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Principles of Economics Paperback – 18 Apr 2003

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Product details

  • Paperback: 892 pages
  • Publisher: South-Western; 3rd International student edition edition (18 April 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0324203098
  • ISBN-13: 978-0324203097
  • Product Dimensions: 21.6 x 3.3 x 25.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 353,512 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Prof Mankiw is a fantastic teacher, although I have never attended one of his classes, his book is a genuine testimony of his standard. I have been a keen reader of economics essays for a few years but it is only recently I have decided to acquire the basics of this fascinating discipline. Indeed, my choice of reference could not have been better because principles of economics is a comprehensive introductory opus. The style is fluid and pleasant whereas the 36 chapters and 900 pages cover micro and macro economics. If you are into self learning, this is the book you need as it will provide with an understanding of the political and economic debate in your country and the world.
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By Biz on 1 Oct. 2014
Format: Paperback
Very well packaged, great value.
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By Mr Luke T Zakrzewski on 19 Oct. 2014
Format: Paperback
Very good, clear economic book
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1 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Lothar of the Hill People on 9 Jun. 2009
Format: Hardcover
The book was in perfect conditions at arrival, and the content is just right for my basic economic studies.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 22 reviews
96 of 104 people found the following review helpful
Simply put, the best economics textbook on the market 8 Aug. 2004
By Ron Cronovich - Published on
Format: Hardcover
UPDATE: This is the 3rd edition. The 4th edition just came out, and it is excellent. I have read every page, and will post a review as soon as I have time. But in the meantime, do not buy the 3rd edition. (I'm not sure why Amazon is still selling this now outdated edition.)

The rest of my review of the 3rd edition follows:


For 10 years, I have taught intro-level economics courses at a university. I have used a variety of books, and read many others (to steal their best ideas and examples for my teaching!). Mankiw is the one I like best.

More importantly, Mankiw is the one my students consistently like best. I often survey students near the end of the semester about their satisfaction with different aspects of the textbook, including: clarity, brevity, real-world relevance, effective layout & use of color, quality of the diagrams, and so forth. I tell my students not to sign their survey - I want their responses to be anonymous and completely candid. I tell students "If this book doesn't work for you, PLEASE tell me so that I can use a better one for my next batch of students."

More than any other textbook I've used, Mankiw's Economics textbook gets the highest student ratings in every category.

It might also be helpful for you to know about the difficulty level of Mankiw. I would describe it as average. For comparison, I would describe the following as above average difficulty level: Stockman, Stiglitz, Baumol/Blinder, Case/Fair, and Parkin. I would describe these books as below average difficulty level: Tucker, Miller, Bade/Parkin, Boyes/Melvin, and O'Sullivan/Sheffrin. I think the difficulty level of Mankiw is roughly comparable to that of Schiller, Colander, McConnell/Brue, and McEachern.

Despite that Mankiw is merely "average" difficulty level, it maintains a fairly good degree of analytical rigor.

Also, the writing style is student-friendly (but definitely not too informal), and, unlike other textbooks, Mankiw avoids introducing a lot of terms that won't be important for anything later in the book. The layout is attractive, yet clean and uncluttered, with lots of space in the margins for students to jot notes if they wish. Students find the end-of-chapter exercises very helpful.

The most distinguishing characteristic of the macroeconomics chapters is Mankiw's innovative approach. He first covers long-run topics: What determines a country's standard of living in the long run? What is the cause of the long-run upward trend in the cost of living? Why is there unemployment when things are "normal" (i.e. not a recession)? And many others (including saving, investment, the government budget deficit, the trade balance - all things you hear about on the evening news every day).

Then, he turns to short-run issues, such as recessions and booms.

Why treat the long run first? Because it's easier to learn the short-run analysis after students have learned the long-run equilibrium around which the economy fluctuates. (Also, there is much more agreement in the profession about the long-run analysis, whereas there's a fair amount of controversy over some of the details of the short-run analysis.)

How is this approach received? Very well, as evidenced by the fact that many other textbooks have copied it AFTER Mankiw first popularized it with the first edition of his Principles book, and before that, the first edition of his excellent intermediate macroeconomics textbook.

Mankiw is a superstar in the profession - and outside of it, as well. President Bush tapped him to be the Chairperson of the President's Council of Economic Advisors, and Mankiw briefs the President once or twice every week (in addition to many other important responsibilities.)

Despite working for a Republican Administration, Mankiw presents a very balanced treatment of economics in his textbooks (and I am telling you this as a Democrat). In fact, Mankiw prefers GOOD ideas, whether Republican or Democrat. For example, he recently argued for a gas tax increase to encourage conservation, and suggested the revenue be given back to consumers in the form of an income tax cut. Mankiw clearly does not just "push the Party line." This is integrity.

The company that publishes Mankiw's Principles of Economics textbooks, Thomson/South-Western, invests a lot of resources into continually improving this book. Compared to any other textbook publisher I know, they hire more student and teacher reviewers and devote more time and effort and money into obtaining, processing, and incorporating critical user feedback so that each edition, and accompanying supplements, are the very best they can be.

