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Principles of Macroeconomics: OpenStax

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Description: Published by OpenStax College, Principles of Macroeconomics covers the scope and sequence for a one-semester economics course. The text also includes many current examples, including: the housing bubble and housing crisis, Zimbabwe’s hyperinflation, global unemployment, and the appointment of the United States’ first female Federal Reserve chair, Janet Yellen. The pedagogical choices, chapter arrangements, and learning objective fulfillment were developed and vetted with feedback from educators dedicated to the project. The outcome is a balanced approach to economics, to both Keynesian and classical views, and to the theory and application of economics concepts. Current events are treated in a politically-balanced way, as well.

Author: Timothy Taylor, Macalester College

Original source: openstaxcollege.org

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Principles of Macroeconomics: OpenStax by Timothy Taylor, Macalester College is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.


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Reviews for 'Principles of Macroeconomics'

Number of reviews: 3
Average Rating: 4.43 out of 5

1. Reviewed by: Xiaowen Lei
  • Institution: Simon Fraser University
  • Title/Position: Ph.D, Teaching Assistant
  • Overall Rating: 4.5 out of 5
  • Date:
  • License: Creative Commons License

Q: The text covers all areas and ideas of the subject appropriately and provides an effective index and/or glossary

Yes, the text is quite comprehensive, and covers main topics in macroeconomics like growth, unemployment, and covers some of open macroeconomic issue too. However, business cycle issues is a missed, which should be important in an intro text.

Comprehensiveness Rating: 5 out of 5

Q: Content is accurate, error-free and unbiased

Yes. It’s quite hard to say if a macroeconomics text is accurate or not. There’re some classical undergrad theory, and they are covered well here, like the AD-AS model. However, the author might better link these graphical analysis of macro economy more closely with the Keynesian and neo-classical view.

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

Yes, the theory is quite classical and the examples employed are quite up-to-dated. However, the first few chapters looks not so relevant as a macroeconomics text. There’s a lot on consumer choice at the beginning of the text, which should actually show up in a microeconomics text.

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

Yes, the book is quite easy to read, and should be ok for a foreign student with moderate knowledge of English to read. The terminology is well defined and summarized at the end of each chapter, which renders clarity and convenience.

Clarity Rating: 5 out of 5

Q: The text is internally consistent in terms of terminology and framework

Almost. The author introduces both Keynesian and neo-classical schools of thoughts for macroeconomics, but provides throughout the book mostly with neo-classical analysis with flexible price level. I think it would be better to add in more Keynesian analysis given that currently economists debates frequently on price stickiness and the role of government.

Consistency Rating: 4 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.

Yes, although there’s interconnectedness among different chapters of the book, each chapter is quite clear in its own. Given that the book is written in a way with plenty of examples, I think of it as a great resource for supplementing other textbook too when some clarification and intuition is needed.

Modularity Rating: 4 out of 5

Q: The topics in the text are presented in a logical, clear fashion

My impression of this textbook is that if you view each chapter separately, they are all very consistent and logical. However, if you view all these chapters together, there’s a lack of connectedness amongst them. Classical analysis should be compared with Keynesian economics, better with historical data.

Organization Rating: 4 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

I found the display of the charts to be too big, although no error, although some data display could include longer series to make it more up-to-dated.

Interface Rating: 4 out of 5

Q: The text contains no grammatical errors

I found almost no gramma errors, the textbook is written in plain English, which is easily understood as well.

Grammar Rating: 5 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

Yes. Examples are given all around the world, including many developing countries, which is quite standard in a macroeconomics text, especially when it comes to an international context.

Cultural Relevance Rating: 5 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?

It’s a book that all English-speaking country could use. Lots of examples and graphs from US, and since Canada and US share very similar macroeconomic features, it would be suitable for Canadian readers to read the text. A major potential improvement would be to have more up-to-date data, given that macro data is usually at lower frequency, and that many economic series after the recent recession would be very interesting for both the theory and the reader.

2. Reviewed by: Peter Dalley
  • Institution: Thompson Rivers University
  • Title/Position: Lecturer
  • Overall Rating: 4.1 out of 5
  • Date:
  • License: Creative Commons License

Q: The text covers all areas and ideas of the subject appropriately and provides an effective index and/or glossary

This textbook is quite comprehensive for a first year macroeconomics textbook. It doesn't assume students have taken microeconomics first, and so provides a few of the essential tools from a micro course that would be needed in this macro course. The first 5 chapters cover this material, although perhaps even a bit too extensively. Chapter 4 and 5 would be considered optional.

