Welcome to Principles of Economics, an OpenStax resource. This textbook has been created with several goals in mind: accessibility, customization, and student engagement—all while encouraging students toward high levels of academic scholarship. Instructors and students alike will find that this textbook offers a strong foundation in economics in an accessible format.
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About Principles of Economics
Principles of Economics is designed for a two-semester principles of economics sequence. The text has been developed to meet the scope and sequence of most introductory courses. At the same time, the book includes a number of innovative features designed to enhance student learning. Instructors can also customize the book, adapting it to the approach that works best in their classroom.
Coverage and Scope
To develop Principles of Economics, we acquired the rights to Timothy Taylor’s second edition of Principles of Economics and solicited ideas from economics instructors at all levels of higher education, from community colleges to Ph.D.-granting universities. They told us about their courses, students, challenges, resources, and how a textbook can best meet the needs of both instructors and students.
The result is a book that covers the breadth of economics topics and also provides the necessary depth to ensure the course is manageable for instructors and students alike. And to make it more applied, we have incorporated many current topics. We hope students will be interested to know just how far-reaching the recent recession was (and still is), for example, and why there is so much controversy even among economists over the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare). The Keystone Pipeline, Occupy Wall Street, minimum wage debates, and the appointment of the United States’ first female Federal Reserve chair, Janet Yellen, are just a few of the other important topics covered.
The pedagogical choices, chapter arrangements, and learning objective fulfillment were developed and vetted with feedback from educators dedicated to the project. They thoroughly read the material and offered critical and detailed commentary. The outcome is a balanced approach to micro and macro economics, to both Keynesian and classical views, and to the theory and application of economics concepts. New 2015 data are incorporated for topics that range from average U.S. household consumption in Chapter 2 to the total value of all home equity in Chapter 17. Current events are treated in a politically-balanced way as well.
The book is organized into eight main parts:
- What is Economics? The first two chapters introduce students to the study of economics with a focus on making choices in a world of scarce resources.
- Supply and Demand, Chapters 3 and 4, introduces and explains the first analytical model in economics: supply, demand, and equilibrium, before showing applications in the markets for labor and finance.
- The Fundamentals of Microeconomic Theory, Chapters 5 through 10, begins the microeconomics portion of the text, presenting the theories of consumer behavior, production and costs, and the different models of market structure, including some simple game theory.
- Microeconomic Policy Issues, Chapters 11 through 18, cover the range of topics in applied micro, framed around the concepts of public goods and positive and negative externalities. Students explore competition and antitrust policies, environmental problems, poverty, income inequality, and other labor market issues. The text also covers information, risk and financial markets, as well as public economy.
- The Macroeconomic Perspective and Goals, Chapters 19 through 23, introduces a number of key concepts in macro: economic growth, unemployment and inflation, and international trade and capital flows.
- A Framework for Macroeconomic Analysis, Chapters 24 through 26, introduces the principal analytic model in macro, namely the Aggregate Demand/Aggregate Supply Model. The model is then applied to the Keynesian and Neoclassical perspectives. The Expenditure-Output model is fully explained in a stand-alone appendix.
- Monetary and Fiscal Policy, Chapters 27 through 31, explains the role of money and the banking system, as well as monetary policy and financial regulation. Then the discussion switches to government deficits and fiscal policy.
- International Economics, Chapters 32 through 34, the final part of the text, introduces the international dimensions of economics, including international trade and protectionism.
Chapter 1 Welcome to Economics!
Principles of Economics was conceived and written to fit a particular topical sequence, but it can be used flexibly to accommodate other course structures. One such potential structure, which will fit reasonably well with the textbook content, is provided. Please consider, however, that the chapters were not written to be completely independent, and that the proposed alternate sequence should be carefully considered for student preparation and textual consistency.
Chapter 1 Welcome to Economics!
Throughout the OpenStax version of Principles of Economics, you will find new features that engage the students in economic inquiry by taking selected topics a step further. Our features include:
- Bring It Home: This added feature is a brief case study, specific to each chapter, which connects the chapter’s main topic to the real word. It is broken up into two parts: the first at the beginning of the chapter (in the Intro module) and the second at chapter’s end, when students have learned what’s necessary to understand the case and “bring home” the chapter’s core concepts.
