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Economics, 3rd Edition

Understand the fundamentals of a fascinating and important field with this comprehensive overview of micro—and macroeconomics taught by an award-winning professor.
Economics, 3rd Edition is rated 4.5 out of 5 by 133.
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Rated 5 out of 5 by from I have really enjoyed this course. Professor Taylor is very engaging and I find the material very interesting. As some others have pointed out, this course is introductory in nature, but I would think that this course would provide a great starting point for anyone interested in learning about economics.
Date published: 2023-03-24
Rated 5 out of 5 by from very well done. It would be lovely to have a 2022 update
Date published: 2022-05-25
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Very Disappointing These series of lectures seem to have been designed for high school students. Most college graduates could read an introductory textbook on economics and teach it far better than Mr. Taylor. How The Great Courses selected him is baffling. Their vetting process needs to be improved. Do not waste your money or worse, your time.
Date published: 2021-09-05
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Very Good Review This course is a good summary of a typical two-semester Introduction to Economics that one might encounter in a Master of Business Administration (MBA) program. It includes basic economic concepts (definition of money, supply and demand, and markets), Microeconomics (e.g., for individuals or businesses), Macroeconomics (e.g., a country’s economic policy), fiscal policy (e.g., government spending), and monetary policy (e.g., banking). Dr. Taylor clearly enjoys his subject and he successfully conveys that enthusiasm to the student. He is clear without being simplistic. He does not display a conservative, liberal, Democrat, or Republican bias. I used the video version. There are some visual aids that are useful but overall the course can be used audio only (e.g., while jogging or while driving a car) without significant loss of content.
Date published: 2021-07-06
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Economics is more interesting than you think A very approachable treatment of economics. I've listened to it more than once.
Date published: 2021-03-07
Rated 4 out of 5 by from a mix overall well done, with some shortcomings. Solid basic intro - s/b very helpful to any beginner, & even some useful refresher to lightly experienced. Some issues bothered me - more than once, Prof Taylor stated production always equals consumption. But, as a businessman, i know there's something called inventory. There was not 1 mention of inventory, its impact on the economy, how it's existence counters his statement. There was not one mention of the government's ability to print money & the impact of same. In lecture #29 he stated that a bank would go bankrupt if it's loan portfolio fell in value below the face value of the loans. He ignored reserves (though in lecture #30 he did touch on same - but didn't adequately address it), & he ignored the basic fundamental of a bank (any business) having equity, as a (common) protection against bankruptcy. Finally, though not his failing, the course is at least 15 years old - & thus doesn't include how the US has had very low inflation, low unemployment, low interest rates & generally sub par wage increases over the last 10+ years.l Also, because it's stale, it doesn't address an ascendant China - doing as well it it is under a dictatorship.
Date published: 2020-11-09
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Good on basic concepts but way out of date The chief weakness of this course has nothing to do with its contents in themselves: it is the fact that it was produced fifteen years ago (as I write this in 2020). The lectures on microeconomics suffer the least from this weakness, but even then, there is a moment when Mr. Taylor casually observes that the housing market, which at the time of speaking (2005) had been rising and rising, was due for a downturn. The lectures on macroeconomics, which make up the bulk of the series, suffer the most from obsolescence, because they make frequent reference to current affairs. E.g., at one point, Mr. Taylor mentions a forecast that the US national debt will be equal to its GDP by 2050: that has already happened, thirty years early. Mr. Taylor's treatment of the topic of inequality is extremely shallow and perfunctory. By confining his comparison to tranches of 20% of the population he gives no idea of the extreme concentration of wealth in a tiny part of the population in the US, and he seems to think that objections to inequality cannot have any basis other than subjective preference. He does not discuss deleterious social effects of extreme inequality—though, to be fair, he is giving these lectures several years before the publication of the work of Wilkinson and Pickett. A couple of observations on the lecturer. First, Mr. Taylor tries to make some jokes. These moments are absolutely excruciating. I hope that if he redoes the course he will not try this again. Second, while I would never ordinarily mention a lecturer's mode of dress in a review, bad taste in clothing can be taken to such a degree that it is distracting. That is the case here, with Dr. Taylor's sherbet-colored shirts (unconcealed by any jacket) and matching neckties. Truly horrible to behold.
Date published: 2020-10-27
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Good introduction to economics. It takes the reader from the beginning and teaches them the basics needed to understand economics.
Date published: 2020-09-18
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Overview

Economic issues are active in our lives every day. This course helps you think about and discuss economic issues that affect you and the nation every day—interest rates, unemployment, personal investing, budget deficits, globalization, and many more—with a greater level of knowledge and sophistication.

About

Timothy Taylor

My wife says that I am an evangelist, with economics as my religion. I'm not sure this is altogether a good thing! But maybe it explains my enthusiasm for prepping and giving these lectures.

INSTITUTION

Macalester College

Professor Timothy Taylor is Managing Editor of the prominent Journal of Economic Perspectives, published by the American Economic Association. He earned his Master's degree in Economics from Stanford University.

