Jerry Friedman's text Microeconomics: Individual Choice in Communities (published by Dollars and Sense) is a good possibility. however, I have not used it in class yet, but I am considering it for a course next semester. Here is the publisher's blurb:
"The neoclassical vision of economies characterized by rational, self-interested individuals interacting in perfectly competitive markets can have, especially for students with little or no prior study of economics, an appealing simplicity and certainty: the result is perfectly efficient, each gets what he or she deserves, and any outside interference can only be for the worse. It’s liable even to make critical-minded students start to believe that this really is the “best of all possible worlds,” and that attempts to improve it are misguided at best.
Microeconomics: Individual Choice in Communities, by Gerald Friedman (professor of economics, UMass-Amherst) is a different kind of micro textbook, laying out “micro-foundations for an alternative economics, closer to the vision of the classical economists ... and others who saw economics as a social science.” It opens up a whole new world of issues that are central to real-world economies: trust and reciprocity, the social origins of individual preferences, the ubiquity of market power in a world with economies of scale, efficiency wages and labor discipline, asymmetric information and uncertainty, public goods and collective action.
This unique textbook covers all the standard topics of an introductory microeconomics course, including the profit-maximizing firm, the utility-maximizing consumer, supply and demand, price and income elasticities, factors of production and their marginal
products, and so on. But this book does much more: it offers both an alternative vision of microeconomics�placing individual decision-making in the context of social norms and institutions�and cogent criticism of neoclassical theory. Students using this book
will get more than just an introduction to mainstream microeconomics—they will gain a deeper and more critical understanding of it."
Worth a look!
John, David Colander does about as good a job as can be done given the constraints of the textbook publishing industry. He tries to create context for other paradigms through critical thinking questions, solicited from proponents of alternative paradigms. His explanations and illustrations of the standard stuff is good and you can take it from there.
Daniel Underwood, Ph.D.
Coordinator of Honors Program
Professor Economics and Environmental Science
School of Environmental and Forest Science
University of Washington
We are currently trying to decide a book for a standard micro principles class. One of my colleagues heading the micro-rebuild committee has recommended Mankiw’s book. Besides the protests over Mankiw’s failure to provide alternative views, for those going through similar searches, I refer you to Melanie Long’s Senior Thesis where she compares the six bestselling micro texts to Marshall’s Principles focusing on Mankiw’s methodology. Not surprisingly, she has found biases (I know, no surprise here) in Mankiw’s survey of economists’ preferences among other issues.
Question: does anyone have recommendations for a micro text that is well written, but does not serve as a complete apology for the status quo? Thank you so much,