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Book details
ISBN: 9780072900279 / 007290027X
Division: Higher Education
Pub Date: DEC-07
Pages: 864

Copyright: 2008
Edition: 1
Format: Hardback

B. Douglas Bernheim, Michael Whinston


About the book

Bernheim and Whinston's Microeconomics focuses on the core principles of the intermediate microeconomic course: individuals and firms making decisions, competitive markets, and market failures. An accessible text that does not require knowledge of calculus, Microeconomics utilizes examples and integrates topics that will stimulate and motivate students.

Key advantages of Bernheim and Whinston's approach are:

1) A fresh, up-to-date treatment of modern microeconomic theory.
2) A clear and engaging writing style, along with innovative pedagogy that provides students with more accessible ways to understand and master difficult concepts.
3) Numerous real-world applications that are closely tied to the theoretical material developed in the text.
4) Teaches students to solve a wide range of quantitative problems without requiring calculus.

Key features

  • Course: One- or two- term intermediate microeconomic courses as taught in departments of economics and business schools. It is expected that students will have had a micro principles course. Most students will be either economics or business majors, or MBAs. The text can also be used for both graduate and undergraduate economics courses taught in public policy schools.
    Flexible Chapter Organization: Microeconomics places the decision making chapters first, followed by the discussion of markets. However, all chapters are carefully written in a modular format so that they can be taught in any order, and the Preface outlines multiple organization scenarios that could be followed. (For example, an instructor can move from basic producer and consumer theory to competitive markets, and then cover more advanced topics in decision making, like time, uncertainty, and strategy).
    Teaches the 'Why it matters' behind the theory: The authors use a clear and engaging writing style ' a style that undergrads can get excited about. When they bring up a topic they explain why it matters, instead of merely asserting that the topic will be useful later.
    --See section titled 'Why are rates of substitution important' in Chapter 4, Section 4.3. Usually, students are just assured that rates of substitution will prove useful later.
    Student Friendly Pedagogy: Microeconomics uses innovative pedagogy that provides students with more accessible ways to understand and master difficult concepts. For example, colored tables are used to explain various consumer choices at the beginning of the consumer theory sections instead of going right to cases where students are forced to draw indifference curves.
    See Chapter 4: Principles and Preferences in Part II: Individual Decision Making (Key Chapter)
    Real World Applications Closely Tied to Text: Microeconomics incorporates real world applications and examples that students can relate to, unlike most other texts on the market that use a mix of real and fictitious scenarios. ALL included applications are founded in real companies and individuals making decisions. The authors have been diligent to ensure the applications tie directly and clearly to the concept being discussed.
    See Example 4.1, Application 4.1.
    Worked-Out Problems and In-Text Exercises: A series of example problems are provided to help students apply the issues discussed in the chapters. Linked 'In-Text Exercises' follow the 'Worked-Out Problems' as an extra reinforcement, driving home the highlighted concept.
    See Worked-Out Problem 4.1, In-Text Exercise 4.1.
    No Calculus Required: By starting students in the right place and using well-placed Worked-out Problems, the authors encourage students to solve a much wider range of quantitative problems than are usually covered in non-calculus texts, while requiring only simple algebra.
    For example, consumer choice coverage generally poses a problem asking students to figure out what a consumer is going to choose. Most books either treat that problem only graphically, or begin with a utility function, which requires calculus. Instead, Bernheim and Whinston start with the consumer's marginal rate of substitution, so the student can solve for the best choice with only basic algebra.
    Conceptually, the marginal rate of substitution is a more appropriate starting point because it is observable, whereas a utility function is not observable; it is something economists have invented.
    The Worked-Out Problems and Exercises cleanly separate the economics from the calculus by providing students with both 'total' and 'marginal' formulas. This allows non-calculus students to solve a wide range of quantitative problems. It also allows students with calculus backgrounds to focus on the economic content of the problems, without confusing the economics with the calculus; those students can also be asked to check the derivatives.

    Marginal Analysis Chapter (3): An entire chapter has been devoted to marginal analysis, the central tool of microeconomics. Given that students are going to use this core set of principles throughout the course, the authors introduce the topic early and facilitate a deep understanding of the concept.
    Game Theory Chapter (12): Bernheim and Whinston offer an entire chapter on this important topic. The chapter is an engaging, accessible and up-to-date introduction to a topic that has permeated the field of Economics in recent years. Microeconomics innovatively illustrates concepts using graphing and color, and fun examples such as the 'World Rock/Paper/Scissors Tournament' explained at the beginning of the chapter.
    Behavioral Economics Chapter (13): Bernheim and Whinston provide an even-handed, thought-provoking introduction to behavioral issues and experiments. The chapter has 4 parts tying behavioral economics to the concepts taught in other chapters. That way you can use this chapter stand alone or modularly in conjunction with other chapter topics. You are not forced to cover this concept.
    Innovative treatment of time and uncertainty (Chapters 10 and 11): In most books, time and uncertainty are taught in ways that seem like the student has to learn a whole new set of tools. Not in Microeconomics. Bernheim and Whinston cover these topics using concepts students already know from their study of consumer and producer theory, such as indifference curves and budget lines. Faculty around the country are excited by the approach taken in these chapters.

  • Table of contents

    Bernheim and Whinston: Microeconomics
    1. Introduction
    2. Supply and Demand
    3. Balancing Benefits and Costs
    4. Principles and Preferences
    5. Constraints, Choices, and Demand
    6. From Demand to Welfare
    7. Technology and Production
    8. Cost
    9. Profit Maximization
    10. Choices Involving Time
    11. Choices involving Risk
    12. Choices Involving Strategy
    13. Behavioral Economics
    14. Equilibrium and Efficiency
    15. Market Intervention
    16. General Equilibrium, Efficiency, and Equity
    17. Monopoly
    18. Pricing Policies
    19. Oligopoly
    20. Externalities and Public Goods
    21. Information Imperfections



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