The most recommended microeconomics books

Who picked these books? Meet our 36 experts.

36 authors created a book list connected to microeconomics, and here are their favorite microeconomics books.
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Book cover of The Economy: Economics for a Changing World

Ana Espinola-Arredondo Author Of Intermediate Microeconomic Theory: Tools and Step-by-Step Examples

From my list on getting into microeconomics.

Why am I passionate about this?

When understanding the interactions in our economy, it is critical to recognize all participants in this complex system. I’m passionate about microeconomics because it provides me with a different perspective to examine the world around me. I use my microeconomic glasses and I enjoy rationalizing the daily interactions and predicting the potential outcomes.

Ana's book list on getting into microeconomics

Ana Espinola-Arredondo Why did Ana love this book?

This eBook, developed by faculty members from top institutions, is available for free from the developers’ website, offers several online resources, it's frequently updated, translated to several languages, and has been widely adopted in several countries.

The book includes both the usual topics for courses on introduction to microeconomics and introduction to macroeconomics, using a similar writing style as other introductory textbooks (assumes no mathematical background), thus being accessible to a wide range of students.

Unlike similar books, however, it structures topics differently: instead of presenting chapters according to the main tool or concept being introduced, chapters are presented according to real-world problems.

While this can help motivate each chapter, it may require some adapting from the instructor’s teaching style.

By The CORE Team,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Economy as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The only introductory economics text to equip students to address today's pressing problems by mastering the conceptual and quantitative tools of contemporary economics.

OUP has partnered with the international collaborative project of CORE researchers and teachers to bring students a book and learning system that complements and enhances CORE's open-access online e-book.

The Economy:
- is a new approach that integrates recent developments in economics including contract theory, strategic interaction, behavioural economics and financial instability
- Engages with issues students of economics care about, exploring inequality, climate change, economic instability, wealth creation and innovation, among other issues.
- provides a…


Book cover of Imperceptible Harms and Benefits

Chrisoula Andreou Author Of Choosing Well: The Good, the Bad, and the Trivial

From my list on essay collections wth themes being tempted or torn.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve been drawn to philosophical inquiry for as long as I can remember (even before knowing philosophy was a thing, which I didn’t realize until after high school). My most enduring interest is in inquiry concerning rationality and irrationality. My early studies focused on the relationship between morality and rationality. My current research focuses on choice situations and preference structures that can interfere with choosing well by prompting self-defeating patterns of choice. The relevant patterns are associated with being tempted or torn and include cases of individual and collective procrastination. Though not a cure-all, understanding rationality’s guidance can, I think, highlight certain pitfalls in life and help us avoid them.  

Chrisoula's book list on essay collections wth themes being tempted or torn

Chrisoula Andreou Why did Chrisoula love this book?

This collection explores a fascinating and currently highly relevant puzzle concerning cases in which the contribution of a single individual will not make the difference between success and failure with respect to a certain important goal (e.g., achieving decent air quality) because the contribution (e.g., walking to the store instead of driving) is too insignificant given the scale of the goal.

In such cases, it might seem not only tempting but permissible or even required that the individual refrain from contributing and instead spend her energy and resources in some more effective way (so as to actually make a difference with respect to some morally or rationally important goal).

Yet, if all reason in this way and refrain from contributing, the important collective goal will not be achieved at all.  

By Michael J. Almeida (editor),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Imperceptible Harms and Benefits as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The papers collected here represent the most recent work on a much neglected problem in practical reasoning. It is the problem of imperceptible harms and benefits. It is perhaps better to characterize the problem as a collection of puzzles or paradoxes, since those who deny the existence (or possibility) of imperceptible decrements (or increments) face problems no less perplexing than those who affinn their existence. The puzzles and paradoxes combine very practical and pressing worries about our obligations to relieve starvation, mitigate suffering and conserve resources, with deep metaethical worries about the nature of practical rationality. I use these brief…


Book cover of Cities by Contract: The Politics of Municipal Incorporation

Elizabeth Maggie Penn Author Of Social Choice and Legitimacy: The Possibilities of Impossibility

From my list on how people shape their communities.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a social scientist, I've always been interested in how the communities we live in shape our values, priorities, and behavior. I also care about how institutional change—from small things like a college offering a new major to big things like a town choosing to incorporatecan shape communities. Each of these books has changed my thinking about how we influence, and are influenced by, the communities we live in, for better or worse. I'm a professor in the departments of Political Science and Quantitative Theory and Methods at Emory University in Atlanta, and I hold a Ph.D. in the Social Sciences from Caltech. 

