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52 of 67 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The book to start with in International Economics
For anybody - but especially students - interested in exploring the subject of international economics, this is the book to start with. It is illuminating (as it is always the case with Krugman's writings) on otherwise technical concepts as comparative advantage, trade policy and exchange rate determinants, but it is also entertaining, with its "reality...
Published on May 4, 1999 by L. Battaglini

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111 of 138 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Not What I've Come to Expect from Krugman
First off, even if you totally discount the rest of my review, buy the low price international version of this book. On the March 10, 2005 episode of the daily show Krugman elucidated his feelings quite clearly. "The real money is in textbooks. With other books, people need to decide whether to buy them or not. Students have to buy textbooks." Thanks Paul. I think I'm...
Published on April 3, 2005 by TitaniumDreads


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111 of 138 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Not What I've Come to Expect from Krugman, April 3, 2005
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
First off, even if you totally discount the rest of my review, buy the low price international version of this book. On the March 10, 2005 episode of the daily show Krugman elucidated his feelings quite clearly. "The real money is in textbooks. With other books, people need to decide whether to buy them or not. Students have to buy textbooks." Thanks Paul. I think I'm being charitable when I say that at $125 this book is a ripoff. It isn't even full color.

Anyway, on to the actual content of the book. I have to say that I was excited when I found out that my International economics course at Stanford was going to be using Paul Krugman's book. I've enjoyed his articles for the New York Times because they manage to cut right to the core of issues with an unusual amount of punch. Yet, time and time again I was disappointed with the frequently inpenatrable language and obtuse, unrealistic examples in this book. Unfortunately, the only part of Krugman's characteristic writing style that came through was a feeling of overwrought vitriol, which makes sense in an op-ed but has little place in a textbook. Furthermore, this book occupies a strange niche in the world of econ texts, it is not mathematically rigorous, nor is it well written. Usually we see one or the other but rarely both. Initially, I thought these observations were mine alone, but other students began openly voicing pointed criticisms of the book during class (and I am perhaps being too kind here in not repeating them). I've been in school nearly as long as I can remember and I have never seen such discontent with a text.

During the second half of the course even my econ prof became fed up and abandoned the book altogether. Given that, I find all of the positive reviews for this book rather astounding. My suspicion is that there might have been open rebellion amongst my classmates had not the professor decided to leave this text by the wayside. I also found that it is brimming with misplaced, one-sided arguments that come across as Krugman blatantly strawmanning arguments opposed to his own. One of many examples of this comes out of nowhere near the end of chapter 2. Krugman implies that anyone who doesn't believe in unmitigated free trade is intellectually irresponsible!?! This book pushes for unrestrained market fundamentalism throughout, primarily by misrepresenting any arguments that would effectively challenge it's simplistic and seemingly outdated dogma. This book, in particular, feeds into the same system of self serving scientism so prevalent in economics for the last 60 years.

Please don't mistake this review as the bile of a jilted student, I did quite well in the course. However, this is almost certainly the result of looking for alternative explanations of virtually every topic covered. The reason this book gets one star instead of two is because it lacks a lot of the modern learning tools prevalent in almost every other textbook. Things like quality questions, keywords, vocabulary and historical context all get short shrift in this this volume. If you're into learning about incomplete models that only represent a theoretical version of the world, this book is for you. Unfortunately, just like Krugman said on The Daily Show, if you are a student there is probably little chance that you have a choice on the matter. Buy the cheap international edition for 20 bucks. I would recommend that you use to the difference to buy William Easterly's Elusive Quest for Growth...and a beer.
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52 of 67 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The book to start with in International Economics, May 4, 1999
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
For anybody - but especially students - interested in exploring the subject of international economics, this is the book to start with. It is illuminating (as it is always the case with Krugman's writings) on otherwise technical concepts as comparative advantage, trade policy and exchange rate determinants, but it is also entertaining, with its "reality checks". The first part of the book deals with the "real" economy, the second part with monetary international economics. It will save you a lot of time to begin your study of the field with this book. If you have had previous experiences with international economics but either forgot most about it or had trouble making sense of the whole thing you will probably get a good grasp of the subject after reading this manual. The bibliography is accurate and rich, the exercises won't give you an headache. Readers with some background in economics are most likely to take full advantage from the book. For the others, well, some introductory economics will be necessary. Once you've read this book, you can continue more safely your studies/readings on international economics.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A not-so-bad survey of international economics, November 28, 2006
Regarding Gerald Senarclens de Grancy's comments: The idea of Krugman as a Bush administration cheerleader is pretty funny. At first I thought this was a joke but then I realised it wasn't. Granted, the book doesn't mention the Tobin Tax, but there's only so much you can pack into a superficial survey text like this. Overall, I think the authors are pretty unbiased and mainstream. (Haven't used the web supplements, so can't comment on that).

