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Trade-Offs: An Introduction to Economic Reasoning and Social Issues Paperback – May 1, 2005

ISBN-13: 978-0226902258 ISBN-10: 0226902250 Edition: 4.1.2005

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 112 pages
  • Publisher: University of Chicago Press; 4.1.2005 edition (May 1, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0226902250
  • ISBN-13: 978-0226902258
  • Product Dimensions: 0.4 x 5.2 x 8.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.3 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #354,380 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"Harold Winter's engaging volume is a great starting point for introducing students to the economic approach to policy issues. Where other disciplines see absolutes, economics sees trade-offs. And, as Winter shows, the guidance economics provides as to what these trade-offs are and what balance we should strike is often surprising. Trade-Offs illustrates the broad range of economic reasoning with a wealth of case studies that runs the gamut from auto safety to organ transplants. This book will get students excited about learning economics." - W. Kip Viscusi, Harvard Law School"

From the Inside Flap

When economists wrestle with issues such as unemployment, inflation, or budget deficits, they do so by incorporating an impersonal, detached mode of reasoning. But economists also analyze issues that, to others, do not typically fall within the realm of economic reasoning, such as organ transplants, cigarette addiction, smoking in public, and product safety. Trade-Offs is an introduction to the economic approach to analyzing these controversial public policy issues.

Harold Winter provides readers with the analytical tools needed to identify and understand the trade-offs associated with these topics. By considering both the costs and benefits of potential policy solutions, Winter stresses that real-world policy decision-making is best served by an explicit recognition of as many trade-offs as possible.

Intellectually stimulating yet accessible and entertaining, Trade-Offs will be appreciated by students of economics, public policy, health administration, political science, and law, as well as by anyone who follows current social policy debates.


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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

12 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Dmitri Ulinov on September 23, 2005
Format: Paperback
I love the popular writings of Steven Landsburg, Gary Becker and Walter Williams. This book is in the same vein, bringing jargon-laden economics down to a level of prose that everyone can understand and enjoy. (Most of the jargon and formal modeling in AER articles and econ textbooks is entirely useless.) On top of this, Winter has wit. How many econ professors actually have wit? I've done a study -- it's 5 and Harold Winter can happily put himself in that class now.

And this book vastly outshines "Freakonomics," which is nothing more than a book on measurement (not economic theory as it portends) and a incessant celebration of its authors.

My only critique of "Trade-Offs" is that I wish it were longer. I anxiously await "Trade-Offs II: Revenge of the Neoclassicists."
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Arya B. Gaduh on February 8, 2006
Format: Paperback
'Trade-offs' is a good introduction to the economic analysis of policy, with a message clearly conveyed by its title: There are trade-offs for every (public) policy. Excellent for explaining economic analysis to people with little background in economics.

Disagree with the previous reviewer's comparison with Freakonomics: Though both are good, Freakonomics describes things that are at the frontier of current economic research (in an amazingly clear way). So, Freakonomics offers both clarity and novelty, while (at least for most people educated in economics), Trade-Offs mostly offers the former.

I would have given Trade-Offs a four star, but I think it is a bit too short for the money.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By K. on June 23, 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This no non-sense, straight to the point book demonstrates clearly that no solutions exist to any social situation. There are only trade-offs. I especially liked his argument that there may be too little smoking in the world.

Winter clearly understands that pleasure, life, and many other things do indeed have a dollar value associated with them. Ignoring this exposes you to a variety of logical flaws, leading to false or misleading solutions.
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By E. A. Crampton on May 22, 2006
Format: Paperback
For the past 6 months or so, I have been frantically searching for a text I can use for a second year policy econ course for non-majors. I'd found nothing that covered the range of topics I wanted or at the appropriate level. This text is perfect; I wish I'd found it before the uni bookstore's cut off date! Each chapter would have to be supplemented with additional readings to provide the appropriate depth, but the coverage is almost perfect for the kind of course I'm teaching. Strongly recommended.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Winter offers a straightforward discussion of how economists think about social issues--attempting to rein in their personal preferences and emotions in order to get at the real mechanics of policy choices. Thoughtful and illuminating.
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