Monday, September 18, 2006

What's New in 4e?

Today, after my ec 10 lecture, a student asked me: Is the 4th edition of my Principles of Economics textbook substantially different from the 3rd edition?

As an answer, let me offer an excerpt from the preface to the 4th edition:

Although the principles of economics are timeless, the application of those principles changes over time as events unfold and as policymakers consider new initiatives. To keep the study of economics fresh and relevant for each new cohort of students, teachers of economics must constantly update their courses. This new edition contributes to that effort by including dozens of new case studies and boxes.

The new features in this edition are too numerous to list in their entirety, but here is a sample:

  • A new box describes how football coach Bill Belichick has used economic research to improve his team’s 4th-down strategy.
  • A new box summarizes recent research by Nobel prize winner Ed Prescott on how taxes influence work effort in Europe.
  • A new box discusses the winners and losers from the increased textile trade with China.
  • A new box considers the economics of offshore outsourcing.
  • A new case study describes the fiscal challenge ahead that arises from an aging population.
  • A new box describes how London has reduced congestion with road pricing.
  • A new box discusses how rapid growth in Asia is making the global distribution of income more equal.
  • A new box summarizes recent research into the causes of child labor in poor nations.
  • A new case study examines the moral hazard problem as applied to corporate managers.
  • A new box discusses what behavioral economics says about the determinants of saving.
  • A new box considers how economic statistics can miss the underground economy.
  • A new box uses three striking photos to illustrate the differences in living standards in Great Britain, Mexico, and Ethiopia.
  • A new box includes an article by the presidents of Mali and Burkina Faso on how freer world trade would benefit their nations’ poor farmers.
  • A new box examines some of the peculiar features of U.S. health insurance.
  • A new box discusses the problem of high unemployment in Germany.
  • A new case study considers whether the U.S. economy could ever experience a bout of capital flight.
  • Two new boxes analyze the economics of Hurricane Katrina—one focusing on the short-run macroeconomic impact and the second on the reconstruction effort.
  • And finally, a new case study in Chapter 2 discusses my own recent experience as an economic adviser to President Bush.

In addition to updating the book, I have refined its coverage and pedagogy with input from many users of the previous edition. There are many changes, both large and small, aimed at making the book clearer and more student-friendly.