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Economic Theory

Overview

Others might have called this book Micro Theory or Price Theory. Becker's choice of Economic Theory as the title for his book reflects his deep belief that there is only one kind of economic theory, not separate theories for micro problems, macro problems, non-market decisions, and so on. Indeed, as he notes, the most promising development in recent years in the literature on large scale economic problems such as unemployment has been the increasing reliance on utility maximization, a concept generally identified...

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Overview

Others might have called this book Micro Theory or Price Theory. Becker's choice of Economic Theory as the title for his book reflects his deep belief that there is only one kind of economic theory, not separate theories for micro problems, macro problems, non-market decisions, and so on. Indeed, as he notes, the most promising development in recent years in the literature on large scale economic problems such as unemployment has been the increasing reliance on utility maximization, a concept generally identified with microeconomics.

Microeconomics is the subject matter of this volume, but it is emphatically not confined to microeconomics in the literal sense of micro units like firms or households. Becker's main interest is in market behavior of aggregations of firms and households. Although important inferences are drawn about individual firms and households, the author tries to understand aggregate responses to changes in basic economic parameters like tax rates, tariff schedules, technology, or antitrust provisions. His discussion is related to the market sector in industrialized economies, but the principles developed are applied to other sectors and different kinds of choices.

Becker argues that economic analysis is essential to understand much of the behavior traditionally studied by sociologists, anthropologists, and other social scientists. The broad definition of economics in terms of scarce means and competing ends is taken seriously and should be a source of pride to economists since it provides insights into a wide variety of problems. Practically all statements proved mathematically are also provided geometrically or verbally in the body of the text.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780202309804
  • Publisher: Transaction Publishers
  • Publication date: 6/15/2007
  • Edition description: Enlarged
  • Pages: 244
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.55 (d)

Meet the Author

Gary S. Becker is professor of economics and professor at the Graduate School of Business and Sociology at the University of Chicago. He is also a senior fellow at Stanford University's Hoover Institute. He received a Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences in 1992. He is the author of a large number of scholarly articles and books, as well as a member or fellow of a large number of elected and professional societies.

Gary S. Becker is professor of economics and professor at the Graduate School of Business and Sociology at the University of Chicago. He is also a senior fellow at Stanford University's Hoover Institute. He received a Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences in 1992. He is the author of a large number of scholarly articles and books, as well as a member or fellow of a large number of elected and professional societies.

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Table of Contents


Introduction to the Transaction Edition     xi
Preface     xvii
Introduction     1
What Is Economics?     1
The Role of Prices     3
Supply and Demand Analysis     4
Demand Analysis
The Scarcity Principle     11
Definition of Demand     11
Elasticity of Demand     12
The Opportunity Set     14
Income Effects     16
Substitution Effects     19
Indifference Curves     25
Rational Behavior     25
The Indifference System     26
Demand Curves     29
Engel Curves     31
Combined Demand Curves     35
Market Demand and Engel Curves     38
Differences in Tastes     42
Revised Approach to Consumer Choice     45
Environmental Variables     47
Appendix     48
Utility Analysis     50
Uncertainty     57
Uncertainty     57
Expected Utility Theory     58
Insurance and States of the World     61
Uncertainty and Search     65
Supply of Products
Fundamentals of Supply     69
The Firm and Profit Maximization     69
Firm and Market Supply Curves     71
Marginal and Average Cost     74
Economic Rent     77
Short and Long Run     79
External Effects     84
Competition and Monopoly     89
The Comparative Statics of Competitive Equilibrium     89
The Stability of Equilibrium     91
Monopoly     94
"Natural" Monopoly     95
Collusion     98
Price Discrimination     102
Non-price Rationing     106
Production and the Demand for Factors
Production by the Firm and Industry     113
Production Functions     113
The Cost-Minimizing Conditions     115
Appendix     117
Cost Curves     119
Increasing and Decreasing Costs     120
Technological Change     124
Appendix     128
Induced Technological Change     129
Demand for Factors     135
Derived Demand for Factors of Production     135
Fixed Quantities of Other Factors     136
Fixed Prices of Other Factors     137
Substitution Between Factors      139
Appendix     142
Substitution Between Industries: A Numerical Example     144
A Single Industry     144
Two Industries     146
Substitution Between Industries: A General Model     149
Appendix     150
Supply of Factors of Production
Human Capital     159
Land, Labor, and Capital     159
Population     160
Labor Force Participation     162
Nonmarket Activities     165
Occupational Choice     166
Appendix     169
Investment in Training     172
Differences in Abilities and Opportunities     177
The Distribution of Earnings     179
Appendix     180
Accumulation of Capital over Time
Consumption and Savings     184
The Rate of Growth in Consumption     191
Appendix     193
The Determination of Interest Rates     195
The Rate of Investment = Savings     200
Growth Paths     202
Appendix     204
General Problems     210
Bibliography-Reading List     214
Index     219
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