List of important publications in economics

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

Economics Social science that analyzes the production, distribution, and consumption of goods and services

Economics is the social science that studies the production, distribution, and consumption of goods and services.


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

Political economy and economics

The Wealth of Nations

Adam Smith 18th-century Scottish moral philosopher and political economist

Adam Smith was a Scottish economist, philosopher and author as well as a moral philosopher, a pioneer of political economy and a key figure during the Scottish Enlightenment, also known as ''The Father of Economics'' or ''The Father of Capitalism''. Smith wrote two classic works, The Theory of Moral Sentiments (1759) and An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations (1776). The latter, often abbreviated as The Wealth of Nations, is considered his magnum opus and the first modern work of economics. In his work, Adam Smith introduced his theory of absolute advantage.

Description: The book is usually considered to be the beginning of modern economics. [1] :15 [2] :45 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 best known for the idea of the invisible hand , although this idea is only mentioned once in the book. [1] :43,47 Smith was critical of the 'vile maxim' of the 'masters of mankind', all for themselves and nothing for other people. 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. [2] :48

Industrial Revolution mid 18th – early 19th century period; First Industrial Revolution evolved into the Second Industrial Revolution in the transition years between 1840 and 1870

The Industrial Revolution, now also known as the First Industrial Revolution, was the transition to new manufacturing processes in Europe and the United States, in the period from about 1760 to sometime between 1820 and 1840. This transition included going from hand production methods to machines, new chemical manufacturing and iron production processes, the increasing use of steam power and water power, the development of machine tools and the rise of the mechanized factory system. The Industrial Revolution also led to an unprecedented rise in the rate of population growth.

Mercantilism economic policy emphasizing exports

Mercantilism is a national economic policy that is designed to maximize the exports of a nation. Mercantilism was dominant in modernized parts of Europe from the 16th to the 18th centuries before falling into decline, although some commentators argue that it is still practiced in the economies of industrializing countries in the form of economic interventionism.

The invisible hand describes the unintended social benefits of an individual's self-interested actions, a concept that was first introduced by Adam Smith in The Theory of Moral Sentiments, written in 1759, invoking it in reference to income distribution. In this work, however, the idea of the market is not discussed, and the word "capitalism" is never used.

Importance: Topic creator, Breakthrough, Influence, Introduction

Principles of Political Economy and Taxation

David Ricardo British political economist, broker and politician

David Ricardo was a British political economist, one of the most influential of the classical economists along with Thomas Malthus, Adam Smith and James Mill.

<i>On the Principles of Political Economy and Taxation</i> tract by David Ricardo

On the Principles of Political Economy and Taxation is a book by David Ricardo on economics. The book concludes that land rent grows as population increases. It also presents the theory of comparative advantage, the theory that free trade between two or more countries can be mutually beneficial, even when one country has an absolute advantage over the other countries in all areas of production.

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

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

Das Kapital

Karl Marx Revolutionary socialist

Karl Marx was a German philosopher, economist, historian, sociologist, political theorist, journalist and socialist revolutionary.

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.

Capitalism is an economic system based on the private ownership of the means of production and their operation for profit. Characteristics central to capitalism include private property, capital accumulation, wage labor, voluntary exchange, a price system, and competitive markets. In a capitalist market economy, decision-making and investment are determined by every owner of wealth, property or production ability in financial and capital markets, whereas prices and the distribution of goods and services are mainly determined by competition in goods and services markets.

Political economy Study of production, buying, and selling, and their relations with law, custom, and government

Political economy is the study of production and trade and their relations with law, custom and government; and with the distribution of national income and wealth. As a discipline, political economy originated in moral philosophy, in the 18th century, to explore the administration of states' wealth, with "political" signifying the Greek word polity and "economy" signifying the Greek word "okonomie". The earliest works of political economy are usually attributed to the British scholars Adam Smith, Thomas Malthus, and David Ricardo, although they were preceded by the work of the French physiocrats, such as François Quesnay (1694–1774) and Anne-Robert-Jacques Turgot (1727–1781).

Importance: Breakthrough, Influence

Progress and Poverty

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)

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

Principles of Economics (Marshall)

Influence: Standard text for generations of economics students.


