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International Economics: Theory and Policy Paperback – 29 Jan 2008

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Paperback, 29 Jan 2008
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International Economics captures the vitality of modern international trade and finance. A classic book by world-renowned authors, the Seventh Edition is comprehensively revised and updated in a new, full-color format.  Each half of the book contains a core of theory chapters followed by chapters applying the theory to major policy questions of the past and present. 
  • Core theory chapters, followed by chapters that apply theory to major policy questions.
  • Integrated treatment and empirical evidence of the latest models of trade, including the Gravity, Ricardian, specific factors, factor endowments, and imperfect competition models.
  • Thorough discussion of the causes and effects of trade policy, focusing on the income-distribution effects of trade.
  • Clear presentation of a unified model of open-economy macroeconomics based on an asset-market approach to exchange rate determination with a central role for expectations.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 37 reviews
114 of 141 people found the following review helpful
Not What I've Come to Expect from Krugman 3 April 2005
By TitaniumDreads - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
First off, even if you totally discount the rest of my review, buy the low price international version of this book. On the March 10, 2005 episode of the daily show Krugman elucidated his feelings quite clearly. "The real money is in textbooks. With other books, people need to decide whether to buy them or not. Students have to buy textbooks." Thanks Paul. I think I'm being charitable when I say that at $125 this book is a ripoff. It isn't even full color.

Anyway, on to the actual content of the book. I have to say that I was excited when I found out that my International economics course at Stanford was going to be using Paul Krugman's book. I've enjoyed his articles for the New York Times because they manage to cut right to the core of issues with an unusual amount of punch. Yet, time and time again I was disappointed with the frequently inpenatrable language and obtuse, unrealistic examples in this book. Unfortunately, the only part of Krugman's characteristic writing style that came through was a feeling of overwrought vitriol, which makes sense in an op-ed but has little place in a textbook. Furthermore, this book occupies a strange niche in the world of econ texts, it is not mathematically rigorous, nor is it well written. Usually we see one or the other but rarely both. Initially, I thought these observations were mine alone, but other students began openly voicing pointed criticisms of the book during class (and I am perhaps being too kind here in not repeating them). I've been in school nearly as long as I can remember and I have never seen such discontent with a text.

During the second half of the course even my econ prof became fed up and abandoned the book altogether. Given that, I find all of the positive reviews for this book rather astounding. My suspicion is that there might have been open rebellion amongst my classmates had not the professor decided to leave this text by the wayside. I also found that it is brimming with misplaced, one-sided arguments that come across as Krugman blatantly strawmanning arguments opposed to his own. One of many examples of this comes out of nowhere near the end of chapter 2. Krugman implies that anyone who doesn't believe in unmitigated free trade is intellectually irresponsible!?! This book pushes for unrestrained market fundamentalism throughout, primarily by misrepresenting any arguments that would effectively challenge it's simplistic and seemingly outdated dogma. This book, in particular, feeds into the same system of self serving scientism so prevalent in economics for the last 60 years.

Please don't mistake this review as the bile of a jilted student, I did quite well in the course. However, this is almost certainly the result of looking for alternative explanations of virtually every topic covered. The reason this book gets one star instead of two is because it lacks a lot of the modern learning tools prevalent in almost every other textbook. Things like quality questions, keywords, vocabulary and historical context all get short shrift in this this volume. If you're into learning about incomplete models that only represent a theoretical version of the world, this book is for you. Unfortunately, just like Krugman said on The Daily Show, if you are a student there is probably little chance that you have a choice on the matter. Buy the cheap international edition for 20 bucks. I would recommend that you use to the difference to buy William Easterly's Elusive Quest for Growth...and a beer.
52 of 67 people found the following review helpful
The book to start with in International Economics 4 May 1999
By L. Battaglini - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
For anybody - but especially students - interested in exploring the subject of international economics, this is the book to start with. It is illuminating (as it is always the case with Krugman's writings) on otherwise technical concepts as comparative advantage, trade policy and exchange rate determinants, but it is also entertaining, with its "reality checks". The first part of the book deals with the "real" economy, the second part with monetary international economics. It will save you a lot of time to begin your study of the field with this book. If you have had previous experiences with international economics but either forgot most about it or had trouble making sense of the whole thing you will probably get a good grasp of the subject after reading this manual. The bibliography is accurate and rich, the exercises won't give you an headache. Readers with some background in economics are most likely to take full advantage from the book. For the others, well, some introductory economics will be necessary. Once you've read this book, you can continue more safely your studies/readings on international economics.
10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
A not-so-bad survey of international economics 28 Nov. 2006
By Coleman Nee - Published on
Format: Hardcover
Regarding Gerald Senarclens de Grancy's comments: The idea of Krugman as a Bush administration cheerleader is pretty funny. At first I thought this was a joke but then I realised it wasn't. Granted, the book doesn't mention the Tobin Tax, but there's only so much you can pack into a superficial survey text like this. Overall, I think the authors are pretty unbiased and mainstream. (Haven't used the web supplements, so can't comment on that).

