Course readings


I  recommend these readings as entertainment and not punishment. I am conscious that most of my students do not intend to forge an academic career, and therefore my aim isn’t to develop technical capabilities, but to confront intuition and stimulate interest. I am continuously updating this list, so please let me know what you think.

An arrow (->) denotes the key reading.

1. Incentives matter

-> Becker, G.S., 1992 “The Economic Way of Looking at Life” Nobel Prize Lecture

Friedman, David, 1995 “Rational Criminals and Profit-Maximizing Police: Gary Becker’s Contribution to the Economic Analysis of Law and Law Enforcement,” in The New Economics of Human Behavior, by Mariano Tommasi and Kathryn Ierulli, editors, Cambridge University Press (pp. 43-58)

Hope, J. and Fraser, R., 2003 “New Ways of Setting Rewards: The Beyond Budgeting Model” California Management Review 45(2):104-119

Runciman, David, 2012 “Everybody gets popped” London Review of Books 34(22)

Wilkinson, Will, “Have you no respect for the law (of demand)?!” Cato at Liberty, June 16th 2008

Watters, Ethan, “We aren’t the world” Pacific Standard, February 25th 2013


2. Cost and choice

Bastiat, Frederic (1850) “The Broken Window” (Part I of That Which is Seen and That Which is Not Seen)

-> Drucker, Peter (1995), “The Information Executives Truly Need” Harvard Business Review Vol 73, Issue 1, pp.54-62

Steele, Jeffrey, “The Origins of EVA”, Chicago Booth Magazine, Summer 1998

Tate, R., “Marissa Mayer is bringing back the internet portal. Here’s why”, May 2013


3. Market exchange

The Bidding game, National Academy of Science

Akerlof, G.A., (2001) “Writing the “The Market for ‘Lemons'”: A Personal and Interpretive Essay” Nobel essay

-> Coase, Ronald H., “The Federal Communications Commission” Journal of Law and Economics, Vol. 2 (Oct., 1959), pp.1-40

Dolan, E., “Case Study in Supply and Demand: Why Olive Oil, Good for the Body, is Becoming Hard on the Pocket Book“, Feb 5th 2013

Postrel, V., “Here’s Looking at You, Kidney” Texas Monthly, June 2006

Roth, Alvin E., “Art of designing markets”, Harvard Business Review, Oct 1st 2007

Rustici, Thomas, (1985) “A Public Choice View of the Minimum Wage” Cato Journal, 5(1):103-131


4. Prices and economic calculation

The promise of prediction markets: a roundtable” McKinsey Quarterly, 2008

Basker, Emek “Does Wall-Mart sell inferior goods?“, Economic Inquiry, December 7th 2009

Foss, N., “The theory of the firm: an introduction to themes and contributions” (in ‘The theory of the firm: critical perspectives in economic organisation’, London: Routledge)

Frank, R.H., “How Much Is That Laptop? It Depends on the Color of the Case. And That’s Fair.” New York Times, July 6th 2006

Hayek, Freidrich (1945) “The Use of Knowledge in Society”, American Economic Review 35(4):519-530

-> Malone, Thomas W., “Bringing the Market Inside” Harvard Business Review, April 2004

Marn, Roegner and Zawada, “Pricing new products”, The McKinsey Quarterly Issue 3, 2003

Shea, Christopher, “The Hidden-Fee Economy“, New York Times, December 10th 2006

Whyte, Jamie, “Strippers can show us bankers’ just rewards” City AM, January 25th 2012

Foss, Nicolai J., and Klein, Peter G., “Why managers still matter” SLoan Management Review, Fall 2014


5. Competition and the market process

Coase, Ronald H. 1946 “The Marginal Cost Controversy.” Economica 13: 169-82

Kirzner, Israel M. 1997 “Entrepreneurial Discovery and the Competitive Market Process: An Austrian Approach” Journal of Economic Literature 35:60-85

McNulty, Paul J. 1968 “Economic Theory and the Meaning of Competition” The Quarterly Journal of Economics 82(4):639-656

Ruddick, G., “Is Aldi doing to Tesco what Ryanair did to British Airways?” Daily Telegraph, February 13th 2014

-> Sautet, Frederic, The shaky foundations of competition lawNew Zealand Law Review June 2007



6. Capital theory and recalculation

Cowen, Tyler and Lemke, Jayme “10 percent unemployment forever?” Foreign Policy, January 5th 2011

-> James, David N., (2002) “The Trouble I’ve Seen”, Harvard Business Review

Tucker, J.A., “Advice to young, unemployed workers” The Freeman,  May 16th 2013


7. Public finance

All Eyes on Slovakia’s Flat Tax” Harvard Business School Q&A, April 2007

Acemoglu, Daron, “Epilogue: Mechanics and Causes of Economic Growth” in Acemoglu, D., (Ed) 2009, Introduction to Modern Growth, Princeton University Press

