Economics and Management Reading List


The first year economics course at Balliol does not assume any prior knowledge of the subject, but does move fairly fast and is quite technical in its character. The principal books used in the first year are J M Perloff, Microeconomics (which requires some knowledge of calculus), R Frank and E Cartwright Microeconomics and Behaviour, and C I Jones Macroeconomics. Starting to read either of the first two will help with the beginning of the course. Jones will be used after Christmas. Older editions of these books are fine and can often be found at second hand prices online.

Nearly everyone will also need to learn some mathematics. Again, knowledge of A-level material or its equivalent is not assumed, but starting with some of the work before term is a good idea. There are many books with titles like ‘Mathematics for economists’ and so long as they start at a level which is appropriate for you, there is little to choose between them. However, some examples would be:

  • Timbrell, M., Mathematics for Economists
  • Kennedy, G., Mathematics for Innumerate Economists
  • Anthony, M. and Biggs, N., Mathematics for Economics and Finance
  • Black, J., and Bradley, T., Essential Mathematics for Economists
  • Holden, K., and Pearson, A.W., Introductory Mathematics for Economists
  • Dowling, E., Mathematical Methods for Business and Economics, from the Schaum’s Outlines series (students with no background in Mathematics have found this book particularly useful)
  • Chiang, A.C., Fundamental Methods of Mathematical Economics (starts at a similar level to the other texts listed, but takes many ideas a bit further)

For more general reading in economics, any of the following should be interesting:

  • Blinder, A., After the Music Stopped
  • Krugman, P., The return of Depression Economics
  • Forder, J., A beginner’s guide to economics
  • Easterly, W., The White Man’s Burden: Why the West’s Efforts to Aid the Rest Have Done So Much Ill and So Little Good
  • Collier, P., The Bottom Billion: Why the Poorest Countries are Failing and What Can Be Done About It
  • Sachs, J., The End of Poverty
  • Backhouse, R. and Medema, S., Retrospectives: On the Definition of Economics

See also the Paul Krugman Archives website


Optional for students who wish to do some reading on Management over the summer:

  • Chandler, A.D., Scale and Scope: the Dynamics of Industrial Capitalism (Harvard University Press: 1990)
  • Williamson, O.E., The economic instiutions of capitalism: firms, markets, relational contracting (The Free Press: 1985)
  • Aoki, M., Information, Corporate Governance, and Institutional Diversity (Harvard University Press: 2000)
  • Womack, J.P., Jones, D.T., and Roos, D., The machine that changed the world (Rawson Associates: 1990) (read Chapter 2)
  • McKenna, C., The World’s Newest Profession: Management Consulting in the Twentieth Century (Cambridge University Press: 2006)
  • Morgan, G., Images of Organizations (2006)

Financial Management

  • Tijms, H., Understanding Probability: Chance Rules in Everyday Life (Cambridge University Press: 2007)
  • Akerlof, G., and Shiller, R., Animal Spirits: How Human Psychology Drives the Economy, and Why it Matters for Global Capitalism (Princeton University Press, 2010)
  • Malkiel, B.G., A Random Walk Down Wall Street: The Time-tested Strategy for Successful Investing (Norton, 2006)
  • Bainbridge, S., Corporate Governance after the Financial Crisis (Oxford University Press: 2012)
  • Sheifer, A., Inefficient Markets: An Introduction to Behavioral Finance (Clarendon Lectures in Economics, Oxford University Press: 2000)


Professor Miguel Ballester, Dr James Forder, Dr Daniel Susskind, Professor Thomas Noe

June 2020