Skip to Content
OpenStax Logo
  1. Preface
  2. 1 Welcome to Economics!
    1. Introduction
    2. 1.1 What Is Economics, and Why Is It Important?
    3. 1.2 Microeconomics and Macroeconomics
    4. 1.3 How Economists Use Theories and Models to Understand Economic Issues
    5. 1.4 How To Organize Economies: An Overview of Economic Systems
    6. Key Terms
    7. Key Concepts and Summary
    8. Self-Check Questions
    9. Review Questions
    10. Critical Thinking Questions
  3. 2 Choice in a World of Scarcity
    1. Introduction to Choice in a World of Scarcity
    2. 2.1 How Individuals Make Choices Based on Their Budget Constraint
    3. 2.2 The Production Possibilities Frontier and Social Choices
    4. 2.3 Confronting Objections to the Economic Approach
    5. Key Terms
    6. Key Concepts and Summary
    7. Self-Check Questions
    8. Review Questions
    9. Critical Thinking Questions
    10. Problems
  4. 3 Demand and Supply
    1. Introduction to Demand and Supply
    2. 3.1 Demand, Supply, and Equilibrium in Markets for Goods and Services
    3. 3.2 Shifts in Demand and Supply for Goods and Services
    4. 3.3 Changes in Equilibrium Price and Quantity: The Four-Step Process
    5. 3.4 Price Ceilings and Price Floors
    6. 3.5 Demand, Supply, and Efficiency
    7. Key Terms
    8. Key Concepts and Summary
    9. Self-Check Questions
    10. Review Questions
    11. Critical Thinking Questions
    12. Problems
  5. 4 Labor and Financial Markets
    1. Introduction to Labor and Financial Markets
    2. 4.1 Demand and Supply at Work in Labor Markets
    3. 4.2 Demand and Supply in Financial Markets
    4. 4.3 The Market System as an Efficient Mechanism for Information
    5. Key Terms
    6. Key Concepts and Summary
    7. Self-Check Questions
    8. Review Questions
    9. Critical Thinking Questions
    10. Problems
  6. 5 Elasticity
    1. Introduction to Elasticity
    2. 5.1 Price Elasticity of Demand and Price Elasticity of Supply
    3. 5.2 Polar Cases of Elasticity and Constant Elasticity
    4. 5.3 Elasticity and Pricing
    5. 5.4 Elasticity in Areas Other Than Price
    6. Key Terms
    7. Key Concepts and Summary
    8. Self-Check Questions
    9. Review Questions
    10. Critical Thinking Questions
    11. Problems
  7. 6 Consumer Choices
    1. Introduction to Consumer Choices
    2. 6.1 Consumption Choices
    3. 6.2 How Changes in Income and Prices Affect Consumption Choices
    4. 6.3 Labor-Leisure Choices
    5. 6.4 Intertemporal Choices in Financial Capital Markets
    6. Key Terms
    7. Key Concepts and Summary
    8. Self-Check Questions
    9. Review Questions
    10. Critical Thinking Questions
    11. Problems
  8. 7 Production, Costs and Industry Structure
    1. Introduction to Production, Costs, and Industry Structure
    2. 7.1 Explicit and Implicit Costs, and Accounting and Economic Profit
    3. 7.2 Production in the Short Run
    4. 7.3 Costs in the Short Run
    5. 7.4 Production in the Long Run
    6. 7.5 Costs in the Long Run
    7. Key Terms
    8. Key Concepts and Summary
    9. Self-Check Questions
    10. Review Questions
    11. Critical Thinking Questions
    12. Problems
  9. 8 Perfect Competition
    1. Introduction to Perfect Competition
    2. 8.1 Perfect Competition and Why It Matters
    3. 8.2 How Perfectly Competitive Firms Make Output Decisions
    4. 8.3 Entry and Exit Decisions in the Long Run
    5. 8.4 Efficiency in Perfectly Competitive Markets
    6. Key Terms
    7. Key Concepts and Summary
    8. Self-Check Questions
    9. Review Questions
    10. Critical Thinking Questions
    11. Problems
  10. 9 Monopoly
    1. Introduction to a Monopoly
    2. 9.1 How Monopolies Form: Barriers to Entry
    3. 9.2 How a Profit-Maximizing Monopoly Chooses Output and Price
    4. Key Terms
    5. Key Concepts and Summary
    6. Self-Check Questions
    7. Review Questions
    8. Critical Thinking Questions
    9. Problems
  11. 10 Monopolistic Competition and Oligopoly
    1. Introduction to Monopolistic Competition and Oligopoly
    2. 10.1 Monopolistic Competition
    3. 10.2 Oligopoly
    4. Key Terms
    5. Key Concepts and Summary
    6. Self-Check Questions
    7. Review Questions
    8. Critical Thinking Questions
    9. Problems
  12. 11 Monopoly and Antitrust Policy
    1. Introduction to Monopoly and Antitrust Policy
    2. 11.1 Corporate Mergers
    3. 11.2 Regulating Anticompetitive Behavior
    4. 11.3 Regulating Natural Monopolies
    5. 11.4 The Great Deregulation Experiment
    6. Key Terms
    7. Key Concepts and Summary
    8. Self-Check Questions
