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Intermediate Microeconomics: A Modern Approach (Eighth Edition)



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Author: Hal R. Varian

Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company

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Publish Date: December 3, 2009

ISBN-10: 393934241

Pages: 739

File Type: PDF

Language: English

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Book Preface

The success of the first seven editions of Intermediate Microeconomics has pleased me very much. It has confirmed my belief that the market would welcome an analytic approach to microeconomics at the undergraduate level.

My aim in writing the first edition was to present a treatment of the methods of microeconomics that would allow students to apply these tools on their own and not just passively absorb the predigested cases described in the text. I have found that the best way to do this is to emphasize the fundamental conceptual foundations of microeconomics and to provide concrete examples of their application rather than to attempt to provide an encyclopedia of terminology and anecdote.

A challenge in pursuing this approach arises from the lack of mathematical prerequisites for economics courses at many colleges and universities. The lack of calculus and problem-solving experience in general makes it difficult to present some of the analytical methods of economics. However, it is not impossible. One can go a long way with a few simple facts about linear demand functions and supply functions and some elementary algebra. It is perfectly possible to be analytical without being excessively mathematical.

The distinction is worth emphasizing. An analytical approach to economics is one that uses rigorous, logical reasoning. This does not necessarily require the use of advanced mathematical methods. The language of mathematics certainly helps to ensure a rigorous analysis and using it is undoubtedly the best way to proceed when possible, but it may not be appropriate for all students.

Many undergraduate majors in economics are students who should know calculus, but don’t—at least, not very well. For this reason I have kept calculus out of the main body of the text. However, I have provided complete calculus appendices to many of the chapters. This means that the calculus methods are there for the students who can handle them, but they do not pose a barrier to understanding for the others.


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