Core Economics for Managers
| Peter Klein |
Previously I’ve noted the new managerial economics texts by Dwight Lee and Richard McKenzie and Luke Froeb and Brian McCann. Joshua Gans was kind enough to send me a copy of his Core Economics for Managers (Thomson, 2005) and it looks like a good option as well.
The first thing one notices about the book is its brevity and clean, minimalist design: just 206 pages, no fancy graphics, and few sidebars or mini-cases. The book focuses on the “core” areas of pricing, competitive strategy, incentives, and contracts, omitting corporate strategy, human resource management, and peripheral areas like ethics. As its main pricing model, the book features not the increasingly irrelevant perfectly competitive (general or partial) equilibrium model, but a negotiation framework like that in Brandenburger and Nalebuff’s 1996 book Co-opetition. That is, unlike the typical strategy text, cooperative game theory gets as much attention as its more familiar noncooperative counterpart.
Part IV of the book, on contracting, looks particularly good. It favors the property-rights approach to the firm (in my judgment, the correct approach) over the nexus-of-contracts approach, and features a section on relational contracting, a topic usually omitted from introductory managerial texts.
Joshua will be revising the text in the coming months for a new edition and would appreciate suggestions for improvement.