Economics is an exciting and dynamic subject which studies the consequences of decisions made by individuals, firms and governments.
Here are some general resources related to Economics. These should be a useful introduction, regardless of which Economics related course you’re interested in and where you might want to study it.
Have a read through to get yourself familiar with what economics is, and to help you decide whether economics is the right course for you.
UCAS Economics Subject Guide 🔗 🌟 This is an excellent explanation of what economics is and how the course is often structured at university
Use these books to get thinking about economic theories, and to begin thinking about different areas of the subject. Take notes as you read, then follow up anything that you find particularly interesting, confusing or controversial by googling or looking up the sources mentioned. This process is useful for preparing for life as a student, and developing your economics knowledge and thinking. It might even come in handy when you come to write your personal statement!
Your local library may have some of these books, or you could look for second-hand copies online.
Some books that current Economics students have enjoyed include:
‘Thinking Strategically’, by Dixit and Nalebuff - This is an excellent introduction to game theory, an area that (a) is fascinating in its own right; (b) requires and encourages a certain type of logical thought process; and (c) pops up quite often in Oxbridge economics interviews. This book ends with a set of problems and worked solutions / discussions, which are thought-provoking.
‘The Undercover Economist’ by Tim Harford and ‘Freakonomics’ by Dubner and Levitt are often recommended as introductions to the subject.
Note: it might not be a great idea to mention these on your personal statement, since thousands of others have, but they’re good introductions to studying the subject at university level.
Note: Freakonomics has been extensively criticised and debunked by academics, and does contain what some content which people have criticised for being very problematic. Check out this article 🔗 for more. We don't feel we can recommend it as an authoritative source.
‘Thinking, Fast and Slow’ by Daniel Kahneman. This book reveals how our minds are tripped up by error and prejudice (even when we think we are being logical), and gives you practical techniques for slower, smarter thinking.
‘Nudge’ by Richard Thaler. All about choices, and how we can make better ones!
‘New Ideas from Dead Economists’ by Todd G. Buchholz. An entertaining and accessible introduction to the great economic thinkers throughout history.
Economics reading suggestions from the University of Oxford 🔗 Oxford’s Economics Department website contains a list of overviews to Economics, which may be available at your local library. The recommendations will be useful for all Economics applicants, regardless of which universities you are applying to!
Books and publications by Nobel Memorial Prize in Economics winners can expose you to the cutting edge of economics. But be warned: you probably won’t be engaging with such high-level stuff in first year, or even as an undergraduate.
These websites are useful for building up your knowledge of economics. This is useful in preparing you for life as a student, supporting your school studies, and developing your thinking skills - which may be useful in any additional parts of the application such as admissions tests or interview.
Crash course to Economics 🔗 A great introduction to Economics as a subject, covering many of its core areas.
Khan Academy Microeconomics course 🔗 This course provides a basic introduction to microeconomics, which studies how individuals and firms make tradeoffs and the effects of these. For most economics courses in the UK, you don’t need to have a comprehensive knowledge of economics when you arrive, only an interest. But if you would like to learn more about the subject, this might be a place to start.
Tutor2u Economics 🔗 While this may be A-Level focused in places, it provides introductions to various topics.
These videos are a good introduction to different areas of economics, presented in an interesting and engaging way. Take notes as you watch, and then follow up anything you didn’t understand or want to know more about. This process of researching after a talk (or lecture) is at the heart of the student experience, so getting used to it early is a good idea - and might be something you want to show evidence of in your personal statement.
Khan Academy’s Economics and Finance section 🔗 Covering many university-level topics from microeconomics and macroeconomics. This can help you get a good idea of whether or not you would enjoy doing Economics at university.
William Spaniel’s Game Theory 101 playlist on YouTube 🔗 This playlist covers Game Theory concepts in great detail. An advanced but interesting topic.
TEDx Talks 🔗 🌟 There are plenty of Economics-related talks available to watch online. Try this one about ancient Greek warfare and Game Theory.
You may find it useful to search for lecture series, talks, or video tutorials relating to any aspect of Economics that you want to know more about. There’s plenty out there!