Required text

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.

Relevant chapters

This table is a rough guide to the places in each book that refer to the broad topics we will cover in ECN 606:

TopicMWGBig VarianKrepsJ&RKreps New
Preferences & Utility FunctionsCh. 1, 2.A-C, 3.A-C7.12.11.1-1.2Chs. 1-2
Utility Maximization & Demand2.D, 3.D7.2-7.5Ch. 21.3Ch. 3
Comparative Statics of Demand2.E-F, 3.E-FChs. 8,91.4-1.5Ch. 4
Production and CostCh. 5Chs. 1,4,5,67.13.1-3.4Ch. 9
Profit Maximization and SupplyCh. 5Chs. 2,3Ch. 73.5Ch. 9
UncertaintyCh. 6Ch. 11Ch. 32.4Ch. 5
Intertemporal Choice20.A-DCh. 19Ch. 7

Undergraduate texts

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].

Math references

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 Math 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.

There are hard copies of most of these texts on reserve at Bird Library, and electronic versions are available for a few of them at https://catalog.syr.edu/vwebv/enterCourseReserve.do.