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


Value and Capital

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 composite good . 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:

General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money

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.

Importance: Topic creator, Breakthrough, Influence

A Monetary History of the United States

Description: Friedman and Schwartz used changes in monetary aggregates to explain business cycle fluctuations in the United States economy.

Importance: Influence

Game theory

Theory of Games and Economic Behavior

Description: The book by the mathematician John von Neumann and economist Oskar Morgenstern. It contained a mathematical theory of economic and social organization, based on a theory of games of strategy.

This is now a classic work, upon which modern-day game theory is based. Game theory has since been widely used to analyze real-world phenomena from arms races to optimal policy choices of presidential candidates, from vaccination policy to major league baseball salary negotiations. It is today established, both throughout the social sciences and in a wide range of other sciences.

Importance: Topic creator, Influence

Mathematical economics

Foundations of Economic Analysis

The book showed how operationally meaningful theorems can be described with a small number of analogous methods, thus providing "a general theory of economic theories." It moved mathematics out of the appendices (as in John R. Hicks's Value and Capital) and helped change how standard economic analysis across subjects could be done with the same mathematical methods.

Importance and Influence: Accelerated change in standard methods


A New Framework for Testing Rationality and Measuring Aggregate Shocks Using Panel Data



Cointegration and Error Correction: Representation, Estimation and Testing



Handbook of Econometrics


Importance :

Analysis of Panel Data



Distribution of the Estimators for Autoregressive Time Series with a Unit Root

Description: Describes the Dickey–Fuller test.


The Standard Error of Regressions

Description: Emphasizes the difference between statistical significance and economic significance, and shows that the understanding is not clear in a review of papers from The American Economic Review.

Importance: Raised the caution against "asterisk economics" in econometrics to another level. See McCloskey critique.

Policy Evaluation: A Critique



Labor Economics

Human Capital: A Theoretical and Empirical Analysis, with Special Reference to Education

Description: Extensive study about the theoretical inclusion and empirical importance of education in production.

Importance: Classic study of how investment in an individual's education and training is similar to business investments.

Schooling, Experience, and Earnings

Description: Empirical investigation of the labor market returns to education.

Importance: Popularizing the empirical research in that subfield. Coining the so-called "Mincer equation".

Behavioral economics

Advances in Behavioral Economics


Definitive one-volume resource on the field.

Importance: Introduction

Judgment Under Uncertainty: Heuristics and Biases



Prospect Theory: An Analysis of Decision Under Risk

Description: In this article, Prospect theory, a descriptive theory of choices under uncertainty, is introduced, bringing together ideas from psychology (framing and probability weighting) and economics (expected utility).

Importance: Topic creator, Breakthrough

Experimental economics

Experimental Economics: Rethinking the Rules

Description: A first structured and methodical survey of economic methods, with a focus on methodology.

Importance: Consolidation of the field, methodological issues.

Behavioral Game Theory

Description: A

new and insightful handbook for advanced experimental and behavioral economics students.

Importance: Introduction

The Handbook of Experimental Economics

Description: The most influential[ according to whom? ] experimental economics handbook.

Importance: Introduction, Influence


Portfolio Theory

Description: Development of the utility framework which shows an optimum can be reached using a portfolio of investments. In effect the first real proof that you should not put all your eggs in one basket.

Importance: Precursor to most modern portfolio theory work in finance.

Capital asset pricing model

Description: Development of the capital asset pricing model used to determine appropriate prices for assets.

Importance: Topic creator, Influence

The pricing of options and corporate liabilities

Description: It developed the Black–Scholes model for determining the price of options, in particular stock options. The use of the Black–Scholes formula has become pervasive in financial markets, and has been extended by numerous refinements.

Importance: Breakthrough, Influence


Ecological economics

The Entropy Law and the Economic Process (1971, Harvard University Press) by Nicholas Georgescu-Roegen.

Steady-State Economics (2nd edition, 1991, Island Press) by Herman Daly

Natural Capitalism, Paul Hawken

Small Is Beautiful, E.F. Schumacher

Consumer theory

Economics and Consumer Behavior, Deaton & Muellbauer, Cambridge.

