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Microeconomic Theory [Hardcover]

Andreu Mas-Colell , Michael D. Whinston , Jerry R. Green
3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (92 customer reviews)

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Book Description

June 15, 1995 0195073401 978-0195073409
Many instructors of microeconomic theory have been waiting for a text that provides balanced and in-depth analysis of the essentials of microeconomics. Masterfully combining the results of years of teaching microeconomics at Harvard University, Andreu Mas-Colell, Michael Whinston, and Jerry Green have filled that conspicuous vacancy with their groundbreaking text, Microeconomic Theory.
The authors set out to create a solid organizational foundation upon which to build the effective teaching tool for microeconomic theory. The result presents unprecedented depth of coverage in all the essential topics, while allowing professors to "tailor-make" their course to suit personal priorities and style. Topics such as noncooperative game theory, information economics, mechanism design, and general equilibrium under uncertainty receive the attention that reflects their stature within the discipline. The authors devote an entire section to game theory alone, making it "free-standing" to allow instructors to return to it throughout the course when convenient. Discussion is clear, accessible, and engaging, enabling the student to gradually acquire confidence as well as proficiency. Extensive exercises within each chapter help students to hone their skills, while the text's appendix of terms, fully cross-referenced throughout the previous five sections, offers an accessible guide to the subject matter's terminology. Teachers of microeconomics need no longer rely upon scattered lecture notes to supplement their textbooks. Deftly written by three of the field's most influential scholars, Microeconomic Theory brings the readability, comprehensiveness, and versatility to the first-year graduate classroom that has long been missing.

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Microeconomic Theory + Microeconomic Analysis, Third Edition + Advanced Macroeconomics (McGraw-Hill Series Economics)
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Editorial Reviews


"Clear, comprehensive, and deep! The authors' treatment is both contemporary and probing, covering all aspects of modern microeconomic theory at a level accessible to graduate students, and which goes beyond simple statement of results to underscore the underlying intuition. This text should be a standard for graduate study in microeconomics!"--Lars Stole, University of Chicago

"An excellent, comprehensive text."--Michael Jerison, SUNY at Albany

"Broader and deeper than any graduate microeconomics textbook I know."--Rajeev Dehejia, Harvard

"Outstanding! The choice of topics, coverage, and degree of sophistication is perfect for a first-year graduate theory sequence."--Glenn MacDonald, W.E. Simm Graduate School of Business

"Extremely helpful as a teaching aid in a first year graduate theory course. It covers a great deal of material, motivating the material with informal discussion yet presenting it compactly and rigorously, with illuminating diagrams and formal examples. There is also a wealth of interesting homework problems."--Truman F. Bewley, Yale University

About the Author

Andreu Mas-Colell is at Universitat Pompeu Fabra, Barcelona, Spain. Michael D. Whinston is at Harvard University. Jerry R. Green is at Harvard University.

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 1008 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press (June 15, 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0195073401
  • ISBN-13: 978-0195073409
  • Product Dimensions: 10.3 x 8 x 2.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (92 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #99,589 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
84 of 90 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best there is August 23, 2004
By X
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I have read three graduate level Microeconomic Thoery texts: Mas-Colell, et al. Microeconomic Theory, Varian's Microeconomic Analysis, and Krep's A Course in Microeconomic Theory.

Mas-Colell is generally the most detailed, inclusive book that must be on the shelf of any serious economist. It has its weak points; however, it is the best that there is for learning the basics of microeconomic theory. Note that this book is generally the text of choice for the first year of graduate study at most all of the top econ programs.

The math requirements for getting the most out of this book are fairly heavy. With out a good math for economists course, this book is very difficult to use.

Kreps book takes on more of the game theory approach. This is very interesting for the game/decision theorist, and is a highly recommended in addition to Mas-Colell for those with these interests.

Varian is often used in masters degree level graduate programs, and lower-level phd programs. At Cornell, Varian covered most of the information from the first semester of microeconomics, but provided virtually no help after that.

It is not as intense as Mas-Colell. However, it is often very helpful in its own right. For students who are using Mas-Colell in their courses, but are struggling to grasp all of the concepts, Varian presents the information in a more "user-friendly" way. He spends more time explaining the concepts using english rather than math, which can be very helpful to someone just starting out.

Additionally, I found the practice problems and examples in Varian very helpful when studying for exams.

