Principles of Economicsby Published 01 Mar 2003
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In writing this textbook, Mankiw has tried to put himself in the position of someone seeing economics for the first time. The author's conversational writing style presents the politics and science of economic theories to tomorrow's decision-makers.
Principles of Economics Reviews
This book provided me with an excellent foundation for further economic study. For a textbook, the author writes in a very readable way and explains the concepts extremely well. The author does a fair job being neutral; however, one can sense his leanings.
Not difficult to understand (except the part of macroeconomics). My first economic book. I really appreciate to the author Mankiw, a economic genius who can translate economical language into simple words. Perhaps one day, when I am smart enough, I will read the part of macroeconomics again.
I didn't study economics in my school or university, but I've been an ardent fan of the subject ever since a very good friend (Raymond, you know who you are!) introduced me to The Economist in my first year of University.
Since then I've built up knowledge of the field organically through various sources, but always felt my understanding was lacking in some key areas (especially banking). A while ago I bought this book (which is a 100 level college textbook) to fill that gap.
The text and presentation is very strong - clear, engaging and satisfying without going too deep or floating above the surface. The delivery is sometimes pedestrian - I think I could have picked up some concepts quicker than Mankiw is ready to deliver them to me. But overall the book does a great job of surveying the field.
I was also impressed that despite Mankiw's relatively well-understood position on issues, the book presents most of the key debates in an even handed way without seeming to put his finger on the scales.
The book has lots of good diagrams. It lacks enough references to specific experimental evidence for my preference, but this is perhaps understandable at the 100 level. It is also full of newspaper quotations to bring the topic to life. I found these uninteresting and mostly a space filler, but perhaps they would appeal more to someone who has yet to get excited about the subject.
The one amazing thing about the book (which I bought 2nd hand) is the retail price, which seems to be ~250 dollars, seemingly some kind of exorbitant rip off aimed at students where it is a compulsory text. Analyzing the price in economic terms makes one suspect that some kind of market failure is taking place to support this price :)
Great foundational book.
This is a mainstream economics textbook which means that it uses competitive market model (upward supply and downward demand curves) to explain almost everything. What bothers me about this model is that it doesn't apply to majority of markets in modern economy. There are barely any price takers, I can't think of a firm that hires labor or capital the way that neoclassic theory explains, ... . Not surprisingly this approach reduces large part of economics (especially microeconomics) to a study detached from real world.
Throughout the book author assures the reader that although theory may not portray the real world, but it is a useful simplification and its results are not far from observations. Is this claim true? Except competitive markets; monopoly, monopolistic competition and oligopoly are introduced in the book. I also found all these models quite simple so why for example monopolistic competitive model (which includes most markets in modern economy) is not used anywhere else is a mystery to me. But second part of his claim is more important, does it really work? Author gives some evidence here and there but they are far less than to be persuasive. Controversial claims such as 'minimum wage and unions cause unemployment', 'rent ceiling causes shortage in rental markets' are provided with no evidence. I understand Popperian falsification has serious limits in economics so I don't blame author for lack evidence but he is certainly to blame for failing to mention these subtleties.
It is wonderful for beginners and to understand basic level of certain topics. Beside giving a good basic level understanding, it makes reader learned how to develop further reading and to know unsolved topics broadly. It teaches but mainly, besides teaching, giving basic reasoning methods to learn further topics in detail.