Production theory

Industrial organization

The theory of Industrial Organisation



Sunk costs and industry structure



Managerial economics

Development economics

Description: First modern development economics textbook

Importance: Introduction

Description: Widely used textbook.

Importance: Introduction

Description: Widely used textbook.

Importance: Introduction

Description: examines the last 30 years of development economics, viewed through the World Bank's World Development Reports.

Welfare economics

The Economics of Welfare

Description: Pigou was the one of the most influential economists that dealt with Welfare economics. He developed the idea of Pigovian tax.

Importance: Topic creator, Breakthrough, Influence

Collective Choice and Social Welfare

Description: Inspired renewed interest in basic welfare issues, mentioned in Sen's Nobel citation

Importance: Influence

Health economics

Uncertainty and the Welfare Economics of Medical Care

Description: Explores the "specific differentia of medical care as the object of normative economics", demonstrating that the consideration of uncertainty is key to understanding markets in health care.

Importance: Generally considered a seminal work of enduring significance; key to the foundation of health economics as a field of study.

The Economics of Health and Health Care

Description: The standard health economics textbook in most leading universities. It assumes some background knowledge in economics.

Importance: Introduction.

Handbook of Health Economics

Description: The most comprehensive available collection of essays on contemporary health economics. Advanced readers will appreciate its mathematical rigor. Those who are seeking research or dissertation topics should find this two-volume set to be an invaluable resource.

Institutional economics

Law and economics

Main article: Law and economics

Posner, Richard A. "Economic Analysis of Law." (1973)

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Joseph Schumpeter Austrian economist

Joseph Aloïs Schumpeter was an Austrian political economist. Born in Moravia, he briefly served as Finance Minister of Austria in 1919. In 1932, he became a professor at Harvard University where he remained until the end of his career, eventually obtaining U.S. citizenship.

Monetarism is a school of thought in monetary economics that emphasizes the role of governments in controlling the amount of money in circulation. Monetarist theory asserts that variations in the money supply have major influences on national output in the short run and on price levels over longer periods. Monetarists assert that the objectives of monetary policy are best met by targeting the growth rate of the money supply rather than by engaging in discretionary monetary policy.

This aims to be a complete article list of economics topics:

Development economics is a branch of economics which deals with economic aspects of the development process in low income countries. Its focus is not only on methods of promoting economic development, economic growth and structural change but also on improving the potential for the mass of the population, for example, through health, education and workplace conditions, whether through public or private channels.

Lawrence Klein American economist

Lawrence Robert Klein was an American economist. For his work in creating computer models to forecast economic trends in the field of econometrics in the Department of Economics at the University of Pennsylvania, he was awarded the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences in 1980 specifically "for the creation of econometric models and their application to the analysis of economic fluctuations and economic policies." Due to his efforts, such models have become widespread among economists. Harvard University professor Martin Feldstein told the Wall Street Journal that Klein "was the first to create the statistical models that embodied Keynesian economics," tools still used by the Federal Reserve Bank and other central banks.

Health economics is a branch of economics concerned with issues related to efficiency, effectiveness, value and behavior in the production and consumption of health and healthcare. In broad terms, health economists study the functioning of healthcare systems and health-affecting behaviors such as smoking.

Economic statistics is a topic in applied statistics that concerns the collection, processing, compilation, dissemination, and analysis of economic data. It is also common to call the data themselves 'economic statistics', but for this usage see economic data. The data of concern to economic statistics may include those of an economy of region, country, or group of countries. Economic statistics may also refer to a subtopic of official statistics for data produced by official organizations. Analyses within economic statistics both make use of and provide the empirical data needed in economic research, whether descriptive or econometric. They are a key input for decision making as to economic policy. The subject includes statistical analysis of topics and problems in microeconomics, macroeconomics, business, finance, forecasting, data quality, and policy evaluation. It also includes such considerations as what data to collect in order to quantify some particular aspect of an economy and of how best to collect in any given instance.