Having seen this book evolve over several editions, I can honestly say that the current one represents a distinct improvement, with the new introductory chapter on the gravity model providing some much needed perspective at the start. However, it's not an ideal book to learn trade theory and open econonmy macro from. My favorite (although slightly more rigorous) is "The International Economy" by Kenen. And if you are only interested in trade theory, "International Trade, Theory and Evidence" by Markusen et. al. is superior.
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24 of 30 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Undergraduate International Economics Standard, June 28, 2004
By 
Well, I will start off by saying that the book really probably only deserves somewhere between 4-4.5 stars, but I'll give it 5 to offset some of the questionable reviews below.
No, the book is not perfect. However, it is an academic standard at pretty much any major college or university for teaching undergraduate International Econ/Trade theory, and for good reason. The book makes a clear a concise presentation of basic theory and policy, perhaps in points it is a little too simple. As pointed out, while I'm not sure about the 6th edition, there were some diagrammatical mistakes in the 5th...I bet, however, these were done by a graduate student. A quick bit of reasoning and a second of thought should yield the appropriate picture, however. And yes, I think a bit of Krugman's bias comes through, though its not terribly off-putting.
The book could use a bit more math I think. The real equations and difficult problems are few and far between, and are, for the most part, pretty straight forward. At the very most it would take a basic understanding of calculus, but the majority of the problems and equations can be explained and done without it. I have read a number of undergraduate economics books with far more intensive math. Despite this lack, however, the intentions come across pretty well.
No, this book is not for beginners to economics. At least an undergraduate course or reading in both micro and macro are needed, and really and truly, an intermediate level in each is probably better if one wants to get the most out of the book.
If you find the subject matter within to be terribly math intensive and you cannot get motivated to read the subject matter because it doesn't use "pizza and beer" (and um...I don't think I'd want an imported pizza anyway, but thanks), well I guess the subject and this book are not for you. However, if you are trying to enrich your understanding of economics at a very basic level, this book provides a good way to do so.
And, if you want graduate level book, and like Obstfeld, I recommend he and Rogoff's book.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A very good guide for an undergraduate course, March 21, 2007
I used several times the fifth edition of Krugman and Obstfeld's book to teach International Finance to undergraduates in economics, and I found it comprehensive, understandable and very didactic. True, the book does not follow a rigorous mathematical approach, even less a dynamic one, but I think that is not the authors' intention. On the contrary, they use simple equations, basic graphical analysis, empirical data illustrations and some economic history to show the main issues they want to. And I must say that they clearly succeed in explaining virtually every topic an undergraduate student should know about international economics.

There are several essential topics that should be part of the backbone of a course in international finance, and they are included in this book:

- the asset approach to exchange rates;
- the crucial role of expectations;
- the relationship between money, interest rates and the exchange rates in the short run;
- the long run relationship between prices and exchange rates;
- the internal and external equilibrium for small open economies;
- the interaction of fiscal and monetary policies in an international context;
- inflation bias and other policy formulation problems;
- fixed exchange rates and foreign intervention;
- A description of the evolution of the international monetary system;
- floating exchange rates; macroeconomic policy and international coordination;
- optimum currency areas;
- recent topics on the global capital markets; and
- growth, crisis and reform in developing countries.

In sum, the book by Krugman and Obstfeld is a pretty good undergrad textbook to learn for the first time the core of monetary issues in international economics.
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19 of 24 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars international economics, January 16, 2000
By 
Soeren Puerschel (Tuebingen, Germany) - See all my reviews
This book describes in a very detailed way all the general theories of economics concerning trade. It is very well done as there are many examples and it is optically inspiring. Your eyes won't get tired too quickly, as the layout is done fine. The content of the book is fine, a good book for students of economics, even though it is advisable to read more down the line. But for the overview of a topic it serves allright.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best econ book I've ever used, May 6, 2009
By 
This is easily the best economics textbook I have ever used (and after getting an MA in economics, I've used several). It has clear, colorful graphs with notes right next to the graphs explaining the movements. The main text is very accessible for the lay reader, but each chapter also includes boxes and appendices going into greater depth. It also addresses the policy challenges and political economy, both of which are crucial to understanding international economics. Highly recommended!
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An important and useful text for understanding trade theory., December 31, 1999
By A Customer
Krugman and Obstfeld provide a full detailed analysis and examples for the basis of trade among nations. It is relatively straightforward to comprehend for both economists and noneconomists. International trade is an important component of economic policy for the growth and development of countries. This book examines various theoretical trade models and provides real world examples of policy formulation and their impact. The authors do not take any political positions, thus making their analysis a purely objective, or positive study.(p)
I would highly recommend this book to students interested in doing research in international trade and development. It is a must read for prospective international economists. Noneconomists might also find it as a useful reference.
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14 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An important and useful text for understanding trade theory, April 12, 1998
By A Customer
Krugman and Obstfeld provide a full detailed analysis and examples for the basis of trade among nations. It is relatively straightforward to comprehend for both economists and noneconomists.
International trade is an important component of economic policy for the growth and development of countries. This book examines various theoretical trade models and provides real world examples of policy formulation and their impact. The authors do not take any political positions, thus making their analysis a purely objective, or positive study.
I would highly recommend this book to students interested in doing research in international trade and development. It is a must read for prospective international economists. Noneconomists might also find it as a useful reference.
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8 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A clear introduction into trade theory and macroeconomics, July 31, 1999
By A Customer
A clear book which gives a good introduction into trade theory. While the authors sometimes take their time (space) or engage in a conversation with the reader, it gives a good account of trade theory. Slightly more advanced and requiring a bit more background is the other half about open macroeconomics. But this too is quite clear and gives a good acocunt of the field.
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International economics: Theory and policy
International economics: Theory and policy by Maurice Obstfeld (Unknown Binding - 1987)
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