Routledge Dictionary of Economics

Routledge Dictionary of Economics

Routledge Dictionary of Economics

Routledge Dictionary of Economics


This dictionary of economics contains over 4,200 entries which provide lucid, comprehensive, accurate and up-to-date expositions of the key terms, issues and concepts in economics. It also describes the work of the central figures in the field.


Economics, the Queen of the Social Sciences, has now established itself as a major subject in dialogue with the physical sciences, law and the arts. There are few aspects of human behaviour that do not have an economic dimension and little of current affairs can be understood without a knowledge of economic principles. It is, therefore, not surprising that it is a major discipline in schools, colleges and universities throughout the world, studied annually by millions and the topic of conversation of millions more.

The Dictionary of Economics has as its concerns as many issues as the subject Economics now covers. the breadth can be appreciated by considering the subject classifications used by the Journal of Economic Literature (USA) and the Economic Journal (UK). the related specialties of economic history, commercial law, and econometric and statistical techniques are all within its ambit. However, to prevent a subject dictionary becoming encyclopedic, a lexicographer can follow the useful convention of taking from sister disciplines only what is regularly used in mainstream economic literature. For example, from law, it is customary to emphasize competition, fiscal and banking law more than constitutional or criminal law. This interpretation of economics in the broad sense makes a dictionary of this kind more of a dictionary for economists, rather than a dictionary of economics with terms peculiar to the subject.

Even if a dictionary takes a broad view of its subject matter, it is usually addressed to a particular audience, such as first-year undergraduates. This is an approach that I have wanted to avoid, as there is a substantial heterogeneity of economics courses and students often need to research some areas of the subject in more depth than others. Also, it can be patronizing to the general reader to regard all of his or her knowledge to date as rudimentary. Even the reader of daily newspapers who never looks at an economics textbook will encounter the most complex of ideas, chaos theory for example.

To produce a dictionary of this kind, I started with an assortment of basic textbooks and many current newspapers and journals. I soon discovered that about a thousand concepts are common to all the textbooks, for example notions of cost, economic systems and banking. From general textbooks I moved to a perusal of specialist books on the diverse divisions of the subject. the areas of economics encompassed obviously have to reflect current concerns; many environmental concepts are included and the 'male' character of many economics works has been partially avoided by including biographies of several leading female economists. Newspapers and journals provide a modern guide to current economic discourse. There is no foreseeable end to the creation of economic neologisms-major events such as the deregulation of financial markets and the political developments in Eastern Europe, which have changed the nature of many economies, have produced an expansion of new terms. Some terminology is

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