Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Economics book list 

Courtesy Newmark's Door, we find Alan Reynolds with a list of books on economics that he recommends. The list is awfully long, but it's hard to pick among them. Newmark does, and I can't disagree with the list. But, I suggest the following in general:
  1. You can't do much without an understanding of economic history. How the West Grew Rich by Nathan Rosenberg and L. E. Birdsell is the one I suggest. You could also benefit from Against the Tide by Douglas Irwin, describing the free trade fight over the ages, or The Wealth and Poverty of Nations by David Landes. My students in development economics read the last one first.
  2. If you're more into web sites than books, explore the Library of Economics and Liberty. Besides the cool blog EconLog, you also get online books, articles, study guides, etc.
  3. I've often called Hayek's Use of Knowledge in Society the best journal article ever written in economics. I prefer it to Road to Serfdom for its integration of the insights of that book to a basic understanding of why humans are attracted to markets.
  4. Lists seldom have a good book on financial crises. Charles Kindleberger's Manias, Panics and Crashes is the tops of that list, but I have re-read Walther Bagehot's Lombard Street as often as I've re-read any book.