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Microeconomics: Behavior, Institutions, and Evolution (The Roundtable Series in Behavioral Economics) Paperback – 5 Feb 2006

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Product details

  • Paperback: 608 pages
  • Publisher: Princeton University Press (5 Feb. 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0691126380
  • ISBN-13: 978-0691126388
  • Product Dimensions: 15.6 x 3.3 x 23.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 577,736 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

Product Description

Review

There must be dozens of introductory books with the word 'microeconomics' in the title, but for ambition alone Samuel Bowles's volume stands out. Not only does Bowles convey the elements of the conventional theory of capitalist economics--he offers a wealth of cutting-edge material as well . . . . [His] theory is neat, thought-provoking, and highly original--as is much else in this most unusual take on microeconomics.--Eric Maskin "Science "

This important and highly impressive volume is intended as an overview of cutting-edge developments in microeconomics for graduate students. . . . The work is well written and carefully structured. . . . [T]his is a very fertile and inspiring book, of much broader use than its intended audience. . . . Its analytical accounts of institutional structures and its masterly fusion of institutional and evolutionary themes might eventually warrant its status as a modern classic.--Geoffrey M. Hodgson "Economics and Philosophy "


There must be dozens of introductory books with the word 'microeconomics' in the title, but for ambition alone Samuel Bowles's volume stands out. Not only does Bowles convey the elements of the conventional theory of capitalist economics--he offers a wealth of cutting-edge material as well . . . . [His] theory is neat, thought-provoking, and highly original--as is much else in this most unusual take on microeconomics.
--Eric Maskin "Science "


This important and highly impressive volume is intended as an overview of cutting-edge developments in microeconomics for graduate students. . . . The work is well written and carefully structured. . . . [T]his is a very fertile and inspiring book, of much broader use than its intended audience. . . . Its analytical accounts of institutional structures and its masterly fusion of institutional and evolutionary themes might eventually warrant its status as a modern classic.
--Geoffrey M. Hodgson "Economics and Philosophy "

"There must be dozens of introductory books with the word 'microeconomics' in the title, but for ambition alone Samuel Bowles's volume stands out. Not only does Bowles convey the elements of the conventional theory of capitalist economics--he offers a wealth of cutting-edge material as well . . . . [His] theory is neat, thought-provoking, and highly original--as is much else in this most unusual take on microeconomics."--Eric Maskin, Science

"This important and highly impressive volume is intended as an overview of cutting-edge developments in microeconomics for graduate students. . . . The work is well written and carefully structured. . . . [T]his is a very fertile and inspiring book, of much broader use than its intended audience. . . . Its analytical accounts of institutional structures and its masterly fusion of institutional and evolutionary themes might eventually warrant its status as a modern classic."--Geoffrey M. Hodgson, Economics and Philosophy

From the Back Cover

"Sam Bowles reminds the student from the first page to the last that microeconomic theory is an attempt to understand economic institutions in order to inspire us to improve the world. This book may be a turning point in bringing economics back to its real political economic roots."--Ariel Rubinstein, Tel Aviv University and Princeton University

"The standard neoclassical competitive model of economic behavior has been significantly extended in the last fifty years by emphasis on interaction among small groups (game theory), on extended models of human motivation based in part on human evolution, and on divergent information bases of participants. A rich but scattered literature has now received a brilliant synthesis and development in Samuel Bowles's new book. Microeconomics will be an indispensable part of future teaching in microeconomics at the graduate or advanced undergraduate levels, as well as an excellent source of information for the practicing economist."--Kenneth J. Arrow

"Homo economicus is dead, but whose Homo behavioralis will replace him? For those who care, this sustained and honest attempt to explore the implications for economic theory of one of the leading candidates is essential reading."--Ken Binmore, University College London

"An important and highly original book that shows how an evolutionary version of microeconomics can be brought to bear on central questions of economic growth and organization."--Peyton Young, Johns Hopkins University

"This is one of the most engaging books of its kind that has been written, intellectually challenging and a pleasure to read. It presents an innovative and unconventional perspective on microeconomics and, as such, is a book that many will want to teach from--I will."--Kaushik Basu, Cornell University

"Bowles does a masterful job of expanding the boundaries of received microeconomic theory by drawing upon cutting edge ideas from behavioral and experimental economics, evolutionary game theory, and the new institutional economics. I don't know of anyone who has woven such a wide range of literature into an equally coherent vision of post-Walrasian microeconomic theory."--Gregory Dow, Simon Fraser University

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Format: Paperback
Samuel Bowles, a heterodox economist known for his long time cooperation with Herb Gintis on various cutting edge works in the field of behavioral economics and related subjects, has made a fantastic synthesis of all the material and conclusions in this area of research in "Microeconomics: Behavior, Institutions and Evolution".

