There is an emerging blueprint for the introductory macroeconomics textbook. It has three features. First, the text starts with core economic principles or propositions relating to choice and exchange. These principles are used to develop the macroeconomics, beginning with the theory and behaviour of the economy in the long run. This reflects a decision in the profession to teach the short run as a special case of the long run when prices are sticky.
Second, there are lots of reminders that economics is fun and important and there are summaries, review questions and case studies. Finally, there is an array of add-ons: manuals, test banks, Powerpoint slide shows and websites.
These texts follow this blueprint to good effect. Gregory Mankiw's second edition mostly updates his earlier case studies and news items. Robert Frank and Ben Bernanke's book is an international edition that uses a wider range of case studies than Mankiw. The books differ only in one important respect. Bernanke and Frank deal with policy issues as they arise but separate international issues with dedicated chapters at the end. Mankiw deals with international matters en passant and separates the policy debates in the final chapter.
Both books display an orientation to the US economy. This is regrettable perhaps but not unusual in this market, and I would recommend both texts.
Shaun Hargreaves Heap is senior lecturer in economics, University of East Anglia.
Principles of Macroeconomics. Second Edition
Author - N. Gregory Mankiw
ISBN - 0 03 0017 0
Publisher - Harcourt
Price - £22.95
Pages - 539