Principles of Microeconomics (UVic)
Posted: November 16, 2017 | Updated: May 25, 2020
Author: Emma Hutchinson, University of Victoria
This book is an adaptation of Principles of Microeconomics originally published by OpenStax. This adapted version has been reorganized into eight topics and expanded to include over 200 multiple choice questions, examples, eight case studies including questions and solutions, and over 200 editable figures.
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Principles of Microeconomics (UVic) by Emma Hutchinson, University of Victoria is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.
4.5 / 5
Q: The text covers all areas and ideas of the subject appropriately and provides an effective index and/or glossary
The textbook covers all the topics that is typically covered in a one-semester principles of microeconomics course. Specialization and trade, supply, demand and market equilibrium, government policies (tax, tariff, quota, price ceiling, and price floor), elasticity, externality, consumer theory, and market structures (perfect competition, monopoly, and monopolistic competition). However, the book does not cover oligopolistic market structure and also does not have an appendix about algebra related to market equilibrium which most micro textbooks cover. The glossary also sounds effective and useful.
The text comes with a number of multiple-choice questions at the end of each subsection, and a case study with a solution at the end of each chapter. Having multiple-choice questions and case studies with solutions provide a comprehensive resource for students to practice the learn outcomes and boosts their critical thinking skills since all case studies are written in a way that require critical thinking.
In addition, the book also has related and interesting real life stories mostly at the beginning of each chapter that at the very least, are resources for students to explore the concepts in a broader window.
Comprehensiveness Rating: 4 out of 5
Q: Content is accurate, error-free and unbiased
As a regular microeconomics instructor, the book sounds accurate to me. I have not used the book in a class yet so I do not suggest that I am providing a thorough review in accuracy, but from what I have reviewed, I faced the following issues:
1- Subsection 1.2 Opportunity Costs & Sunk Costs: when explaining the opportunity costs the author says: “We must consider time as another cost of the action.” I think it is not accurate instead it should say what we do with our time is part of the cost of an action.
2- Subsection 3.2 Building Demand and Consumer Surplus: when explaining the demand and supply the author says: “Demand is based on needs and wants, and while consumers can differentiate between a need and a want, from an economist’s perspective, they are the same thing.” Again, this sentence does not sound accurate to me, because in economics we distinguish between wants and needs and we only talk about wants not needs, to say we need something is to deny the principle of substitutions.
3- Subsection 3.4 Building Supply and Producer Surplus: I think, this subsection should also cover the concept of market supply curve.
4- Subsection 8.2 Fixing Monopoly: Figure 8.2c does not have enough explanation. The figure is related to government policy and monopoly and it suggests reducing deadweight loss by imposing a price ceiling, but it does not explain requirements for this price ceiling and why monopoly firm stays in the market even with this policy.
I also faced the following typos:
5- Subsection 3.5 Other Determinants of Supply: in Figure 3.5a and Figure 3.5b, it says the effects of imput prices. It should be input price.
6- Subsection 8.2 Fixing Monopoly: A binding price floor at $116 would indeed remove the DWL, it should be price ceiling.
The issues that I faced are minor and not enough to deter me from using the book.
Content Accuracy Rating: 4 out of 5
Q: Content is up-to-date, but not in a way that will quickly make the text obsolete within a short period of time. The text is written and/or arranged in such a way that necessary updates will be relatively easy and straightforward to implement
The content of the book is up-to-date as of 2020, and it is organized in a way which is easy to locate the content that is needed to be updated in the future. There are mainly three categories of examples in the book, one category is expressed in grey and green boxes mostly covering real world business examples, another category is examples that are used in the chapters for explaining the concepts, and the last category is the case studies. Examples that are used in the chapters are all daily examples which never will be out of date and I do not think they need to be updated very soon, but the case studies and green/grey box examples can be updated in the future with current and hot topics. (but perhaps not a near future because I think the nature of the examples will stay current/hot topics for several years)
Relevance Rating: 5 out of 5
Q: The text is written in lucid, accessible prose, and provides adequate context for any jargon/technical terminology used
What I appreciate the most about the textbook is that it is written in a very straightforward manner. The explanations of the book are very easy to get through and all learning outcomes are clearly stated at the beginning of each subsection. Chapters starts with introductions that mostly are very interesting stories such as stories about Netflix, Apple and Samsung, Ford, etc. I believe this is the best way to give a clear picture to students about the chapter and motivate them to read through it.
Clarity Rating: 5 out of 5
Q: The text is internally consistent in terms of terminology and framework
The terminology and framework are completely standard for a principles of microeconomics text and they are used consistently throughout the book.
Consistency Rating: 5 out of 5
Q: The text is easily and readily divisible into smaller reading sections that can be assigned at different points within the course (i.e., enormous blocks of text without subheadings should be avoided). The text should not be overly self-referential, and should be easily reorganized and realigned with various subunits of a course without presenting much disruption to the reader.
The book does not have any long subsection and within each subsection the objectives are clearly stated. The objectives are not overwhelming which makes the book very approachable from a students’ point of view. Cross referencing is kept minimal and one could easily divide the book to separate stand alone parts.
Modularity Rating: 5 out of 5
Q: The topics in the text are presented in a logical, clear fashion
Very typical organization for a principle of micro text. I have used several, and they all have almost the same basic organization.
Organization Rating: 5 out of 5
Q: The text is free of significant interface issues, including navigation problems, distortion of images/charts, and any other display features that may distract or confuse the reader
The graphs, charts, and tables all are readable and clear. I did not face any issues and all the content looks good to me in this aspect.
Interface Rating: 5 out of 5
Q: The text contains no grammatical errors
I have found two typos in the book:
Subsection 3.5 Other Determinants of Supply: above Figure 3.5a and Figure 3.5b, it says the effects of imput prices. It should be input price.
Subsection 8.2 Fixing Monopoly: A binding price floor at $116 would indeed remove the DWL, it should be price ceiling.
Grammar Rating: 4 out of 5
Q: The text is not culturally insensitive or offensive in any way. It should make use of examples that are inclusive of a variety of races, ethnicities, and backgrounds
The book has a variety of examples that reflects diversity, but I think it is a bit biased towards Victoria Island and many examples are referring to the University of Victoria.
Cultural Relevance Rating: 3 out of 5
Q: Are there any other comments you would like to make about this book, for example, its appropriateness in a Canadian context or specific updates you think need to be made?
I am pleasantly surprised by this book and will definitely use it in my classes. What I like the most about the book is the case studies, examples and applications. If you like your students learn the principles of microeconomics through real life examples, you could consider this book as an option. I hate asking my students only multiple-choice questions in my exams. I always like to ask them questions in which they need to apply their knowledge to real life examples, if you have the same teaching style this book is one of the best options. Many books do not do a good job in preparing students to analyze real life examples, so the entire load goes to the lecture and class examples, but this book is written in a way that boosts critical thinking and students see a lot of real life examples and even solutions so you can be sure that there is an alignment with your text and your exams.