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It is really important to show you have read around the subject on your Economics personal statement. This is how you will show to the admissions tutors you are engaged and willing to expand your understanding of the subject. Here is a list of books to get you started. 

John McMillan – Reinventing the Bazaar

This book gives a clear introduction to the functioning of markets. It covers many of the key terms and concepts of marketing, in an understandable manner, without any of the technicalities. The concepts it covers include

  • Sustainability of the market 
  • Incentives
  • Trust
  • Competition
  • Auctions
  • Property
  • Intellectual property 
  • Corruption and Collusion

It is a great place to start to get a grip on marketing, and the use of modern and famous historical examples shows how economics plays such a large part in history and society. 

Henry Hazlitt – Economics in One Lesson

This is a famous introduction to economics, where Hazlitt introduces many of the key theoretical elements of economics, such as free trade and price controls. The one lesson that drives the book is stated in part one: 

“The art of economics consists in looking not merely at the immediate but at the longer effects of any act or policy; it consists in tracing the consequences of that policy not merely for one group but for all groups.”

This introduction is quite technical, focusing on giving the reader a comprehensive insight into economic theory, but is something to impress admissions tutors with on your personal statement. 

Abhijit Banerjee and Esther Duflo – Poor Economics

This book answers many questions surrounding the contentious issue of poverty. The two authors answer these questions, by exploring the economics of poverty. They also provide an insightful view of life on 99 cents a day, and allow the reader to understand the daily decisions facing those that live in poverty. It is powerful and moving, but also provides a useful bank of information and knowledge about how the economy impacts the poor. 

Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner – Freakonomics

This book is a collection of strange and outlandish questions, that all have answers rooted in economics. It explores different elements of economics, including how race and sex impact economic stability, and asks questions covering just about everything. As the byline says: “a rogue economist explores the hidden side of everything.” This is an entertaining read, but also provides useful discussions of many questions that echo the style you may receive in your interview. The open-ended nature of many of the questions may also lead you to further research, so it is a great place to start when looking for topics to cover on your personal statement. 

Freakonomics is also a website, where they upload regular economics related podcasts, which are also useful preparation for your personal statement and interviews. 

Steven E. Landsburg – The Armchair Economist

This is another popular read that covers lots of interesting economic questions, such as does the airbag in a car increase or decrease mortality on the road? It approaches these questions from the standpoint of an economist, and gives the reader not only an insight into the mind of an economist, but also the opportunity to consider a wide range of pertinent economics questions. A great read to prepare you for your interviews. 


If you particularly enjoy any of these, you might want to mention them on your personal statement, especially if you’ve never formally studied economics before and want to show your commitment to the subject. We’ve got a complete guide to your Economics personal statement, with tips for integrating your reading smoothly into your personal statement.