I have listed one textbook as required for the course, mainly because it is nearly encyclopedic in its coverage of microeconomic theory and is the gold standard in the field; also because your other professors will require it:
- Mas-Colell, Whinston and Green (1995), “Microeconomic Theory,” Oxford University Press [MWG].
Square brackets indicate abbreviated references. Because MWG is very terse, I urge you to have at least one additional graduate level microeconomic text at your disposal.
Additional graduate-level texts
Some other graduate-level texts with which I am familiar and that I believe may be useful are:
- Jehle and Reny (2011), “Advanced Microeconomic Theory,'' Prentice Hall, Third Edition [J&R].
- Kreps (1990), “A Course in Microeconomic Theory,'' Princeton University Press [Kreps].
- Varian (1992), “Microeconomic Analysis,'' Norton [Big Varian].
Kreps has a newer text that can also be useful and is very inexpensive, especially the electronic versions. I will reference it from time to time (along with J&R and Big Varian), although some of the terminology is non-standard and the development is sometimes overly technical for our purposes. Solutions to many of its problems are available in the free Student’s Guide and the math appendices are great; these features alone may make it worth the purchase price.
- Kreps (2013), “Microeconomic Foundations I,'' Princeton University Press [KrepsNew].*
MWG, J&R, and KrepsNew are in the bookstore because they are easy for the bookstore to obtain.
This table is a rough guide to the places in each book that refer to the broad topics we will cover in ECN 606:
|Topic||MWG||Big Varian||Kreps||J&R||Kreps New|
|Preferences & Utility Functions||Ch. 1, 2.A-C, 3.A-C||7.1||2.1||1.1-1.2||Chs. 1-2|
|Utility Maximization & Demand||2.D, 3.D||7.2-7.5||Ch. 2||1.3||Ch. 3|
|Comparative Statics of Demand||2.E-F, 3.E-F||Chs. 8,9||—||1.4-1.5||Ch. 4|
|Production and Cost||Ch. 5||Chs. 1,4,5,6||7.1||3.1-3.4||Ch. 9|
|Profit Maximization and Supply||Ch. 5||Chs. 2,3||Ch. 7||3.5||Ch. 9|
|Uncertainty||Ch. 6||Ch. 11||Ch. 3||2.4||Ch. 5|
|Intertemporal Choice||20.A-D||Ch. 19||—||—||Ch. 7|
I recommend you have a good undergraduate intermediate microeconomics text for developing intuition. I use the 4th edition of Varian’s undergraduate text (“Baby Varian”), but the 7th edition is what has been on reserve.
- Varian (2006), “Intermediate Microeconomics : A Modern Approach,” Norton, 7th Edition [Baby Varian].
For math references, I find the appendices of MWG often inaccessible and am not aware of others that are comprehensive. I do, however, like KrepsNew’s appendices on Real Analysis and Convexity. I am a huge fan of the book listed below on optimization by Dixit as well as Simon and Blume’s math for economists book. I will integrate parts of Binmore’s and Velleman’s books in class and suggest them as background preparation for anyone without a background in Real Analysis. I have made available a list of Real Analysis topics from Corbae et al. with which you should endeavor to be familiar. Corbae et al. presents the material in a more complex way than what is needed for our purposes, so the list is useful as a reference but I don’t suggest using this as a text to learn the concepts.
- Dixit (1990), “Optimization in Economic Theory,” Oxford University Press, Second Edition.
- Simon and Blume (1994), “Mathematics for Economists,” Norton.
- Binmore (1982), “Mathematical Analysis: A Straightforward Approach,'' Cambridge University Press, Second Edition.*
- Velleman (2019), “How to Prove it: A Structured Approach,"' Cambridge University Press, Third Edition.
- Corbae, Stinchcombe and Juraj (2009), “An Introduction to Mathematical Analysis for Economic Theory and Econometrics,'' Princeton.
The library will have all of these on reserve when they resume physical reserves in the fall. Two of the books are available in electronic form in the library catalog; they are marked with asterisks. Between now and the end of August, I have arranged for the rest of the books to be placed at the front desk for “In Library Use Only.” You can go to the desk and ask for “books for Professor Buzard.” You won’t be able to check them out, but can look over them inside the library and then you must return the books to the front desk.