Avinash Dixit American economist

Avinash Kamalakar Dixit is an Indian-American economist. He was the John J. F. Sherrerd '52 University Professor of Economics Emeritus at Princeton University, Distinguished Adjunct Professor of Economics at Lingnan University, senior research fellow at Nuffield College, Oxford and Sanjaya Lall Senior Visiting Research Fellow at Green Templeton College, Oxford.

Economic methodology is the study of methods, especially the scientific method, in relation to economics, including principles underlying economic reasoning. In contemporary English, 'methodology' may reference theoretical or systematic aspects of a method. Philosophy and economics also takes up methodology at the intersection of the two subjects.

Applied economics is the application of economic theory and econometrics in specific settings. As one of the two sets of fields of economics, it is typically characterized by the application of the core, i.e. economic theory and econometrics, to address practical issues in a range of fields including demographic economics, labour economics, business economics, industrial organization, agricultural economics, development economics, education economics, engineering economics, financial economics, health economics, monetary economics, public economics, and economic history. The process often involves a reduction in the level of abstraction of this core theory. There are a variety of approaches including not only empirical estimation using econometrics, input-output analysis or simulations but also case studies, historical analogy and so-called common sense or the "vernacular". This range of approaches is indicative of what Roger Backhouse and Jeff Biddle argue is the ambiguous nature of the concept of applied economics. It is a concept with multiple meanings. Among broad methodological distinctions, one source places it in neither positive nor normative economics but the art of economics, glossed as "what most economists do".

The following outline is provided as an overview of and topical guide to economics:

Robert Wayne Clower was an American economist. He is credited with having largely created the field of stock-flow analysis in economics and with seminal works on the microfoundations of monetary theory and macroeconomics.

Convexity is an important topic in economics. In the Arrow–Debreu model of general economic equilibrium, agents have convex budget sets and convex preferences: At equilibrium prices, the budget hyperplane supports the best attainable indifference curve. The profit function is the convex conjugate of the cost function. Convex analysis is the standard tool for analyzing textbook economics. Non‑convex phenomena in economics have been studied with nonsmooth analysis, which generalizes convex analysis.

Duncan K. Foley is an American economist. He is the Leo Model Professor of Economics at the New School for Social Research and an External Professor at the Santa Fe Institute. Previously, he was Associate Professor of Economics at MIT and Stanford, and Professor of Economics at Columbia University. He has held visiting professorships at Woodrow Wilson School at Princeton University, UC Berkeley, and Dartmouth College, as well as the New School for Social Research.

<i>Das Kapital</i> Book by Karl Marx

Das Kapital, also called Capital. A Critique of Political Economy by Karl Marx is a foundational theoretical text in materialist philosophy, economics and politics. Marx aimed to reveal the economic patterns underpinning the capitalist mode of production in contrast to classical political economists such as Adam Smith, Jean-Baptiste Say, David Ricardo and John Stuart Mill. While Marx did not live to publish the planned second and third parts, they were both completed from his notes and published after his death by his colleague Friedrich Engels. Das Kapital is the most cited book in the social sciences published before 1950.

Marxian economics school of economic thought

Marxian economics, or the Marxian school of economics, is a heterodox school of economic thought. Its foundations can be traced back to the critique of classical political economy in the research by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels. Marxian economics comprises several different theories and includes multiple schools of thought, which are sometimes opposed to each other, and in many cases Marxian analysis is used to complement or supplement other economic approaches. Because one does not necessarily have to be politically Marxist to be economically Marxian, the two adjectives coexist in usage rather than being synonymous. They share a semantic field while also allowing connotative and denotative differences.

Crisis theory, concerning the causes and consequences of the tendency for the rate of profit to fall in a capitalist system, is now generally associated with Marxist economics.


  1. 1 2 Sandmo, Agnar (2011). Economics evolving : a history of economic thought. Princeton, NJ: Princeton Univ. Press. ISBN   9780691148427.
  2. 1 2 Canterbury, E. Ray (2011). A brief history of economics : artful approaches to the dismal science (2nd ed.). Singapore: World Scientific. ISBN   9789814304801.
  3. full-text, 2004 follow-up study
  4. 1 2 Appelrouth & Edles 2007 , p. 24