As a middle schooler interested in economics, there were not a lot of accessible resources to get me started. I was still three years away from taking an Econ class, which I’ll finally take next year. Thanks to some dear friends, when I was in 9th grade, I was introduced to and lucky enough to talk with Dr. Eric Leeper, a professor of economics at the University of Virginia.
Dr. Leeper was instrumental in my path to learn more and more about economics. His first recommendation was that I start out learning about microeconomics by learning about personal economics and then move on to macroeconomics.
Another valuable piece of information Dr. Leeper gave me a list of books to help get started with learning about economics. This list contained books for different specialized areas of specialization and topics. I’ve only read a few on this long list, but the value of the list is clear so I thought it would be a good idea to share the list with other kids who might be interested.
As I mentioned, next school year, I will finally be taking an economics class. I’m looking forward to learning more about the basics of economics. I plan to continue to share what I learn here to create a resource for students who are interested in learning economics, a topic that doesn’t have many extracurriculars or opportunities for experience and learning for kids.
I hope you enjoy Eric Leeper’s recommended reading list for anyone interested in economics:
- Narrative Economics : Robert J. Shiller : About how “stories” drive people’s beliefs and, ultimately, their economic behavior.
- The Green Paradox : Hans-Werner Sinn : A fresh economic perspective on climate change and global warming.
- Fooled by Randomness : Nassim Nicholas Talib : A probabilistic view of markets
- In Fed We Trust : David Wessel : About the Fed’s response to the global financial crisis in 2007-2008.
- Austerity, The History of a Dangerous Idea : Mark Blyth : An iconoclastic view of fiscal policy over the years.
- Equality and Efficiency, The Big Trade Off : Arthur Okun : A classic treatise on thinking about the role of government in the economy.
- Hard Heads and Soft Hearts, Tough-Minded Economics for a Just Society : Alan Blinder : A treatise on how to use logical reasoning as a basis for policy.
- Discover Your Inner Economist : Tyler Cown : A fun application of incentives to everyday issues.
- The Winner-Take-All Society : Robert H. Frank and Philip J. Cook : a critical discussion of how the economy leads to income inequality.
- Essays in Positive Economics : Milton Friedman : A classic analysis of a variety of topics (available as a free pdf)
- The Why Axis: Uri Gneezy and John A. List : Understanding the role of incentives through experiments.
- Slapped by the Invisible Hand: Gary Gorton : The role of securitized banking in financial crises.
- The Dollar Trap : Eswar S. Prasad : The role of the US dollar in global finance.
- Manias, Panics, and Crashes, A History of Financial Crises : Charles P. Kindleberger and Robert Aliber : another classic
- Thinking, Fast and Slow : Daniel Kahneman : An eye-opening study of how people actually make decisions.
Additional Recommended Authors (read anything by these authors): Barry Eichengreen, Paul Krugman, Steven Landsber, Steven Levitt.