Principles of Microeconomics
Multiple Authors, OpenStax College
Pub Date: 2014
ISBN 13: 978-1-9381682-4-6
Conditions of Use
The text covers all the areas and ideas of Macroeconomics that one would expect to find at the introductory level. The subjects are clear, easy read more
The text covers all the areas and ideas of Macroeconomics that one would expect to find at the introductory level. The subjects are clear, easy to follow, relevant with applied examples. Global examples are used through the lens of US laws and economics. No index or glossary was provided with the version that was reviewed.
Text is accurate, error-free, but does have a bias towards US law and economics. Many of the case studies are global in origin, which are excellent, however, the authors always return to the effects towards the US, or if a US case study is examined there is very little mention of the effect towards the Canadian economy.
The content is up to date and should constantly be up dated to truly connect the student to the learning objectives as they effect the global economies of today. Generally the text will not become obsolete in a short period of time yet the authors will need to either update the data within the text or provide updated links to the already numerous web sites referred to within the text.
The authors use a story telling format that is easy to read and comprehend.
The text is consistent in terminology and framework. The early chapters are well setup providing foundational information for the each of the subsequent chapters. Each chapter progressively provides the learner with more challenging concepts, language, and equations.
The text builds upon each chapter that provides effective information to the reader to continue. There are many reading sections with each followed by "Key Takeaway" statements and "Checking Your Understanding" questions. It may be difficult for those not familiar with economic concepts to not read the chapters sequentially.
Story telling format; the reader is provided with fundamental economic realities in the world using examples that are relevant to people in general. The foundational concepts are discussed before the math and graphs are introduced hence the reader has already seen the "what's in it for me" reality.
No problems were found.
None were found.
The text does not appear to be insensitive or offensive in any way. As the text is focused to US learners, students from other countries, such as Canada, may not feel that this is relevant to their history, or future.
The text is well laid out as is the content but the text should be entitled: Macroeconomics: Theory in Application from a US Perspective. Web links worked as did page reference links (there was a request to register to Flatworldknowledge.com which I did not do). The international examples are excellent for any student to use. Overall the text would be excellent if there was a considerable amount of Canadian content added. The reason for this is that while economic policies appear to be similar between Canada and the USA, the decision making is different.
This review originated in the BC Open Textbook Collection and is licensed under CC BY-ND.
The textbook is very comprehensive. It covers all topics covered in most principle of microeconomics courses and more. It has great index of the read more
The textbook is very comprehensive. It covers all topics covered in most principle of microeconomics courses and more. It has great index of the whole textbook and glossary attached to each chapter. It provides with good order of all major areas covered in principles of microeconomics. I like organization of the topics as they follow most of the main stream textbook order of concepts.
After reading the textbook I could not find any errors or lack of accuracy in the textbook. Great link and updated stories attached in the body of the textbook. I really like the "Link it Up" section that bring accurate and updated stories to the students attention.
The content is relevant and up-to-date. It might be that the chapters (some of them) are a little too long. I might not be to objective as I am mostly teaching hybrid accelerate courses and the longevity of each textbook chapters are sort of important to me. But I like the section "Clear it Up" and "Work it Out" as a great resource for students regardless if the class is online or face-to-face.
I think the text is written with very clear language with some technical terminology that is necessary for better and clear understanding of economics.
The text is very consistent in using the same terms and framework through all the chapters.
The text has some flexibility and modularity as it can be assigned at different points within the course. Well organize with plenty of flexibility to reorganize the order of the assigned material.
The topics are presented in a logical, clear order following most of the main economics textbook like Krugman or Mankiw.
I have downloaded the text in PDF to better navigate on my computer (as being bigger file it was slowing down my navigation on line) and using PDF file I have not noticed any interface problems. It was not having any distortion of images/charts etc.
I did not detect any grammar issues in the textbook myself.
I have not found any cultural insensitive issues or examples that would have improper cultural relevance.
Very well done textbook. I might use it in the future in my classes.
The textbook covers the major content areas covered in a Principle of Microeconomics course. The index and the glossary are just as good, if not read more
The textbook covers the major content areas covered in a Principle of Microeconomics course. The index and the glossary are just as good, if not better, than those found in other textbooks. On top of the topics you come to expect in any Microeconomics textbook, other relevant topics are also included later in the book, such as risk and insurance, issues in labor markets, and financial markets.