The text provides a thorough foundation of principles of macroeconomics plus a number of chapters dedicated to various applications of macroeconomics. Chapters 6 onward provide sufficient coverage on basic macroeconomic topics. However, in later chapters, when policy discussions begin to dominate, the books US centric discussion becomes increasingly problematic. This is a very common issue in economics texts, perhaps most of all in macroeconomics. This US focus and lack of any discussion within a Canadian context would be the largest problem to overcome with this text. It would require a significant revision by Canadian authors to resolve.

The key terms at the end of each chapter is very helpful as first year textbooks often contain a lot of new jargon students will have never heard. This book is no exception.

Comprehensiveness Rating: 3 out of 5

Q: Content is accurate, error-free and unbiased

The text is sufficiently accurate in all areas. As with most texts in economics, there is significant bias towards US examples in its case studies, application of concepts and policy discussion. A number of spelling and grammatical errors were found, however they are not so problematic as to cause confusion or misunderstanding

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 text seems as up to date as any I've seen. The text contains a large number of cases and examples that are time sensitive, but shouldn't be too difficult to update or replace as time passes. For the most part, the content itself won't require updating as often as basic macroeconomic theory does not change rapidly. Most pressing will be further discussion on monetary policy and austerity in the context of single currency unions such as the Euro countries and the problem of reduced effectiveness of monetary policy when interest rates approach zero, as they currently are in many developed countries.

Relevance Rating: 4 out of 5

Q: The text is written in lucid, accessible prose, and provides adequate context for any jargon/technical terminology used

This textbook is very well written. The language is clear and concise with enough extra attention given to those concepts that require it. It is a relatively easy read. If any jargon is used throughout the text that requires more explanation than that given within the body of the text, the glossary at the end of each chapter should provide enough clarity for most students to grasp.

Clarity Rating: 5 out of 5

Q: The text is internally consistent in terms of terminology and framework

The authors did a great job building basic terminology and conceptual knowledge in a logical manner so that it can be built upon in later chapters. I have no complaints here. The text is sufficiently consistent.

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.

This is a particular strength of this text. In addition to covering basic tools required from microeconomics, it covers a wide range of topics within macroeconomic theory including numerous chapters on greater policy issues. As there is likely too much material in this text to cover in a single course, it permits some flexibility in covering a specific selection and/or reorganization of chapters to focus on specific sub-topics or various course designs.

Modularity Rating: 5 out of 5

Q: The topics in the text are presented in a logical, clear fashion

Overall, this book flows well. There are a couple of chapters that seem out of place, but could easily be skipped or moved within the course without loss of coverage. Due to the modularity of the text, the chapters could be rearranged allowing the instructor to focus on specific topics while limiting exposure to other topics. This ability is described within the very helpful section on customization on page 5 of the preface.

Organization Rating: 4 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

Navigation was a breeze. The table of contents in the PDF was hyperlinked to each section making navigation as easy as it could be. The tables were well formatted and easy to read. The case studies and examples were well highlighted making them easy to find and well separated from the main body of the text. I found no issues in this text with regards to navigation, interface or readability.

Interface Rating: 5 out of 5

Q: The text contains no grammatical errors

With the exception of a few typos, the text is generally free of errors. Those that were found did not distract from the content.

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 text is extremely US centric. Most of the case studies and examples are based on US material. This material could use a significant Canadian revision. Although much of the content can be applied to both US and Canadian economies (eg: definition of GDP), country specific discussion would be very helpful (eg. how is inflation calculated in Canada as opposed to the US?).

Perhaps more problematic is in the discussion on trade and global issues. Canada's role in the global economy is quite different from that of the US. This would require specific discussion on theory of small open economies as well as Canadian specific policies. Everything from exchange rate determination to world interest rate and their effect on Canada is lacking.

In this context, a significant portion of this textbook would have little value to Canadian students and a great deal of Canadian specific content is lacking.

Cultural Relevance Rating: 2 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?

As much as this text is very well written, organized and thorough, I would be hesitant to adopt it because of the extent to which it lacks Canadian content and context. Although very well written and organized, much of the book is far too specific to the U.S. to be of significant value in a Canadian classroom studying macroeconomics in a Canadian context. This text would either need a significant revision by Canadian authors, or would have to be supplemented by a Canadian textbook. The first alternative would be strongly preferred to the second and would result in my recommendation. However, in it's current state, I would be very hesitant to adopt this text for a Canadian course in macroeconomics.


