100 books like An Evolutionary Theory of Economic Change

By Richard R. Nelson, Sidney G. Winter,

Here are 100 books that An Evolutionary Theory of Economic Change fans have personally recommended if you like An Evolutionary Theory of Economic Change. Shepherd is a community of 11,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

Shepherd is reader supported. When you buy books, we may earn an affiliate commission.

Book cover of The Economics of Innovation: An Introduction

Paul Stoneman Author Of The Microeconomics of Product Innovation

From my list on the study of the economics of innovation.

Why am I passionate about this?

When I began my doctorate many years ago I was somewhat disenchanted with the static nature of much economic analysis whereas it was apparent that the world is very much dynamic and continually changing. I thus committed myself then, and in a long career that followed, to exploring the ways in which Economics could be used to clarify and address the major issues that arise from innovation generation and diffusion. I present these choices as a way that other like-minded individuals may begin the exploration of innovation and discover the breadth and depth of the contribution that has been made by economists.

Paul's book list on the study of the economics of innovation

Paul Stoneman Why did Paul love this book?

This major textbook written for students with some basic knowledge of economics, written by one of the best expositors in the field, provides a comprehensive yet very accessible introduction to the economics of innovation and as such represents an excellent place to start.

I have known Peter for a number of years and he always offers in his writings (and lectures) both valuable insights into his subject and a sense of excitement.

By G. M. Peter Swann,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Economics of Innovation as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This major textbook provides a comprehensive yet accessible introduction to the economics of innovation, written for students with some basic knowledge of economics. G.M. Peter Swann contends that innovation is one of the most important economic and business phenomena of our time and a topic of great practical and policy interest, with widespread implications for our economy and society. This book engages with the reader to explore some of the key economic issues concerning innovation.

Bridging a gap in the literature, this timely textbook addresses critical questions such as: How should different aspects of innovation be described and classified? What…


Book cover of Handbook of the Economics of Innovation: Volume 1

Paul Stoneman Author Of The Microeconomics of Product Innovation

From my list on the study of the economics of innovation.

Why am I passionate about this?

When I began my doctorate many years ago I was somewhat disenchanted with the static nature of much economic analysis whereas it was apparent that the world is very much dynamic and continually changing. I thus committed myself then, and in a long career that followed, to exploring the ways in which Economics could be used to clarify and address the major issues that arise from innovation generation and diffusion. I present these choices as a way that other like-minded individuals may begin the exploration of innovation and discover the breadth and depth of the contribution that has been made by economists.

Paul's book list on the study of the economics of innovation

Paul Stoneman Why did Paul love this book?

This is the first volume of a two-volume, tour de force, which jointly offers 29 specially written papers by major contributors to the field that broadly explore the genesis of technological change and the ways it is commercialized and diffused.

It is an invaluable source of literature surveys of the many different areas covered within the definition of the economics of innovation and also provides predictions of fruitful research directions.

Having myself edited a Handbook some years earlier I know both the time and effort involved but also the extent of knowledge dissemination that a book such as this can provide.

By Bronwyn H. Hall (editor), Nathan Rosenberg (editor),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Handbook of the Economics of Innovation as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Economists examine the genesis of technological change and the ways we commercialize and diffuse it. The economics of property rights and patents, in addition to industry applications, are also surveyed through literature reviews and predictions about fruitful research directions.

Two volumes, available as a set or sold separately


Book cover of Oslo Manual 2018: Guidelines for Collecting, Reporting and Using Data on Innovation

Paul Stoneman Author Of The Microeconomics of Product Innovation

From my list on the study of the economics of innovation.

Why am I passionate about this?

When I began my doctorate many years ago I was somewhat disenchanted with the static nature of much economic analysis whereas it was apparent that the world is very much dynamic and continually changing. I thus committed myself then, and in a long career that followed, to exploring the ways in which Economics could be used to clarify and address the major issues that arise from innovation generation and diffusion. I present these choices as a way that other like-minded individuals may begin the exploration of innovation and discover the breadth and depth of the contribution that has been made by economists.

Paul's book list on the study of the economics of innovation

Paul Stoneman Why did Paul love this book?

This manual provides an internationally agreed set of definitions of, and measurements for, different innovative activities and as such provides widely accepted guidelines by which internationally comparative data can be collected and government policies be targeted.

This may seem rather dry, but I think that it is crucial to the development of a subject area that all parties involved are using the same definitions of variables.

