Undergraduate

Department of Economics
University of Maryland
College Park, MD 20742

Graduate Program:
301-405-3544

Undergraduate Program:
301-405-8367

Useful Readings for Undergraduate Research in Economics

Magazines

The Economist is, by far, the best weekly magazine devoted to economic (as well as political) affairs. If you are an Econ major, you should probably be reading The Economist on a weekly basis. It can also provide a great source of ideas and food for thought on a wide range of economic issues. The Economist's coverage is truly global so you will have a chance to familiarize yourself with current issues facing both industrial and developing economies.

Globalization

  • Bhagwati, Jagdish, In Defense of Globalization (Oxford, 2004). Available at Amazon by clicking here. A case for the benefits of globalization.
  • Stiglitz, Joseph, Globalization and Its Discontents (Norton, 2003). Available at Amazon by clicking here. A forceful critique of the Washington consensus.

Growth in the developing world

  • Easterly, William, The Elusive Quest for Growth (MIT Press, 2002). Available at Amazon by clicking here. A leading development economist asks the question: Has increased aid and debt relief really done anything to improve the plight of the world's poor? A very insightful analysis of the theory and practice behind growth (or lack thereof) in developing countries. (The author was at the World Bank for many years before joining New York University)
  • Easterly, William, "Can Foreign Aid Buy Growth?" Journal of Economic Perspectives, Vol. 17 (Summer 2003), pp. 23-48. Available from JSTOR by clicking on the title. More on the tenuous link between aid and growth.
  • Sachs, Jeffrey, The End of Poverty (Penguin, 2005). Available at Amazon by clicking here.
  • Rajan, Raghuram G. and Arvind Subramanian, "Aid and Growth: What Does the Cross-Country Evidence Really Show?" NBER Working Paper No. 11513. Available from the NBER by clicking here. Econometric evidence purported to show that aid has not helped growth in developing countries.

United States Economy

  • Chinn, Menzie D., Getting Serious about the Twin Deficits (Council on Foreign Relations, 2005). Available from the Council on Foreign Relations by clicking here. Discusses the perils associated with the large fiscal and trade deficits in the United States at this time.
  • Bernanke, Ben S. and Mark Gertler, "Inside the Black Box: The Credit Channel of Monetary Policy Transmission," Journal of Economic Perspectives, Vol. 9 (1995), pp. 27-48. How credit channeled through the banking system may exacerbate the business cycle.

Exchange rate regimes, capital flows, financial crises, and IMF

  • Fischer, Stanley, "Exchange Rate Regimes: Is the Bipolar View Correct?" Journal of Economic Perspectives, Vol. 15 (Spring 2001), pp. 3-24. [Available from JSTOR by clicking on the title.] An analysis of the view that only hard pegs or truly flexible rates are viable in practice.
  • Calvo, Guillermo, Leonardo Leiderman, and Carmen M. Reinhart, "Inflows of Capital to Developing Countries in the 1990s, Journal of Economic Perspectives, Vol. 10 (Spring 1996), pp. 123-139. [Available from JSTOR by clicking on the title.] Anatomy of a typical capital inflows episode.
  • Kaminsky, Graciela, Carmen M. Reinhart, and Carlos A. Vegh, "The Unholy Trinity of Financial Contagion," Journal of Economic Perspectives, Vol. 17 (Autumn 2003), pp. 51-74. [Available from JSTOR by clicking on the title.] How financial crises may spread globally.
  • Obstfeld, Maurice, "The Global Capital Market: Benefactor or Menace?" Journal of Economic Perspectives, Vol. 12 (Autumn 1998), pp. 9-30. [Available from JSTOR by clicking on the title.] Pros and cons of open financial markets.
  • Dreher, Axel, "IMF and Economic Growth: The Effects of Programs, Loans, and Compliance with Conditionality," World Development, Vol. 34 (2006), pp. 769-788.

Trade

  • Krueger, Anne, "Are Preferential Trading Arrangements Trade-Liberalizing or Protectionist?" Journal of Economic Perspectives, Vol. 13 (Autumn 1999), pp. 105-124. An analysis of the pros and cons of regional trading arrangements.

Microeconomics

  • Levitt, Steven D., and Stephen Dubner, Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything (William Morrow, 2005). Available from Amazon by clicking here. A best-seller from a famous micro-economist looking at fascinating questions.

Economic history (or, at least, history relevant to economists)

  • Diamond, Jared, Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies Available from Amazon by clicking here. A best-seller from a UCLA historian that attempts to explain why some societies have progressed more than others.

Industrial organization

  • Crandall, Robert W., and Clifford Winston, "Does Antritrust Policy Improve Consumer Welfare?" Journal of Economic Perspectives, Fall 2003.
  • Baker, Jonathan B., "The Case for Antitrust Enforcement," Journal of Economic Perspectives, Fall 2003.

Public economics/Public finance/Health economics

  • Blank, Rebecca M., "Fighting Poverty: Lessons from Recent U.S. History," Journal of Economic Perspectives, Vol. 14 (Spring 2000), pp. 3-19.
  • Symposium on "The Future of Medicare", Journal of Economic Perspectives, Vol. 14 (Spring 2000).
  • Currie, Janet, "Early Childhood Education Programs," Journal of Economic Perspectives, Vol. 15 (Spring 2001), pp. 213-238.
  • Gruber, Jonathan, "Tobacco at the Crossroads: The Past and Future of Smoking Regulation in the United States," The Journal of Economic Perspectives, Vol. 15, No. 2. (Spring, 2001), pp. 193-212.
  • Gale, William and Joel B. Slemrod, "Policy Watch: Death Watch for the Estate Tax?"The Journal of Economic Perspectives, Vol. 15, No. 1. (Winter, 2001), pp. 205-218.
  • Goolsbee, Austan, "The Implications of Electronic Commerce for Fiscal Policy (and Vice Versa), The Journal of Economic Perspectives, Vol. 15, No. 1. (Winter, 2001), pp. 13-23.
  • Levitt, Steven D., "Why Crime Fell in the 1990s: Four Factors that Explain the Decline and Six that Do Not",The Journal of Economic Perspectives, Vol. 18 (Winter 2004)
  • Articles on "Social Security Reform" by Diamond-Orszag, Feldstein, and Hines-Taylor in the The Journal of Economic Perspectives, Vol. 19 (Spring 2005)
  • Forthcoming article on disability programs by Autor and Duggan, The Journal of Economic Perspectives (Summer 2006)