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Thursday, March 8, 2012
I'm always on the lookout for books I can recommend to students that will give them a quick introduction to the basics of economics without being too partisan one way or the other and especially without reducing all taxation to deadweight loss. Too often I start reading and then just get turned off by the tone, and wouldn't want to recommend it. But now I'm just finishing up The Instant Economist by Timothy Taylor and it seems like a solid intro that I can recommend. He does a nice job of explaining demand side/Keynesianism and supply side/neoclassical theory and the short run/long run outlook. He has nice discussions on public goods, budgets, and deficits. There is a nice discussion of taxation's role as automatic stabilizer and the political necessity for, yet practical limitations of, nondiscretionary stabilization methods. Most importantly, it is short and an easy read.