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Paul A. Samuelson's "Economics," the bible for Economics 10, the College's most popular course, will be replaced this year by a new economics textbook, the professor of the course said yesterday.
A committee of Economics 10 section leaders voted unanimously over the summer to replace Samuelson's book with an economics textbook written by Richard G. Lipsey, a professor at Queen's University in Canada, and Peter O. Steiner, a professor at the University of Michigan.
Otto Eckstein, Warburg Professor of Economics, said he approved the textbook switch after conferring with the committee of Economics 1$ section men.
Eckstein, who four years ago persuaded a similar committee to retain Samuelson's textbook after the committee had recommended dropping it, said this year's committee felt "very strongly" about switching to the Lipsey and Steiner textbook.
"The section leaders felt handicapped by Samuelson's organization of microeconomics," Eckstein said. "I made my own examination and couldn't help but agree with the committee's decision."
Despite admitting that flaws exist in Samuelson's book, Eckstein had some words of praise for the text. "In terms of writing quality and a certain sparkle, it was in its own way unique," he said. He added, however, that he realized that sparkle evoked a "Two-edged reaction" among some Harvard students.
"The proof of the pudding is in the teaching here," Eckstein said, adding he believes, "this is what competition is all about. Under the pressure of the market place the Lipsey and Steiner book has improved a lot."
Samuelson, a professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, brunted much criticism for his book. In the spring of 1977, a Marxist economist wrote an antithesis to Samuelson's book called "Anti-Samuelson".
Before reaching the decision to drop the Samuelson book, both the committee and Eckstein studied how adequately each textbook covers the individual sections ox study outlined on the Economics 10 reading list.
Tom Barthold, a fourth-year graduate student in the Economics Department who voted with the committee to switch textbooks, said, "People have looked at it (the Lipsey and Steiner textbook) over the past few years and seen that it was getting better, so it is no big shock."
Eckstein said Lipsey and Steiner had vastly improved the macroeconomics section of their textbook, while Samuelson refused to correct the defects in his books pertaining to microeconomic theory.
The Lipsey and Steiner book costs $14.95, one dollar less than the Samuelson book. The corresponding workbook costs $4.95, two dollars less than the Samuelson workbook.
Jeff Wolcowitz, head section leader of Ec 10, said Yale and other "first-rate" schools have been using the Lipsey and Steiner textbook for several years.
Another section leader said the Lipsey and Steiner book was just as challenging as Samuelson's book and the switch did not signal a lowering of standards for the introductory economics course.
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