Student Review: Economics

May 26, 2011

Authors: David Begg, Gianluigi Vernasca, Stanley Fischer and Rudiger Dornbusch

Edition: Tenth

Publisher: McGraw-Hill Education

Pages: 752

Price: £51.99

ISBN 9780077129521

Sprawled daringly across the front cover in full lower case, the title Economics seems at first unhelpfully generic, but actually alludes to the ambitious breadth of coverage of the book. It does a good job of easing students into the discipline, while simultaneously providing exposure to a surprisingly large cross section of the subject, including not only the traditionally "core" elements of micro- and macroeconomics, but also areas such as welfare economics and economics of information. It successfully conveys a sense of variety within the discipline, which can be indispensable in engaging and inspiring introductory economics students.

The book's structure is certainly one of its strengths. Chapters are introduced with clear learning outcomes and end with summaries and review questions, graded by difficulty. The text reads well and is complemented by clear, simple diagrams that help to demonstrate new economic concepts. Drawing on real-life companies and topical events, case studies show economics in action, and in doing so, go far in substantiating economic theory, which in the minds of students can often seem abstract and irrelevant. It was particularly refreshing to see empirical evidence made use of in the microeconomics section.

Economics is printed in beautiful, easy-on-the-eye full colour; a feature that must not be dismissed as superficial, as any student who has had to stare down page after page of black and white textbook for extensive periods of time will tell you.

The major shortcoming of this book is its lack of mathematical treatment of economic theory, and those doing a more mathematical course may find themselves in need of supplementary reading. It is certainly a positive approach to show that complex mathematics need not be central to grasping economic intuition, yet it is possible to accomplish this while still catering for students who require a greater depth of mathematical analysis. For example, Hal R. Varian's Intermediate Microeconomics and Olivier Blanchard et al.'s Macroeconomics: A European Perspective provide the opportunity for a more rigorous mathematical analysis of micro and macro theory respectively, without excluding students with more limited knowledge of calculus.

Economics is an easy-to-use introduction to the subject, and goes a considerable way in providing an attractive all-in-one solution for undergraduates soon to be burdened with record levels of student debt. But for those reading a more mathematically rigorous course, while it would certainly be possible to get away with just Economics, investing in a selection of other more specialised texts would be advisable.

Who is it for? First-year undergraduates.

Presentation: Generic.

Would you recommend it? Yes, to those studying a less mathematical course in economics.

Highly recommended

Macroeconomics: A European Perspective

Authors: Olivier Blanchard, Alessia Amighini and Francesco Giavazzi

Edition: First

Publisher: Pearson Education

Pages: 616

Price: £49.99

ISBN 97803728009

Highly recommended

Economics of Development

Author: A.P. Thirlwall

Edition: Ninth

Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan

Pages: 712

Price: £44.99

ISBN 9780230222298

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