As the title promises, Bowles makes extensive use of concepts from socio-evolutionary theory, institutional economics and anthropology, as well as applications from (evolutionary) game theory, to discuss the basics of economic choices, interaction, cooperation, and exchange. It may take a bit of adjusting at first, especially if one is not used to heterodox economics, since his well-written overview starts from very different points than most generic orthodox textbooks do. But it is very rewarding: all the relevant issues are presented in their complexity, nothing is swept under the carpet, and what makes this book in particular commendable is the way in which information from anthropology, psychology and the social sciences is weaven into the 'story'. The contrast with the ridiculous assumptions and the unrealistic or simply false simplistic models of standard neoclassical textbooks (like for example that of Mankiw) is striking.

It must be said that a proper understanding of all the arguments requires familiarity with intermediate level mathematics for economists, and the general level of abstraction and discussion is quite high, so this is not an easy book. Fortunately, this is mitigated somewhat by Bowles' clear writing, and sometimes he also takes the trouble (which unfortunately few economists do) of specifically explaining what the mathematical formulas mean, for people who have difficulty with somewhat advanced equations and the like.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 4.3 out of 5 stars 8 reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A delightful romp through evolutionary and behavioural economics 14 Feb. 2013
By Cornelius - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Sam Bowles never fails to please. Not only is his writing style clear and eloquent, but he also conveys mathematical ideas with rigour and nuance. For those yearning for an introduction to evolutionary economics, look no further than this book and Herb Gintis' "Game Theory Evolving." The mathematics is not overly advanced, and someone with a university-level knowledge of calculus can grasp the author's main points. If you are a micro-economist, then this book absolutely must be on your shelf.

My only complaint would be that there is no accompanying solution manual. There is no point in books having problem sets without even partial solutions. That being said, this book is superb in every other way.
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars 2 Aug. 2016
By Amazon Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Book was in good condition, thanks so much
3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent book on consilience 16 Jan. 2009
By jukka aakula - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This really is my first book in Economics. I started my "career" as a darwinist the normal way by reading the Selfish Gene of Richard Dawkins 1985 - also I got enthusiastic about the memes. I read the book of Cavalli-Sforza and Feldmann on cultural evolution (Cultural Transmission and Evolution) but I did not understand the relevance.

But then I got to know Boyd and Richerson and got very much enthusiastic about the dual inheritance theory. Due to the co-operation of Boyd and Richerson with Bowles and Gintis I got interested in Behavioral Economics.

I very much believe the consilience E.O.Wilson is talking about is just now happening between economy, antropology, study of religions, sociology, psychology and biology. Samuel Bowles is a main contributor in that consilience.

This is an excellent book for one like who does not know anything about economy but knows about evolution, game theory and the dual inheritance theory. After this it is easier to continue more mainstream economy I assume.
5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This is microeconomics for the future, not a text book 9 Nov. 2009
By Jose M. F. Silveira - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Samuel Bowles is a remarkable economist and this book is not properly a text book. Is a creative study on the importante to combine associativism and cooperation in the analysis of choice and individual behavior. It is not a book for people aiming to have the first lessons on microeconomics. Is a book to think on the new framework relation individual behavior, game theory, cooperative behaviour and evolutionary paths. All of this with brillant insights on the importanc of power in economics. Power is not embedded in rational decisions. Power make decisions seems to be rational.
For graduate studants with capacity of reflect on economics and society.
23 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant synthesis of behavioral microeconomics 18 Jun. 2007
By M. A. Krul - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Samuel Bowles, a heterodox economist known for his long time cooperation with Herb Gintis on various cutting edge works in the field of behavioral economics and related subjects, has made a fantastic synthesis of all the material and conclusions in this area of research in "Microeconomics: Behavior, Institutions and Evolution".

As the title promises, Bowles makes extensive use of concepts from socio-evolutionary theory, institutional economics and anthropology, as well as applications from (evolutionary) game theory, to discuss the basics of economic choices, interaction, cooperation, and exchange. It may take a bit of adjusting at first, especially if one is not used to heterodox economics, since his well-written overview starts from very different points than most generic orthodox textbooks do. But it is very rewarding: all the relevant issues are presented in their complexity, nothing is swept under the carpet, and what makes this book in particular commendable is the way in which information from anthropology, psychology and the social sciences is weaven into the 'story'. The contrast with the ridiculous assumptions and the unrealistic or simply false simplistic models of standard neoclassical textbooks (like for example that of Mankiw) is striking.

It must be said that a proper understanding of all the arguments requires familiarity with intermediate level mathematics for economists, and the general level of abstraction and discussion is quite high, so this is not an easy book. Fortunately, this is mitigated somewhat by Bowles' clear writing, and sometimes he also takes the trouble (which unfortunately few economists do) of specifically explaining what the mathematical formulas mean, for people who have difficulty with somewhat advanced equations and the like. In any case, he relies quite correctly more on empirical arguments regarding problems of the common, of evolution of institutions, the workings of altruism, prisoner's dilemmas, and so on than on any kind of math (although these things can be expressed in math, often).
At the end, Bowles provides some problem sets organized by subject as in the book, to allow readers and students to grapple with the issues presented.

Overall, this is probably the best overview specifically about microeconomics currently in existence, and it's a shame that it is not the standard textbook in all economics classes on the subject. Much better than anything Mankiw, Barro etc. have ever produced.
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