This primer for social work students introduces the general definitions and concepts of economics and uses case studies in social work to develop applied knowledge. The case studies include stories of job training, substance abuse centers, counseling, therapy, child protective services, and services for the poor. The concluding chapters are devoted to topics directly related to social work: economics of poverty, health economics, household economics, the economics of labor, and government failure.
Lewis and Widerquist note that, while students of social work in the United States are required to take a course in social policy to understand how such policies affect their clients, they have no course requirement to ensure a basic understanding of economics, and its influence on social policies. To enhance the ability of social workers to advocate for sound social policies, Lewis and Widerquist have prepared this text focusing on the mainstream methodology of neoclassical economics. Coverage includes marginal analysis, perfect competition and the supply-and-demand model, imperfect competition, market failure and government intervention, cost-benefit and cost- effectiveness analysis, government failure, the labor markets, theories behind poverty policy, the economics of health care, and economic demography. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)