!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD XHTML 1.0 Strict//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/xhtml1/DTD/xhtml1-strict.dtd"> Streamline Training & Documentation: An Online Economics Text

Monday, November 24, 2008

An Online Economics Text

If you'd like to study — or review — principles of economics, Robert E. Schenk, a professor of economics at St. Joseph's College in Rensselaer IN, has posted a full-length text online. The text includes some basic interactivity to help you retain what you read.

The text opens with four sections that introduce the subject:
  • What is Economics?

  • Actions and Results

  • The Individual and The Group

  • The Model of Supply and Demand
The remainder of the text is devoted to separate treatments of microeconomics and macroeconomics.

The microeconomic sections are:
  • Elasticity and Revenue

  • Rationing and Allocating

  • The Logic of Choice

  • Maximizing Behavior

  • The Firm and Its Constraints

  • Maximizing Profits

  • Efficiency

  • Information, Risk & Exclusion

  • Government and Efficiency

  • Problems in Resource Markets

  • Monopoly and Efficiency

  • Transport Costs and Borders
There is a detailed table of contents for the text's introductory and microeconomic sections here. You can also browse micro topics via this list. There is a glossary of micro terms is here.

The macroeconomic sections are:
  • Economic Catastrophes

  • Growth and Development

  • Measuring the Economy

  • Connections

  • Financial Markets

  • Money Matters

  • Banks Create Money

  • Business Cycle Theories

  • The Multiplier Model

  • The Labor Market

  • Fiscal Policy Today

  • Monetary History
The detailed macroeconomics table of contents is here, and the list of macro topics is here.

To get a feel for how Schenk treats individual topics, you might look at the section on rent-seeking, which has particular relevance in our current environment of distressed businesses hustling to Washington to see what they can arrange in the way of taxpayer assistance.

When you visit the "Rent Seeking" page, you see four buttons at the top left:

The Overview button takes you to the introduction to "The Government and Economic Efficiency" — the section of the text of which "Rent Seeking" is a part.

The ┬┐Review? button takes you to a page with a few review questions. When you click on the correct answer to a particular question, an explanation of why the answer is correct appears. If you choose an incorrect answer, you generally are told why the answer is wrong, but sometimes you're simply encouraged to try again.

The Explore button takes you to a page that provides opportunities to apply the concepts covered in the text.
  • To see the answers to discussion questions (such as the first group of questions on the "Exploring Rent Seeking" page), you need to access the appropriate page from the list on Schenk's "Extra Features" page. For the Rent Seeking discussion question, this means clicking on the "Government and Efficiency/Problems in Resource Markets" link.


  • You get feedback to multiple-choice and fill-in-the-blank questions (such as the second group of questions on the "Exploring Rent Seeking" page) right beneath the questions.
The Quiz button takes you to a short set of questions you can use to check how well you have learned the material in the entire section — "Government and Efficiency" — of which "Rent Seeking" is a part. After you have answered all the questions, you click on the "Check My Answers" button to see how you did.

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