The Complete A-Z Economics Handbook

Article excerpt

The Complete A-Z Economics Handbook; Nancy Wall; Hodder and Stoughton, 2001. 354 pages, 9.99, ISBN 0-340-78954-9.

The Complete A-Z Economics and Business Studies Handbook; Nancy Wall, Ian MarcousE, David Lines and Barry Martin; Hodder and Stoughton, 2000, 354 pages, 9.99, ISBN 0-340-77216-6, Tel. 01235 827720.

Both of these books have been written specifically for AS and A2 students. The Economics and Business Studies Handbook has been written for students studying courses which combine Economics and Business Studies (the Nuffield course being the only one still in existence) whereas the Economics Handbook seems to be aimed largely at those following the AQA, Edexcel and OCR specifications, although WJEC and CCEA students should also find it useful.

Both books define and explain terms that students are expected to know at AS and A2. The terms are in alphabetical order and are printed in bold type. Each term is given a one sentence definition which is then developed and explained. The depth of the explanations seems to depend both on the relative importance of the terms in the AS and A2 specifications and how difficult the concept is to understand. For example, in the Economics and Business Studies Handbook, 'incidence of taxation' is given three quarters of a page while 'market share' is given less than onefifth of a page. Extensive use is made of diagrams and worked examples where these help clarify an explanation. Terms used in the explanations which also have entries in the book are usually written in italics.

In both books most terms are explained clearly and the language used is well within the grasp of even the less able AS and A2 students. However some definitions are of limited use. For example, in the Economics handbook, producer surplus is defined as 'the segment of consumer surplus which will be lost to the consumer if the industry becomes a monopoly'. Most AS and A level textbooks define it as the difference between the market price and the price at which producers are willing to supply. An examination of awarding bodies mark schemes seem to indicate that it is this latter definition that they are expecting. For those of us who have repeatedly found ourselves having to persuade students that the money they have in their savings account is not capital, the entry for 'factors of production' in both books could also cause some problems. …