Intermediate Microeconomics with Microsoft Excel - 2nd Edition
Humberto Barreto, DePauw University
Copyright Year: 2020
Publisher: Humberto Barreto
Conditions of Use
Barreto's Intermediate Microeconomics with Excel covers standard topics and ideas presented in any textbook developed for teaching microeconomics to upper-level undergraduate students who are either economics or business majors. The text includes... read more
Barreto's Intermediate Microeconomics with Excel covers standard topics and ideas presented in any textbook developed for teaching microeconomics to upper-level undergraduate students who are either economics or business majors. The text includes a Contents section listing primary and sub-topics but does not include either index or glossary sections. Terminology used throughout the text is simplistically defined within each chapter and a list of references concludes chapters. The author intended placing all relevant information within chapters, so the omission of an index and glossary was purposeful. The omitted index and glossary do not negate benefits of having a text that incorporates intelligible instructions on how to solve examples using Excel tools and files. Instructions on using Excel to derive solutions to chapter examples are complete and clearly presented both within the text and the Excel file included with the text. Additionally, interactive examples allow students to engage with theory. Finally, the text covers all topics expected in an intermediate textbook.
Content presented in Intermediate Microeconomics with Excel accurately and fairly presents the “economic approach” upon which the text is framed as well as correctly presents relevant economic theories and thoughts. Issues that might arise using and programming Excel to derive certain results are also identified and explained to minimize any frustration students might experience while engaging interactively with Excel.
The textbook covers foundational microeconomic theories and repeatedly uses the unchanging “economic approach” to teach students how economist think and conduct analyses. Therefore, the text is timeless theoretically and methodologically.. Should Microsoft update Excel features, Barreto will be able to easily incorporate updates without any change to content or essence of the text.
Barreto’s Intermediate Microeconomics with Excel uses simple verbiage to introduce concepts and provide explanations, so chapters are condensed with essential information Barreto wants to emphasize. The author’s succinctness, shortened chapters, enhances clarity and makes it easier for students to grasp concepts, read, study and review. Brevity of presentations is especially appealing considering the text is 700 plus pages.
Each chapter in the text begins, develops and ends the same. Chapters begin with a summary and explanation of topics and concepts and definitions of terminology. Then analytic models are presented, explained and solved manually, step-by-step. Next, instructions are given on how to find identical solutions using Excel. This approach for teaching students the “economic approach” is consistently applied throughout the text.
Although the author presents topics in a specific order, topics may be assigned in different order or excluded to accommodate a particular instructors’ goals and focus. Instructors may also create assignments around some topics and economic thought introduced and referenced in chapters.
The text is organized logically.
The text is presented in PDF format while applications are presented in MS-Excel. This means students must navigate to Excel to complete interactive applications. Students may find the navigation process inconvenient unless they first download and print the text or sections of the text. Otherwise, graphical and mathematical models display clearly and correctly in both the text and Excel.
The author observes grammatical and written language rules. No errors were noted.
Examples given in the text are culturally neutral. There are no racial, ethnic or socio-economic markers. Only standard examples are used.
Barreto developed the Intermediate Microeconomics with Microsoft Excel 2nd edition textbook to facilitate teaching microeconomics as an applied subject. In particular, Barreto wants students to “practice applying the economic approach” which he defined as “the method of comparative statics.” In conjunction with the broader goal, Barreto wants students to learn “sophisticated” Excel skills so set-out to a) provide concrete numerical examples within chapters, b) move analytic methods from appendices into the text, c) demonstrate multiple ways of solving problems with Excel and d) inundate students with lots of opportunities to engage in the “economic approach.”
Intermediate Microeconomics with Excel easily meets Barreto’s goals. From the preface to the conclusion, the text is filled with economic theory and thoughts of economist whose thinking and works framed the discipline of microeconomics taught to undergraduate students. Each chapter begins with a clear statement of the goal the chapter achieves then logically presents the “economic approach” by reviewing foundational concepts and terminology presented in principles’ courses, setting a scenario, working through solutions numerically and graphically and concluding with step-by-step instructions on how to program Excel to obtain solutions. Numerical examples and solutions are detailed—no missing steps or mysterious outcomes. Verbal instructions for using Excel are complemented by Excel files showing steps and explaining outcomes. In contrast to other Excel based text I have considered, Barreto’s Excel instructions and files are very accessible—certainly actual files with solutions render the material intelligible to any level of undergraduate student. Certainly, students who study microeconomics using Excel as the application software will conclude the course extremely proficient in Excel, if Barreto is the required text. Additionally, Excel motivates the type of interactive learning instructors strive to achieve.
The Barreto textbook may be used in any intermediate microeconomics course, whether or not the instructor intends using Excel, because of the clear presentation of numerical and graphical solutions. The text is not suitable for principles courses because the abbreviated chapter format presumes prior exposure to microeconomic terminology and concepts.
Overall, Barreto's text accomplishes his goal to repetitiously expose students to the "economic approach."
Table of Contents
I Consumer Behavior
- 1 Budget Constraint
- 2 Satisfaction
- 3 Optimal Choice
- 4 Comparative Statics
- 5 Endowment Models
- 6 Bads
- 7 Search Theory
- 8 Behavioral Economics
- 9 Rational Addiction
II The Firm
- 10 Production Function
- 11 Input Cost Minimization
- 12 Output Profit Maximization
- 13 Input Profit Maximization
- 14 Consistency
- 15 Monopoly
- 16 Game Theory
III The Market System
- 17 Partial Equilibrium
- 18 General Equilibrium
About the Book
This book is based on the idea that there is a particular framework used by economists to interpret observed reality. This framework has been called the economic way of thinking, the economic approach, and the method of economics.
This book is different from the many other books that attempt to teach microeconomics in three ways:
- It explicitly applies the recipe of the economic approach in every example.
- It uses concrete examples via Microsoft Excel in every application, which enables the reader to manipulate live graphs and learn numerical methods of optimization.
- The majority of the content is in the Excel workbooks which the reader uses to create meaning.
You learn by doing, not by reading.
About the Contributors
Humberto Barreto is the Q. G. Noblitt Professor of Econmics and Management at DePauw University. Born in Cuba, he earned his Ph.D. from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Professor Barreto has lectured around the world on teaching economics with computer-based methods, including Cuba, Brazil, Canada, Scotland, Spain, Poland, India, Burma, Japan, and Taiwan. He was a Fulbright Scholar in the Dominican Republic and has taught National Science Foundation Chautauqua short courses using simulation. He has received several research and teaching awards. He has written numerous articles and books on using Excel to teach economics (including introductory level material, micro, macro and econometrics). He offers an annual workshop for faculty on teaching economics.