The best books on Inflation, recommended by Federica Romei

Inflation has been under control in the developed world for decades now. Many assumed we had it beaten, but it has picked up recently and is once again a major policy concern. Here, Oxford economist Federica Romei chooses five books to help you understand inflation from a historical and theoretical perspective, and when, if and why you should worry about it.

The Best Economics Books of 2021, recommended by Diane Coyle

From the education of a Nobel Prize-winning economist to debates about privacy and the drawbacks of global supply chains, Professor Diane Coyle of Cambridge University’s Bennett Institute for Public Policy chooses the best economics books of 2021. These are highly readable books that also shed important light on the Covid pandemic and the world we live in.

The Best Introductions to Economics, recommended by Tim Harford

Nearly every aspect of our life is determined by economics, and yet it’s easy to go through life understanding very little about it. Author and columnist Tim Harford (aka the ‘Undercover Economist’) introduces the best books to get you thinking like an economist.

The Best Macroeconomics Textbooks, recommended by Raffaele Rossi

In its study of the broader economy, macroeconomics is a vital tool for understanding the world around us, offering insights into issues that affect us all, like inflation and unemployment. Which textbooks to read to learn more about it? Here, Raffaele Rossi, Senior Lecturer at the University of Manchester, recommends his top macroeconomics textbooks, starting with entry-level books aimed at undergraduates all the way through to the tough tomes you’ll need to plough through if you’re doing a doctorate and want to work at the frontier of the discipline.

The best books on Market Concentration, recommended by Jan Loeys

Power corrupts and corporate power is no exception: its effects are bad for consumers, bad for workers and bad for the economy. Here, Belgian American economist Jan Loeys recommends books that look at the economic and political implications of ‘market concentration,’ and explains why we don’t need governments that are pro-business but ones that are pro-market.

The best books on Capitalism and Human Nature, recommended by Robert J Shiller

“You have to understand people first before you can understand how to devise an economic system for them” argues Robert J Shiller, the Yale economics professor and Nobel laureate. He chooses five books that explore who we fundamentally are, as human beings, and how that will determine the shape of a successful capitalism.

The best books on Cryptocurrency, recommended by David Birch

Proselytes for cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin extol them as a liberation technology to free us from big government. Sceptics insist that while they have been the source of useful technologies, as units of value, account and exchange, they will remain marginal. Here, digital currency expert David Birch chooses five books to help you understand the utopian roots of cryptocurrencies, the technology behind how they work, their functions and uses, and their broader place in the long history of money.

The Best Finance Books, recommended by Andrew W Lo

At its worst, finance leads to crises and economic dislocation and, yet, it’s absolutely vital to solving many of the problems society faces today. MIT’s Andrew W Lo introduces some of the best books on finance and explains how it can change the world for the better.

The best books on Globalization, recommended by Larry Summers

Globalization benefits mankind and we are learning how better to deal with the disruption it causes. But one thing is for sure, the laws of economics are no more escapable than the laws of physics. Harvard professor and former US Treasury secretary, Larry Summers, recommends the best books on globalization.

The Best Books on Taxes and Taxation, recommended by Joel Slemrod & Michael Keen

Many of us try to avoid thinking about taxes unless we have to, but the truth is taxation has had a profound effect on the course of history and will play a key in the future society we create, too. Here, Michael Keen and Joel Slemrod, both public finance economists and authors of Rebellion, Rascals, and Revenue: Tax Follies and Wisdom Through the Ages, recommend books about taxes that are not only informative but also good reads.

The best books on Neoliberalism, recommended by Gary Gerstle

Neoliberalism is, arguably, the dominant political and economic ideology of the Western world, although its dominance is contested and the ills of the world are often laid at its door. Here Cambridge historian Gary Gerstle discusses five books that will help you understand neoliberalism’s origins, its ambitions and why it has been supported and opposed with such partisanship.

The best books on Monetary Policy, recommended by Lars Christensen

Monetary policy isn’t just about setting interest rates and if we think about it in those terms, we’ll never really understand it, says Danish economist Lars Christensen. Here, he recommends books to better understand monetary policy, and explains why reading about the past is so important for avoiding mistakes in the future.