    9. Review Questions
    10. Critical Thinking Questions
    11. Problems
  13. 12 Environmental Protection and Negative Externalities
    1. Introduction to Environmental Protection and Negative Externalities
    2. 12.1 The Economics of Pollution
    3. 12.2 Command-and-Control Regulation
    4. 12.3 Market-Oriented Environmental Tools
    5. 12.4 The Benefits and Costs of U.S. Environmental Laws
    6. 12.5 International Environmental Issues
    7. 12.6 The Tradeoff between Economic Output and Environmental Protection
    8. Key Terms
    9. Key Concepts and Summary
    10. Self-Check Questions
    11. Review Questions
    12. Critical Thinking Questions
    13. Problems
  14. 13 Positive Externalities and Public Goods
    1. Introduction to Positive Externalities and Public Goods
    2. 13.1 Why the Private Sector Underinvests in Innovation
    3. 13.2 How Governments Can Encourage Innovation
    4. 13.3 Public Goods
    5. Key Terms
    6. Key Concepts and Summary
    7. Self-Check Questions
    8. Review Questions
    9. Critical Thinking Questions
    10. Problems
  15. 14 Poverty and Economic Inequality
    1. Introduction to Poverty and Economic Inequality
    2. 14.1 Drawing the Poverty Line
    3. 14.2 The Poverty Trap
    4. 14.3 The Safety Net
    5. 14.4 Income Inequality: Measurement and Causes
    6. 14.5 Government Policies to Reduce Income Inequality
    7. Key Terms
    8. Key Concepts and Summary
    9. Self-Check Questions
    10. Review Questions
    11. Critical Thinking Questions
    12. Problems
  16. 15 Labor Markets and Income
    1. Introduction to Labor Markets and Income
    2. 15.1 Market Power on the Supply Side of Labor Markets: Unions
    3. 15.2 Employment Discrimination
    4. 15.3 Immigration
    5. Key Terms
    6. Key Concepts and Summary
    7. Self-Check Questions
    8. Review Questions
    9. Critical Thinking Questions
  17. 16 Information, Risk, and Insurance
    1. Introduction to Information, Risk, and Insurance
    2. 16.1 The Problem of Imperfect Information and Asymmetric Information
    3. 16.2 Insurance and Imperfect Information
    4. Key Terms
    5. Key Concepts and Summary
    6. Self-Check Questions
    7. Review Questions
    8. Critical Thinking Questions
    9. Problems
  18. 17 Financial Markets
    1. Introduction to Financial Markets
    2. 17.1 How Businesses Raise Financial Capital
    3. 17.2 How Households Supply Financial Capital
    4. 17.3 How to Accumulate Personal Wealth
    5. Key Terms
    6. Key Concepts and Summary
    7. Self-Check Questions
    8. Review Questions
    9. Critical Thinking Questions
    10. Problems
  19. 18 Public Economy
    1. Introduction to Public Economy
    2. 18.1 Voter Participation and Costs of Elections
    3. 18.2 Special Interest Politics
    4. 18.3 Flaws in the Democratic System of Government
    5. Key Terms
    6. Key Concepts and Summary
    7. Self-Check Questions
    8. Review Questions
    9. Critical Thinking Questions
    10. Problems
  20. 19 International Trade
    1. Introduction to International Trade
    2. 19.1 Absolute and Comparative Advantage
    3. 19.2 What Happens When a Country Has an Absolute Advantage in All Goods
    4. 19.3 Intra-industry Trade between Similar Economies
    5. 19.4 The Benefits of Reducing Barriers to International Trade
    6. Key Terms
    7. Key Concepts and Summary
    8. Self-Check Questions
    9. Review Questions
    10. Critical Thinking Questions
    11. Problems
  21. 20 Globalization and Protectionism
    1. Introduction to Globalization and Protectionism
    2. 20.1 Protectionism: An Indirect Subsidy from Consumers to Producers
    3. 20.2 International Trade and Its Effects on Jobs, Wages, and Working Conditions
    4. 20.3 Arguments in Support of Restricting Imports
    5. 20.4 How Governments Enact Trade Policy: Globally, Regionally, and Nationally
    6. 20.5 The Tradeoffs of Trade Policy
    7. Key Terms
    8. Key Concepts and Summary
    9. Self-Check Questions
    10. Review Questions
    11. Critical Thinking Questions
    12. Problems
  22. A | The Use of Mathematics in Principles of Economics
  23. B | Indifference Curves
  24. C | Present Discounted Value
  25. Answer Key
    1. Chapter 1
    2. Chapter 2
    3. Chapter 3
    4. Chapter 4
    5. Chapter 5
    6. Chapter 6
    7. Chapter 7
    8. Chapter 8
    9. Chapter 9
    10. Chapter 10
    11. Chapter 11
    12. Chapter 12
    13. Chapter 13
    14. Chapter 14
    15. Chapter 15
    16. Chapter 16
    17. Chapter 17
    18. Chapter 18
    19. Chapter 19
    20. Chapter 20
  26. References
  27. Index