In summary, all serious economists usually have Mas-Colell. Other than that, choose your additional books based on your needs and interests.
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50 of 53 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Advice from an ex-reader May 29, 2003
Things to know unless you are an econ student who's already done Varian and Kreps at the graduate level & are totally comfortable with that:
- you'll need to supplement this book with Varian and Kreps. Kreps provides good intuition but Varian helps you break in gently. Note that Varian alone will not do - doctoral coursework in micro is much too sophisticated. I literally went through all three books sequentially - Varian first, Kreps next & MWG last to get what was going on in MWG.
- Try to do coursework in differential equations, real analysis & linear algebra before you touch this book. At the very least you HAVE to understand differential calculus really well. The math in this book is incredbly hard otherwise (trust me, I was in misery for 2 semesters).
- This book is great for general equilibrium models etc., but the game theory stuff gets out of hand really quickly. Be sure to use Tirole (Industrial Organization) & Kreps to guide you through the game theory in this book.
To the graduate students in business that aren't majoring in econ: you won't use 80% of what this book teaches you, but if you internalize even 30% of it, you will benefit for a long while.
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39 of 46 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars first year graduate textbook in economics August 15, 2000
By A Customer
This is the typical first year graduate text book in economics. It is target for this audience and it will probably not be very useful to you if you are not in academia. Intermediate to advanced undergraduate could find the book useful provided that they meet the mathematical requirements (more on this below). As it is a first year grad book, it tries to cover all the topics in microeconomics rather than going in depth in any of them. If you go on studying micro, this book will not be enough for your field of concentration.
A last word for first year graduate student whose course adopt a different text book (Varian, Kreps...). It probably worth sticking to your own book rather than buying this one hoping to understand from MWG what you don't get from Varian or Kreps. I tried the reverse process and I miserably failed: notation and exposition are very different; bridging the gap between two books requires too much work.
Now to the mathematical question. Before even starting you should know at least derivatives and matrices. And again, if you are a grad student, you must know them. I think you can read most of the book knowing "only" the following theorems: kuhn-tucker, implicit function, separating hyperplane, fixed point, envelope theorem. This topics are briefly dealt with in the appendix. If you have time it might worth to master these theorems before reading the book, at least kuhn-tucker!
As three authors contributed to the book the clarity (and the depth) varies A LOT among chapters. I will now review the chapters that I studied in depth: ch. 1,2,3,4 preferences, choice and demand: clear and comprehensive 4 stars ch. 5 production: worst chapter in the book, unclear, no stars. ch.
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Justly used everywhere January 27, 2005
This textbook is justly being adopted by almost all gruaduate programs in economics. It contains a very modern and quite exhaustive treatment of modern microeconomic theory, including of course demand and production, game theory, general equilibrium theory, contract theory. It also have an excellent mathematical appendix. It's a tought book to study, very advanced, but while in graduate school I found it well written, and very useful. And, believe me, I am not a fan of micro theory! Overall, the only problem I have with this book is... not really the book, but rather the fact that nowadays most graduate programs ONLY deal with the theory contained in this book, disregarding instead the many many usuful results and insights that you can find, say, in another masterful classic, Deaton and Muellbauer's "Economics and consumer behavior", which unlikely Mas-Colell et al. has a stong emphasis on tools that researchers working in applied labor/public/development economics will find invaluable. Indeed, I am waiting for someone to write a more updated and modern version of a book like Deaton & Muellbauer, but apparently it has not appeared yet. Anyway, Mas-Colell is an amazingly good textbook for micro theory, and it has justly become a classic.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
1.0 out of 5 stars It is very very bad experience. The seller should clearly show the...
It is not the hard cover version of U.S. It is the India version with soft cover and the quality is low.
The shipping took more than a month.
I wish I could return it. Read more
Published 5 months ago by zheng
5.0 out of 5 stars why are you reading reviews for this text?
There a few books every person who considers themselves educated should own, this is one of them. But if you're thinking of buying this book, you already know this. Read more
Published 6 months ago by En
5.0 out of 5 stars Has to be in your library
The bible... That's all! Do not hesitate to read it and read it again. This is the foundation for many research.
Published 13 months ago by Pennetier Christophe
5.0 out of 5 stars A great book!
This book is really good. I can not imagine a better book to study microeconomic. It explains everything in great detail
Published 16 months ago by Stélio Coelho Lombardi Filho
5.0 out of 5 stars The PhD Standard
If you are in an economics PhD program hopefully your classes use this text as it is the standard in the field. Read more
Published 18 months ago by Dallas
5.0 out of 5 stars The Bible!
There does not exist a valid reason not to own this book. The sooner you begin your journey through this book, the better.
Published 20 months ago by hkwsneakerhead
5.0 out of 5 stars Best book ever
This is the best book of microeconomic theory ever. This graduated book gives to readers the generalities of microeconomics and shows in a formal way with mathematics.
Published 20 months ago by Rol
5.0 out of 5 stars What Economics is REALLY about
I browsed through the reviews and I was utterly surprised to see that there have been people who have actually given this book a pretty low rating. Read more
Published 21 months ago by Konstantinos Ntantoulis
4.0 out of 5 stars Comprehensive text
If you are looking at purchasing this text, chances are you are a graduate econ student. If that is the case, this book is a must have. Read more
Published on January 21, 2012 by Yang Wang
3.0 out of 5 stars If you are a Economics PhD student this book is good to have.
My professors at NC State recommended this book. I generally don't like to use it because it's so big, but if I need more information on a topic its my go to book. Read more
Published on January 6, 2012 by CG
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