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Economics: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions) Paperback – 22 Feb 2007

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Product details

  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: OUP Oxford (22 Feb 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0192853457
  • ISBN-13: 978-0192853455
  • Product Dimensions: 17 x 1.3 x 10.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 28,827 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Product Description


An excellent introduction... presents mathematical and statistical findings in straightforward prose. (Financial Times)

I wish more people would read Dasgupta's book, and I wish more economists would write variations on its theme. It is a model specimen. (

The text is direct, rigorous and thought-provoking. It provides an intelligent, rigorous and readable introduction to economics. (London Book

About the Author

Partha Dasgupta is Frank Ramsey Professor of Economics, University of Cambridge and Fellow of St John's College. His book, An Inquiry into Well-Being and Destitution (OUP, 1993) was praised as 'a tour de force... a model of good economics' (Joseph Stiglitz) and 'philosophically sophisticated, empirically well-informed, ambitious and lively' (James Griffin).

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Customer Reviews

3.5 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
The problem with the low reviews of this book is that they are expecting a short treatise explaining the complexities of the economic world to people whose desire is to learn about current affairs more than economics as a subject.

This book is not attempting to explain the history of finance (Niall Ferguson's ascent of Money is excellent for this) or the reasons for the credit crunch (try Peston, Who runs Britian for a UK perspective).

Rather, it introduces the layperson to economics as a discipline particularly the kinds of questions/topics economists are concerned with and the methodologies and conceptual frameworks employed to deepen our understanding.

If considered from this perspective, Professor Dasgupta (who was tutored by Nobel Laureate James Mirlees) has written an excellent short introduction. Its core strengths are twofold. Firstly, Dasgupta considers some of the most interesting and counterintuitive economic concepts ( such as Trust) and the implications of such ideas on interaction and economic results. Secondly, Professor Dasgupta has a gift for highlighting and drawing attention to the most theoretically interesting issues, whilst at the same time explaining these in language that is clear for non-experts to understand.

So, if you want to understand economics and not just the business pages of the Times, this book will be worth reading.
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15 of 18 people found the following review helpful By A. Schiffrin on 17 July 2010
Format: Paperback
This is a great book and Professor Dasgupta was an excellent choice of author. But I want to warn everyone that the publisher messed up and so the Sterling edition has a lot of typos in it which make some of the calculations very confusing. There are about six pages of errors in the Sterling edition so make sure you only buy the Oxford University Press Edition.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Robin Friedman TOP 500 REVIEWER on 10 Nov 2013
Format: Paperback
The Very Short Introductions series of Oxford University Press provides succinct introductions to more subjects than a person can reasonably hope to know. Parath Dasgupta offers a brief, pointed look at Economics in this 2007 volume in the series. Dasgupta is the Frank Ramsey Professor of Economics at the University of Cambridge and a Fellow of St. John's College, Cambridge. Dasgupta was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II for his work in economics and has written many important books and studies.

"A little learning is a dangerous thing"; and a "very short introduction" does not have to be easy. Dasgupta's book is not written "for dummies" and it does not present its subject in the manner of an introductory textbook. Instead, Dasgupta offers the lay reader an example of how economists define problems and issues and try to solve them. In other words, the book offers the reader an example of how to "think like an economist". This gives the book a dense character. Dasgupta develops his own way of approaching and his position of questions of economics, neither of which might be fully shared by all members of his profession.

At the outset, Dasgupta makes two broad worth noting. First, he ties in economics with politics and, especially with ethics. Unlike some scientists who might try to minimize ethical, philosophical questions, Dasgupta is quite clear that ethical commitments are a driving force behind economics and politics. The second point involves Dasgupta's approach to economic questions. He rejects a historical, "narrative" approach because of the difficulty of supporting one proposed "narrative" over another. Dasgupta's approach is heavily analytical and quantitative, relying on mathematical modeling, statistics, and game theory.
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25 of 32 people found the following review helpful By bns on 15 July 2010
Format: Paperback
The fundamental problem with this book was that it just didn't do what I wanted it to do.

When I bought this book, I was expecting something that quickly taught/explained to me exactly what fundamental Economic concepts meant - in a concise but interesting manner too. Like any reader, all I wanted was a simple introduction to the topics so typically associated with Economics; such as supply & demand, inflation and currencies. Sadly, this book wasn't what I expected at all - it didn't give me my no-nonsense jargon-free introduction. To be honest, it felt rather deepend, philosophical and prose-like; whereas I'd imagine most readers expect something more factual, simplistic and somewhat text-book like.

It's a bit like a book about cars - whilst one type of book may tell you about the history of cars & the "passion" behind racing, another type of book may just give you a quick overview of famous models and their core specs. This book is certainly the former, but I expected the latter.

To give the author some credit, I do understand why he took this direction for this book. Now a BSc Economics student, I can understand why he chose to introduce Economics in more rounded, depthful and discussive way. After all, Economics (a social science), is much more than a few theories about prices, interest rates and economies. But if you are like me, and wanted this book because for a quick intro to daily economic topics, then this isn't for you. But if you want something that gives a very depthful introduction into the core foundations of economic thinking, this is great. Mixed feelings!
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