This has become of particular importance for many aspects of innovation have become the concerns of politicians and policymakers and past discussions have made me aware that parties more often than would wish are talking at cross purposes, using the same terms for different concepts.

By Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, Eurostat,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Oslo Manual 2018 as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

What is innovation and how should it be measured? Understanding the scale of innovation activities, the characteristics of innovative firms and the internal and systemic factors that can influence innovation is a prerequisite for the pursuit and analysis of policies aimed at fostering innovation. First published in 1992, the Oslo Manual is the international reference guide for collecting and using data on innovation. In this fourth edition, the manual has been updated to take into account a broader range of innovation-related phenomena as well as the experience gained from recent rounds of innovation surveys in OECD countries and partner economies…


Book cover of The Theory of Economic Development

David Emanuel Andersson Author Of Property Rights, Consumption and the Market Process

From my list on understanding how societies develop.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have always been curious about why societies develop, which is why I was drawn to the social sciences as a student. I first encountered attempts to explain development in economics, but found that mainstream models were too neat and abstract to account for my everyday observations. Why are there no entrepreneurs in the models, and why do most economists assume that property rights are unambiguous? I eventually discovered that non-mainstream economic theories and some of the other social sciences are more concerned with reality. Eventually I developed an eclectic framework with a focus on entrepreneurship, institutions, and spatial agglomerations as factors that shape socio-economic development. 

David's book list on understanding how societies develop

David Emanuel Andersson Why did David love this book?

This is the first book I read about the role of entrepreneurs in the economy. I have mixed feelings about it.

It’s filled with insights but it is also deeply flawed. Entrepreneurs drive economic development and engage in “creative destruction.” The market is about change rather than equilibrium. These are both great insights.

But history has refuted Schumpeter’s Nietzschean view that entrepreneurship is confined to “captains of industry” with unusual personality traits, and his attempts to explain business cycles is unpersuasive.  

By Joseph A. Schumpeter,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Theory of Economic Development as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Joseph Schumpeter (1883-1950) is one of the most fascinating and influential economists of the twentieth century, renowned for his brilliant and unorthodox insights into the nature of capitalism. His students include leading economists such as Paul Samuelson, Robert Solow and the former chairman of the Federal Reserve, Alan Greenspan.

The Theory of Economic Development is one of Schumpeter's most important books and the one that made him famous. He poses a fundamental question: why does economic development proceed cyclically rather than evenly? Turning prevailing economic theory, which approached economics as equilibrium, on its head, Schumpeter argues it is because economics…


Book cover of Remix: Making Art and Commerce Thrive in the Hybrid Economy

Raphael Sassower Author Of The Quest for Prosperity: Reframing Political Economy

From my list on moving beyond capitalism.

Why am I passionate about this?

My interest in political economy dates back to my student years where I combined the study of the history of political economy, economics, and philosophy. Whether apologists or critics of capitalism, both groups appreciate the centrality of economic exchange among people who live in communities where absolute autonomy and self-sufficiency are unattainable. My concern with reframing political economy is also informed by the all too hushed scandal of capitalism, namely, the reliance on slavery for the accumulation of wealth for more than a century after the establishment of the USA. The reckoning with this atrocity animates much of my present thinking about political economy in general and capitalism in particular.  

Raphael's book list on moving beyond capitalism

Raphael Sassower Why did Raphael love this book?

Lessig’s book argues that the pretense we live in America in a capitalist economy that follows the rules of the markets, with profit maximization and copyright protection (dating back to the Constitution), is by now completely discarded. Focusing on the entertainment industry and the arts, Lessig illustrates the limits of such thinking given the conduct of millions who download music, films, and videos without permission and continue to “remix” them within the legal limits of “fair use.”   

By Lawrence Lessig,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Remix as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The reigning authority on intellectual property in the Internet age, Lawrence Lessig spotlights the newest and possibly the most harmful culture — a war waged against those who create and consume art. America's copyright laws have ceased to perform their original, beneficial role: protecting artists' creations while allowing them to build on previous creative works. In fact, our system now criminalizes those very actions. Remix is an urgent, eloquent plea to end a war that harms every intrepid, creative user of new technologies. It also offers an inspiring vision of the postwar world where enormous opportunities await those who view…


Book cover of Meme Wars: The Creative Destruction of Neoclassical Economics

David Rothenberg Author Of The Possibility of Reddish Green: Wittgenstein Outside Philosophy

From my list on to make you want to change the world.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve been trying to balance a need to help make the world a better place with my own small expertise as a musician and teacher. So I’ve played music with birds, whales, and bugs, taught philosophy to engineers for decades, written many books and released many albums, and traveled all over the world learning what people are doing to improve things. I need to find words to read that encourage me and lift me out of the looming pull of depressing statistics and real suffering that we all read about every day. I hope change is possible, and I urge everyone to work toward it in their own specific and unique ways.

