Is there an open source text book in use at Williams today? Not that I know of. But the economics department should consider using this one.
Why open source? Academics do an enormous amount of work editing journals and writing articles and now publishers have broken an implicit contract with academics, in which we gave our time and they weren’t too greedy. Sometimes articles cost $20 to download, and principles books regularly sell for over $100. They issue new editions frequently to kill off the used book market, and the rapidity of new editions contributes to errors and bloat. Moreover, textbooks have gotten dumb and dumber as publishers seek to satisfy the student who prefers to learn nothing. Many have gotten so dumb (“simplified”) so as to be simply incorrect. And they want $100 for this schlock? Where is the attempt to show the students what economics is actually about, and how it actually works?
Indeed. The book looks too hard (?) for EC 110, but would work fine for ECON 251. Will it be used at Williams? Probably not. After all, does the economics department really care how much students have to spend on textbooks?
50% of textbooks in use at Williams will be free and open source within ten years. You read it here first.