Principles of Microeconomics

By Peter Else; Peter Curwen | Go to book overview

PREFACE

This book is intended for use by students who have previously studied a course in economic principles, and who are now intent upon developing their knowledge of microeconomic theory. They are accordingly likely to be on the second year of either an economics or a business studies degree programme at a university or polytechnic. There are already a number of books in existence that claim to serve this market, but this is one of the very few to be directed specifically to meeting its needs.

In the first place, it is structured to take into account the standard teaching year’s programme of 20-25 sequential lectures. The text is accordingly divided into 22 chapters, each of roughly equal length and difficulty, and each containing enough material, but no more, for one week of such a programme. Secondly, in order to achieve this objective, the content of each chapter has been rigorously adjusted so that it is pitched exclusively at the second-year student; repetition of matters covered in introductory texts (which students will probably still have in their possession) is kept to a minimum, and there is no attempt to push the student into the realms of final-year theory which he or she is not yet ready to comprehend. In these respects this text is different from most of those originating from the USA, which are designed for other purposes, nor, we hope, does it suffer from a tendency to be unnecessarily sophisticated for the intermediate market.

The compactness of the text should not, therefore, be mistaken for a failure to cover the necessary ground. It is our premise that the typical student will be more willing to read when he or she is presented with a reasonable, but also testing, weekly target. In the latter respect there is also the matter of mathematical sophistication to address. Numeracy has become an increasingly important criterion for success in understanding economic models, yet it can be overemphasized as well as underplayed. At the end of the day, the key issue is whether the average student can read through a text and follow the argument in comfort, irrespective of how it is presented. If he or she is bogged down with the mathematics, the student inevitably loses track of the economics. This book accordingly relies primarily upon the familiar diagrammatic exposition of introductory texts, although the diagrams are often more complex than those found at an introductory level and they require greater care in their interpretation. Where appropriate, however, other forms of mathematical representation such as calculus are used.

-xv-

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