Welcome to Principles of Microeconomics for AP® Courses 2e (2nd Edition), an OpenStax resource. This textbook was written to increase student access to high-quality learning materials, maintaining highest standards of academic rigor at little to no cost.

About OpenStax

OpenStax is a nonprofit based at Rice University, and it’s our mission to improve student access to education. Our first openly licensed college textbook was published in 2012, and our library has since scaled to over 25 books for college and AP® courses used by hundreds of thousands of students. OpenStax Tutor, our low-cost personalized learning tool, is being used in college courses throughout the country. Through our partnerships with philanthropic foundations and our alliance with other educational resource organizations, OpenStax is breaking down the most common barriers to learning and empowering students and instructors to succeed.

About OpenStax resources

Customization

Principles of Microeconomics for AP® Courses 2e is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY) license, which means that you can distribute, remix, and build upon the content, as long as you provide attribution to OpenStax and its content contributors.

Because our books are openly licensed, you are free to use the entire book or pick and choose the sections that are most relevant to the needs of your course. Feel free to remix the content by assigning your students certain chapters and sections in your syllabus, in the order that you prefer. You can even provide a direct link in your syllabus to the sections in the web view of your book.

Instructors also have the option of creating a customized version of their OpenStax book. The custom version can be made available to students in low-cost print or digital form through their campus bookstore. Visit the Instructor Resources section of your book page on openstax.org for more information.

Errata

All OpenStax textbooks undergo a rigorous review process. However, like any professional-grade textbook, errors sometimes occur. Since our books are web based, we can make updates periodically when deemed pedagogically necessary. If you have a correction to suggest, submit it through the link on your book page on openstax.org. Subject matter experts review all errata suggestions. OpenStax is committed to remaining transparent about all updates, so you will also find a list of past errata changes on your book page on openstax.org.

Format

You can access this textbook for free in web view or PDF through openstax.org, and for a low cost in print.