Elizabeth's book list on how people shape their communities

Elizabeth Maggie Penn Why did Elizabeth love this book?

Between 1954 and 1981, when this book was written, the number of cities in L.A. County nearly doubled from 45 to 81. Many of these new cities contracted with the county for their basic public services, and were consequently able to maintain low property tax rates. Homeowners "voted with their feet" by moving to these new cities, and previously middle-class places like Compton saw their tax bases plummet while their need for public services skyrocketed. As a native Angeleno, I found Miller's account of the fragmentation of Los Angeles fascinating and devastating.  A gem of a chapter entitled "Is the Invisible Hand Biased?" presents a withering critique of the argument—standard in economic theory—that more choices make people better off.

By Gary J. Miller,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Cities by Contract as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The battle line in the urban conflict lies between the central city and the affluent suburb. The city, needing to broaden its tax base in order to provide increasingly necessary social services, has sought to annex the suburb. The latter, in order to hold down property taxes, has sought independence through incorporation.

Cities by Contract documents and dissects this process through case studies of communities located in Los Angeles County. The book traces the incorporation of "Lakewood Plan" cities, municipalities which contract with the county for the provision of basic—which is to say minimal—services.

The Lakewood plan is shown in…


Book cover of Microeconomics

Ana Espinola-Arredondo Author Of Intermediate Microeconomic Theory: Tools and Step-by-Step Examples

From my list on getting into microeconomics.

Why am I passionate about this?

When understanding the interactions in our economy, it is critical to recognize all participants in this complex system. I’m passionate about microeconomics because it provides me with a different perspective to examine the world around me. I use my microeconomic glasses and I enjoy rationalizing the daily interactions and predicting the potential outcomes.

Ana's book list on getting into microeconomics

Ana Espinola-Arredondo Why did Ana love this book?

This is a widely used book in introduction to microeconomics courses in colleges around the world, from the Nobel Prize winner Paul Krugman.

The book assumes no algebra or calculus, other than elementary arithmetic, thus being appropriate for students from different backgrounds.

Each chapter is well motivated with real-life problems and data, followed by a basic, intuitive, explanation of how microeconomics helps us model and understand the tradeoff that individuals or firms face in that setting.

Highly recommended for students with little math background.

By Paul Krugman, Robin Wells,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Microeconomics as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

When it comes to explaining current economic conditions, there is no economist readers trust more than New York Times columnist and Nobel laureate Paul Krugman.  Term after term, Krugman is earning that same level of trust in the classroom, with more and more instructors introducing students to the fundamental principles of economics via Krugman’s signature storytelling style. The new Third Edition of Paul Krugman and Robin Wells’s Economics is their most accomplished yet—extensively updated to offer new examples and stories, new case studies from the business world, and expert coverage of the ongoing financial crisis. Watch a video interview of…


Book cover of Economic Theory in Retrospect

Thijs ten Raa Author Of Microeconomics: Equilibrium and Efficiency

From my list on microeconomics on how markets are interconnected.

Why am I passionate about this?

Microeconomics is a turnoff to most readers. Not without reason. Many books in this field are dull rewrites of other books and opaque.  In particular, it is not clear how the behavior of individual consumers and producers adds to the performance—good or bad—of an economy. The books listed here helped me to sharpen my own mind and to make my writing lucid.

Thijs' book list on microeconomics on how markets are interconnected

Thijs ten Raa Why did Thijs love this book?

Mark Blaug escaped the Netherlands, just in time before the Nazis marched in, went to New York University, and eventually wrote this colossal overview of the entire body of the economics literature. 

He is capable of ordering different formal approaches to the subject matter in plain English, what an achievement.

