Books on Economic theory

February 23, 2015
Top Ten Economics Books for

This is a list of important publications in economics, organized by field.

Some reasons why a particular publication might be regarded as important:

  • Topic creator – A publication that created a new topic
  • Breakthrough – A publication that changed scientific knowledge significantly
  • Influence – A publication which has significantly influenced the world or has had a massive impact on the teaching of economics.

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Description: Das Kapital is a political-economic treatise by Karl Marx. Marx wrote this critical analysis of capitalism and of the political economy from the perspective of historical materialism, the view that history can be understood as a sequence of modes of production in which exploiting classes extract an economic surplus from exploited classes.

Importance: Breakthrough, Influence

Description: The book is usually considered to be the beginning of modern economics. It begins with a discussion of the Industrial Revolution. Later it critiques the mercantilism and a synthesis of the emerging economic thinking of his time. It is mostly known due to the idea of The Invisible Hand which is an often quoted phrase from the book. Its meaning is that people will unintentionally improve their community through pursuit of their own wants and needs. The Butcher, the Baker, and the Brewer provide goods and services to each other out of self-interest; the unplanned result of this division of labor is a better standard of living for all three.

Importance: Topic creator, Breakthrough, Influence, Introduction

Description: Elaborates, clarifies and corrects previous theories, and adds important new concepts

Importance: Breakthrough, influence (esp on Marx), broadened scientific foundations of economics

Description: Describes how poverty in the midst of plenty results from unequal rights to use natural resources, and declining wages in the face of increasing labor productivity results from the Law of Rent. Advocated Georgism, specifically a land value tax.

Importance: Influence, Breakthrough

Principles of Economics (Menger)[edit]

Influence: Credited with co-founding of marginal utility analysis and the Austrian School of economics.

Principles of Economics (Marshall)[edit]

Influence: Standard text for generations of economics students.

Economics[edit]

Importance:: Influential multi-level, best-selling principles textbook that popularized neoclassical synthesis of Keynesian economics and neoclassical economics.

Description: See Importance.

Importance: The book built on ordinal utility and mainstreamed the now-standard distinction between the substitution effect and the income effect for an individual in demand theory in the 2-good case. It generalized analysis to the case of one good and all other goods, that is, the . It aggregated individuals and businesses through demand and supply across the economy. It anticipated the aggregation problem, most acutely for the stock of capital goods. It introduced general equilibrium theory to an English-speaking audience, refined the theory, and for the first time attempted a rigorous statement of stability conditions for general equilibrium.

Among the most important list of publication in macroeconomics are:

Description: In this book, Keynes put forward a theory based upon the notion of aggregate demand to explain variations in the overall level of economic activity, such as were observed in the Great Depression. The total income in a society is defined by the sum of consumption and investment; and in a state of unemployment and unused production capacity, one can only enhance employment and total income by first increasing expenditures for either consumption or investment.

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