About Principles of Microeconomics for AP® Courses 2e

Principles of Microeconomics for AP® Courses 2e (2nd edition) covers the scope and sequence requirements for an Advanced Placement® microeconomics course and is listed on the College Board's AP® example textbook list. The second edition includes many current examples and recent data from FRED (Federal Reserve Economic Data), which are presented in a politically equitable way. The outcome is a balanced approach to the theory and application of economics concepts. The second edition was developed with significant feedback from current users. In nearly all chapters, it follows the same basic structure of the first edition.

Coverage and scope

For the second edition, we received expansive and actionable feedback from hundreds of adopters who had used the book for several academic terms. These knowledgeable instructors informed the pedagogical courses, learning objective development and fulfillment, and the chapter arrangements. Faculty who taught from the material provided critical and detailed commentary.

The result is a book that covers the breadth of economics topics and also provides the necessary depth to ensure the course is manageable for instructors and students alike. We strove to balance theory and application, as well as the amount of calculation and mathematical examples.

The book is organized into six main parts:

  • What is Economics? The first two chapters introduce students to the study of economics with a focus on making choices in a world of scarce resources.
  • Supply and Demand, Chapters 3 and 4, introduces and explains the first analytical model in economics — supply, demand, and equilibrium — before showing applications in the markets for labor and finance.
  • Elasticity and Price, Chapter 5, introduces and explains elasticity and price, two key concepts in economics.
  • The Fundamentals of Microeconomic Theory, Chapters 6 through 10, begins the microeconomics portion of the text, presenting the theories of consumer behavior, production and costs, and the different models of market structure, including some simple game theory.
  • Microeconomic Policy Issues, Chapters 11 through 18, covers the range of topics in applied micro, framed around the concepts of public goods and positive and negative externalities. Students explore competition and antitrust policies, environmental problems, poverty, income inequality, and other labor market issues. The text also covers information, risk and financial markets, and public economy.
  • International Economics, Chapters 19 and 20, introduces the international dimensions of economics, including international trade and protectionism.

Alternate sequencing Principles of Microeconomics for AP® Courses 2e was conceived and written to fit a particular topical sequence, but it can be used flexibly to accommodate other course structures. One such potential structure, which fits reasonably well with the textbook content, is provided. Please consider, however, that the chapters were not written to be completely independent, and that the proposed alternate sequence should be carefully considered for student preparation and textual consistency.

Chapter 1 Welcome to Economics!
Chapter 2 Choice in a World of Scarcity
Chapter 3 Demand and Supply
Chapter 4 Labor and Financial Markets
Chapter 5 Elasticity
Chapter 6 Consumer Choices
Chapter 19 International Trade
Chapter 7 Production, Costs, and Industry Structure
Chapter 12 Environmental Protection and Negative Externalities
Chapter 13 Positive Externalities and Public Goods
Chapter 8 Perfect Competition
Chapter 9 Monopoly
Chapter 10 Monopolistic Competition and Oligopoly
Chapter 11 Monopoly and Antitrust Policy
Chapter 15 Labor Markets and Income
Chapter 14 Poverty and Economic Inequality
Chapter 16 Information, Risk, and Insurance
Chapter 17 Financial Markets
Chapter 18 Public Economy
Chapter 20 Globalization and Protectionism

Appendix A The Use of Mathematics in Principles of Economics
Appendix B Indifference Curves
Appendix C Present Discounted Value

Changes to the second edition

OpenStax only undertakes revisions when significant modifications to a text are necessary. In the case of Principles of Microeconomics for AP® Courses, we received a wealth of constructive feedback. Many of the book’s users felt that consequential movement in economic data, coupled with the impacts of national and global events, warranted a full revision. We also took advantage of the opportunity to improve the writing and sequencing of the text, as well as many of the calculation examples. The major changes are summarized below.

  • Augmented explanations in chapters one through four provide a more comprehensive and informative foundation for the book.
  • A clearer explanation, using a numerical example, has been given for finding the utility maximizing combination of goods and services a consumer should choose.
  • The labor markets chapter and the poverty and economic inequality chapter have been resequenced.
  • Case studies and examples have been revised and, in some cases, replaced to provide more relevant and useful information for students.
  • Economic data, tables, and graphs, as well as discussion and analysis around that data, have been thoroughly updated.

