Preface Xvii

Internet Math Notes

Although most students in the principles course have only modest math skills, a few have taken advanced high school courses in mathematics. For the latter group, seeing the algebra and, in a few cases, the calculus behind the economics is highly revealing and useful. For those students, we have included on our Web site a set of math notes. Written by Professor Peterson, these notes are creative, concise and to the point. They undoubtedly will enhance the educational experience for math-minded students.

This text embraces a number of distinguishing features.

• Comprehensive Explanations at an Appropriate Level. Microeconomics is comprehensive, analytical, and challenging, yet fully accessible to a wide range of students. Its thoroughness and accessibility enable instructors to select topics for special classroom emphasis with confidence that students can read and comprehend independently other assigned material in the book.

• Fundamentals of the Market System. Many economies throughout the world are making difficult transition from planning to markets. Our detailed description of the institutions and operation of the market system in Chapter 4 is even more relevant than before. We pay particular attention to property rights, entrepreneurship, freedom of enterprise and choice, competition, and the role of profits because these concepts are poorly understood by beginning students.

• Early Integration of International Economics. We give the principles and institutions of the global economy early treatment. Chapter 5 examines the growth of world trade, the major participants in world trade, specialization and comparative advantage, the foreign exchange market, tariffs and subsidies, and various trade agreements. This strong introduction to international economics permits "globalization" of later microeconomics discussions.

• Early and Extensive Treatment of Government. Government is an integral component of modern capitalism. This book introduces the economic functions of government early and accords them systematic treatment in Chapter 4. Chapter 18 examines government and market failure in further detail and Chapter 19 looks at salient facets of public choice theory and taxation.

• Stress on the Theory of the Firm and Technological Advance. We have given much attention to the theory of the firm and technological advance. These concepts are difficult for most beginning students; too brief expositions usually compound these difficulties by raising more questions than they answer. We have also coupled analysis of the various market structures with a discussion of the impact of each market arrangement on price, output levels, resource allocation, and the rate of technological advance. And our Chapter 12 on the microeconomics of technology is unique to principles books.

• Focus on Economic Issues. For many students, microeconomic issues are where the action is. We sought to guide that action along logical lines through the application of appropriate analytical tools.


McConnell-Brue-Barbiero: I Front Matter Microeconomics, Ninth Canadian Edition


© The McGraw-Hill Companies, 2003

xviii Preface

Flexible Organization and Content

Microeconomics reflects the challenge that specific topics and concepts will likely pose for average students. For instance, the theory of the firm and micro output and price determination are carefully treated. Here, simplicity is correlated with comprehensiveness, not brevity.

Our experience suggests that in treating each basic topic—elasticity of demand and supply, theory of the firm, and international economics—it is desirable to couple analysis with policy. Generally, we use a three-step development of analytical tools: (1) verbal descriptions and illustrations; (2) numerical examples, and ( ) graphical presentation based on these numerical illustrations.

All these considerations caused us to organize the book into four parts: Part 1: An Introduction to Economics and the Economy; Part 2: Microeconomics of Product Markets; Part : Microeconomics of Resource Markets; and Part 4: Microeconomics of Government and Public Policy.

Although instructors generally agree as to the content of principles of microeconomics course, they often differ as to how to arrange the material. Microeconomics provides considerable organizational flexibility. Previous users tell us they often substantially rearrange chapters with little sacrifice of continuity. Some instructors will prefer to intersperse the microeconomics of Parts 2 and with the problems chapters of Part 4. For example, Chapter 20 on agriculture may follow Chapter 9 on pure competition.

Microeconomics has always been student oriented. Economics is concerned with efficiency—accomplishing goals using the best methods. Therefore, we offer the student some brief introductory comments on how to improve their efficiency and hence their grades.

— • In This Chapter You Will Learn We set out the learning objectives at the start of each chapter so the chapter's main concepts can easily be recognized.

PEdAGogicaL Aids FOR

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