Even though the textbook goes into many examples and additional areas of Microeconomics, little was found in terms of errors. The textbook seems to be unbiased in its presentation, but that would be more of a concern in a Macroeconomics textbook. Typing errors are very rare, and most likely will not be noticed by most readers. Overall, the textbook was found to be accurate throughout.
The textbook does have lots of relevant examples throughout, which is one of its strong points, but with that comes the issue of ensuring that these examples are updated as time goes on, which may have implications on the books longevity. When it comes to the core issues covered, the textbook is again relevant and the longevity issue becomes much less of a concern.
The textbook is written at a level appropriate for the expected audience. Plenty of context is given for the economic terminology that is presented throughout the book. The structure of the chapters makes the textbook very approachable, and provides a good structure in explaining the complicated concepts that can arise in a microeconomics course.
The book is consistent in its chapter structures and general layout. After the first few chapters, students will know where to look in a chapter for additional resources (list of key terms, self check questions, etc.) and what to expect in these resources.
The textbook breaks the topics up in an appropriate matter that makes it easy for the instructor to "bounce" around the textbook as they see fit. The textbook also mentions how the material to be covered in a particular section may relate to other topics within the book.
Great structure overall. The text starts with the fundamental concepts that are typically covered in a Principles of Microeconomics course and builds off of them nicely as it progresses through the topics. If the instructor finds the structure doesn't necessarily follow the way they would normally address the topics, the textbooks modularity makes it easy for them to organize it in a way that works for them.
Overall, the books interface seems to be adequate for the topic, but also its weakest area. It would have been nice for the graphs to be bolder in color and professional looking. For instance, the graphs of supply, demand, and market equilibrium are all monotone with thin lines. This becomes even more of an issue when looking at the graphical representation of profit maximization in later topics. Adding more color would go a long way.
Very few grammatical errors were found throughout the textbook.
The textbook is not culturally insensitive or offensive. Like many other economic textbooks, it does address some controversial issues to lure the reader in, but does so in a way that avoids issues of insensitivity.
Overall a good textbook. It has smooth transitions from one topic to the other and interrelates the areas covered nicely. The graphs could be improved upon though, but this does not make or break the textbook.
The text covers all the learning objectives required for an introductory microeconomic theory course. Examples extend the content to topics such as read more
The text covers all the learning objectives required for an introductory microeconomic theory course. Examples extend the content to topics such as supply and demand in financial and labor markets, and antitrust policy. Additional chapters at the end of the text provide extensions into current topics such as poverty and inequality, unions, discrimination, and immigration. Chapters on public economics and financial markets are a nice addition for an instructor who wants to extend the typical micro theory content.
I did not find any material mistakes in the text. I was pleased with how more controversial topics were presented. The books gave facts and introduced methods of analysis without betraying a bias.
Examples are quite up to date. Some of the latest data in graphs were 2010 or 2012. Material in the international trade section will need to be updated by an instructor or a future edition.
The writing seems to be very clear and straightforward. Disciplinary specific terms are defined and placed in context but may need to be pointed out by an instructor.
The book is quite consistent - each chapter's layout is similar thus increasing the clarity for a student.
The book is broken down into short modules within chapters. Each chapter begins by placing it in the context of the course material and referring to other places in the text where it may be integrated. An instructor should have no difficulty using individual chapters.
The books begins with production possibility frontiers, incorporating budget lines in that content, then proceeds to supply and demand analysis. Examples from labor and financial markets reinforce supply and demand analysis before proceedings to elasticity and consumer choice. The next section of the book discusses industry structure and includes antitrust policy. The text then introduces externalities in the context of environmental protection and public goods. Finally, issues such as poverty, labor market issues, information, public economics are covered. The book ends with a section on international trade and globalization.
I reviews a print copy of the text that was professionally presented.
I did not observe any grammatical errors in the text.
Most examples in the text were from common firms or products (Amazon, the cotton industry, TSA, etc.).
