. In the end we hope you will not only develop your economic modeling skills, but that your economic intuition will develop as well.

The Book

The fifth edition of Microeconomics continues the major changes found in the fourth. The organization of the book has remained the same in this edition... mostly because our consumers have said they like it the way it is. Generally in this edition we have added to our strengths: new applications, more problems, and general updating of material.

The text remains organized in 20 chapters, grouped into 7 parts. In turn, the seven parts form three large sections. The first section (consisting of Chapters 1-13, grouped together as Parts I-V) presents basic intermediate neoclassical theory. The second section (consisting of Chapters 14-16, forming Part VI) presents advanced neoclassical topics. The third section (consisting of Chapters 17-20, grouped together as Part VII) presents what might be called "modern microeconomics." The idea behind this organization was to move from easy material to more difficult material within a model framework. Too often textbooks present a chapter on neoclassical choice theory, followed by a chapter on choice under uncertainty, followed in turn by chapters on neoclassical' production. Such a sequence requires users to "change gears" in midstream in terms of the fundamental model. The problem is made worse when theories of the firm are presented before a discussion of cost and output. In our new edition, the fundamental neoclassical assumptions are maintained until Chapter 17, and then a full break is made.

Features

We have retained and enhanced the effective features of the previous edition td facilitate learning and offer flexibility in the use of this book:

  • Key terms are boldfaced where they are defined in the text, and they are restated in the margins.
  • Important assumptions and results are set off by coloured rules for easy identification.
  • Boxed Problems are interspersed throughout the chapters to enable users to test their understanding of the material. Full answers to these problems are provided at the back of the book.
  • Calculus material is set off from the rest of the text in footnotes and in chapter appendices.
  • A Summary is given for each chapter.
  • A set of Exercises at the end of each chapter offers the opportunity to apply the material to a variety of situations. Exercises that require calculus are identified by an asterisk.
  • References at the end of each chapter will help guide users to further readings.
  • A Glossary of important terms is found at the back of the book.

To the Instructor

The major focus of our book is to try to teach students how to think like economists. We almost always start with an interesting question and ask, "How would an economist try to answer this particular question?" Then we construct the solution—an economic model—from the ground up. We have been careful to choose applications that are interesting and not too difficult—applications that are well within students' grasp—and then to present them in clear, consistent, step-by-step discussions. We then show how the model can be generalized to apply to other similar problems. In this way, students are actively engaged in developing the standard tools of microeconomic analysis. More importantly, they see how economists create those tools and get a chance to do economics for themselves. The benefit of this approach is that students learn that abstract economic thinking (that is, economic model building) is essentially about very real and familiar problems.

This problem-solving approach is reinforced by many in-chapter problems and end-of-chapter exercises. The point of the in-chapter problems—a feature that we introduced to the intermediate microeconomics market in the first edition of' Microeconomics—is to draw students into the material and to keep them actively engaged in their reading. Full answers to all the in-chapter problems are given at the back of the book to guarantee that students will not be frustrated if they fail to hit on solutions quickly. At the end of each chapter, a complete set of exercises (consisting of a mixture of intuitive, arithmetic, and calculus exercises) reinforces students' learning. Many of the exercises are relatively straightforward, but a few are quite challenging.

Because our whole approach is applied—we almost always work from the specific application to more general theory—our book is full of lively and interesting examples. The applications in each chapter have been designed to move from the easy and obvious to the difficult and more subtle. But our objective throughout is to use these applications as a means of developing economic theory in as precise and rigorous a way as possible. Our major aim is to give students a thorough grounding in microeconomic theory.

This book is analytically rigorous but still widely accessible to undergraduate Students. The analysis is presented in a readable style, and each topic flows naturally from what came before it and leads smoothly into what follows.

We also provide a balance between traditional economic theory and modern developments in microeconomics. Our treatment of the standard topics of microeconomics is careful and comprehensive. Students using our book will acquire a thorough understanding of the traditional tools of the microeconomic theorist. However, we have also made efforts to introduce current research topics at the intermediate level.

For the most part, these more advanced topics are presented in the last section of the book in Parts VI and VII. Unlike most other authors, we have divided the study of monopoly into two chapters. In the first (Chapter 10) we deal with the standard monopoly model and applications. In the second (Chapter 14) we pick up where Chapter 10 left off and examine several monopoly pricing practices. These include not only the standard analysis of price discrimination, but also two-part pricing, tie-in sales, all-or-nothing pricing, and more. In Chapters 15 and 16 we provide an introduction to game theory with applications to oligopoly and market structure. In these chapters we introduce a new method of analyzing problems that we later apply to externalities and public goods. Perhaps the most innovative part of the book is Part VII (Chapters 1720), in which we present an integrated analysis of uncertainty and asymmetric information. Here we rigorously analyze the role of transaction costs and property rights, and relate these concepts to asymmetric information. We have organized the individual chapters in Part VII around specific applications.

Course Designs

We have prepared the new edition so that it can be adapted for various types of courses. The entire book is intended for a two-semester course in microeconomic theory. The first semester would cover Parts 1-V, and the second semester would cover Parts VI-VII.

A number of different one-semester courses can be taught from this book to suit the needs of various instructors. The chapters that form the core of a standard one-semester microeconomics course are Chapters 1-3 and Chapters 6-8. Since the remaining chapters are written almost as stand-alone units, they can be used in any combination. Hence a number of specialized courses—for example, courses that emphasize comparative institutional analysis, labour economics, industrial organization, or uncertainty and information—can easily be built on this core by assigning the relevant additional chapters.

To afford further flexibility, the calculus material has been grouped together separately in footnotes and in chapter appendices. In addition, the exercises that require calculus are identified by an asterisk (*). In the main text itself we rely on carefully explained graphic and algebraic techniques rather than calculus.

Supplements

The following items have been carefully prepared to supplement the new edition:

  • An Instructor's Manual provides answers to the end-of-chapter exercises, as well as suggestions for lectures, a series of easy-to-administer classroom experiments, and transparency masters of all the figures and tables in the text.
  • A Test Item File provides multiple-choice questions for each chapter.
  • Test Manager consists of a special computerized version of the Test Item File that allows instructors to create and distribute tests and analyze the results electronically.
  • A Study Guide, entitled Problem Solving in Microeconomics, provides further study material for students. In addition to chapter summaries, case studies, lists of key words, multiple-choice questions, and true-false questions, this guide offers many additional fascinating real-world problems.
  • A Companion Website, at www.pearsoned.ca/eaton, includes student self-tests and additional resources for instructors.

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