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Cover of Economic Analysis of Social Issues v2.0
July 2020
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Economic Analysis of Social Issues

Version 2.0
By Alan Grant

Key Features

  • Includes coverage of the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic
  • Active Learning. Sixteen chapters are accompanied by experiments in which students can participate under the principle that “What students do, they remember.” Each experiment places students in a scenario where they have to make individual decisions that may lead to poor collective outcomes. For example, in the “Judge Me Not” experiment, each student assumes the role of a producer who can choose polluting technology or clean technology. Individual incentives encourage each producer to choose polluting technology. The collective outcome is a welfare-destroying volume of pollution that drives up everyone’s health care costs.
  • Data Projects. The macroeconomics chapters are each accompanied by a data analysis project that introduces students to macro data and how different macroeconomic variables are linked.
  • Critical Thinking Skills. Students are encouraged to use their economist toolkit to analyze social problems rather than simply memorizing facts or learning graphical or mathematical models that will soon be forgotten.
  • Engaging Coverage of Important Social Issues. Simple tools are applied to a broad class of social problems such as pollution, health care, the depletion of natural resources, and business cycles. Graphical analysis is presented simply and is applied sparingly.
  • Supportive Chapter Learning Structure
    • “Learning Objectives” lay out the key ideas to be discussed in the following main section.
    • “Key Terms” highlight important concepts and terminology in a running, marginal glossary.
    • “Applications” reinforce key ideas with compelling and current real-world examples. Each application is matched to an accompanying problem that can be used to generate in-class discussions or can be included in assignments.
    • “People Behind the Theory” vignettes appear in many chapters and explore the people and personalities behind the important economic ideas that have shaped the discipline.
    • “Key Takeaways” at the end of each main section summarize key ideas in bullet-point fashion. Key Takeaways enable the learner to pause and consolidate the information just read. This process enables the reader to better understand and retain the chapter’s content and its key concepts.
    • “Conclusion” sections reflect on what’s been learned already and set the stage for future topics.
    • “Review Questions” reinforce recall and learning and encourage students to apply concepts.
    • “Problems and Applications” encourage critical analysis of issues related to chapter content.


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Economic Analysis of Social Issues is an introductory economics textbook designed for use in a one-semester economic issues course for freshman and sophomore nonmajors. The text may also be appropriate for a one-semester survey of economics course or as a supplement to a standard principles of economics textbook.

Economic Analysis of Social Issues presents an innovative treatment of contemporary social problems using a minimum of mathematical and graphical analysis. The book’s student-friendly approach is based on simple supply and demand analysis and elementary game theory. It is applicable to a broad class of social problems such as pollution, health care, the depletion of natural resources, and inflation, and covers both microeconomic and macroeconomic topics.

  • Chapters 1–4 present fundamental economic concepts, such as scarcity, trade-offs, and opportunity costs. These chapters then go on to develop the analytical tools used throughout the remainder of the book.
  • Chapters 5–15 discuss the market mechanism and the price system. Next, they address contemporary microeconomic issues such as pollution, health care, and discrimination. These chapters emphasize the roles that property rights, transactions costs, and information play in creating social problems.
  • Chapters 16–21 explain the basic functioning of the macroeconomy and address critical macroeconomic issues such as monetary policy, fiscal policy, unemployment, and income inequality.

New in This Version

  • Expanded use of supply and demand analysis
  • New applications address:
    • The Trump trade war (Ch. 5)
    • Laws against imported poetry (Ch. 5)
    • Antitrust and big tech (Ch. 6)
    • The value of feedback ratings in electronic markets (Ch. 6)
    • Herd immunity (Ch. 7)
    • UPS’s “no-left-turn policy” (Ch. 9)
    • DNA databases as a crime-solving public good (Ch. 10)
    • China’s “Nail Houses” and eminent domain (Ch. 11)
    • Eminent domain and the kidney shortage (Ch. 11)
    • Futures markets for human organs (Ch. 12)
    • Gerrymandering (Ch. 13)
    • The health insurance premium death spiral (Ch. 14)
    • The economic impact of graduating in a recession (Ch. 17)
    • Is Bitcoin money? (Ch. 18)
    • Negative interest rates (Ch. 19)
    • The broken window fallacy (Ch. 20)
    • Inequality, mobility, and assortative mating (Ch. 21)
    • Implicit tax rates and welfare to work (Ch. 21)
  • Expanded macro coverage includes the initial stages of the COVID-19 pandemic
    • Coronavirus and Supply Shocks (Ch. 16)
    • Coronavirus and Demand Shocks (Ch. 16)
    • Coronavirus and Monetary Policy (Ch. 19)
    • Coronavirus and Fiscal Policy (Ch. 20)
  • Integrated macro coverage of the Venezuelan hyperinflation
  • Embedded video links direct students to examples and illustrations from popular culture, academia, and the news
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Instructor’s Manual

Instructor’s Manual

The Instructor’s Manual guides you through the main concepts of each chapter and important elements such as learning objectives, key terms, and key takeaways. Can include answers to chapter exercises, group activity suggestions, and discussion questions.

Instructor’s Manual

PowerPoint Lecture Notes

PowerPoint Lecture Notes

A PowerPoint presentation highlighting key learning objectives and the main concepts for each chapter are available for you to use in your classroom. You can either cut and paste sections or use the presentation as a whole.

PowerPoint Lecture Notes

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Test Generator - powered by Cognero

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Test Bank Files for Import to Learning Management Systems

Test Bank Files for Import to Learning Management Systems

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Test Item File

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Sample Syllabi

Sample Syllabi

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Alan Grant Baker University

Alan Grant (PhD Kansas State University) is the Barbara and Charles A. Duboc University Professor at Baker University. Nationally recognized for teaching excellence, his research has been published in numerous professional journals and has been highlighted in The Wall Street Journal, Businessweek, The Economist, and The New York Times. Alan is the author or co-author of two FlatWorld titles: Economic Analysis of Social Issues and, with Libby Rittenberg and Timothy Tregarthen, Principles of Economics, including its two-volume version Principles of Macroeconomics and Principles of Microeconomics. Alan is also the co-author of the mass-market economics book, Seinfeld and Economics: Lessons on Everything from the Show about Nothing. He is currently writing a second mass-market economics book, Game Theory of Thrones.

Additions & Errata

8/12/22 The following was updated:

Section 5.1: Replaced broken-linked embedded video with simple link to this page:

Section 9.3 Friends Tragedy of the Commons: replaced broken link with

Section 11.1 Homeless Hare: Replaced broken link with

Section 12.1: Ferris Bueller: Replaced broken link with

Section 13.2 Rational Voting: Replaced broken link with

Section 17.3 Video Killed the Radio Star: Replaced broken link with

Section 21.3 Young Sheldon: Replaced broken link with

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