Principles of Microeconomics: Scarcity and Social Provisioning
Copyright Year: 2016
Publisher: Open Oregon Educational Resources
Conditions of Use
The text is quite comprehensive with 28 chapters encompassing much of what one might teach in an introductory Micro course. I doubt it is possible to cover all material in a 16-week semester and as such a semester long course would need to pick... read more
The text is quite comprehensive with 28 chapters encompassing much of what one might teach in an introductory Micro course. I doubt it is possible to cover all material in a 16-week semester and as such a semester long course would need to pick the topics to be covered. However, the additional content would allow the curious student to engage with topics not covered.
Much of the content is adapted from a previous OpenStax work (which is well known) and expanded to include heterodox critiques. The additional material comes with useful citations for accuracy and further investigation. There are points where it might be useful to note that other alternative frameworks exist and are not addressed by the authors (e.g. Chapter 15 on Costing and Pricing addresses Full Cost and Target rate of return pricing, but might also mention alternative methods such as prices of production). This would allow the reader to investigate other frameworks as well as indicate that the listing is not comprehensive.
Content is recent (2016 copyright). While certain data and figures might benefit from updating, it does not seem to hinder the motivation of the material to the reader in any significant way.
The text is clearly written and, I think, accessible to introductory level students. Terminology is clearly explained and technical applications (e.g. elasticity) are explained and solved in an intuitive manner. The Glossary at the end of chapters provides the reader with a quick reference point for terminology.
The text utilizes terminology and structure consistently throughout. Some chapters contain fewer references and review questions than others. This might be something to address in the future.
The modularity of the text is adequate. There are a few subsections which might be more useful to breakup further and others that might benefit from merging together. I like that the chapters are relatively self-contained and can be sequenced in various ways to fit your course design. The text might present to students as intimidating in its entirety (28 chapters).
The topics are not presented in the sequence that I implement in my course, however the modularity allows the instructor to manipulate sequencing with relative ease. I do like the organization within chapters. Chapters begin with an introduction to the content and learning objectives, then build out the material in a logical fashion. The Review Questions at the end of the chapter help the reader think through the material and solidify the content.
The online interface is very intuitive making navigation easy. I did not encounter any problems with the interface.
While grammatical errors are inevitable in large works such as this, I did not encounter any that caused disruption in the material.
I did not experience the work as culturally insensitive. Clearly the authors attempted to be inclusive of many social identity groups. That being said, I think the authors might have missed some opportunities to engage with the reader in innovative ways (e.g. discussing the influence of social identity on consumer choice). However, this is more of a critique of Economics texts in general and less of a critique of this specific text.
I really enjoyed the content of this text. Much of it is what I already add to my standard Micro course and provides another resource for students to review material. There are a few minor concerns that I have with the text. First, the text at certain points can appear overly wordy and might benefit from being broken up with images/graphs/examples/etc. Secondly, I would have liked to see more empirical evidence included. I believe including this makes the content more accessible to students. To this end, it might be nice to have some interactive data for students to engage. Finally, the text is quite large which is both a benefit and a hindrance. The benefit of touching on so many topics is that the reader might easily find a topic of interest and see how economists go about handling this. However, I worry that the size might be intimidating to some students. As such, the instructor may want to be a bit more hands on in managing student expectations.
The text is very thorough! I think an issue with subject appropriateness might be that there is too much material. This work is larger than the for profit commercial text that I currently use, which in itself is overkill for what students taking... read more
The text is very thorough! I think an issue with subject appropriateness might be that there is too much material. This work is larger than the for profit commercial text that I currently use, which in itself is overkill for what students taking an introductory class in economics need. You are going to get everything from Adam Smith in Chapter 1 to International Trade to close out Chapter 28. All of the topical areas I've seen in other microeconomics textbooks are present here.
The text is well written and adapted from a previous OpenStax work. The team of contributors and editors is well documented. The authors give a great preface on the use and slant that they gave to the resulting work. References are given frequently and most material has direct links if you even want to question or expand a certain topic.
The test has a copyright of 2016 and uses data updated as recently as 2015. I usually end up updating facts and figures even when using newer texts that cost significant sums so this is perhaps not all that concerning. A lot of the theory and base of microeconomics isn't going to be changing that much year to year. If you are someone that values teaching students up to the minute theory or alternative theories this might cause a problem. This also means that some of the photos are a little dated which might distract students but isn't relevant to the subject matter.
As this is a book that has been worked on by many professionals over many years the accessibility of the material is spot on. The nature of the subject matter that we economists choose to deal with is by its nature wonky and inaccessible. Part of learning economics is developing the lexicon that is necessary. That being said this book is no more dense or obtuse than any other in the field. Students have to commit time to learning the specialized technical terminology we use.