However, I would recommend this textbook for a US specific course in Principles of Macroconomics.

3. Reviewed by: Audrey Lowrie
  • Institution: Selkirk College
  • Title/Position: Instructor (Part Time)
  • Overall Rating: 4.7 out of 5
  • Date:
  • License: Creative Commons License

Q: The text covers all areas and ideas of the subject appropriately and provides an effective index and/or glossary

The textbook provides a comprehensive coverage of the principles of macroeconomics – ideal for an introduction to economics, first year class. It will take longer than two semesters to cover it thoroughly.
There is a section on microeconomics at the beginning of the textbook to cover the main topics that should be understood before studying macroeconomic theory and practice. These chapters are broadly similar to those in “Principles of Economics’ by the same author. These chapters are a useful guide for students studying macroeconomics only, or students who need a reminder of key micro concepts.
Overall, the textbook is excellent with a clear presentation of topics in a logical manner with good flow.
The examples and illustrations are clear, and the key terms at the end of each chapter are helpful. There is a math appendix at the end, which is useful for students who may be weak in this area.
The index is clear, with each chapter subdivided into sections for quick reference. There is a good summary of what is to be achieved at the beginning of each section.
There appears to be a wide selection of ancilliary resources including solutions to chapter problems, a testbank for faculty and powerpoints. However, there are no solutions to questions for the student in the textbook itself.

Comprehensiveness Rating: 4 out of 5

Q: Content is accurate, error-free and unbiased

The content is accurate. There are a few minor spelling typos but not that impact on the reading of the text.
There is a bias towards US examples and data.
There is no overt economic theory bias and the concepts are explained in an open-minded manner.

Content Accuracy Rating: 5 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

There are many up to date illustrations and examples, and the overall tone of the textbook feels very current. Some of the statistics are from 2013, which is good from a textbook. Good coverage on topics such as globalization, which is also up to date.
The advantage of online textbooks is that the authors can maintain this on a regular basis (please) without going through a major print update every few 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

This textbook is an easy (and enjoyable) read and is ideal as an introduction to the subject. The language is clear, there are regular review tables to revisit terms and concepts, and the glossary at the end of each chapter is a quick useful reference.
Economics is by its very nature a jargon-filled subject, but the authors make it as accessible as possible with content such as the “clear it up” or “bring it home” boxes, which relate the concepts to everyday life. There is a good emphasis on current examples and stories to help students relate to the concepts.

Clarity Rating: 5 out of 5

Q: The text is internally consistent in terms of terminology and framework

There is good consistency throughout.
There did not appear to be any new concepts introduced later in the text that are not explained.
Terminology is consistent throughout.

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 complete textbook contains more content than could be covered in one course of economics. This would be an excellent companion to a textbook on principles of microeconomics.
Chapters can be read on a stand-alone basis. Selected chapters could also be put together to provide a custom approach to the subject.
Its modular layout is a strength of this textbook. Even within chapters there are clearly defined sections. There does not tend to be lengthy blocks of text, and each concept is broken down into smaller parts each with its own subsections and examples.
Faculty could easily change the content order of each chapter, or even each chapter if required.

Modularity Rating: 5 out of 5

Q: The topics in the text are presented in a logical, clear fashion

The overall flow of the chapters is logical although chapters could easily be read out of order.
Within each chapter, the sections and subsections are clear and consistent and tend to flow well.

Organization Rating: 4 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 text is easy to read in terms of navigation.
Charts and tables are clear and easy to follow. The use of colours and highlighting is helpful.
The “link it up” sections allow the reader to link to a website or youtube video for further information – worked well.

Interface Rating: 5 out of 5

Q: The text contains no grammatical errors

There were a few typos but no obvious grammatical errors.

Grammar Rating: 5 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 most important point to note is the heavy reliance on US policy and data. This is to be expected in a US textbook, however, Canadian students will need to accept that the policy detail relates only to the USA. Faculty could add additional information from websites such as Bank of Canada.
There is a good range of material on developing countries throughout and especially in the chapters on international trade and globalization.

Cultural Relevance Rating: 4 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?

A Canadian edition would be fantastic! If this is not feasible, then some Canadian updates would be useful.
Apart from that, this is a practical and easy to use textbook. I would certainly consider using it for a first year course, and I would just add Canadian material for the macroeconomic chapters that are particularly US-centric.