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List of important publications in economics

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Title: List of important publications in economics  
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List of important publications in economics

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

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

  • Topic creator – A publication that created a new topic
  • Breakthrough – A publication that changed scientific knowledge significantly
  • Influence – A publication which has significantly influenced the world or has had a massive impact on the teaching of economics.


  • Political economy and economics 1
    • The Wealth of Nations 1.1
    • Das Kapital 1.2
    • Principles of Political Economy and Taxation 1.3
    • Progress and Poverty 1.4
    • Principles of Economics (Menger) 1.5
    • Principles of Economics (Marshall) 1.6
    • Economics 1.7
  • Microeconomics 2
    • Value and Capital 2.1
  • Macroeconomics 3
    • General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money 3.1
    • A Monetary History of the United States 3.2
  • Game theory 4
    • Theory of Games and Economic Behavior 4.1
  • Mathematical economics 5
    • Foundations of Economic Analysis 5.1
  • Econometrics 6
    • A New Framework for Testing Rationality and Measuring Aggregate Shocks Using Panel Data 6.1
    • Cointegration and Error Correction: Representation, Estimation and Testing 6.2
    • Handbook of Econometrics 6.3
    • Analysis of Panel Data 6.4
    • Distribution of the Estimators for Autoregressive Time Series with a Unit Root 6.5
    • The Standard Error of Regressions 6.6
    • Policy Evaluation: A Critique 6.7
  • Behavioral economics 7
    • Advances in Behavioral Economics 7.1
    • Judgment Under Uncertainty: Heuristics and Biases 7.2
    • Prospect Theory: An Analysis of Decision Under Risk 7.3
  • Experimental economics 8
    • Behavioral Game Theory 8.1
    • The Handbook of Experimental Economics 8.2
  • Finance 9
    • Portfolio Theory 9.1
    • Capital asset pricing model 9.2
    • The pricing of options and corporate liabilities 9.3
  • Socioeconomics 10
  • Ecological economics 11
  • Consumer theory 12
  • Production theory 13
  • Industrial organization 14
    • The theory of Industrial Organisation 14.1
    • Industrial Organization 14.2
    • Industrial Organisation 14.3
    • Industrial organisation – a strategic approach 14.4
    • Sunk costs and industry structure 14.5
  • Managerial economics 15
  • Development economics 16
  • Welfare economics 17
    • The Economics of Welfare 17.1
    • Collective Choice and Social Welfare 17.2
  • Health economics 18
    • Uncertainty and the Welfare Economics of Medical Care 18.1
    • The Economics of Health and Health Care 18.2
    • Handbook of Health Economics 18.3
  • Institutional economics 19
  • References 20
  • External links 21

Political economy and economics

The Wealth of Nations

  • Adam Smith
  • An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations, 1776.
  • Read it on Wikisource

Description: The book is usually considered to be the beginning of modern economics. 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 mostly known due to the idea of The Invisible Hand which is an often quoted phrase from the book. Its meaning is that people will unintentionally improve their community through pursuit of their own wants and needs. 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.

Importance: Topic creator, Breakthrough, Influence, Introduction

Das Kapital

  • Karl Marx
  • Das Kapital, 1867
  • on WikisourceDas Kapital
  • Annotations, Explanations and Clarifications to Capital.

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.

Importance: Breakthrough, Influence

Principles of Political Economy and Taxation

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

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

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 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

  • Oskar Morgenstern
  • Princeton University Press, 1944

Description: The book by the 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 the of 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

  • Davies, A. and Lahiri, K.
  • Journal of Econometrics 68: 205–227, 1995.



Cointegration and Error Correction: Representation, Estimation and Testing

  • Granger, Clive William James and Engle, R. F.
  • Econometrica, 55(2), March, pp. 251–276, 1987.



Handbook of Econometrics

  • Griliches, Zvi and Intrigilator, M. D. (eds.)
  • Handbook of Econometrics, Five volumes (Amsterdam: North-Holland), 1984.



