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Which Econ Textbooks Are the Most Popular?

school books; via iStockPhoto.com

Question: How would one find out what upper division macro-econ textbooks have been used in the last decade, which are used currently or are planned for use in the coming year(s) at the big shot departments of economics in the United States?

P.S. Which econ schools (say, 10) have the most undue influence on recognition and publication of theorists and their additions to the body of theory?

Paul Solman: My first move would be to search the web, department by department. Or perhaps ask the big textbook publishers – McGraw-Hill, Pearson, Thompson. The influence doesn’t just come from Macro textbooks, though, but introductory texts that include macro. That’s how Paul Samuelson made his mark after World War II, introducing Keynesian economics to the broadest possible academic public. In recent years, Harvard’s Greg Mankiw has had the most popular, “post-Keynsian” macro influence.

A warning: “macro” is a notoriously contested field whose “scientific” status is even more dubious than “micro-economics”: the study of how markets work. Macro involves the economy at the national and international level. Anyone watching the NewsHour over the past quarter-century, say, will know how much agreement there is at this level of analysis. (For those who haven’t been watching, the answer is: “Almost none.”)

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