Heterodox Microeconomics Textbooks

Fredric S. Lee. forthcoming. Post Keynesian Microeconomic Theory. Routledge. ISBN: 978-0-415-24731-3 (hb), 224 pages

The purpose of this book is to delineate Post Keynesian microeconomic theory. More specifically, the objective is to build the theoretical core of Post Keynesian microeconomics that can then be used by other Post Keynesians in their work. Hence the book is about theory creation as opposed to delineating what is currently accepted, with an emphasis on business enterprise, production, costs, pricing and prices, markets, market governance, market demand, and distribution of income.
The book begins with a historical understanding of the origins of Post Keynesian economics and an awareness of the range of different and similar ideas that contributed to the development of Post Keynesian microeconomics. This book is unusal however to the extent that it refers more to theory than specific theorists, grounding each component of the core theory in empirical evidence. The conceptual organization of the book is based on a critical realist perspective of identifying structures and causal mechanisms, examining Post Keynesian microeconomics as it currently stands.

Wolfram Elsner. 2012. Microeconomics of Interactive Economies: Evolutionary, Institutional, and Complexity Perspectives. Edward Elgar. ISBN: 978 1 84064 522 4 (hb) and 978 1 78100 903 1 (pb) | publisher website | companion website

This thorough reconstruction of microeconomics ‘post-2008’ provides economic students with a new way of real-world understanding and strategic qualification that will be better appreciated by their future employers and any professional practice. It will prove essential for economic students and other social science programs at a graduate level. See the companion website for teaching material, readings, exams and as a general guide to explore issues raised in the book.

Steve Keen. 2011. Debunking Economics. Revised and Expanded Edition. Zed Books. ISBN: 9781848139930 (hb), 544 pages | website

Debunking Economics exposes what many non-economists may have suspected and a minority of economists have long known: that economic theory is not only unpalatable, but also plain wrong. When the original Debunking was published back in 2001, the market economy seemed invincible, and conventional 'neoclassical' economic theory basked in the limelight. Steve Keen argued that economists deserved none of the credit for the economy's performance, and that 'the false confidence it has engendered in the stability of the market economy has encouraged policy-makers to dismantle some of the institutions which initially evolved to try to keep its instability within limits'. That instability exploded with the devastating financial crisis of 2007, and now haunts the global economy with the prospect of another Depression.

In this radically updated and greatly expanded new edition, Keen builds on his scathing critique of conventional economic theory whilst explaining what mainstream economists cannot: why the crisis occurred, why it is proving to be intractable, and what needs to be done to end it. Essential for anyone who has ever doubted the advice or reasoning of economists, Debunking Economics provides a signpost to a better future.

Hassan Bourgrine, Ian Parker, and Mario Seccareccia (eds). 2010. Introducing Microeconomic Analysis: Issues, Questions, and Competing Views. Toronto, Canada: Edmond Montgomery Publications. 336 pp. ISBN 978-1-55239-378-9 (pb) | website

What key questions should students consider in order to gain a firm understanding of the essentials of economics? Touching on both the theoretical and real-world aspects of topics typically discussed in introductory and intermediate level microeconomics courses, this timely collection of debates features contributions by respected economists from Canada and beyond. Students will be engaged by this thought-provoking approach to issues such as the role of consumers and advertising, the nature of markets, privatization and regulation, poverty, the intersection of economics with the environment, foreign ownership, and much more — all presented in lively and accessible language.

Rod Hill and Tony Myatt. 2010. The Economics Anti-Textbook: A Critical Thinker's Guide to Microeconomics. Zed Books. ISBN: 9781842779385 (hb) and ISBN: 9781842779392 (pb) | website

Mainstream textbooks present economics as an objective science free from value judgements; that settles disputes relatively easily by testing hypotheses; that applies a settled body of principles; and contains policy prescriptions supported by a consensus of professional opinion. The Anti-Textbook argues that this is a myth - one which is not only dangerously misleading but also bland and boring. It challenges the mainstream textbooks' assumptions, arguments, models and evidence. It puts the controversy and excitement back into economics to reveal a fascinating and a vibrant field of study - one which is more an 'art of persuasion' than it is a science. The Anti-Textbook's chapters parallel the major topics in the typical text. They begin with a boiled-down account of them before presenting an analysis and critique. Drawing on the work of leading economists, the Anti-Textbook lays bare the blind spots in the texts and their sins of omission and commission. It shows where hidden value judgements are made and when contrary evidence is ignored. It shows the claims made without any evidence and the alternative theories that aren't mentioned. It shows the importance of power, social context, and legal framework. The Economics Anti-Textbook is the students' guide to decoding the textbooks and shows how real economics is much more interesting than they let on.

