Heyne received two divinity degrees from Concordia Seminary in St. Louis, took his master's degree at Washington University and his Ph.D. in ethics and society at the University of Chicago. He came to the UW in 1976, and reportedly turned down a tenured position to become a senior lecturer because of his interest in teaching undergraduates.
Heyne promoted economics through his interests with religion, social issues, justice and free market economies. His best known work was his critically acclaimed introductory textbook The Economic Way of Thinking, which sold 200,000 copies in Russia alone and has been translated in Bulgarian, Czech, Hungarian, Romanian and other languages. Heyne was committed to undergraduate education, and was widely regarded as being a highly effective teacher of economics.
- The Economic Way of Thinking: 
- "Interest": 
- "Efficiency". Concise Encyclopedia of Economics (2nd ed.). Indianapolis: Library of Economics and Liberty. 2008. ISBN 978-0865976658. OCLC 237794267.
- "Limitations of the Economic Way of Thinking": 
- "Researchers and Degree Purchasers: The Classroom Encounter": 
- "Do Trade Deficits Matter?" 
- "Two Approaches to the Question of Justice": 
- "The U.S. Catholic Bishops and the Pursuit Of Justice": 
- "The Concept of Economic Justice in Religious Discussion": 
- Audio of final public lecture, "The Moral Critics of Capitalism": 
- "In Memoriam: Paul Heyne, 1931–2000":