The best books on Antitrust, recommended by Howard Smith

Across sectors and around the world fewer and fewer companies dominate the economy, with negative consequences for consumers, workers and the economy as a whole. Here, Oxford economist Howard Smith introduces books on ‘antitrust,’ a key policy tool for ensuring that markets are actually functioning properly in market economies.

The Best Economics Books of 2020, recommended by Diane Coyle

The global economy has been hit by another massive and unexpected shock this year in the form of the pandemic, which is already having knock-on effects on how people think about economics.  Here, Professor Diane Coyle of Cambridge University chooses the best economics books published in 2020.

The best books on Industrial Revolution, recommended by Sheilagh Ogilvie

The Industrial Revolution transformed the world forever by enabling self-perpetuating economic growth. But historians are still at odds about why the industrial revolution happened where it did and when it did. Here, Sheilagh Ogilvie, Chichele Professor of Economic History at All Souls College, Oxford, guides us through the debates and why they are still relevant today.

The best books on Pay, recommended by Jake Rosenfeld

Economists have tended to assume that the value of our personal contribution—our marginal product—largely determines what we get paid. In reality, there are many other factors involved that have nothing to do with our qualifications or personal performance. Here Jake Rosenfeld, Professor of Sociology at Washington University in St Louis, explains why it is that senior executive pay growth has shot up in recent decades and why, for workers at the bottom, it has flatlined.

The Best Finance Books for Teens and Young Adults, recommended by Darren Collins

Financial literacy is an essential life skill, but it is not routinely taught at school and not everybody has good role models to look to for financial behaviour. Reading can certainly help. Finance teacher Darren Collins recommends his top books for teens and young adults to learn the fundamentals for making sound personal finance decisions in life.

Michèle Lamont on The Sociology of Inequality

“If we come to understand the human value and dignity of people from different backgrounds, we can do a bit to deflect inequality in our everyday interactions,” says Harvard Professor and winner of the 2017 Erasmus Prize Michèle Lamont. Here, she recommends five books that illuminate the sociology of inequality.

The Best Economics Books of 2019, recommended by Diane Coyle

The urgency of the challenges facing society has led to a wonderful supply of books by leading thinkers on a variety of pressing topics. Economist Diane Coyle, a professor at the University of Cambridge and co-director of the Bennett Institute for Public Policy, recommends her top five economics books of 2019.

The best books on Historical Change and Economic Ideology, recommended by Thomas Piketty

Throughout history, social and economic inequalities have been fueled and justified by different ideologies. French economist Thomas Piketty’s latest book, Capital and Ideology, looks at the advent and fall of these ideologies, and how they could evolve in the future. He recommends five great books to better understand these complex and always-evolving ideas, and their consequences for the world.

The Best Books on the Future of Work, recommended by Daniel Susskind

For many us, work is not only a vital source of income, but also an important part of our identity. As computers become ever better at doing jobs that used to be the exclusive preserve of humans, the work available to us and the rewards for doing it will change dramatically. As economist Daniel Susskind explains, these developments are going to force us to rethink how society as a whole works at a very fundamental level, changing the role of the state, the way we think about how individuals contribute to society and how they can, or should, be rewarded.

The Economics of Coronavirus: A Reading List, recommended by Ricardo Reis

As we deal with the economic fallout of coronavirus, what lessons can economic theory and economic history teach us as we navigate the months ahead? Ricardo Reis, professor of economics at the London School of Economics—and consultant to both the Bank of England and the Federal Reserve—recommends four books and one article to help us think through the economic challenges posed by Covid-19.

The best books on Money, recommended by Samuel A. Chambers

Economists have offered two contrasting explanations of what money is and what it is for. For a long time, its function as a commodity, a store of value and a medium of exchange dominated economics textbooks. But, as Professor Samuel A. Chambers explains, understanding money as something closer to credit is more convincing and supported by other social sciences and what we’ve learned from the 2008 financial crisis.

