Sunday, December 27, 2009

I have a little (slightly dated) list

Talking to a friend a few years ago about getting across economics for her public policy Masters, I argued that a survey course in microeconomics was better value than one on macroeconomics (a less well developed and more ad hoc area of economics).

Which led on to the question of what books in my library would be useful introductory texts. Unfortunately my copy of Economics in One Lesson by Henry Hazlitt seems to have wandered off, though it is available on the web: for example here. But I have assembled a little collection, excluding books I have reviewed already on this blog.

David Friedman's (aka Cariadoc of the Bow in the SCA) Hidden Order: The Economics of Everyday Life is informative, cheerful and engaging. He is particularly intelligent on the methodology of economics. (Perhaps not so surprising, since his Dad wrote the classic article on economic methodology.)

Ronald H. Coase's The Firm, the Market and the Law contains Coase's two classic articles (The Nature of the Firm and The Problem of Social Cost) which kicked off transaction costs analysis. It is also a highly readable and accessible collection of pieces. The Lighthouse in Economics is a great cautionary tale about historical evidence, for example.

Murray Horn's The Political Economy of Public Administration: Institutional Choice in the Public Sector I found very enlightening. Hopefully, the language is sufficiently accessible. (I found it so, but I have long experience with economic concepts.)

Arjo Klamer's The New Classical Macroeconomics: Conversations with New Classical Economists and Their Opponents is informative about the macroeconomic debates of the 1960s to early 1980s. It centres on the impact of rational expectations on macroeconomics. Since it is mainly interviews with prominent economists of various schools, it is a good way to see how (macro) economists view the world. A lay reader would probably find a dictionary of economic terms helpful when reading the introduction.

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