- Work It Out: This added feature asks students to work through a generally analytical or computational problem, and guides them step-by-step to find out how its solution is derived.
- Clear It Up: This boxed feature, which includes pre-existing features from Taylor’s text, addresses common student misconceptions about the content. Clear It Ups are usually deeper explanations of something in the main body of the text. Each CIU starts with a question. The rest of the feature explains the answer.
- Link It Up: This added feature is a very brief introduction to a website that is pertinent to students’ understanding and enjoyment of the topic at hand.
Questions for Each Level of Learning
The OpenStax version of Principles of Economics further expands on Taylor’s original end of chapter materials by offering four types of end-of-module questions for students.
- Self-Checks: Are analytical self-assessment questions that appear at the end of each module. They “click–to-reveal” an answer in the web view so students can check their understanding before moving on to the next module. Self-Check questions are not simple look-up questions. They push the student to think a bit beyond what is said in the text. Self-Check questions are designed for formative (rather than summative) assessment. The questions and answers are explained so that students feel like they are being walked through the problem.
- Review Questions: Have been retained from Taylor’s version, and are simple recall questions from the chapter and are in open-response format (not multiple choice or true/false). The answers can be looked up in the text.
- Critical Thinking Questions: Are new higher-level, conceptual questions that ask students to demonstrate their understanding by applying what they have learned in different contexts. They ask for outside-the-box thinking, for reasoning about the concepts. They push the student to places they wouldn’t have thought of going themselves.
- Problems: Are exercises that give students additional practice working with the analytic and computational concepts in the module.
Principles of Economics includes an updated art program to better inform today’s student, providing the latest data on covered topics.
About Our Team
Senior Contributing Author
Timothy Taylor, Macalester College
Steven A. Greenlaw, University of Mary Washington
|Eric Dodge||Hanover College|
|Cynthia Gamez||University of Texas at El Paso|
|Andres Jauregui||Columbus State University|
|Diane Keenan||Cerritos College|
|Dan MacDonald||California State University San Bernardino|
|Amyaz Moledina||The College of Wooster|
|Craig Richardson||Winston-Salem State University|
|David Shapiro||Pennsylvania State University|
|Ralph Sonenshine||American University|
|Bryan Aguiar||Northwest Arkansas Community College|
|Basil Al Hashimi||Mesa Community College|
|Emil Berendt||Mount St. Mary’s University|
|Zena Buser||Adams State University|
|Douglas Campbell||The University of Memphis|
|Sanjukta Chaudhuri||University of Wisconsin – Eau Claire|
|Xueyu Cheng||Alabama State University|
|Robert Cunningham||Alma College|
|Rosa Lea Danielson||College of DuPage|
|Steven Deloach||Elon University|
|Debbie Evercloud||University of Colorado Denver|
|Sal Figueras||Hudson County Community College|
|Reza Ghorashi||Richard Stockton College of New Jersey|
|Robert Gillette||University of Kentucky|
|Shaomin Huang||Lewis-Clark State College|
|George Jones||University of Wisconsin-Rock County|
|Charles Kroncke||College of Mount St. Joseph|
|Teresa Laughlin||Palomar Community College|
|Carlos Liard-Muriente||Central Connecticut State University|
|Heather Luea||Kansas State University|
|Steven Lugauer||University of Notre Dame|
|William Mosher||Nashua Community College|
|Michael Netta||Hudson County Community College|
|Nick Noble||Miami University|
|Joe Nowakowski||Muskingum University|
|Shawn Osell||University of Wisconsin, Superior|
|Mark Owens||Middle Tennessee State University|
|Sonia Pereira||Barnard College|
|Brian Peterson||Central College|
|Jennifer Platania||Elon University|
|Robert Rycroft||University of Mary Washington|
|Adrienne Sachse||Florida State College at Jacksonville|
|Hans Schumann||Texas AM|
|Gina Shamshak||Goucher College|
|Chris Warburton||John Jay College of Criminal Justice, CUNY|
|Chiou-nan Yeh||Alabama State University|
OpenStax projects offer an array of ancillaries for students and instructors. Please visit http://openstaxcollege.org and view the learning resources for this title.