I am a Physics student and would like to learn some Economics in my spare time. Preferably, I would chronologically go through textbooks which cover entire Bachelors and Masters degrees. For instance, in Physics there is a fixed set of topics that is covered within a Bachelor and Master degree. If you happen to know German, you could take the book series by Wolfgang Nolting (seven or eight books, numbered consecutively) and read them. When you're through, you will have covered an entire Bachelors and Masters in Physics (and more, actually). So I wonder if there is such a canonical series of books (maybe from different authors) in Economics that you could recommend to me? Thanks for any suggestion.

PS: It should be textbooks and not courses or videos, since textbooks usually have a higher information density and transmission rate. Also, preferably it should be a canonical series, to ensure seamless transition from one book to another (no information gaps).


1 Answer 1


Econ isn't as sequential as physics. The two core undergrad classes that everyone takes are Intermediate Micro and Intermediate Macro. Varian is the standard for Intermediate Micro.

Undergrads also take some sort of econometrics class, which can widely vary depending on the target audience (i.e., business majors vs double-majors). It's not uncommon for there to be an Econ degree geared towards double majoring.

After these courses, students generally pick about 5 electives. The classic books largely depend on the subjects at the undergrad levels. For Game Theory, Osborne is a good text as is Fudenberg and Tirole. The latter is a solid grad textbook as well. A good Auction Theory text is Krishna's.

At the grad level, folks generally go for PhDs over Masters degrees. While Masters programs exist, they aren't as common as in math, physics, or CS. A good math for economists text is Simon and Blume. Mas-Collel is the classic for the grad micro sequence, which highlights game theory, IO, and general equilibrium. Jehl and Reyni is another good reference for micro, and it's a friendlier read.

Folks at the grad level also take sequences in macro and metrics. You may wish to check out Aris Spanos' text for metrics.

  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Worth pointing out that at the significance of a masters degree is not uniform internationally. In some countries they are popular, in others they are very much a pathway or a component of a PhD. $\endgroup$
    – Jamzy
    Oct 12, 2015 at 23:22

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