Friday, March 26, 2010

Is Varian enough for Micro?

Is Varian enough for Micro?

Subjective Issue

Well this is a highly subjective question. Nobody can answer it apart from yourself. If you believe that glancing over a text would suffice in terms of your preparations then Varian is enough for you. But I believe that it should be at least supplemented by its workbook, if not some other textbook. The main problem with Varian is its deficit of sufficient applications in its textbook, which he has very properly taken care of in his workbook.

Varian vis-à-vis Varian Workbook

Now for me both of these books should behave like a perfect complements. Um = min{Vt,Vw}, where Um is utility gained/derived from preparing Microeconomics, Vt is Varian Textbook and Vw is Varian Workbook. Ideally you should be doing one chapter form textbook and then the relevant chapter from Workbook also. Both of these books combined would fetch you at a higher and sufficient (again subjective) plane of understanding.

Applying concepts

Unless you scribble some equations, algebra in your notepad, believe me you will never appreciate Micro. Just knowing perfect complements are L shaped is not enough, drawing several curves, deriving marshallian demand functions and so on are hugely required. You need to bring out the fear of Maths out of you, if you ever, ever want to appreciate, get motivated for Micro. Application of concepts is nicely and firmly dealt in Varian workbook. For example, on introduction of indifference curves, he gives you enough chance to draw several curves, think about optimal bundles in several scenarios of change in price vector, consumption vector and so on.


Maths is fine, scribbling of equations and algebra is fine, drawing some curves is fine but when it comes to intuition then everyone falls apart. Knowing an algorithm of doing a specific question is one thing and knowing why are you doing it is another. Always ask yourself, why? Every time you see an equation, remember there is a logic behind this, there is life behind this, there is a hidden meaning behind this. So never stop at equation, appreciate the fact that you are able to write some real life phenomenon in terms of maths. Here, Varian cant help you at this front! Its you and only you who can help yourself, get help of yourself, your friends, your teachers to know how to develop this sacred intuition.

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