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Economics: Dictionaries/Encyclopedias


Dictionaries provide short definitions (a sentence or two, or a short paragraph) of terms as used in economics or a brief overview of an economist. Encyclopedias contain longer essays that provide a more in-depth discussion of major economics topics.

Useful subject headings in the library catalog (be sure to use a "Subject Heading" search):

Selected Dictionaries

Black, John.  A Dictionary of Economics.  3d ed., 2012.
Perkins/Bostock Ref. HB61 .B554 2012
Contains short entries and intended for undergraduates and lay people.  No biographies. Also available electronically in Oxford Reference Online.

Bannack, Graham, R.E. Baxter, and Evan Davis. The Penguin Dictionary of Economics. 2003. [online]
Perkins/Bostock Ref. HB61 .B335 2003 [paper edition]

Pass, C.L.  Collins Dictionary of Economics.  2005. [online]

Rutherford, Donald. Routledge Dictionary of Economics. 3rd ed., 2013.
Perkins/Bostock Ref. HB61 .R92 2013
Second Edition. Basic dictionary of economic terms, compiled from the terminology common in textbooks and in current newspapers and journals. The author makes an effort to include slang and catchwords. Includes biographies, cross references, and bibliographies for some entries.

Shim, Jae K. Dictionary of Economics. 1995.
Perkins/Bostock Ref. HB61 .S466 1995
Intended for businesspeople, students, and informed laypeople.  The short entries are non-theoretical, emphasize examples, and often contain diagrams.

MIT Dictionary of Modern Economics. 4th ed., 1992.
Perkins/Bostock Ref. HB61 .P4 1992
Aimed at undergraduates. Contains many cross references, a list of acronyms, and bibliographic references at the ends of the most important entries.  Also includes entries considered important from an Eastern European perspective.

McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Modern Economics: A Handbook of Terms and Organizations. 3rd ed., 1983.
Perkins/Bostock Ref. HB61 .M3 1983
Gives brief explanations of current economic terms with references to additional sources of information and economic data. Includes definitions of many economic and research organizations.

Selected Encyclopedias

The New Palgrave: A Dictionary of Economics. 4 vols. 1987.
Perkins/Bostock Ref. HB61 .N49 1987
An encyclopedia, not a dictionary, this contains 2000 signed essays by leading economists. 700 are biographical "to provide a thorough account of contemporary economic thought...set in historical perspective." Most articles include bibliographies; the biographies of economists who were 70 or older in 1986 include lists of their selected works. Appendix IV organizes subject entries by fields of study, and the analytical index offers yet another entry point.

The New Palgrave Dictionary of Economics and the Law. 3 vols. 1998.
Perkins/Bostock Ref. K487.E3 N48 1998
399 signed articles relating to the subject of law and economics. Articles generally cover several pages and include bibliographies for further reading and, in the case of articles on persons, lists of selected works. A classified arrangement of 75 subject headings is printed at the first of each volume, listing the articles to which each heading is assigned. There are many cross-reference entries but no general index; references to "Statutes, Treaties and Directives" and to "Cases" (listed by plaintiff) are indexed at the end of volume 3.

Darnell, A. C. A Dictionary of Econometrics. 1994.
Perkins/Bostock Ref. HB139 .D358 1994
Includes short essays of several pages each directed at an undergraduate and elementary postgraduate audience that needs "'bite-sized' readings on some of the most important topics of econometrics."

International Encyclopedia of Statistics. 1978.
Perkins/Bostock Stacks HA17 .I63 1978
Contains articles, some amended, expanded or amplified, from the International Encyclopedia of the Social Sciences (19 vols., Perkins/Bostock Ref. H40.A2 I5 1968) and several new articles on subjects emerging since 1968.

International Encyclopedia of the Social and Behavioral Sciences. 26 vols. 2001.
Perkins/Bostock Ref. H41 .I58 2001
Includes sections on economics, statistics, etc.

The McGraw-Hill Encyclopedia of Economics. 1994.
Perkins/Bostock Ref. HB61 .E55 1994
310 articles written by economists arranged alphabetically with extensive cross references and short bibliographies and supplemented with an index.

Porter, Glenn, ed. Encyclopedia of American Economic History. 1980.
Perkins/Bostock Ref. HC103 .E52 1980
A three volume topical presentation of the history and trends in American economics; written for the informed layman, the articles include selective bibliographies.  An alphabetical index is at the end of Volume 3.

Survey of Social Science: Economics Series. 1991
Perkins/Bostock Ref. HB61 .S94 1991
Contains 393 signed alphabetically arranged essays, each averaging 6 pages.  Essays begin with an overview section that introduces the topics and provides definitions, and continue with sections on "applications" and "context," and conclude with short annotated bibliographies.  Edited by Frank Magill.

Cambridge Economic History of Europe.
Perkins/Bostock Stacks HC41 .C363 1941[except as noted]
This multi-volume work is an authoritative survey of an aspect omitted from the Cambridge medieval and modern histories, covering through the middle of the 20th century. Also online.

Vol. 1 The Agrarian Life of the Middle Ages. 1941.  2nd ed., 1966 [at HC240 .C312 1966]
Vol. 2 Trade and Industry in the Middle Ages. 1952. 2nd ed., 1987 [at HC240 .C312 1966]
Vol. 3 Economic Organization and Policies in the Middle Ages. 1963.
Vol. 4 The Economy of Expanding Europe in the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries. 1967.
Vol. 5 The Economic Organization of Early Modern Europe. 1977.
Vol. 6 The Industrial Revolutions and After: Incomes, Population, and Technological Change. pt. 1 & pt. 2, 1965.
Vol. 7 The Industrial Economies: Capital, Labour and Enterprise.
Part 1: Britain, France, Germany, and Scandinavia. 1978.
Part 2: The United States, Japan, and Russia. 1978.
Vol. 8 The Industrial Economies: The Development of Economic and Social Policies. 1989 [at HC240 .C312 1966]