Chicago Price Theory is a textbook based on Economics 301, which is the legendary introductory PhD course taught at the University of Chicago by Jacob Viner, Milton Friedman, Gary Becker, and Kevin Murphy. Viner, Friedman, and Becker each published their lectures, which became classics in the field.

Now Kevin Murphy’s Economics 301 lectures have been video recorded in 3-10 minute segments, and paired with a couple of video lectures by Gary Becker (the two of them taught Economics 301 together for several years). The textbook and video series are companions.

A longstanding Chicago tradition treats economics as an empirical subject that measures, explains, and predicts how people behave. Price theory is the analytical toolkit that has been assembled over the years for the purpose of formulating the explanations and predictions, and for guiding the measurement. The purpose of the Chicago Price Theory course is to help students master the tools in the kit so that they can use the tools to answer practical questions.

The course is full of counterintuitive results: that fighting crime in poor neighborhoods may net harm its residents by raising rents, that so-called capital-biased technical change benefits labor, and that because of competition prohibitions (such as drugs or alcohol) can do more harm than good.

What people are saying

  • "A tremendous resource. This comprehensive and innovative book brings together in one great package the Chicago way of thinking about price theory."—Douglas A. Irwin, author of Free Trade under Fire

  • "This excellent book captures the essence of the University of Chicago's unique approach to economics education. It uses many modern examples to demonstrate that price theory is a powerful tool for understanding human behavior."—Matthew E. Kahn, Johns Hopkins University