John Groenewegen, Antoon Spithoven, and Annette vad den Berg. 2010. Institutional Economics: An Introduction. Basingstoke, UK and New York: Palgrave Macmillan. 324 pp. ISBN: 978-0-230-55074-2 (pb) and ISBN: 978-0-230-55073-5 (hb) | website

Institutional economics is an increasingly important area in the field which also verges into political science and sociology. This concise and lucid textbook, which assumes a basic understanding of neoclassical economics, introduces the key ideas, emphasizing the "new" institutional economics but grounding readers in the traditional perspectives.

Neva Goodwin, Julie A. Nelson, Frank Ackerman, and Thomas Weisskipf. 2009. Microeconomics in Context. 2nd Edition. Armonk, NY: M.E. Sharpe. 560 pp. ISBN: 978-0-7656-2301-0 (pb) | website

Designed for one-semester use, this innovative, principles-level text takes a broad "contextual" approach to economics--including serious consideration of ecological, feminist, and social concerns--while still including coverage of the standard microeconomic concepts and models. Unlike most microeconomics textbooks, which focus exclusively on markets and efficiency, this book starts with the question of human well-being and then examines how economic activities can contribute to, or detract from, well-being. It addresses such critical concerns as ecological sustainability, distributional equality, the quality of employment, and the adequacy of living standards. Like its companion volume, Macroeconomics in Context, this text includes discussions of historical, institutional, political, and social factors that encourage students to engage with the subject matter. An Instructor's Resource Manual,Test Bank, and Student Study Guide are available on the authors' website for instructors who adopt the text.

Susan Himmelweit, Robero Simonetti, and Andrew Trigg. 2001. Microeconomics: Neoclassical and Institutional Perspectives on Economic Behaviour. Cengage Learning, 2001. 592pp. ISBN-13: 978186152539 (pb) | website

In economics the dominant framework for exploring the structure of market economies is provided by the neoclassical school of thought. This text aims to show how neoclassical theory is used to model market mechanisms, both in particular markets and in the market economy as a whole. Underpinning this analysis is an examination of what neoclassical economists regard as key decision makers in a market economy, namely households and firms. In analysing these demand and supply activities, this text aims to provide an introduction to the microeconomics of markets, that is, the behaviour of individual units of economic activity. However, individuals do not behave as independent entities in the economy. They make economic decisions in the context of a variety of institutional structures. The text presents an alternative to neoclassicism by introducing the institutionalist perspective of economic thought. In this approach the social interactions between individuals are placed at the heart of economic activity. Perspectives are presented as a critique of neoclassical economics by providing an appraisal of neoclassical theory and developing an alternative.

Steve Keen. 2001. Debunking Economics. Zed Books. ISBN: 1 85649 991 X (hb) and ISBN: 1 85649 992 8 (pb) | website(author) or website (publisher)

Debunking Economics exposes what many non-economists may have suspected and a minority of economists have long known: that economic theory is not only unpalatable, but also plain wrong. Many of the most cherished notions of conventional economics are based on reasoning that is internally inconsistent. Debunking Economics explains why economists think the way they do, and points out the flaws in their thinking which they either don’t realize, don’t appreciate, or just plain ignore. Most of these flaws were established by dissident academic economists decades ago, yet modern economics pretends that it can continue with ‘business as usual’. In a profound irony, Debunking Economics shows that a discipline which labours the word ‘rational’ may be the most irrational of all.

Frederic S. Lee. 1999. Post Keynesian Price Theory. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press. 292 pp. ISBN: 9780521328708 (hb, 1999), ISBN: 9780521030212 (pb, 2006) | website

Frederic Lee sets out the foundations of a post-Keynesian price theory through developing an empirically grounded production schema. The administered, normal cost and mark-up price doctrines are explained in parts I-III of the book, as many of their theoretical arguments are important for developing the foundations. This involves discussing the work of Gardiner Means, Philip Andrews, and Michal Kalecki as well as the developers of the doctrines, such as Edwin Nourse, Paolo Sylos Labini, Harry Edwards, Josef Steindl and Alfred Eisner. Drawing upon the arguments and formal modelling offered by the doctrines, in conjunction with empirical evidence from one hundred studies on pricing and production, Dr Lee develops an empirically grounded pricing model and production schema. He argues that the model and the schema together constitute the foundations for post-Keynesian price theory.