Wherever possible, data from the Federal Reserve Economic Database (FRED) was included and referenced. In most of these uses, links to the direct source of the FRED data are provided, and students are encouraged to explore the information and the overall FRED resources more thoroughly.

Additional updates and revisions appear throughout the book. They reflect changes to economic realities and policies regarding international trade, taxation, insurance, and other topics. For issues that may change in the months or years following the textbook's publication, the authors often provided a more open-ended explanation, but we will update the text annually to address further changes.

The revision of Principles of Microeconomics for AP® Courses was undertaken by Steven Greenlaw (University of Mary Washington) and David Shapiro (Pennsylvania State University), with significant input by lead reviewer Daniel MacDonald (California State University, San Bernardino).

Pedagogical foundation

Throughout Principles of Microeconomics for AP® Courses 2e, you will find features that engage the students in economic inquiry and support the understanding required of the students for the AP® exam. Our features include:

  • Bring It Home: This feature presents a brief case study, specific to each chapter, which connects the chapter’s main topic to the real world. It is broken into two parts: the first at the beginning of the chapter (in the Intro module) and the second at chapter’s end, when students have learned what’s necessary to understand the case and “bring home” the chapter’s core concepts.
  • Work It Out: This feature asks students to work through a generally analytical or computational problem and guides the students step-by-step to find out how its solution is derived.
  • Clear It Up: This feature addresses common student misconceptions about the content. Clear It Ups are usually deeper explanations of something in the main body of the text. Each CIU starts with a question. The rest of the feature explains the answer.
  • Link It Up: This feature offers a very brief introduction to a website that is pertinent to students’ understanding and enjoyment of the topic at hand.

Questions for each level of learning

Principles of Microeconomics for AP® Courses 2e offers four types of end-of-module questions for students.

  • Self-Checks are analytical self-assessment questions that appear at the end of each module. They push the student to think beyond what is said in the text. Self-Check questions are designed for formative (rather than summative) assessment. The questions and answers are explained so that students feel like they are being walked through the problem.
  • Review Questions are simple recall questions from the chapter and are in open-response format (not multiple choice or true/false). The answers can be looked up in the text.
  • Critical Thinking Questions are higher-level, conceptual questions that ask students to demonstrate their understanding by applying what they have learned in different contexts. They ask for reasoning about the concepts in a manner that will help prepare students for the AP® exam.
  • Problems are exercises that give students additional practice working with the analytic and computational concepts in the module.

Updated art

Principles of Microeconomics for AP® Courses 2e includes an updated art program to better inform today’s student, providing the latest data on covered topics.

Cost Curves at the Clip Joint
sample image
Banks as Financial Intermediaries
sample image
Interest Rates on Six-Month, One-Year, and Five-Year Certificates of Deposit
sample image

Additional resources

Student and instructor resources

We’ve compiled additional resources for both students and instructors, including Getting Started Guides and PowerPoint slides. Instructor resources require a verified instructor account, which you can apply for when you log in or create your account on openstax.org. Take advantage of these resources to supplement your OpenStax book.

Community Hubs

OERCommons logo

OpenStax partners with the Institute for the Study of Knowledge Management in Education (ISKME) to offer Community Hubs on OER Commons – a platform for instructors to share community-created resources that support OpenStax books, free of charge. Through our Community Hubs, instructors can upload their own materials or download resources to use in their own courses, including additional ancillaries, teaching material, multimedia, and relevant course content. We encourage instructors to join the hubs for the subjects most relevant to your teaching and research as an opportunity both to enrich your courses and to engage with other faculty.

To reach the Community Hubs, visit www.oercommons.org/hubs/OpenStax.

Technology partners

As allies in making high-quality learning materials accessible, our technology partners offer optional low-cost tools that are integrated with OpenStax books. To access the technology options for your text, visit your book page on openstax.org.

