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Microeconomics: An Intuitive Approach with Calculus (MindTap Course List) 2nd Edition


Author: Thomas Nechyba

Publisher: Cengage Learning


Publish Date: January 1, 2016

ISBN-10: 1305650468

Pages: 1211

File Type: PDF

Language: English

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Book Preface

To Students
As a student, I often felt both alienated and insulted by textbooks: alienated because they seemed to make no attempt to speak to rather than at me, insulted because they seemed to talk down to me by giving me lots of “visuals” (like pictures of monkeys—seriously) to keep me awake and by feeding me endless definitions to memorize—all while never acknowledging the obvious conceptual limits of what was being presented.

I have therefore tried to write a book that is a little different and that I think I might have liked to use when I was a student. Some have commented that you might not like it because it doesn’t lend itself to memorizing definitions for exams. Others find it strange that I address you so directly throughout much of the book and that I occasionally even admit that this or that assumption we make is in many ways “silly.”

I don’t actually have anything against monkeys or definitions or assumptions that seem “silly,” but my experience with students over the years tells me that you do not mind being challenged a bit and actually enjoy being part of a conversation rather than committing one to memory. The modern world has few rewards for people who are really good at memorizing but offers much to those who can conceptualize ideas and integrate them with one another. Economics offers a path to practice this—and it does so in a way that can be exciting and interesting, interesting enough to not actually require monkey pictures even if it is sometimes frustrating to get through some of the details.

I will say more about much of this in Chapter 1—so I’ll try to avoid repeating myself here and instead just offer a few points on how best to use this text:

1. You may want to review parts of Chapter 0 (which is not included in the print version of the text, but available through MindTap) to review some basics before proceeding to Chapter 2.
2. Attempt the within-chapter exercises as you read—and check your answers with those in the Study Guide or those included directly into the MindTap eReader. (My students, on whom I conducted quasi-controlled experiments during the initial drafting of this text, have done considerably better on exams when using within-chapter exercises and solutions.)
3. When skimming chapters, make sure the points emphasized in the margins of the text make sense—and focus on sections of the chapter where they don’t.
4. Graphs with purple bars at the bottom can be unpacked directly within the MindTap eReader, and almost all graphs are available to view as animated and narrated videos that can be accessed through MindTap. While some of the video animations are long, you can skip ahead and use chapter markers to locate the part of the video you are most interested in.
5. Look for interesting applications in end-of-chapter exercises, but know that some of these are designed to be challenging. Don’t get frustrated if they don’t make sense at first. It helps to work with others to solve these (assuming your instructor allows this). All odd numbered exercises are accompanied by the † symbol that denotes exercises with solutions provided in the Study Guide. These solutions can also be accessed directly within the MindTap eReader.
6. While you will often feel like you are getting lost in details within chapters, the Introductions (to the Parts as well as the Chapters) and the Conclusions (in each chapter) attempt to keep an eye on the big picture. Don’t skip them!
7. The book has an extensive Glossary and Index but develops definitions within a narrative rather than pulling them out within the text. Use the Glossary to remind yourself of the meaning of terms and the Index to find where the associated concepts are discussed in detail. But resist the temptation to memorize too much. The terms aren’t as important as the concepts.
8. As the book goes to press, I am developing an online course consisting of short lecture modules as well as links to animations and worked out solutions. This course will be accessible through the EcoTeach Center at Duke (

Chapter 0: Foundational Preliminaries (web-based chapter)
Chapter 1: Introduction 1
PART 1: Utility-Maximizing Choice: Consumers, Workers, and Savers 21
Chapter 2: A Consumer’s Economic Circumstances 25
Chapter 3: Economic Circumstances in Labor and Financial Markets 49
Chapter 4: Tastes and Indifference Curves 75
Chapter 5: Different Types of Tastes 113
Chapter 6: Doing the “Best” We Can 143
Chapter 7: Income and Substitution Effects in Consumer Goods Markets 180
Chapter 8: Wealth and Substitution Effects in Labor and Capital Markets 215
Chapter 9: Demand for Goods and Supply of Labor and Capital 245
Chapter 10: Consumer Surplus and Deadweight Loss 277
PART 2: Profit-Maximizing Choice: Producers (or “Firms”) 321
Chapter 11: One Input and One Output: A Short-Run Producer Model 324
Chapter 12: Production with Multiple Inputs 367
Chapter 13: Production Decisions in the Short and Long Run 413
PART 3: Competitive Markets and the “Invisible
Hand” 463
Chapter 14: Competitive Market Equilibrium 466
Chapter 15: The “Invisible Hand” and the First Welfare Theorem 505
Chapter 16: General Equilibrium 535
Chapter 17: Choice and Markets in the Presence of Risk 578
PART 4: Distortions of the “Invisible Hand” in Competitive Markets 629
Chapter 18: Elasticities, Price-Distorting Policies, and Non-Price Rationing 633
Chapter 19: Distortionary Taxes and Subsidies 673
Chapter 20: Prices and Distortions across Markets 712
Chapter 21: Externalities in Competitive Markets 744
Chapter 22: Asymmetric Information in Competitive Markets 791
PART 5: Distortions of the “Invisible Hand” from Strategic Decisions 837
Chapter 23: Monopoly 841
Chapter 24: Strategic Thinking and Game Theory 885
Chapter 25: Oligopoly 950
Chapter 26: Product Differentiation and Innovation in Markets 989
Chapter 27: Public Goods 1040
Chapter 28: Governments and Politics 1094
PART 6: Considering How to Make the World a Better Place 1129
Chapter 29: What Is Good? Challenges from Psychology and Philosophy 1131
Chapter 30: Balancing Government, Civil Society, and Markets 1180

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