Professor Taylor has won student-voted teaching awards for his Introductory Economics classes at Stanford University. At the University of Minnesota, he was named a Distinguished Lecturer by the Department of Economics and voted Teacher of the Year by the Master's degree students at the Hubert H. Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs.

In 2007, Professor Taylor published the first Principles of Economics textbook, available as a free download from Freeload Press. He has also edited a wide range of books and reports and published articles on globalization, the new economy, and outsourcing. From 1989 to 1997, Professor Taylor wrote an economics opinion column for the San Jose Mercury-News.

By This Professor

Unexpected Economics
854
How Economists Think

01: How Economists Think

This lecture identifies ways in which economists think differently about human motivations, tradeoffs, and the workings of markets. It also introduces a number of terms: microeconomics, macroeconomics, opportunity cost, marginal analysis, and more.

32 min
Division of Labor

02: Division of Labor

The division of labor means that almost no one produces all or most of what they consume. Since Adam Smith over 200 years ago, economists have explained how the combination of a division of labor and exchange of goods and services increases productivity.

31 min
Supply and Demand

03: Supply and Demand

Any market involves both buyers, or "demand," and sellers, or "supply." The supply and demand framework predicts that markets will tend toward an equilibrium price, where the quantity supplied and the quantity demanded are equal.

31 min
Price Floors and Ceilings

04: Price Floors and Ceilings

Price floors, such as government support for farmers, set price minimums, while price ceilings, like rent control, set a maximum price. Both can hold prices away from equilibrium, and make demand unequal to supply. Price regulations impose costs on consumers or producers, and create inefficiency.

31 min
Elasticity

05: Elasticity

Demand for orange juice is elastic—when its price rises, consumers can switch to other juices. Demand for gasoline is inelastic—when its price rises, drivers can't switch to other fuels. Elasticity is useful in evaluating how public policies will work.

31 min
The Labor Market and Wages

06: The Labor Market and Wages

In the labor market, individuals are the suppliers, businesses are the demanders, and wages are the price. This lecture examines labor markets by discussing some prominent issues, like the minimum wage and how payroll taxes for Social Security affect wages.

31 min
Financial Markets and Rates of Return

07: Financial Markets and Rates of Return

There is a longstanding prejudice against capital markets in western culture—after all, charging interest used to be considered a sin of usury. This lecture focuses on the demand side of the capital markets, or primarily the demand for financial capital from businesses that seek to invest in plants and equipment.

30 min
Personal Investing

08: Personal Investing

The supply side of the capital market is an ornate name for a more basic question: How can I get rich through financial investments? While this course is not intended to provide financial or investment advice, this lecture looks at the four major investment concerns—return, risk, liquidity, and tax status—and then considers a range of investments, and their tradeoffs.

31 min
From Perfect Competition to Monopoly

09: From Perfect Competition to Monopoly

Competition between firms falls into four categories: perfect competition, monopolistic competition, oligopoly, and monopoly. This lecture discusses these paradigms, and describes how prices, output, and profits are likely to differ in each.

31 min
Antitrust and Competition Policy

10: Antitrust and Competition Policy

Antitrust refers to government policies to prevent monopoly and encourage competition. They include blocking proposed mergers between firms; forcing firms to change unfair practices; and in some cases (like AT&T in 1984) requiring large firms to be split into smaller ones.

31 min
Regulation and Deregulation

11: Regulation and Deregulation

In some industries—like airlines, banking, and electricity—government has sought to regulate prices charged and/or quantities produced. This lecture discusses the situations when government regulation works best, and when it does not.

30 min
Negative Externalities and the Environment

12: Negative Externalities and the Environment

"Negative externalities" are situations in which the buying and selling of goods creates consequences—like pollution—felt by third parties who are not part of the original transaction. Regulation can be inflexible and costly. Economists have instead proposed market-oriented policies.

31 min
Positive Externalities and Technology

13: Positive Externalities and Technology

The market can produce too few "positive externalities": good things like scientific research, innovation, and education. Policy solutions for this situation include patents, copyrights, direct government support, and tax credits to industry.

31 min
Public Goods

14: Public Goods

Public goods, like national defense or basic scientific research, are "nonexcludable" and "nondepletable." Potential sellers cannot exclude people from using them, and they are not used up as more people use them. Markets often do a poor job of producing public goods, so there is a case for government action.

30 min
Poverty and Welfare Programs

15: Poverty and Welfare Programs

Economists have preferred anti-poverty strategies that favor cash and wage subsidies over trying to set prices low or wages high for the poor. However, recent welfare reform emphasizes another feature—that people take jobs as soon as possible.

31 min
Inequality

16: Inequality

Inequality is the gap between those with high incomes and those with low incomes. Since the late 1970s, inequality has increased in the United States. This lecture discusses the possible causes, whether some government response is appropriate and, if so, what kind.

31 min
Imperfect Information and Insurance

17: Imperfect Information and Insurance

Imperfect information, such as how much to charge for auto insurance when information about the risks of auto accident is imperfect, can raise havoc with markets. It raises two issues—moral hazard and adverse selection—that are fundamental to arguments over health insurance in the United States.