David's book list on to make you want to change the world

David Rothenberg Why did David love this book?

From the guy who came up with the phrase “Occupy Wall Street” is a manifesto for questioning authority and turning the tools of advertising and persuasion against the man. Lasn understood what memes really are before the internet trivialized the concept. He reminds us of the transformational power of simple, clear, addictive ideas.

By Kalle Lasn (editor), Adbusters (editor),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Meme Wars as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"Engrossing, exciting [...] This book compels us to rethink our approaches to economics ..." 
—Literary Review of Canada

"Thought-provoking and creative" — Julie Nelson, author of Beyond Economic Man: Feminist Theory and Economics

"Meme Wars is a Molotov cocktail tossed into the boardroom. "— Calgary Herald

From the editor and magazine that started and named the Occupy Wall Street movement, Meme Wars: The Creative Destruction of Neoclassical Economics is an articulation of what could be the next steps in rethinking and remaking our world that challenges and debunks many of the assumptions of neoclassical economics and brings to light a…


Book cover of Machine Dreams: Economics Becomes a Cyborg Science

Avner Offer Author Of The Nobel Factor: The Prize in Economics, Social Democracy, and the Market Turn

From my list on the history of economic thought.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a Professor of Economic History at the Oxford University, I taught the history of economic thought and wrote articles and a book in the field (The Nobel Factor). I love the limpid style and encompassing view of the classical economists (the first century after Smith). Their literary and academic styles have been abandoned, but they still have a great deal to teach. The role of land and natural resources as a factor of production in their theory has become relevant again as the environment comes under pressure. I also published in several other fields. My latest book is Understanding the Private-Public Divide: Markets, Governments and Time Horizons (2022). 

Avner's book list on the history of economic thought

Avner Offer Why did Avner love this book?

Read anything by Mirowski. By far the best writer in the field today.

Highly original, massively intelligent, stimulating, witty, deeply informed, a trenchant writer. His life’s work is to probe the validity and scientific pretensions of the discipline.

The critiques are biting, all the more so for the real-world authority wielded by economists. That he is sometimes a provocative maverick adds to the appeal.

Machine Dreams argued implausibly (for its time) that economics had embraced robotic simulation. The emergence of AI shows how far ahead of its time it was.

A better read than most straight economics. 

By Philip Mirowski,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Machine Dreams as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This was the first cross-over book into the history of science written by an historian of economics. It shows how 'history of technology' can be integrated with the history of economic ideas. The analysis combines Cold War history with the history of postwar economics in America and later elsewhere, revealing that the Pax Americana had much to do with abstruse and formal doctrines such as linear programming and game theory. It links the literature on 'cyborg' to economics, an element missing in literature to date. The treatment further calls into question the idea that economics has been immune to postmodern…


Book cover of Economic Analysis of Property Rights

David Emanuel Andersson Author Of Property Rights, Consumption and the Market Process

From my list on understanding how societies develop.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have always been curious about why societies develop, which is why I was drawn to the social sciences as a student. I first encountered attempts to explain development in economics, but found that mainstream models were too neat and abstract to account for my everyday observations. Why are there no entrepreneurs in the models, and why do most economists assume that property rights are unambiguous? I eventually discovered that non-mainstream economic theories and some of the other social sciences are more concerned with reality. Eventually I developed an eclectic framework with a focus on entrepreneurship, institutions, and spatial agglomerations as factors that shape socio-economic development. 

David's book list on understanding how societies develop

David Emanuel Andersson Why did David love this book?

I make use of the basic concepts that Barzel introduced in this book, but deviate more from conventional neoclassical economics.

Economic property rights are about effective control over resources, and not necessarily about legal rights. A key insight is that a resource consists of an open-ended number of attributes and therefore that control over a resource can become more complex as the number of attributes increases.

There is also a tendency for control to change hands as market participants discover more valuable uses of resources. 

