Quantum Microeconomics

An online, open-source textbook for introductory and intermediate microeconomics

Quantum Microeconomics follows a "building-blocks" approach that builds up from individual optimization to strategic interactions between individuals to competitive market interactions between many individuals, thereby integrating decision theory, game theory, and price theory into a coherent whole. As described in the preface:

In structure this book is not unlike a hiking trip. We start out by putting our boots on and getting our gear together: in Part I we study the optimizing individual. Then we set out on our path and immediately find ourselves hacking through some pretty thick jungle: even simple interactions between just two people (Part II) can be very complicated! As we add even more people (in studying auctions, for example), things get even more complicated, and the jungle gets even thicker. Then a miracle occurs: we add even more people, and a complex situation suddenly becomes simple. After hacking through thick jungle, we find ourselves in a beautiful clearing: competitive markets (Part III) are remarkably easy to analyze and understand.

The basic text, Quantum Microeconomics, is intended for use in introductory classes. A calculus-based version (unimaginatively titled Quantum Microeconomics with Calculus) is available for intermediate courses or math-intensive introductory courses, but it is much less polished. Both versions are covered by a Creative Commons license that establishes simple guidelines under which you (or anyone else) can freely use and/or modify the text for non-commercial purposes.

Downloads | FAQ | Classes Homepage

"Thank you for making your Quantum Microeconomics text available online. I enjoyed it very much and, unlike other economics texts I have started but not finished, I did not find it insulting." -- Chris Gaskett (Cairns, Australia)


Quantum Microeconomics

Here's the entire textbook (Version 4.02, Jan 2009) in PDF format. If you want an overview, try the front matter, which contains the table of contents and the preface.

Quantum Microeconomics with calculus

Here's the entire textbook (Version 4.02, Jan 2009) in PDF format. If you want an overview, try the front matter, which contains the table of contents and the preface. This text is essentially the material above plus some mathematical supplements; note that the mathematical supplements are much less polished than the non-mathematical material.

Source Code

Download the zip file containing all the relevant files for Version 4.0 (Sept 2008). As described in the root file, root.tex, different configurations of these files will generate Quantum Microeconomics and Quantum Microeconomics with Calculus. Email me if you have questions, and good luck!

Older versions

Here's QM 3.1 (key), QM 3.1 with calculus (key), QM 3.2 (front matter), QM 3.2 with calculus (front matter), and a self-extracting zip file of version 3.x.


Are there any other open-source-ish economics texts?

Check out the texts listed at the Economics Network site. (Quantum Microeconomics is listed under "Introductory--Principles of Microeconomics" and "Intermediate Microeconomics".) For an open-source micro text that covers even more stuff than Quantum Microeconomics with Calculus--and is written by an economist much smarter than yours truly--check out Introduction to Economic Analysis by CalTech professor R. Preston McAfee.

Are there any special printing instructions?

The PDF files are set up for double-sided printing, so if you print single sided the pages will look a little funny. And, obviously, the clickable hyperlinks in the text are only usable if you read it online.

What about answer keys to the end-of-chapter problems?

They're in the footnotes at the back of the text.

I'm a teacher. Can I use all or part of Quantum Microeconomics in my class?

Yes! All I ask is (1) that you let me know what you're using it for, and (2) that you (and your students) help improve the text by sending me comments, feedback, constructive criticism, etc. Also, note that use of the text is covered by the copyright provisions described below.

What about copyright issues?

Quantum Microeconomics is covered by a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial license. Basically, this license allows you to use and/or modify the text at no charge for non-commercial purposes provided that you credit this website as the original source.

So that means I can use it in my class for free?

Yes, provided that your school is a traditional non-profit. (If you work for a for-profit school or otherwise want to use the text for commercial purposes, send me an email and we'll go from there.)

Do you have a sample syllabus? And what about exams, overheads, and other supporting material?

Visit my class page for sample syllabi &etc. As for supporting material, send me an email and I'll tell you what I've got.

Can I make modifications to Quantum Microeconomics?

Yes! I welcome suggestions for improving the text, or you can modify the text on your own subject to the copyright restrictions described above. All I ask is that you let me know what you're up to.

I want to modify the text. What kind of software is involved?

Quantum Microeconomics is written in LaTeX, a free typesetting program you can learn about from CTAN. I compiled it on a PC using the (free) MiKTeX compiler and the (not free) WinEdt editor/shell, but hopefully it will work on whatever system you have set up.

I want to modify the text. Where can I get the source code?

The source code is available in a zip file in the Downloads Section above.

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