The book is very consistent in its format and terminology. The presentation is consistent in what I find in for profit textbooks. It is of a professional quality. The graphs are all formatted and labeled in a similar way throughout the text.
The text is comprised of 28 Chapters over 848 pages. There is no way one could possible cover this amount of material is a 15 or 16 week semester class. This means you can either harvest what you want from the Chapters and create your own Intro to Econ course or run Microeconomics as a two semester (year long) endeavor. The authors divide the book into eight main parts. I think you could use the first three and an optional fourth to run a course with. It's nice that the division are clean and clear so that you can split them apart.
I liked that Elasticity came later than the text I traditionally use. I think that is a topic that when featured too early in the course of a semester trips students up. After you get past "The Fundamental of Microeconomic Theory" section I feel like organization really isn't all that important. You can feel free to select the chapters you feel are most vital as the instructor and not concern yourself with the numbering. The authors even present an option for an alternative path which is novel as I haven't seen that presented very often.
I downloaded the text in a PDF format. It was helpful that the table of contents was built with link functionality so that you could click to jump to certain areas without page hunting or a lot of waster scrolling. This is a needed feature because as I stated before the text is quite lengthy at 848 pages. I would recommend printing the book if I was using it as a student but only the Chapter recommended by the instructor of the class.
I was not reading the book looking specifically for grammatical error as I have found them in nearly all texts I have ever used. Minor slips here or there are hardly distracting to the overall goal of learning economics. All that said I didn't seeing any errors.
I am not multicultural expert by any means but I didn't detect any outright bias. Economics is probably tough differently in different parts of the world. The people commonly chosen in the texts I have seen are usually white and European and American. As an instructor you could choose to highlight the works of different thinkers as you see fit but I don't find anything insensitive about this text.
There are not many homework questions. If you are going to be using this for a class you are going to want to have a homework and test bank ready. This may take substantial time to create. The book although high in quality is nowhere near as flashy as the publisher printed books. Be aware that students may feel like they are missing that element present in the texts they are more familiar with.
Table of Contents
- Chapter 1. Welcome to Economics!
- Chapter 2. Choice in a World of Scarcity
- Chapter 3: Defining Economics: A Pluralistic Approach
- Chapter 4. Demand and Supply
- Chapter 5. Labor and Financial Markets
- Chapter 6. Elasticity
- Chapter 7. Consumer Choices
- Chapter 8. Challenging the Role of Utilitarianism
- Chapter 9. An Institutional Analysis of Modern Consumption
- Chapter 10. Cost and Industry Structure
- Chapter 11. Perfect Competition
- Chapter 12. Monopoly
- Chapter 13. Monopolistic Competition and Oligopoly
- Chapter 14. The Rise of Big Business
- Chapter 15. Costs and Prices: The Evidence
- Chapter 16. The Megacorp
- Chapter 17. Monopoly and Antitrust Policy
- Chapter 18. Environmental Protection and Negative Externalities
- Chapter 19. Positive Externalities and Public Goods
- Chapter 20. Poverty and Economic Inequality
- Chapter 21. Issues in Labor Markets: Unions, Discrimination, Immigration
- Chapter 22. Information, Risk, and Insurance
- Chapter 23. Financial Markets
- Chapter 24. Public Economy
- Chapter 25. Money and the Theory of the Firm
- Chapter 26. International Trade
- Chapter 27. Globalization and Protectionism
- Chapter 28. The Economics of Globalization and Trade: A Pluralistic Approach
About the Book
Principles of Microeconomics: Scarcity and Social Provisioning takes a pluralistic approach to the standard topics of an introductory microeconomics course. The text builds on the chiefly neoclassical material of the OpenStax Principles of Economics text, adding extensive content from heterodox economic thought. Emphasizing the importance of pluralism and critical thinking, the text presents the method and theory of neoclassical economics alongside critiques thereof and heterodox alternatives in both method and theory. This approach is taken from the outset of the text, where contrasting definitions of economics are discussed in the context of the various ways in which neoclassical and heterodox economists study the subject. The same approach–of theory and method, critique, and alternative theory theory and method–is taken in the study of consumption, production, and market exchange, as well as in the applied theory chapters. Historical and contemporary examples are given throughout, and both theory and application are presented with a balanced approach.
This textbook will be of interest especially to instructors and students who wish to go beyond the traditional approach to the fundamentals of microeconomic theory, and explore the wider spectrum of economic thought.
Instructors may contact Open Oregon Educational Resources for quiz question test banks associated with each chapter.
About the Contributors