The Cartoon Introduction to Economics, Volume 2: Macroeconomics (Dec 2011)

Cartoon Macroeconomics Cover

Button: Buy from Amazon

Ask your local bookstore for my new book (co-authored with Grady Klein), or you can order it for about $15 from or B&N.

Scroll down for excerpts, reviews, corrections, and information for teachers (including PPTs). Go to my foreign translations page for more info if you want to read this book in languages including Chinese (both simplified for mainland China and traditional for Taiwan), Czech, French, Italian, Japanese, Mongolian, Polish, Russian, Spanish, and Vietnamese.

PS. Click here for similar info about Cartoon Micro, Cartoon Climate Change, and Cartoon Calculus.

Comedy/book tour

Details about upcoming shows here, please contact me to bring economics comedy to your school, corporate event, or comedy club! If you are with a public high school, community college, or the armed forces, or are otherwise looking for a free show, click here.


Below is one of my favorite chapters! To download it in PDF (plus the front and back covers and Table of Contents), click here. Or you can just download the front and back covers and Table of Contents.


From the back cover of the book:

“People don’t usually chuckle over unemployment, inflation, and recessions. But they’ll get plenty of laughs out of this book—-and a good introduction to macro too.”
Eric Maskin, 2007 Nobel Laureate in Economics

“If you don’t want to cry about the state of the economy, why not laugh instead? This book is an ideal introduction to the subject for anybody who thinks they ought to understand what’s happening around them but is put off by the usual dense text and economics jargon.”
Diane Coyle, author of The Soulful Science

Reviews on the web include kind words from Univ of Chicago econ department chair Harald Uhlig (who writes on Amazon that “This is a wonderful and humorous introduction to macroeconomics!”), a lovely review from Bryan Caplan at Econlib, a 5-star review from an 11-year-old boy who happens to be the son of economist Joshua Gans, a more middling review from Kirkus Reviews (“Laugh-a-minute or not, an accessible introduction to a densely complex subject”), and this from Publishers Weekly: “The major concepts of macroeconomics are broken down with wit, verve, and clarity… While the authors do an admirable job keeping politics out of it, they’re clearly fans of the free market and a well-reasoned, balanced role for the government. This clever, lucid, and lighthearted book is a godsend to anyone who needs a simple but complete primer on the ins and outs of economics.”


The items below (except the first one!) are mostly quibbles rather than corrections, but in any case email me if you find anything to add to this list!

  • Pages 223: The index entry for “Great Recession” should say “the worst economic downturn”, not “the worst economic downtown”. Thanks to Joseph Tao-yi Wang at National Taiwan University for finding this typo, and for helping with the traditional Chinese translation!
  • Pages 56-57: I went back and forth about 2-3% inflation and whether it should be 2% or or 1-3% or 2-4% or what. I still don’t know…
  • Page 69: My guess that China will reach 50% of U.S. per capita GDP (in terms of PPP) in 2040 is I think optimistic if I remember correctly what I read in Angus Maddison’s Contours of the World Economy, 1-2030 AD, but here’s an estimate from Andrew Mold that suggests it will be more like 2030… I guess time will tell :)
  • Page 117: I pushed hard for a shout-out here to Harriet Tubman. I lost, in part because the book was near completion and a revision would have affected multiple pages.
  • Page 132: There were questions about whether Grameen Bank really charges 20% interest, and in fact our intent was to have a non-Grameen micro-lender in the bottom panel. But Yunus ended up in the bottom panel (again, a last-minute issue) and fortunately their own website says “Grameen Bank’s highest interest rate is 20%.”
  • Page 140: We went back and forth about whether to change “In Europe many countries use Euros” to “In Europe many countries use Euros… at least for now!” We chickened out and went with the former.
  • Page 141: Using the market for cars at the top is confusing because in the Micro book we use cars to describe adverse selection. This should be changed if we get a chance.
  • Page 147: The accent mark on “adios” should be over the “o”, not the “i”.
  • Page 146: Every time I look at the bottom panel I’m afraid the guy is sticking out his middle finger.
  • Page 160: The “unfortunately” at the top of this page is awkward. Maybe there’s a better way.
  • Page 182: The first quote at the top was inspired by a quote from climate scientist David Rind in Field Notes from a Catastrophe: “I wouldn’t be shocked to find out that by 2100 most things were destroyed.” We shortened it, and I lost a battle with the copy editor, who changed “most things were destroyed” to “most things have been destroyed”. Oh well.
  • Page 217: In the middle panel, maybe “short-run stability” and “long-run growth” should be reversed.

Information for teachers

Detailed page notes (and haiku summaries!) are available here. For information about PPTs for use in class, please email me using your school email address.

If you ‘re a college or high school instructor looking to adopt the cartoon book(s) for a class and you don’t want to shell out $15 you can click here to get a desk copy (free if you order 20 copies) or an examination copy for about $5. Send a note on school letterhead to the address in the link and ask for a copy of The Cartoon Introduction to Economics, Volume Two: Macroeconomics, ISBN 978-0809033614 and/or The Cartoon Introduction to Economics, Volume One: Microeconomics, ISBN 978-0809094813.

Also FYI both cartoon books should be available at a steep discount (possibly even free!) as part of a Worth Publishers package deal with intro texts by Krugman/Wells, Cowen/Tabbarok, or Chiang. For more info contact, and if you have any trouble please contact me.

9 responses to “The Cartoon Introduction to Economics, Volume 2: Macroeconomics (Dec 2011)”

  1. hi, i just wanted to ask if these two books are available in Delhi, India. thanks.
    (The Cartoon Introduction to Economics, Vol. 2)(The Cartoon Introduction to Economics, Volume 1: Microeconomics)

    YB: Probably at an English-language bookstore, but no Hindi translations yet, sorry.

  2. Is there any chance buying a soft copy?
    I am in Egypt!

    YB: I sent you an email about this… write me back! Or check a local English-language bookstore…

  3. I would really love to buy these electronically: PDF, Kindle, whatever…

    YB: These sorts of decisions are in the hands of my publisher… and so far they haven’t been pursuing them. Sorry. But… I’ll keep asking them!

  4. As being teacher i liked the title but i can’t view it

  5. Are these available in Pakistan

  6. Hey why dont we translate the books into Spanish? I’m an MBA and PMP working full time but free on the weekends.

  7. For follow-up reading, well worth looking at the IMF’s Back to Basics series in Economics

    the IMF’s blog has useful commentary:
    including articles by Olivier Blanchard and other leading economists.

  8. I wish I had this book for my macroeconomics class in college! My oldest is graduating high school this year and is home schooled. Do you have a study guide to go with this?

Join My Email List