31 min
Corporate and Political Governance

18: Corporate and Political Governance

Shareholders may have trouble constraining the actions of top corporate managers and voters can have difficulty controlling politicians' actions. So skepticism is warranted about whether firms will seek efficient production, or whether politicians will act in society's best interest.

31 min
Macroeconomics and GDP

19: Macroeconomics and GDP

Macroeconomics has four policy goals—economic growth, low unemployment, low inflation, and sustainable trade deficits—and two main tools: federal budget policy and monetary policies of the Federal Reserve. Gross domestic product (GDP) is the standard measure of a nation's economy.

31 min
Economic Growth

20: Economic Growth

In the long run, the rate of economic growth is by far the most important factor in determining the average standard of living. The key factors behind economic growth are increases in physical capital, human capital, and technology, all of which depend upon a supportive market environment.

31 min
Unemployment

21: Unemployment

The economist's view of unemployment focuses on why supply and demand in the labor market are producing unemployment. The underlying causes of unemployment can be split into two broad categories: cyclical unemployment, and the structural or natural rate of unemployment.

31 min
Inflation

22: Inflation

Inflation is an overall sustained increase in the level of prices. The inflation rate is determined by defining a basket of goods, and then tracking how the cost of that basket changes over time. Mild inflation is not a great policy concern, but higher levels can cause problems.

31 min
The Balance of Trade

23: The Balance of Trade

The trade deficit is perhaps the most misunderstood statistic in all of economics. The United States ran extremely large trade deficits in the late 1990s and into the 2000s, turning the United States into the world's largest debtor economy.

31 min
Aggregate Supply and Aggregate Demand

24: Aggregate Supply and Aggregate Demand

Economists commonly think about the macroeconomy through the model of aggregate demand and supply. It indicates how growth, inflation, unemployment, and the trade balance are related; why certain goals sometimes involve trade offs; and which macroeconomic policies to use.

31 min
The Unemployment-Inflation Tradeoff

25: The Unemployment-Inflation Tradeoff

Some of the biggest controversies in modern macroeconomics revolve around whether an unemployment-inflation tradeoff exists. This tradeoff, known as the Phillips curve, existed quite clearly in U.S. data from about 1950 to 1970, but then fell apart.

30 min
Fiscal Policy and Budget Deficits

26: Fiscal Policy and Budget Deficits

This lecture reviews the main spending and taxing components in the federal budget, surveys trends in federal budget deficits and federal debt, and explains why budget deficits exploded, contracted, and then exploded again in the last 20 years.

30 min
Countercyclical Fiscal Policy

27: Countercyclical Fiscal Policy

Spending increases or tax cuts can mitigate a recession, and spending cuts or tax hikes can fight inflation. In the United States, these countercyclical measures happen automatically to some extent, but some believe government should go beyond these automatic stabilizers.

31 min
Budget Deficits and National Saving

28: Budget Deficits and National Saving

When government budget deficits are large and sustained, two possible effects can result. First, less financial capital may be available for private investment. Second, the United States may need to attract foreign investors. In the long term, neither is healthy.

31 min
Money and Banking

29: Money and Banking

Economists define money as whatever serves as the medium of exchange, store of value, or unit of account. Money's various modern definitions—traveler's checks, checking accounts, savings accounts, money market mutual funds, etc.—reveal that money and the banking system are tightly interrelated.

30 min
The Federal Reserve and Its Powers

30: The Federal Reserve and Its Powers

The Federal Reserve controls monetary policy, and has great power over the United States and even the world's economy. Yet it is run by presidential appointees and bankers, not by elected officials. Although there are plausible reasons, this remains controversial.

31 min
The Conduct of Monetary Policy

31: The Conduct of Monetary Policy

Controversies exist over exactly how the Federal Reserve should fight inflation. Should it focus exclusively on inflation, or also pay attention to such goals as shortening recessions? Should it act when stock market or housing prices may be forming a bubble?

31 min
The Gains of International Trade

32: The Gains of International Trade

Economists are deeply supportive of foreign trade; the average person is much more suspicious. The expansion of global trade in the post-World War II period has brought large gains to the United States and to the world economy.

31 min
The Debates over Protectionism

33: The Debates over Protectionism

Pressures to limit imports are called "protectionism." This lecture reviews arguments for protectionism—saving jobs, protecting the environment, and others—and the reasons that most economists find those arguments less than compelling.

31 min
Exchange Rates

34: Exchange Rates

An exchange rate is the rate at which one currency exchanges for another. Exchange rates can be considered as a (misguided) symbol of national economic virility, when in reality they are just a price for currency.

31 min
International Financial Crashes

35: International Financial Crashes

This lecture explores international financial crashes—such as those suffered by Thailand, Russia, and Argentina in recent years—and policies that may reduce their risk. But such risks will likely continue as international flows of financial capital expand.

31 min
A Global Economic Perspective

36: A Global Economic Perspective

This lecture discusses global economic prospects over the next few decades. Even with a number of potential stumbling blocks, the chances for several billion people to be far better off are extraordinary. The United States sometimes seems to fear this richer world, but it need not.

32 min