About the authors

Senior contributing authors

Steven A. Greenlaw, University of Mary Washington
Steven Greenlaw has been teaching principles of economics for more than 30 years. In 1999, he received the Grellet C. Simpson Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching at the University of Mary Washington. He is the author of Doing Economics: A Guide to Doing and Understanding Economic Research, as well as a variety of articles on economics pedagogy and instructional technology, published in the Journal of Economic Education, the International Review of Economic Education, and other outlets. He wrote the module on Quantitative Writing for Starting Point: Teaching and Learning Economics, the web portal on best practices in teaching economics. Steven Greenlaw lives in Alexandria, Virginia with his wife Kathy and their three children.

David Shapiro, Pennsylvania State University
David Shapiro is Professor Emeritus of Economics, Demography, and Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies at the Pennsylvania State University. He received a BA in Economics and Political Science from the University of Michigan, and an MA as well as a PhD in Economics from Princeton University. He began his academic career at Ohio State University in 1971, and moved to Penn State in 1980. His early research focused on women and youth in the United States labor market. Following a 1978-79 stint as a Fulbright professor at the University of Kinshasa in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, his research shifted focus to fertility in Kinshasa and more broadly, in sub-Saharan Africa. He has also received the top prize for teaching at both Ohio State and Penn State.

Special thanks to Christian Potter from University of Mary Washington, who thoroughly researched and applied many of the data updates and provided the foundation for many new and revised illustrations.

Development editor

Thomas Sigel

Contributing authors

Eric Dodge, Hanover College
Cynthia Gamez, University of Texas at El Paso
Andres Jauregui, Columbus State University
Diane Keenan, Cerritos College
Dan MacDonald, California State University, San Bernardino
Amyaz Moledina, The College of Wooster
Craig Richardson, Winston-Salem State University
Ralph Sonenshine, American University

Reviewers

Bryan Aguiar, Northwest Arkansas Community College
Basil Al Hashimi, Mesa Community College
Jennifer Ball, Washburn University
Emil Berendt, Mount St. Mary's University
Zena Buser, Adams State University
Douglas Campbell, The University of Memphis
Sanjukta Chaudhuri, University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire
Xueyu Cheng, Alabama State University
Robert Cunningham, Alma College
Rosa Lea Danielson, College of DuPage
Steven Deloach, Elon University
Debbie Evercloud, University of Colorado Denver
Sal Figueras, Hudson County Community College
Reza Ghorashi, Stockton University
Robert Gillette, University of Kentucky
George Jones, University of Wisconsin-Rock County
Charles Kroncke, College of Mount St. Joseph
Teresa Laughlin, Palomar Community College
Carlos Liard-Muriente, Central Connecticut State University
Heather Luea, Kansas State University
Charles Meyrick, Housatonic Community College
William Mosher, Nashua Community College
Michael Netta, Hudson County Community College
Nick Noble, Miami University
Joe Nowakowski, Muskingum University
Shawn Osell, University of Wisconsin, Superior
Mark Owens, Middle Tennessee State University
Sonia Pereira, Barnard College
Brian Peterson, Central College
Jennifer Platania, Elon University
Robert Rycroft, University of Mary Washington
Adrienne Sachse, Florida State College at Jacksonville
Hans Schumann, Texas A&M University
Gina Shamshak, Goucher College
Chris Warburton, John Jay College of Criminal Justice, CUNY
Mark Witte, Northwestern University
Chiou-nan Yeh, Alabama State University

Citation/Attribution

Want to cite, share, or modify this book? This book is Creative Commons Attribution License 4.0 and you must attribute OpenStax.

Attribution information
  • If you are redistributing all or part of this book in a print format, then you must include on every physical page the following attribution:
    Access for free at https://openstax.org/books/principles-microeconomics-ap-courses-2e/pages/1-introduction
  • If you are redistributing all or part of this book in a digital format, then you must include on every digital page view the following attribution:
    Access for free at https://openstax.org/books/principles-microeconomics-ap-courses-2e/pages/1-introduction
Citation information

© Sep 3, 2020 OpenStax. Textbook content produced by OpenStax is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution License 4.0 license. The OpenStax name, OpenStax logo, OpenStax book covers, OpenStax CNX name, and OpenStax CNX logo are not subject to the Creative Commons license and may not be reproduced without the prior and express written consent of Rice University.