By Miller, Theone
Teaching Business & Economics , Vol. 15, No. 1
Guide to Economic Indicators: Making Sense of Economics, The Economist, 7th Edition, Profile Books, 2010, hardback, 244 pages, £20.00, ISBN 978 1846681769
EBEA members are no doubt already familiar with the Economist's 'Guide to Economic Indicators', but I would urge all teachers of Economics to have a serious look at the 7th edition. As stated on the cover, this book aims to explain all that the business person or student needs to know, in order to understand and interpret economic statistics and form their own judgements about different economies' performance. It also includes up to date statistics not found in previous editions.
Every chapter kicks off with a humorous quote from a recognisable public figure and leavens what can occasionally be challenging material for pupils. There is a short explanation of the information to follow and definitions of the terminology used - what we teachers would call 'key terms'. Having explained the terms they are then put into context. This is backed up with plenty of useful graphs and tables which are student friendly. Each chapter then gives examples of how these data could be used. For example, when talking about GDP per head, there are subheadings explaining what it measures, its significance, how it is presented, what it focuses on, a yardstick comparison and when the data are released.
Chapter 1 - Interpreting economic indicators, includes a comprehensive list of key regional and economic groups. This helps pupils make sense of acronyms such as OECD and OPEC, as well as listing the countries in key groups such as the Commonwealth of Independent States. It also includes a comprehensive list of national statistical publications, allowing pupils to undertake sensible research comparing countries' economic performance, rather than spending fruitless hours 'Googling' in the hopes of finding relevant data.
Chapter 2 - Essential mechanics, is almost worth the price of the book in itself. …