Theory and Applications of Economics Course

Principles of Economics

Theory and Applications of Economics

One element of the microeconomic approach is individual choice. Throughout this course, we explore how individuals make decisions. Economists typically suppose that individuals make choices to pursue their (broadly defined) self-interest given the incentives that they face.

Join 81,082 other students.

Start course
Duration: hour(s)
Institution: Saylor Academy's
Type: Text
Price: free

Course Information

Course Description

We have written a fundamentally different text for principles of economics, based on two premises:

  1. Students are motivated to study economics if they see that it relates to their own lives.
  2. Students learn best from an inductive approach, in which they are first confronted with a question and then led through the process of how to answer that question.

The intended audience of the textbook is first-year undergraduates taking courses on the principles of macroeconomics and microeconomics. Many may never take another economics course. We aim to increase their economic literacy both by developing their aptitude for economic thinking and by presenting key insights about economics that every educated individual should know.

Applications ahead of Theory

We present all the theory that is standard in books on the principles of economics. But by beginning with applications, we also show students why this theory is needed.

We take the kind of material that other authors put in “applications boxes” and place it at the heart of our book. Each chapter is built around a particular business or policy application, such as (for microeconomics) minimum wages, stock exchanges, and auctions, and (for macroeconomics) social security, globalization, and the wealth and poverty of nations.

Why take this approach? Traditional courses focus too much on abstract theory relative to the interests and capabilities of the average undergraduate. Students are rarely engaged, and the formal theory is never integrated into the way students think about economic issues. We provide students with a vehicle to understand the structure of economics, and we train them how to use this structure.


Russell Cooper

Dr. Russell Cooper is a professor of economics at the European University Institute in Florence, Italy. He has held positions at the University of Texas, Boston University, the University of Iowa, and Yale University as well as numerous visiting positions in Asia, Europe, North America, and South America. He has taught principles of economics at many of these universities as well as numerous courses to PhD students. Cooper’s research has focused on macroeconomics, labor economics, monetary policy, and industrial organization. He received his PhD from the University of Pennsylvania in 1982. He was elected Fellow of the Econometric Society in 1997.

A. Andrew John

Andrew John is an associate professor of economics at Melbourne Business School, Melbourne, Australia. He received his undergraduate degree in economics from the University of Dublin, Trinity College, in 1981 and his PhD in economics from Yale University in 1988. He has held academic appointments at Michigan State University, the University of Virginia, and INSEAD. He has also held visiting appointments at the University of Michigan, the Helsinki School of Economics and Business Administration, and the University of Texas at Austin. He joined Melbourne Business School in January 2009.