The textbook overall is very comprehensive, it covers all the areas of study and concepts that are typically covered in a Principles of read more
The textbook overall is very comprehensive, it covers all the areas of study and concepts that are typically covered in a Principles of Microeconomics course. The amount of information included in this book is impressive and some of the chapters actually have more information than a typical textbook of this level. There are also chapters that are not necessarily covered in this type of class (mostly due to time constraints), however they are well presented in general and quite a great resource for instructors and students who want to include more and relevant material in their coursework. As with any other textbook there are also a few minor shortcomings. Some of the chapters can be a little longer than anticipated, which could have a distracting side effect on students. For example the introductory chapter does a good job of going over a lot of the topics that will be covered, but it feels as if it goes into too many details right from the beginning. It also talks about a few Macroeconomics issues that won’t be part of the textbook as it goes along, so it feels more of an introductory chapter to a Principles of Economics book. Another example is the presentation of the budget constraint, which appears in the same chapter as the presentation of the production possibilities frontier (to reflect choice for consumers versus choice for society) and then appears again in the consumer choice chapter. It is a more unusual way to present this topic, as typically the budget constraint and utility go together without having to refer back to another chapter. It is by no means a big problem, just an observation. Some other less typical groupings are negative externalities and positive externalities treated in separate chapters, grouped with other concepts (environmental protectionism and public goods respectively). This particular approach could potentially be a little confusing to students, especially since the Coase Theorem is not treated in a lot of detail. All chapters in general are well constructed. There are a few other concepts/details in some of these chapters though that miss certain aspects that one would expect to see. For example the elasticity chapter does not cover the details of elasticity along a demand curve. The oligopoly chapter does not have a detailed preliminary discussion on game theory and its elements before presenting actual game setups. Also, the monopoly chapter does not go into a lot of detail on the inefficiency and deadweight loss that results from a monopoly. There is also no discussion on price discrimination and it would have been great to see more explanatory graphs in here. There is however a separate chapter on monopoly and antitrust law and cases, which is well presented, if albeit slightly long. One last observation is related to the production side (i.e. the chapters on costs and perfect competition), which seem a little disjointed, with some aspects that we would expect to see in one chapter presented in the other. Other chapters are particularly well done and the concepts are very nicely and clearly explained, some with unique approaches (e.g. the supply and demand chapter, the labor and financial market chapters, the more unique labor market related chapter concentrated on unions, immigration, discrimination, the international trade and globalization chapters, the asymmetric information and risk chapter, the poverty and inequality chapter and the public economy chapter). There are also three Appendices included with this book, which are very useful. One covers the mathematics needed to understand all the concept explanations and applications, one covers a thorough presentation on indifference curves including a step by step explanation on income and substitution effects. The third appendix covers a presentation of present value calculation methods. Answers to review questions are provided as well, which can be extremely useful to students for self-assessment and better understanding of concepts. The PDF version of the book provides a comprehensive index at the end of it. The online version of the book has a glossary at the end of each of the modules from each chapter, which comes in very handy.
From what I have seen, the content of the book is accurate and error free. There are a few rare typos, but nothing that would distract the reader from the material. It also does not seem to be biased even though it covers some controversial topics in a few chapters, however it is in a manner of stating facts, not choosing sides, which is the most important distinction. There could be the argument that many examples are related to the US economy, however they contribute to the relevancy of the topic discussed. All examples included are very well chosen and one of the strong points of the book.
The book contains many current examples/cases/information, which is a big plus especially for a Microeconomics text that contains a lot of theory and many times it does not need frequent updates because of this reason. This book however has many examples and I think that from the way the book is structured and the manner in which these cases are included in each chapter, it would not make it too hard to keep them up to date. And it would have the added benefit that it would refresh the content and make it especially interesting to current and future students
Here is where this textbook excels in almost every chapter. The material is presented very clearly and in a very approachable style. There are learning goals listed at the beginning of each chapter and at the beginning of each of the subsections of said chapter as well, which is a great way to keep everything on track and make it clear to students what they should expect to know after reading that particular part of the material. The book gives a lot of examples, uses current information and data and clarifies concepts very well in this manner. It addresses the students directly and almost has the feel of the instructor talking to the class when reading it. It contains many step-by-step explanations of concepts and graphs and clarifies even elementary notions without giving the sense of simplifying things too much. It achieves a good level of interactivity (so to speak), because it breaks the text down in several ways. Each chapter has a “Bring it Home” example or case at the beginning and at the end of the chapter. It also contains “Work it Out” sections with solved problems relevant to the concepts presented. There are “Link it Up” sections that contain a link to a real world case or example relevant to the concept studied. And also there are “Clear it Up” sections that describe well many of the concepts that tend to be challenging to students at the beginning. In the online version of the book, these sections are not titled in that manner, but start with a “NOTE”, which does not provide the same level of detail. The PDF version’s notation is preferable from this point of view, to keep student’s interest high. Also each chapter contains key concept summaries at the end of it, self-check questions, review questions and critical thinking questions. All of these add to the clarity and understanding of the concepts studied.
