Language, Logic, Content: A Critique of the Principles of Microeconomics Textbook

Jurgen Brauer
    The purpose of a college-level introduction to neoclassical microeconomics is to teach but two fundamental ideas. First is the idea that welfare maximization is achieved via allocative efficiency in perfectly competitive markets. Second is the idea of efficiency violations in imperfect markets, how they come about, and what the possible remedies are. I argue that principles of microeconomics textbooks frequently employ language and content organization that is ill-suited to highlight the underlying logic that unifies seemingly diverse content. Our textbooks are inefficient in that they unnecessarily increase the cost of learning economics. The paper provides examples and suggests remedies. It concludes with a suggested outline of a restructured principles of microeconomics text.