By Mark Blaug,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Economic Theory in Retrospect as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This is a history of economic thought from Adam Smith to John Maynard Keynes - but it is a history with a difference. Firstly, it is a history of economic theory, not of economic doctrines, that is, it is consistently focused on theoretical analysis, undiluted by entertaining historical digressions or biological colouring. Secondly, it includes detailed Reader's Guides to nine of the major texts of economics, namely the works of Smith, Ricardo, Mill, Marx, Marshall, Wickstead, Wicksell, Walras and Keynes, in the effort to encourage students to become acquainted at first hand with the writings of all the great economists.…


Book cover of The Value of Everything: Making and Taking in the Global Economy

Dietrich Vollrath Author Of Fully Grown: Why a Stagnant Economy Is a Sign of Success

From my list on the economic challenges of the 2020s.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a professor of economics at the University of Houston, with a focus on long-run growth and development rather than things like quarterly stock returns. I write a blog on growth economics where I try hard to boil down technical topics to their core intuition, and I’m the co-author of a popular textbook on economic growth.

Dietrich's book list on the economic challenges of the 2020s

Dietrich Vollrath Why did Dietrich love this book?

I like this book because it takes a giant step back and asks what “the economy” means. What we measure, and what we choose to classify as “economic activity”, is a choice, not a given. By opting to classify some things as true economic activity (e.g. finance) but others as not (e.g. raising kids) we implicitly make choices about economic policy, as it can only deal with what it can count. It opens up the idea that we could stop and think about what should matter to the economy, and what may not.

By Mariana Mazzucato,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Value of Everything as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Modern economies reward activities that extract value rather than create it. This must change to ensure a capitalism that works for us all.

Shortlisted for the FT & McKinsey Business Book of the Year Award

A scathing indictment of our current global financial system, The Value of Everything rigorously scrutinizes the way in which economic value has been accounted and reveals how economic theory has failed to clearly delineate the difference between value creation and value extraction. Mariana Mazzucato argues that the increasingly blurry distinction between the two categories has allowed certain actors in the economy to portray themselves as…


Book cover of Happiness for All? Unequal Hopes and Lives in Pursuit of the American Dream

Maurizio Pugno Author Of Well-being and Growth in Advanced Economies: The Need to Prioritise Human Development

From my list on human development in advanced economies.

Why am I passionate about this?

'Human development' indicates an advancement that I would like to find in any kind of progress. Different disciplines define 'human development' in different ways, but my research is to identify the common core in order to link both the individual- with the social dimension, and natural evolution with changes due to personal choices and policies. Through such research, I have been able to take a new perspective on my academic subjects: economic growth and happiness. My belief is that it is possible to make human development, economic growth, and happiness go together. But unfortunately, this is not what is occurring, and understanding why is key.

Maurizio's book list on human development in advanced economies

Maurizio Pugno Why did Maurizio love this book?

I like this book because it does not simply show how income inequality affects happiness inequality, thus suggesting that unhappiness is just a sign of material disadvantage.

The book also links income and happiness to hope, which is a feeling that motivates people to plan and invest for the future. 

To convince the sceptical reader about measuring hope and happiness, Carol Graham provides an abundance of empirical evidence.

But being an economist, in addition to telling emblematic stories, she reports evidence based on large samples and international data.

It is a challenging book, but rewarding, because it helps to understand both how the exhaustion of the American Dream will affect the future, and where to look for new hope.

By Carol Graham,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Happiness for All? Unequal Hopes and Lives in Pursuit of the American Dream as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

How the optimism gap between rich and poor is creating an increasingly divided society The Declaration of Independence states that all people are endowed with certain unalienable rights, and that among these is the pursuit of happiness. But is happiness available equally to everyone in America today? How about elsewhere in the world? Carol Graham draws on cutting-edge research linking income inequality with well-being to show how the widening prosperity gap has led to rising inequality in people's beliefs, hopes, and aspirations. For the United States and other developed countries, the high costs of being poor are most evident not…


Book cover of Wassily Leontief and Input-Output Economics

Thijs ten Raa Author Of Microeconomics: Equilibrium and Efficiency

From my list on microeconomics on how markets are interconnected.

Why am I passionate about this?

Microeconomics is a turnoff to most readers. Not without reason. Many books in this field are dull rewrites of other books and opaque.  In particular, it is not clear how the behavior of individual consumers and producers adds to the performance—good or bad—of an economy. The books listed here helped me to sharpen my own mind and to make my writing lucid.

Thijs' book list on microeconomics on how markets are interconnected

Thijs ten Raa Why did Thijs love this book?

Like Ayn Rand, Wassily Leontief is a Jew who left the Soviet Union and settled in the United States. 

However, he does not believe in free markets and even is a specialist in economic planning. The precision with which he analyzes the economic system, considering it as machine that transforms inputs into outputs is mind-boggling and answers difficult questions.

