A Problem-Solving Approach: The authors designed this text to help students see economics as a common thread that enables us to understand, analyze, and solve problems in our local communities and around the world. The authors believe that economic principles can help us tackle big challenges, and they show students how economic ideas are shaping their world. Every chapter fulfills three fundamental commitments:
- To show how economics can solve real-life problems. The authors show students that economics can make the world a better place, approaching economics as a way of explaining real people and their decisions.
- To teach principles as analytic tools for dealing with real situations. The text is centered on examples and issues that resonate with students; applications come first, opening up puzzles that basic economic principles help explain.
- To focus on what matters to students. The authors recognize that students live in a digital, globalized world, and the authors seek to share with students global examples and some of the ways that new ideas are expanding the basics of economic theory.
Four Questions about How Economists Think: This text’s discussion is framed by four questions that economists ask to break down a new challenge and analyze it methodically. These four questions are explored and carried throughout the text as a consistent problem-solving approach, providing students with a method for working through decisions they’ll face as consumers, employees, entrepreneurs, and voters. The four questions are:
- Question 1: What are the wants and constraints of those involved? This question introduces the concept of scarcity, asking students to think critically about the preferences and resources driving decision making in a given situation.
- Question 2: What are the trade-offs? This question focuses on opportunity cost, asking students to understand trade-offs when considering any decision, including factors that might go beyond the immediate financial costs and benefits.
- Question 3: How will others respond? This question asks students to think about incentives and to consider how individual choices aggregate in both expected and unexpected ways, and what happens when incentives change.
- Question 4: Why isn’t everyone already doing it? This question relates to efficiency, asking students to think carefully about why something that seems like a good idea isn’t already being done, assuming that markets work to provide desired good and services. Students are encouraged to revisit their answers to the previous three questions and see if they missed something about the forces at work, or whether they are looking at a genuine market failure.
Real World Focus: Students learn best when they see how concepts are applied in the real world. For that reason, real-world examples are used extensively and routinely in this text. The real-world focus adds realism to discussions and serves as the foundation for exercises, problems, and cases. Each chapter begins with a real-world story that relates to the chapter’s concept, and real-world examples are present throughout the chapter. There are no “Casey’s Lemonade Stand” examples here, but rather real-world relevancy.
Special Boxed Features: Several different types of special features are scattered throughout the text, building interest and helping further student understanding of the principles, concepts, and theory presented. The features are:
- Real Life – Describes a short case or policy question, findings from history or academic studies, and anecdotes from the field.
- From Another Angle – Shows a different way of looking at an economic concept, perhaps with a humorous story or an unusual application of a standard idea.
- What Do You Think? – Offers a longer case study, asking students to employ economic analysis and normative arguments to defend a position. The box includes open-ended questions, which professors can assign as homework or use for classroom discussion.
- Where Can It Take You? – Directs students to further classes, resources, or jobs related to the topic at hand.
- Potentially Confusing – Offers an in-depth explanation of a concept or use of terminology that students may find confusing, calling attention to common misunderstandings and giving students the support they need to understand economic language and reasoning.
- Concept Check – Provides an opportunity at the end of each chapter section for students to quiz themselves on the preceding material before moving on, with questions keyed to related learning objectives.
Unique, value-added chapters: This text presents the core principles of economics, but also seeks to share with students some of the ways that new ideas are expanding the basics of economic theory. Along with the traditional chapters you would expect to see, this text offers several standalone chapters focused on new ideas:
- Chapter 8 Behavioral Economics: A Closer Look at Decision Making
- Chapter 9 Game Theory and Strategic Thinking
- Chapter 10 Information
- Chapter 11 Time and Uncertainty
- Chapter 22 Political Choices
- Chapter 23 Public Policy and Choice Architecture
- Chapter 35 Development Economics
Math Appendixes: Because students sometimes need reinforcement with the math requirements of this course, this text contains six unique math appendices that explain math topics essential to economics:
- Math Essentials: Understanding Graphs and Slope
- Math Essentials: Working with Linear Equations
- Math Essentials: Calculating Percentage Change, Slope, and Elasticity
- Math Essentials: The Area under a Linear Curve
- Using Indifference Curves
- Math Essentials: Compounding
Complete Digital Integration: This text has been built from the ground up to be seamlessly integrated digitally. All digital content is tagged to chapter learning objectives, topics, AACSB, and Bloom’s Taxonomy. Because this was built simultaneously, the end-of-chapter problems in the book are identical to the problems in Connect. This text also comes with our adaptive learning suite, including LearnSmart, LearnSmart Achieve, and SmartBook. See the book’s preface, on this info center, for more information on these exciting new technologies.