-> Cowen, Tyler “It’s Time to Face the Fiscal Illusion” New York Times, March 5th 2011

Romer, Paul, “Economic Growth,” The Concise Encyclopedia of Economics

White, L., “Testimony on fractional reserve banking” July 2nd, 2012

Woodford, M., 1999 “Revolution and evolution in twentieth-century macroeconomics”


8. Monetary theory

Blinder, Alan S., “Quantitative Easing: Entrance and Exit Strategies” Federal Reserve Bank of St Louis  Review, November/December 2010

-> Ferguson, Niall “Wall Street Lays Another Egg?” Vanity Fair December 2008

Nelson, Edward and Schwartz, Anna “The Impact of Milton Friedman on Modern Monetary Economics: Setting the Record Straight on Paul Krugman’s ‘Who Was Milton Friedman?'”, Federal Reserve Bank of St Louis Working Paper 2007-048C


9. Fiscal policy

Cowen, Tyler (1985) “The Marshall Plan: Myths and Realities” in Bandow, D. US Aid to the Developing World Heritage Foundation

Cowen, Tyler “The new Deal didn’t always work, either” New York Times, November 23rd 2008

Cochrane, John H., “Fiscal Stimulus, Fiscal Inflation, or Fiscal Fallacies?” January 29th 2009

Heady, Christopher, “Tax policy to aid recovery and growth“,, March 14th 2011

-> Mankiw, N. Gregory, “Crisis Economics“, National Affairs, 2010

Reed, Lawrence W., (1981) “Great Myths of the Great Depression” Mackinac Center for Public Policy

Skidelsky, Robert, “Britain’s austerity apostles duck the debate“, Financial Times, October 13th 2010

10. International economics

The Pink Book

-> Chiodo, Abbigail J., and Owyang, Michael T., “A Case Study of a Currency Crisis: The Russian Default of 1998“, 2002, The Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis

Gaidar, Y., “Lessons of the Russian Crisis for Transition Economies” Finance and Development, Vol. 36, No. 2 (June 1999)

Hervey, Jack L., and Merkel, Loula S., (2001) “In defense of the US current account deficit” McKinsey Quarterly No. 2

Kay, John “Fetish for making things ignores real work” Financial Times, November 14th 2012

Radelet, Steven and Sachs, Jeffrey D. “The East Asian Financial Crisis: Diagnosis, Remedies, Prospects” Brookings Papers on Economic Activity; 1998, Vol. Issue 1, p1-90

Weisbrot, M., “Ten years after: The lasting impact of the Asian financial crisis” Center for Economic and Policy Research, August 2007


11. Behavioural economics

Dixon, M., and Toman, N., “How call centres use behavioral economics to sway customers” HBR Blogs, July 13th 2010

Fama, E., (1970) “Efficient Capital Markets: A Review of Theory and Empirical Work” The Journal of Finance, Vol. 25, No. 2, pp. 383-417

Kahneman, D., Lovallo, D., and Sibony, O., “The big idea: before you make that big decision” Harvard Business Review,

-> Lambert, Craig “The Marketplace of Perceptions”, Harvard Magazine, March-April 2006

Manne, H.G., (2005) “Insider trading: Hayek, virtual markets, and the dog that did not bark”, Journal of Corporation Law 31(1):167-185

Manne, H.G., “The welfare of American investors” Wall Street Journal, June 13th 2006

Shleifer, Andrei and Summers, Larry (1990) “The Noise Trader Approach to Finance” Journal of Economic Perspectives 4:19-33


12. Global prosperity

World Bank, “Assessing Globalization” Part 1, 2, 3 and 4

-> Altman, Morris, (2008) “How much economic freedom is necessary for economic growth? Theory and evidence” Economic Bulletin, 15(2):1-20

Gugenidze, Lado “Georgia’s Search for Economic Liberty: A Blueprint for Reform in Developing Countries”, Development Policy Outlook, American Enterprise Institute, No. 2 June 2009

Isern, Joseph and Pung, Caroline “Driving Radical Change” McKinsey Quarterly 2007, Issue 4, pp.24-35

Laar, Mart “The Estonian Economic Miracle” Heritage Foundation, Backgrounder No. 2060, August 7th 2007

McCloskey, D.M., “Factual free market fairness” Bleeding heart Libertarianism, June 16th 2012

Roberts, P.C., (2002) “My time with Soviet economics” The Independent Review

Rogoff, K., “An open letter to Joseph Stiglitz”, July 2nd 2002

Sachs, Jeffrey, “Reply to Acemoglu and Robinson’s Response to My Book Review” December 3rd 2012.

Skidelsky, Robert, “Gloomy about globalization” New York Review of Books, 55(6), April 17th 2008

McArdle, M., “When bread bags weren’t funny” Bloomberg View, Jan 29th 2015