What To Read to Gain Perspective on Economics?: DeLong FAQ

by Brad DeLong


What to Read to Gain Perspective on Economics?

Chris Y.: A colleague (middle grade civil servant) has sent this request to Mrs Y:

I was wondering if we could do a mentor session on the underpinning economic philosophies (lenses)--I have always wondered what the main underlying philosophies are and the risks associated with viewing economics through particular lenses like Neo-classical or Neo-Keynesian. I know you are quite good at the economics stuff, what do you think?

And so, like Own Glydwr, LizardBreath summons me from the vasty deep!:

If you had a moment to waste at Unfogged.... I figure that if anyone had useful suggestions, it'd be you. And given that you're demonstrably reading the comments, I also figured that it wasn't too much of an imposition to ask.

First, I am not reading all the comments.

In fact, I do not understand how anyone can read all the Unfogged comments and have a life--unless, of course, they are a post-human anthology intelligence.

Robert Heilbroner's The Worldly Philosophers is, I think, still the best place to start. The next two things I have people read are Partha Dasgupta, Economics: A Very Short Introduction; Robert Allen, Global Economic History: A Very Short Introduction; and Milton and Rose Director Friedman, Free to Choose. Then I make people read Jonathan Schlefer, The Assumptions Economists Make; and Tom Slee, _Nobody Makes You Shop at Wal-Mart.

There will be an exam.