The best books on Market Competition, recommended by Jason Furman

Despite the large number of brands, most Americans buy their beer from just two companies. Consumer choice in the new digital economy is hardly better. Economist Jason Furman, chair of the Council of Economic Advisers under Barack Obama and now a professor at Harvard, recommends books to better understand market competition.

The best books on Economic Nationalism, recommended by Fredrik Erixon

Economic nationalism is more than just protectionism, it is rooted in a view of the national economy as a unique national phenomenon that needs protecting. As economist Fredrik Erixon explains, its roots are to be found as much in the progressive nationalism of Woodrow Wilson as they are in 19th century Prussia or the mercantilism of 17th century Europe.

The best books on Behavioral Science, recommended by Nicholas Epley

What can we draw from behavioral science to help us better understand each other? Nicholas Epley, Professor of Behavioral Science and Faculty Director of the Center for Decision Research at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business, recommends the five best books for learning about an interdisciplinary field that draws from psychology, sociology, economics and anthropology.

The best books on Game Theory, recommended by Ariel Rubinstein

Game theory is marketed as a system you can apply to any sphere of life, but does it really have much to offer in terms of practical application? The distinguished game theorist, Ariel Rubinstein, suggests not. He recommends the best books on game theory.

The Best Books on the Classical Economists, recommended by Brad DeLong

They were an eclectic bunch, including, among others, a stock market speculator, a moral philosopher, a cleric, a lawyer and a journalist. From the late-18th to the mid-19th century, they provided the first systematic explanations of how economies work, where they fail and how they might be made to work better. Here, Brad DeLong, a professor of economics at UC Berkeley, introduces the classical economists, and suggests books to read to learn more about them and what they were trying to achieve.

Peter Temin on An Economic Historian’s Favourite Books

Distinguished economic historian, Peter Temin, talks us through some of his favourite books. His own latest book, The Vanishing Middle Class, charts America’s regression towards a pre-industrial society: with many poor, a few rich, and not much in between.

The best books on Inequality, recommended by Daron Acemoglu

The US, the UK and many other countries around the globe have become far less equal over the past 30 years. It’s important we understand how and why this happened, and what it means for our societies, says Daron Acemoglu, a professor of economics at MIT. He recommends the best books to get a better understanding of inequality.

The best books on Fairness and Inequality, recommended by Will Hutton

What is the difference between fairness and equality? In contemporary capitalist societies, some inequality is inevitable and desirable. But the rewards for the few at the top have soared while the rest have been squeezed. Is this fair? We need a new social contract, says the author and columnist

The best books on The Slave Trade, recommended by William A. Pettigrew

In the 17th and 18th century millions of Africans were shipped across the Atlantic to the Americas as slaves. This trade took place at the same time as ‘liberal’ ideas about the importance of human freedom took root in Great Britain and North America. Here, historian William A. Pettigrew recommends five books to help understand the slave trade, how it was established, why it flourished and why it was eventually abolished.

The best books on GDP, recommended by David Pilling

As we try to make the world a better place, how does a measure that started as a way of mobilizing for war in the 17th century help? Can it be improved on? Financial Times journalist David Pilling talks us through the best books to think about gross domestic product, or GDP.

The best books on Learning Economics, recommended by John Quiggin

We live in a society where it’s vital to have a good grasp of economics, but that doesn’t mean you need an economics degree to understand what it’s all about. Australian economist John Quiggin, author of Economics in Two Lessons, recommends books for learning about economics, all accessible to the general reader, and tries to dispel some of the myths about what it is professional economists do.

The Best Economics Books of 2018, recommended by Diane Coyle

From a book about applying game theory to public policy to an account of how modern management practices were first developed on slave plantations, it’s been another good year for interesting and accessible economics books. Cambridge professor Diane Coyle talks us through her selection of the best economics books of 2018.

The best books on Emerging Markets, recommended by George Magnus

What determines whether a country goes backwards or forwards? Why have so few developing countries joined the ranks of rich nations? George Magnus, former chief economist of UBS, chooses books to help us reflect on what it is that societies need in order to be successful.