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Please contribute to Economics reading list!

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Wheylous Posted: Sun, Dec 16 2012 5:32 PM

I'm trying to come up with a guided study to economics. The discussions for the first two classes are going on here:

http://libertyhq.freeforums.org/discussion-f5.html

I would appreciate any insight.

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Well here's Tom Woods's suggestion:

 http://lewrockwell.com/woods/woods177.html

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Student replied on Sun, Dec 16 2012 8:28 PM

As always, the best place to start learning economics...is from Paul Krugman. :P 

His intro to micro textbook is a best. I posted links to relevant chapters.

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Neodoxy replied on Sun, Dec 16 2012 8:44 PM

Student,

Really? I haven't read any of Krugman's more formal work, but every time that I read his blog I want to throw up because its just bad. Not counter to my viewpoints; bad.

At last those coming came and they never looked back With blinding stars in their eyes but all they saw was black...
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Student replied on Sun, Dec 16 2012 9:03 PM

I don't really read his blog. I don't think he's very fair to the people he disagrees with politically, so I get pretty frustrated with it.

That being said, his purely economic writings are always worth reading imo. And i think his educational writing is particuarly top notch. He explains things very clearly and in way that is actually interesting. I think his intro micro textbook is way better than others out there (like Mankiws).

Ambition is a dream with a V8 engine - Elvis Presley

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Wheylous replied on Mon, Dec 17 2012 12:13 AM

Why do you think his is better than Mankiw's?

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Torsten replied on Mon, Dec 17 2012 7:32 AM

I'm trying to come up with a guided study to economics.

I'd start with the epistemological foundations for economics. Mises did write about this and perhaps someone knows other authors (I do not recall one immeditaly). 

Personally I'd like to read more from Friedrich von Wieser!

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Student replied on Mon, Dec 17 2012 12:00 PM

Why do you think his is better than Mankiw's?

Well, I don't want to make it sound like Mankiw's micro textbook is bad or anything. They both have essentially the same material. I just think Krugman presents things in a much more helpful way.

Here's one example. Compare the way they discuss how total revenue is related to the elasticity of demand. The take home for the student should be that when demand is inelastic, total revenue is falling as you increase production (knowing this makes it easier to understand why a monopolist will never want to produce in the inelastic portion of the demand curve).

Both textbooks have this same lesson. So you would probbaly learn the same thing regardless of which textbook you read. But compare Figure 5-5 from Krugman's Chapter on Elasticity..

http://www.whfreeman.com/college/pdfs/krugman_canadian/CH05.pdf

with Mankiw's figure 3 from his Chapter on Elasticity...

http://books.google.com/books?id=nZE_wPg4Wi0C&pg=PA92&lpg=PA92&dq=mankiw+elasticities&source=bl&ots=t5xIfYfVIp&sig=4_0DmokxlFN5j4cRFvS0SzKVa20&hl=en&sa=X&ei=21nPUP3JDYPO9QTGk4CABA&ved=0CEQQ6AEwAg#v=onepage&q=mankiw%20elasticities&f=false

In Krugman's graph he shows how total revenue changes as we move along a linear demand curve and you immediately see that that total revenue is falling once demand becomes inelastic. You almost don't even have to read the text. By contrast, Mankiw picks two different points on a demand curve and talks in the text about how total revenue at the more elastic point is greater than at the less elastic point.  He makes the exact same point that Krugman does, but in a more long-winded and less obvious way.

Not to mention, I just think Krugman is just a better writer. When you're reading Mankiw you *know* you're reading a textbook. When you're reading Krugman, it's almost like you're having a conversation. 

*shrug* That's just my two cents. It's really all subjective. So, since the material is exactly the same, If Mankiw works for you, then follow your bliss.

Ambition is a dream with a V8 engine - Elvis Presley

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Wheylous replied on Mon, Dec 17 2012 12:05 PM

Nah, I was just wondering what your reasoning was. I learned with Mankiw and thought it was rather clear.

What about Macro? Do you think Krugman does a better job as well?

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Student replied on Mon, Dec 17 2012 12:44 PM

I've never actually looked at Mankiw's macro or Krugman's macro. So I'm not sure. My bias for Krugman would probably lead me to pick his book, but who knows. :P

In my intermediate macro course we used Mike McElroy's textbook. It is now out of print, but freely available online:

http://courses.ncsu.edu/ec302/lec/001/TextLinks.htm

I thought it was really great. 

Ambition is a dream with a V8 engine - Elvis Presley

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