Having seen this book evolve over several editions, I can honestly say that the current one represents a distinct improvement, with the new introductory chapter on the gravity model providing some much needed perspective at the start. However, it's not an ideal book to learn trade theory and open econonmy macro from. My favorite (although slightly more rigorous) is "The International Economy" by Kenen. And if you are only interested in trade theory, "International Trade, Theory and Evidence" by Markusen et. al. is superior.
24 of 30 people found the following review helpful
The Undergraduate International Economics Standard 28 Jun. 2004
By thisismyname - Published on
Format: Hardcover
Well, I will start off by saying that the book really probably only deserves somewhere between 4-4.5 stars, but I'll give it 5 to offset some of the questionable reviews below.
No, the book is not perfect. However, it is an academic standard at pretty much any major college or university for teaching undergraduate International Econ/Trade theory, and for good reason. The book makes a clear a concise presentation of basic theory and policy, perhaps in points it is a little too simple. As pointed out, while I'm not sure about the 6th edition, there were some diagrammatical mistakes in the 5th...I bet, however, these were done by a graduate student. A quick bit of reasoning and a second of thought should yield the appropriate picture, however. And yes, I think a bit of Krugman's bias comes through, though its not terribly off-putting.
The book could use a bit more math I think. The real equations and difficult problems are few and far between, and are, for the most part, pretty straight forward. At the very most it would take a basic understanding of calculus, but the majority of the problems and equations can be explained and done without it. I have read a number of undergraduate economics books with far more intensive math. Despite this lack, however, the intentions come across pretty well.
No, this book is not for beginners to economics. At least an undergraduate course or reading in both micro and macro are needed, and really and truly, an intermediate level in each is probably better if one wants to get the most out of the book.
If you find the subject matter within to be terribly math intensive and you cannot get motivated to read the subject matter because it doesn't use "pizza and beer" (and um...I don't think I'd want an imported pizza anyway, but thanks), well I guess the subject and this book are not for you. However, if you are trying to enrich your understanding of economics at a very basic level, this book provides a good way to do so.
And, if you want graduate level book, and like Obstfeld, I recommend he and Rogoff's book.
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
A very good guide for an undergraduate course 21 Mar. 2007
By Ernesto Sepúlveda-Villarreal - Published on
Format: Hardcover
I used several times the fifth edition of Krugman and Obstfeld's book to teach International Finance to undergraduates in economics, and I found it comprehensive, understandable and very didactic. True, the book does not follow a rigorous mathematical approach, even less a dynamic one, but I think that is not the authors' intention. On the contrary, they use simple equations, basic graphical analysis, empirical data illustrations and some economic history to show the main issues they want to. And I must say that they clearly succeed in explaining virtually every topic an undergraduate student should know about international economics.

There are several essential topics that should be part of the backbone of a course in international finance, and they are included in this book:

- the asset approach to exchange rates;
- the crucial role of expectations;
- the relationship between money, interest rates and the exchange rates in the short run;
- the long run relationship between prices and exchange rates;
- the internal and external equilibrium for small open economies;
- the interaction of fiscal and monetary policies in an international context;
- inflation bias and other policy formulation problems;
- fixed exchange rates and foreign intervention;
- A description of the evolution of the international monetary system;
- floating exchange rates; macroeconomic policy and international coordination;
- optimum currency areas;
- recent topics on the global capital markets; and
- growth, crisis and reform in developing countries.

In sum, the book by Krugman and Obstfeld is a pretty good undergrad textbook to learn for the first time the core of monetary issues in international economics.
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