What We Are Reading Today: A Course in Microeconomic Theory

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Updated 27 May 2020

What We Are Reading Today: A Course in Microeconomic Theory

Author: David M. Kreps 

 

David M. Kreps has developed a text in microeconomics that is both challenging and “user-friendly.” The work is designed for the first-year graduate microeconomic theory course and is accessible to advanced undergraduates as well. 

Placing unusual emphasis on modern noncooperative game theory, it provides the student and instructor with a unified treatment of modern microeconomic theory — one that stresses the behavior of the individual actor (consumer or firm) in various institutional settings. The author has taken special pains to explore the fundamental assumptions of the theories and techniques studied, pointing out both strengths and weaknesses.

The book begins with an exposition of the standard models of choice and the market, with extra attention paid to choice under uncertainty and dynamic choice. 

General and partial equilibrium approaches are blended, so that the student sees these approaches as points along a continuum. 

The work then turns to more modern developments. Readers are introduced to noncooperative game theory and shown how to model games and determine solution concepts. Models with incomplete information, the folk theorem and reputation, and bilateral bargaining are covered in depth. Information economics is explored next. A closing discussion concerns firms as organizations and gives readers a taste of transaction-cost economics.


What We Are Reading Today: First Things by Hadley Arkes

Updated 03 July 2020

What We Are Reading Today: First Things by Hadley Arkes

This book restores to us an understanding that was once settled in the “moral sciences:” That there are propositions, in morals and law, which are not only true but which cannot be otherwise. 

It was understood in the past that, in morals or in mathematics, our knowledge begins with certain axioms that must hold true of necessity; that the principles drawn from these axioms hold true universally, unaffected by variations in local “cultures;” and that the presence of these axioms makes it possible to have, in the domain of morals, some right answers. Hadley Arkes restates the grounds of that older understanding and unfolds its implications for the most vexing political problems of our day.

The author turns first to the classic debate between Abraham Lincoln and Stephen Douglas. After establishing the groundwork and properties of moral propositions, he traces their application in such issues as selective conscientious objection, justifications for war, the war in Vietnam, a nation’s obligation to intervene abroad, the notion of supererogatory acts, the claims of “privacy,” and the problem of abortion.