The text is consistent in terms of terminology and framework, the presentation as well throughout the book with only a few exceptions that I mentioned in the comprehensiveness part of this review.
The way the text is separated in the sections mentioned above (in the “Clarity” part of the review) makes it very engaging and interactive for students. This way the student has the opportunity to read the material pertaining to a specific concept, relate it to a real-world example and also try a problem that would help deepen the understanding of that concept. It also helps by not making all the material in a chapter too overwhelming to go through. In the online version of the book, the modularity aspect is even more prevalent, because each chapter is separated in modules, each module containing a glossary, references and review questions at the end of it (whereas the PDF version has all the review questions at the end of the chapter, together with key concept reviews, self-check questions and critical thinking questions).
Some of the chapters of this book are not organized in a typical manner. I gave a few examples of this in the comprehensiveness part of the book (e.g. the externalities chapters, the monopoly chapters, some of the production side details, consumer choice details etc.). As an instructor, it would be easy to assign them in different order to students or combine the relevant information from some of the chapters. However for students who are looking to improve their economic knowledge and use the book outside of a class structure, it might prove a little more challenging to keep some of these related chapters and concepts organized.
There was only one issue that I encountered with the PDF version of the book. The links from the “Link it Up” section are not easily followed directly from the text (or copy/pasted in a browser). This is not an issue for the online version of the book.
There were only very few (very minor) errors spotted throughout the book, but nothing that would distract or keep students from using the textbook.
The textbook does not seem culturally insensitive or offensive, even if it covers some topics that could be considered controversial. However as I mentioned before, they are presented as facts in a relevant discussion surrounding the concepts covered, not as opinions, so it does not qualify as culturally offensive or insensitive. Many of the examples are focused on the US economy, however there are also international aspects and examples presented.
Overall, the textbook is a very pleasant surprise, with all relevant Microeconomics topics covered and in a comprehensive and clear manner. I especially like the approachable style and the structure that I think will keep students engaged and enthusiastic about the material, which is no small feat to accomplish from an introductory economics text.
Table of Contents
Chapter 1: Welcome to Economics!
Chapter 2: Choice in a World of Scarcity
Chapter 3: Demand and Supply
Chapter 4: Labor and Financial Markets
Chapter 5: Elasticity
Chapter 6: Consumer Choices
Chapter 7: Cost and Industry Structure
Chapter 8: Perfect Competition
Chapter 9: Monopoly
Chapter 10: Monopolistic Competition and Oligopoly
Chapter 11: Monopoly and Antitrust Policy
Chapter 12: Environmental Protection and Negative Externalities
Chapter 13: Positive Externalities and Public Goods
Chapter 14: Poverty and Economic Inequality
Chapter 15: Issues in Labor Markets: Unions, Discrimination, Immigration
Chapter 16: Information, Risk, and Insurance
Chapter 17: Financial Markets
Chapter 18: Public Economy
Chapter 19: International Trade
Chapter 20: Globalization and Protectionism
About the Book
Principles of Microeconomics covers the scope and sequence for a one-semester economics course. The text also includes many current examples, including; the Keystone Pipeline, Occupy Wall Street, and debates over the minimum wage.
The pedagogical choices, chapter arrangements, and learning objective fulfillment were developed and vetted with feedback from educators dedicated to the project. The outcome is a balanced approach to economics and to the theory and application of economics concepts. Current events are treated in a politically-balanced way, as well.
Note: Principles of Microeconomics PDF and web view versions have been updated to include current FRED (Federal Reserve Economic) data.
OpenStax College has compiled many resources for faculty and students, from faculty-only content to interactive homework and study guides.
About the Contributors
Senior Contributing Author
Timothy Taylor, Macalester College
Senior Content Expert
Steven A. Greenlaw, University of Mary Washington
Eric Dodge, Hanover College
Cynthia Gamez, University of Texas at El Paso; El Paso Community College
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