By Yoram Barzel,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Economic Analysis of Property Rights as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This is a study of the way individuals organise the use of resources in order to maximise the value of their economic rights over these resources. Property rights and all forms of organisation result from people's deliberate actions. In the tradition of Coase, this study offers a unified theoretical structure to deal with exchange, rights formation and organisation which traditional economic theory assumes away. A person's economic property rights over an asset are defined here as the person's ability to gain from the asset by direct consumption or by exchange. It is prohibitively costly to measure accurately all assets' attributes;…


Book cover of The Community of Advantage: A Behavioural Economist's Defence of the Market

Vangelis Chiotis Author Of The Morality of Economic Behaviour: Economics as Ethics

From my list on economic morality.

Why am I passionate about this?

Two self-interested people will try to outperform each other. One will win, the other will lose. If they instead cooperate, both will win a bit, and lose a bit. Is this preferable? I say yes, because in the long term, winning a bit many times, is better than winning a lot, once. Choosing short-term gain at the expense of long-term benefit is a waste of potential for societies and individuals. Traditional morality works, sometimes, in some cases. Rational morality can fill the gaps, and expand the circle of morality so that when higher ideals fail or become too difficult to follow, rationality can be about more than just short-term self-interest.

Vangelis' book list on economic morality

Vangelis Chiotis Why did Vangelis love this book?

The Community of Advantage is an excellent exposition of how moral philosophy informs and is informed by economics.

The title itself is taken from a political philosopher: John Stuart Mill. There is one caveat: Sugden speaks of behavioral economics, and as such, takes a different approach to rational agency than neoclassical economics.

Individual agency is not moral, but it is not assumed to be rational either. The book, and Sugden’s work as a whole, is of special relevance for two reasons: 1) It links morality with self-interest. 2) It uses society to argue for morality in self-interest.

By Robert Sugden,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Community of Advantage as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The Community of Advantage asks how economists should do normative analysis. Normative analysis in economics has usually aimed at satisfying individuals' preferences. Its conclusions have supported a long- standing liberal tradition of economics that values economic freedom and views markets favourably. However, behavioural research shows that individuals' preferences, as revealed in choices, are often unstable, and vary according to contextual factors
that seem irrelevant for welfare. Robert Sugden proposes a reformulation of normative economics that is compatible with what is now known about the psychology of choice.

The growing consensus in favour of paternalism and 'nudging' is based on a…


Book cover of Man, Economy, and State: With Power and Market

Brian Balfour Author Of Economics in Action

From my list on books to learn Austrian economics.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve spent the last 17 years leveraging my Master’s degree in economics as a public policy analyst focusing on educating legislators and the public about the consequences of economic public policy. I’ve also taught several economic courses as an adjunct at a small university and area community college. Spreading sound economic knowledge is important to me. History–and the present day–is full of tragic tales of suffering in societies that failed to heed the lessons of sound economics. Sadly, however, the majority of Americans are either uneducated or mis-educated in economics. My passion is to advance economic understanding among citizens–especially young people–in order to correct that.

Brian's book list on books to learn Austrian economics

Brian Balfour Why did Brian love this book?

As the most accomplished student of Ludwig von Mises, Rothbard is undisputably the American who has contributed the most to the Austrian School of Economics. Similar to Human Action, this treatise spans more than 1,000 pages and covers nearly every aspect of economic theory imaginable. 

Rothbard methodically walks the reader through the logical implications of the “action axiom,” the notion that humans act with a purpose in mind. Specifically, humans utilize means according to an idea to achieve ends. From this self-evident building block, Rothbard deduces economic laws that guide nearly the entire edifice of economic science.

The Power and Market section is where theory meets practice, and Rothbard applies the Austrian School theory to diagnose the impact of a large variety of government interference in the market process.

By Murray N. Rothbard,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Man, Economy, and State as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

New Edition, with new introduction!

Murray N. Rothbard's great treatise Man, Economy, and State and its complementary text Power and Market, are here combined into a single edition as they were written to be. It provides a sweeping presentation of Austrian economic theory, a reconstruction of many aspects of that theory, a rigorous criticism of alternative schools, and an inspiring look at a science of liberty that concerns nearly everything and should concern everyone.

The Mises Institute's new edition of Man Economy, and State, united with its formerly sundered companion volume Power and Market, is a landmark in the history…


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in economics, natural selection, and capitalism?

11,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about economics, natural selection, and capitalism.

Economics Explore 392 books about economics
Natural Selection Explore 45 books about natural selection
Capitalism Explore 201 books about capitalism