Theories, but no prescriptions

Development of Economic Analysis. Sixth Edition

June 1, 2001

This excellent textbook is intended to introduce economics students to the history of economic analysis, but it could also be used to introduce historians to the development of the central concepts of economic theory.

It covers the entire western history of thinking about economic matters from the Greek polis to monetarism and post-Keynesianism.

The text presents comprehensive coverage of the period before Adam Smith, but because the subject covered is economic analysis rather than economic thought, it is much better in covering the period after Ricardo when economics became an analytical discipline in its own right.

Developments are clearly presented and organised in a chronological fashion, but also thematically with reference to different schools of thought. Emphasis is placed on how different thinkers attempted to solve classical problems of analysis such as labour and utility value, marginal utility or the role of money.

The author's approach is always in terms of the development of theory, rather than of intellectual history. Thus, we learn about Keynes's General Theory, but not about his policy recommendations. However, sufficient historical comments and biographical information are given to place the theory in its context. One of the best aspects of the book are the well-chosen excerpts from economists' works. There are also sets of questions at the end of each chapter.

Craig Muldrew is a fellow, Queens' College, Cambridge.

Development of Economic Analysis. Sixth Edition

Author - Ingrid Hahne Rima
ISBN - 0 415 23296 1 and 23297 X
Publisher - Routledge
Price - £75.00 and £24.99
Pages - 585

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