Dennis Patrick Leyden

ISBN-13: 9781935987116

# pages: 170


Suggested Retail: $59.95



All of us engage in economic thinking: in our personal lives, in business decisions, even in choosing government policies. Economic thinking is all about making difficult choices, and critical economic thinking is all about being aware of how one thinks about economic issues so that one can make the best decisions possible. This book helps students to become more effective economic thinkers regardless of whether their interests center on personal matters, business affairs, or government policy. This text focuses on how economists think, and it can be used either as a complement to a standard economics textbook (which focuses on the subject of economics) or as a standalone text for those who already know something of economics and wish to improve their ability to use and apply that knowledge. This book introduces students to the nature of the economic thinking process and then takes them step by step through the details of that process so that they can understand the how of economic thinking. And because thinking is a skill and skills can only be learned with practice, students are also provided with a number of exercises throughout the book so that they have the chance to learn and to hone their skills and make critical economic thinking their own.

Table of Contents

CHAPTER 1:  Fundamentals 1

Introduction 2

Four Steps to Thinking Critically in Economics 6

Critical Discussions 12

Critical Reading 18

Critical Writing and Speaking 21

Summary 26

Key Concepts 26

Review Questions 27

CHAPTER 2:  What’s the Question? 29

Introduction 30

Facts, Tastes, and Reasoned Judgments 33

Types of Economic Questions 36

Numerical Data Questions 41

Positive and Normative Data 47

Writing for Clarity 50

Summary 56

Key Concepts 56

Review Questions 57

CHAPTER 3:   Thinker, Know Thyself 59

Introduction 60

Frames of Reference for Answering Positive Questions 62

Is Your Positive Frame of Reference a Good One? 66

Frames of Reference for Answering Normative Questions 70

Is Your Normative Frame of Reference a Good One? 75

The Mathematical Frame of Reference 78

Writing to Persuade 82

Summary 86

Key Concepts 86

Review Questions 87

CHAPTER 4:  Searching for Answers 89

Introduction 90

Searching Begins at Home 92

Designing a Search Strategy 95

Reading Critically 103

Create Your Own Source 110

Keeping Track of Everything 112

Summary 115

Key Concepts 116

Review Questions 116

 CHAPTER 5:   Finding the Best Answer 119

Introduction 120

Intellectual Courage 123

Sorting Out Conflicting Arguments and Evidence 125

Critical Writing (Redux) 133

Summary 138

Key Concepts 138

Review Questions 139

Special Notes

Part of Kona's Critical Thinking Series!

About the Author(s): Dennis Patrick Leyden

Dennis Leyden has been studying, teaching, and conducting research in economics for more than three decades.  He earned his BA in Economics with High Honors at the University of Virginia where he studied a wide array of courses as part of his liberal education and participated in the Department of Economics’ honors program. He earned his MS and PhD in economics from Carnegie Mellon University where he specialized in public economics and then took a faculty position in the Department of Economics at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro where he has been ever since. In addition to teaching thousands of students and publishing research on public education funding and on R&D behavior and policy, he has served as director of two of UNCG’S residential colleges, as founding director of UNCG’s Lloyd International Honors College, and as a member of numerous committees and taskforces that have focused on the evaluation and improvement of UNCG’s undergraduate curriculum. In recent years he has spent considerable time abroad in Europe and Asia representing UNCG and honing his critical thinking, writing, and teaching skills, and currently serves on the board of editors for the Journal ofthe National Collegiate Honors Council. In his personal life, he spends most of his time enjoying the company of his family, cooking, gardening, and following the Pittsburgh Pirates.

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