Analysis of Panel Data

  • Hsiao, C.
  • Econometric Society Monograph, 1986.



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

  • Dickey, D. A. and Fuller, W. A
  • Journal of the American Statistical Association 74: 427–431, 1979.

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

  • Lucas, Robert E. Junior
  • in Brunner, K. and Meltzer, A. H. (eds.) The Phillips Curve and Labour Markets, Journal of Monetary Economics (Supplement), 1(xx), xx, pp. 19–46, 1976.



Behavioral economics

Advances in Behavioral Economics

  • Loewenstein, G., and M. Rabin.
  • Princeton (NJ), Princeton University Press, 2003

Description: 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

Behavioral Game Theory

  • Camerer, C.F.
  • Princeton (NJ), Princeton University Press, 2003.

Description: A new and insightful handbook for advanced experimental and behavioral economics students.

Importance: Introduction

The Handbook of Experimental Economics

  • Kagel, J. H. and Roth, A. E. (eds.)
  • Princeton (NJ), Princeton University Press, 1995.

Description: The most influential experimental economics handbook.

Importance: Introduction, Influence


Portfolio Theory

  • Harry Markowitz
  • "Portfolio Selection", Journal of Finance, 7 (1), 1952, 77–91.

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

  • William Forsyth Sharpe
  • "Capital asset prices: A theory of market equilibrium under conditions of risk", Journal of Finance, 19 (3), 1964, 425–442

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

Natural Capitalism

Small Is Beautiful

Consumer theory

Economics and Consumer Theory, Deaton & Muellbauer, Cambridge.

Production theory

Industrial organization

The theory of Industrial Organisation



Industrial Organization

  • "Industrial Organization: Theory and Applications," Oz Shy[2]


This is an advanced undergraduate text that does not require knowledge of calculus (although some prior knowledge would be an advantage) or of game theory. The text covers many of the basic ideas and theorems of game theory and industrial organisation, with some more advanced applications at the end of the text.


Industrial Organisation

  • Pepall



Industrial organisation – a strategic approach

  • Church/Ware



Sunk costs and industry structure

  • Sutton



Managerial economics

  • Png, Ivan (2002), Managerial Economics, 2nd edition, Malden, MA: Blackwell.
  • Png, Ivan (2005), Managerial Economics, Asia-Pacific edition, Singapore: Pearson Education Asia.
  • Khan, Ahsan (2014), "Managerial Economics and Economic Analysis", 3rd edition, Al-Hasan, Pakistan.

Development economics

  • The Theory of Economic Growth (1955) Arthur Lewis

Description: First modern Development Economics text book.

Importance: Introduction

  • Development microeconomics (1999) Pranab Bardhan and Christopher Udry, Oxford

Description: Widely used text book.

Importance: Introduction

  • Development macroeconomics – Pierre-Richard Agénor and Peter J. Montiel.

Description: Widely used text book.

Importance: Introduction

  • Development Economics through the Decades: A Critical Look at 30 Years of the World Development Report (2009) – Shahid Yusuf.

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

  • The End of Poverty: Economic Possibilities for our time (2005) Jeffrey Sachs

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

  • Amartya Sen
  • Collective Choice and Social Welfare, 1970

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

  • Folland S., Goodman AC. and Stano M.
  • (4th edition). New Jersey: Prentice Hall, 2001.

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

Importance: Introduction.

Handbook of Health Economics

  • Culyer AJ. and Newhouse JP. (eds)
  • Volumes 1A and 1B. Elsevier: Amsterdam, 2000.

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

  •  [3]
  • — (1978) [1904].  [3]


  1. ^ full-text, 2004 follow-up study
  2. ^ Shy, Oz. "Senior Economist". 
  3. ^ a b Appelrouth & Edles 2007, p. 24

External links

  • UTS working paper series
  • Finance and economics working paper archive
  • Some essays in economics
  • Timeline of Important Publications in Economics
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