Friday, April 6, 2007

Book Recommendations

Earlier this week Greg Mankiw responded to the following request.

I wonder if you might consider having an item that asks your readers what books they think would be excellent for economics students to read. Perhaps each reader with a good recommendation could offer a paragraph or so about the book and why they think it's an excellent read for students.
Over at Greg Mankiw's Blog you can review an excellent list of book recommendations.

Click here to see Greg Mankiw's 2005 Summer Reading List.

In addition to the recommendations you find there, I might suggest:

North, Douglass. Understanding the Process of Economic Change. His 1993 Nobel lecture is also worth reading.

O’ Rourke, PJ. On the Wealth of Nations.

A must read. O'Rourke summarizes the 900 page Wealth of Nations in fewer than 200 pages of readable a provocative analysis. He recognizes that the importance of Smith’s work today is for economic growth, development and poverty reduction. “Even intellectuals should have no trouble understanding Smith’s ideas. Economic progress depends upon a trinity of individual perogatives: pursuit of self interest, division of labor and freedom of trade” (1-2). In order to fully understand the first element of the Smithian thesis one can read The Theory of Moral Sentiments of chapter 3 in O”Rourke.

Sunday, April 1, 2007

Industrial Organziation

An applied area of macroeconomics is industrial organziation. Increasingly the study of economics intersects with the study of law and one of the oldest examples of this intersection is anti-trust.

A recent Supreme Court Case illustrates this intersection and has been featured prominently in both the media as well as two economic education sites. Greg Mankiw mentioned the resale price maintenance case in a March 26 blog and Aplia followed up on March 29 with an outstanding article analysis and problem that is suitable for classroom use.

Justices Hear Arguments About Pacts on Pricing

WASHINGTON, March 26 New York Times— A 96-year-old rule that treats as an automatic antitrust violation any agreement between a manufacturer and its retailers to adhere to a minimum resale price is considered archaic and out of touch by the Bush administration and economists of the Chicago school.

Wall Street Journal (subscription required):

MSRP Case Seems to Split Justices
Rule Barring Manufacturers From Dictating Prices To Retailers Is Challenged

Hearing arguments in a case about retail prices, the Supreme Court's justices seemed divided over whether to overturn a 96-year-old antitrust ruling intended to promote competition.

In yesterday's case, Leegin Creative Leather Products of Industry, Calif., challenged the ruling, which prohibits manufacturers from requiring retailers to sell their products for a set minimum price. A Texas federal district court cited the 1911 precedent in tossing out the "resale price maintenance" policy Leegin had imposed on Kay's Kloset, a Dallas-area boutique.

Kay's Kloset, owned by PSKS Inc., brought the suit so it could sell Leegin's Brighton line of women's accessories at a discount.

Saturday, March 31, 2007


If imitation is the highest form of flattery, then this blog owes its existence to Greg Mankiw. This blog is primarily aimed at interacting with students in ECN 211 and ECN 212, the introductory economics classes that I teach at Mesa Community College. Other students and teachers may find it of interest as well. Its main role will be to direct students to interesting articles with the goal of enhancing their study of economics. I had previously been doing this for my students via email, but I thought that a blog would be more convenient for them, and it would allow others to access it as well.

I have found that, in directly students to Greg Mankiw's blog, a wide variety of topics have come into my classes for discussion. I have also found this site to be a must read.