By Erik Dietzenbacher (editor), Michael L. Lahr (editor),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Wassily Leontief and Input-Output Economics as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Wassily Leontief (1905-1999) was the founding father of input-output economics, for which he received the Nobel Prize in 1973. This book offers a collection of papers in memory of Leontief by his students and close colleagues. The first part, 'Reflections on Input-Output Economics', focuses upon Leontief as a person and scholar as well as his personal contributions to economics. It includes contributions by Nobel Laureate Paul A. Samuelson who shares his memories of a young Professor Leontief at Harvard and ends with the last joint interview with Wassily and his wife, to date previously unpublished. The second part, 'Perspectives of…


Book cover of Optimally Irrational: The Good Reasons We Behave the Way We Do

Dennis Gentilin Author Of The Origins of Ethical Failures: Lessons for Leaders

From Dennis' 3 favorite reads in 2023.

Why am I passionate about this?

Author Father and husband Leader Business ethics practitioner Life long learner Cyclist

Dennis' 3 favorite reads in 2023

Dennis Gentilin Why did Dennis love this book?

I have followed the debate over the efficacy of the rational man model that underpins the theories of economics (so-called homo economicus) closely. Is, as many psychologists have claimed, homo economicus dead? Or does homo economicus still have a pulse and need to be revived? I like the way Lionel Page bravely tackles this debate.

Although he is not blind to the shortcomings of the rational man model, he illustrates that there are good reasons for the departures from it that have been identified over the past two to three decades. Far from trying to put another nail in the homo economicus coffin, Page suggests that it can be refined to make its prognostications more valid.

I recommend this book to anyone interested in the study of human behaviour.

By Lionel Page,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Optimally Irrational as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

For a long time, economists have assumed that we were cold, self-centred, rational decision makers - so-called Homo economicus; the last few decades have shattered this view. The world we live in and the situations we face are of course rich and complex, revealing puzzling aspects of our behaviour. Optimally Irrational argues that our improved understanding of human behaviour shows that apparent 'biases' are good solutions to practical problems - that many of the 'flaws' identified by behavioural economics are actually adaptive solutions. Page delivers an ambitious overview of the literature in behavioural economics and, through the exposition of these…


Book cover of This Time Is Different: Eight Centuries of Financial Folly

Susanne Trimbath Author Of Lessons Not Learned: 10 Steps to Stable Financial Markets

From my list on stock market plumbing.

Why am I passionate about this?

My entire career has been spent in finance. From life insurance to central banks, from stock exchanges to post-trade clearing and settlement, this is all I’ve ever done. My college degrees include BSBA in Business/Marketing, MBA in Management, and PhD in Economics. In addition to knowing what a lot of people know about finance, I also worked inside the “black box” of the Federal Reserve System and depository trust and clearing corporations (in 4 cities, on 2 continents). Therefore, I know more about the plumbing of stock market infrastructure than most people who have careers (and education) as long as mine.

Susanne's book list on stock market plumbing

Susanne Trimbath Why did Susanne love this book?

Co-author Ken Rogoff taught my PhD course in Global Economics while he was a visiting professor at NYU (from Princeton). We used Foundations of International Macroeconomics as our textbook; Ken was writing the book with Maurice Obstfeld. When I turned in a handful of pages to him with editorial corrections, he hired me to edit the rest of the book and a research paper for him! It caused quite a stir among my peers when Ken thanked me by name when the article was published (JEL, June 1996). This book traces eight hundred years of financial crises to demonstrate that they are, in fact, predictable. Economists and policymakers are taken by surprise only because they do not learn the lessons from one crisis to the next.

By Carmen M. Reinhart, Kenneth S. Rogoff,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked This Time Is Different as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Throughout history, rich and poor countries alike have been lending, borrowing, crashing--and recovering--their way through an extraordinary range of financial crises. Each time, the experts have chimed, "this time is different"--claiming that the old rules of valuation no longer apply and that the new situation bears little similarity to past disasters. With this breakthrough study, leading economists Carmen Reinhart and Kenneth Rogoff definitively prove them wrong. Covering sixty-six countries across five continents, This Time Is Different presents a comprehensive look at the varieties of financial crises, and guides us through eight astonishing centuries of government defaults, banking panics, and inflationary…