All in all, I readily recommend Mankiw's Principles of Economics textbook.
78 of 84 people found the following review helpful
The best and most fun economics textbook 3 Sept. 2003
By Gaetan Lion - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Years back I read in The Economist an excellent review about this textbook at the time it first came out. The article suggested that the bible of econ textbook had been so far the one written by Paul Samuelson. But, The Economist book review made an excellent case that Mankiw textbook should become the prevailing introduction to economics textbook. Why is that? Well, Mankiw book covers all the subject and the technicalities Samuelson textbook covers. Additionally, Mankiw book is hip, current, entertaining, and fun to read. His economic examples are full of pop stars, movie stars, sports heroes, and other mass media public figure we all know off. He brings in as supportive educational material many columns from the Wall Street Journal, or New York Times written by famous economists such as Paul Krugman, and Lester Thurow among others.
A day after reading The Economist book review I bought the book. I read and studied it with so much pleasure over the next two months that I felt I was back in some of the best classes I had ever taken in undergrad and grad school. Today, as part of my work as an internal financial consultant for a major U.S. bank, I often do research projects regarding fairly esoteric economics issues. And, I often review and study specific chapters of this book to refresh my economics foundation. I gather by now you can tell I love this book. Anyone who has an interest in economics should acquire this book first as educational enjoyment, and second as an invaluable reference.
23 of 23 people found the following review helpful
A fine introductory text for students and generalists 14 Aug. 2004
By Craig Matteson - Published on
Format: Hardcover
This is a very readable textbook for undergraduates or interested generalists who want to develop a basic understanding of economics. Dr. Mankiw focuses on developing intuitions and habits of thought rather than teaching mathematical techniques. He does this by using ten basic principles that he lays out in the introduction. Throughout the book, whenever one of the ten principles is discussed he uses a special symbol in the margin to draw attention to that discussion.

The book's thirty-six chapters are divided into thirteen parts. The first two parts introduce the ten principles and the basic ideas of supply, demand, and markets. Parts 4-7 discuss topics in microeconomics including the areas of current research. Parts 8-13 discuss topics in macroeconomics and conclude with five debates over macroeconomic policy.

Since this is a general textbook the author really does not come down hard in one school of economic thought or another. Conservatives, like me, might find him a bit more accommodating of the role of government in society than we would think healthy. However, he is far from being a Keynesian or a New Keynesian. In fact, his discussion of the Phillips Curve has brought him under attack in some circles. I feel that his trying to develop an intuition of the tradeoff economies face when trying to pursue employment and price stability is understandable and, on balance, helpful to young students and generalists. Let them wrestle with the more advanced arguments after they develop their facility with the tools of economics.

The book does have a glossary, an index, and inside the back covers there is a list of a couple dozen books for summer reading.

This is not a one-volume compendium of economic thought for your bookshelf. It is a textbook for those who wish to develop a basic understanding of economics through general principles. If you are looking for a beginning text in econometrics, this is not the one for you.

The student workbook that you can buy to supplement this text is quite good and I recommend it as well. ISBN 0-324-28859-X
96 of 115 people found the following review helpful
Ridiculous Oversimplification 15 Oct. 2003
By A Customer - Published on
Format: Hardcover
Mankiw has taken a fairly complex discipline and "dumbed it down" so low that 60 percent of our economics faculty refuse to use this book. In 15 years of teaching at the university level, I had never objected to a departmental book recommendation until I used Mankiw's text for one semester. This thing is awful!!
What's the problem? For starters, Mankiw preaches his own beliefs as if they are "generally accepted" by the discipline. He takes complex economic issues and solves them with overly simplistic statements that are presented as matters of fact. That's wrong when introducing students to economics for the first time. Students will think they understand economics when, in fact, they'll only be exposed to a very biased perspective. As an example, Mankiw introduces the Phillips Curve, of all things, in the FIRST chapter! Why not give students a little foundation for understanding the basics of the Phillips Curve, not to mention the controversy surrounding it, before laying this thing on them as though it is fundamental to the discipline (which it isn't)? He continues with this horrific oversimplification of complex or highly debatable topics, solving controversial problems with a stroke of the pen.
I'm not one of these economists who believes that a principles textbook has to be terribly rigorous for it to be useful. I've used the Stiglitz book and concluded that it was beyond the scope of my students. On the other hand, I prefer a book with a little substance to it. If you're looking for a "highly readable" principles of economics textbook that is unbiased and technically correct, I recommend Irvin Tucker's Economics For Today.
18 of 21 people found the following review helpful
Excellent introduction although highly biased 15 Dec. 2003
By Mauricio Bussab - Published on
Format: Hardcover
I am not enrolled in an economics course - I bought this book for my general knowledge. I wanted to understand several concepts that I see in the news and to have more information to be able to form an opinion on them. The book was effective for this purpose.
Mankiw's style is engaging. The size of the chapters, news pieces included and exercises make it a textbook that you can read at the beach. Great for learning things yourself. Exactly what I wanted.
Having said that, the book has two major flaws:
* It is HIGHLY BIASED towards liberalization of the economy. If you already believe that the government should stay out of everything then maybe you won't notice it. But although this is a popular view in the US, it is not the only one, especially outside of that country. Also, it is hard to see where he is expressing his own personal views and where he is expressing those that are actually taken for granted by the majority of economists. You have to make a special effort to read between the lines. For instance, there is little information on how governments try to achieve a better distribution of wealth. He does mention that policies created by economic advisors try to improve either efficiency or equity. He explains the efficiency side very well. And almost ignores the equity side. The chapter on unemployment is especially infuriating. The news clipping included about welfare in Germany is misleading and partial. This is inexcusable in a textbook. Special care should have been taken to show more points of view.
* the other problem is the complete lack of bibliography. Not a single line on recommended reading. If you want to read more about a certain subject you are on your own.
Still, I learned a lot with the book. Where else would I find an explanation of opportunity cost with the title "Should Tiger Woods mow his own lawn?"
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