The most recommended books about economic planning

Who picked these books? Meet our 15 experts.

15 authors created a book list connected to economic planning, and here are their favorite economic planning books.
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Book cover of Unveiling the North Korean Economy: Collapse and Transition

Stephan Haggard and Marcus Noland Author Of Witness to Transformation: Refugee Insights Into North Korea

From my list on the North Korean economy.

Why are we passionate about this?

We teamed up about fifteen years ago around a common interest in the political economy of North Korea; Haggard is a political scientist, Noland an economist. Both of us had spent our careers focused on Asia but looking largely at the capitalist successes: Japan and the newly industrializing countries of Korea, Taiwan, and Southeast Asia. But what about the anomalous cases in the region that did not get on the growth train? The “Asian miracle” was hardly ubiquitous…what had gone wrong? North Korea was clearly the biggest puzzle, and we ended up researching and writing on the famine, refugees, and the complexities of international sanctions. 

Stephan and Marcus' book list on the North Korean economy

Stephan Haggard and Marcus Noland Why did Stephan and Marcus love this book?

For those with some economics background and willing to do their homework, Kim’s book is the state of the art. He has sorted through all the shards of data out there—on prices, output, and trade--and pulled them together into a compelling mosaic. Of particular interest is his discussion of possible transition paths--were the regime to change course--as well as the possibility that the system might come crashing down altogether.

By Byung-Yeon Kim,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Unveiling the North Korean Economy as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

North Korea is one of the most closed and secretive societies in the world. Despite a high level of interest from the outside world, we have very little detailed information about how the country functions economically. In this valuable book for both the academic and policy-making circles, Byung-Yeon Kim offers the most comprehensive and systematic analysis of the present day North Korean economy in the context of economic systems and transition economics. It addresses what is really happening in the North Korean economy, why it has previously failed, and how the country can make the transition to a market economy.…


Book cover of By All Means Necessary: How China's Resource Quest is Changing the World

Scott B. Macdonald Author Of The New Cold War, China, and the Caribbean: Economic Statecraft, China and Strategic Realignments

From my list on beach reads in an international relations hurricane.

Why am I passionate about this?

My expertise in Caribbean and Chinese affairs derives from having an interest in the two regions since college, which was then pursued through a MA in Asian Studies from the University of London’s School of Oriental and African Studies and Ph.D. in Political Science from the University of Connecticut. On the employment front, I worked for 3 regional banks (as an international economist), the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, Credit Suisse, Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette, KWR International, and Aladdin Capital Management (as head of Credit and Economics Research) and Mitsubishi Corporation. Since I left Mitsubishi I returned to my two favorite interests, Asia and the Caribbean. 

Scott's book list on beach reads in an international relations hurricane

Scott B. Macdonald Why did Scott love this book?

China experts Economy and Levi wrote one of the more far-seeing books on the internationalization of China’s development and its use of economic statecraft to secure access to strategic resources, ranging from oil and gas to agricultural goods and minerals (like copper, nickel, and cobalt). Although the book was published in 2014, it has held up well, especially in that China’s quest for energy, minerals, land, and water, pursued through a mix of investment, political and military means is fundamentally changing the world. At the same time, China’s resource hunt is also changing the Asian giant, forcing it to adopt to changing global power dynamics.  

By Elizabeth C. Economy, Michael Levi,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked By All Means Necessary as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In the past thirty years, China has transformed from an impoverished country where peasants comprised the largest portion of the populace to an economic power with an expanding middle class and more megacities than anywhere else on earth. This remarkable transformation has required, and will continue to demand, massive quantities of resources. Like every other major power in modern history, China is looking outward to find them.

In By All Means Necessary, Elizabeth C. Economy and Michael Levi explore the unrivaled expansion of the Chinese economy and the global effects of its meteoric growth. China is now engaged in a…


Book cover of Oil Wealth and the Poverty of Politics: Algeria Compared

Dalia Ghanem Author Of Understanding the Persistence of Competitive Authoritarianism in Algeria

From my list on the North African version of North Korea: Algeria.

Why am I passionate about this?

I hold a doctorate in political science and am an expert on Algeria. I was a senior scholar at Carnegie for ten years before I joined the European Union Institute for Security Studies (EUISS), the EU's official think tank. I was born in Algeria, where I grew up. When I was fourteen, between 22-23 September 1997 the massacre of Bentalha took place while I was living in Algeria, and I became obsessed with that massacre. This obsession led me ten years later to write a Ph.D. on that bloody page of Algerian history, political violence, and jihadism. Eventually, my expertise encompassed all of Algeria's political, social, and economic developments. 

Dalia's book list on the North African version of North Korea: Algeria

Dalia Ghanem Why did Dalia love this book?

In this book, Lowi examines why Algeria's domestic political economy disintegrated in the mid-1980s and how the regime eventually reclaimed power and hegemony. Miriam Lowi discusses the significance of leadership decisions for political outcomes and extends her theory to explain the diversity in stability among oil-exporting states in response to economic shocks. Comparing Algeria to Iran, Iraq, Indonesia, and Saudi Arabia, she inquires as to why certain regimes fail and endure regime change while others remain stable or are able to regain stability after a time of turmoil.

By Miriam R. Lowi,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Oil Wealth and the Poverty of Politics as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

How can we make sense of Algeria's post-colonial experience - the tragedy of unfulfilled expectations, the descent into violence, the resurgence of the state? Oil Wealth and the Poverty of Politics explains why Algeria's domestic political economy unravelled from the mid-1980s, and how the regime eventually managed to regain power and hegemony. Miriam Lowi argues the importance of leadership decisions for political outcomes, and extends the argument to explain the variation in stability in oil-exporting states following economic shocks. Comparing Algeria with Iran, Iraq, Indonesia and Saudi Arabia, she asks why some states break down and undergo regime change, while…


Book cover of Mission Economy: A Moonshot Guide to Changing Capitalism

Sarah Kaplan Author Of The 360° Corporation: From Stakeholder Trade-Offs to Transformation

From my list on stakeholder capitalism.

Why am I passionate about this?

Sarah Kaplan is Distinguished Professor and Director of the Institute for Gender and the Economy at the University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Management. She is the author of the bestseller Creative Destruction: Why Companies That Are Built to Last Underperform the Market—And How to Successfully Transform Them and The 360º Corporation: From Stakeholder Trade-offs to Transformation, both address the challenges of innovation and organizational change in society. She frequently speaks and appears in the media on topics related to achieving a more inclusive economy and corporate governance reform. Formerly a professor at the Wharton School and a consultant at McKinsey & Company, she earned her PhD at MIT’s Sloan School of Management.

Sarah's book list on stakeholder capitalism

Sarah Kaplan Why did Sarah love this book?

Mazzucato’s timely book offers a hopeful look into the possibilities for companies, governments, and civil society to work together to solve the world’s grand challenges. Inspired by the original moonshot program that mobilized the public and private sectors on a massive scale to take risks and experiment with innovative solutions to a previously unsolved problem, she pushes all of us to think boldly about the possibilities for transformative change. To do so, we’ll need to bust myths that impede progress such as the idea that businesses are the only entities that create value and governments are only there to de-risk and address market failures.

The increasingly popular ideas that governments need to run like businesses and save taxpayer money by outsourcing actually strip public policymakers of the tools they need to spur innovation. With examples of a Green New Deal, accessible health care, and narrowing the digital divide, Mission Economy…

By Mariana Mazzucato,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Longlisted for the 2021 Porchlight Business Book Awards, Big Ideas & New Perspectives

“She offers something both broad and scarce: a compelling new story about how to create a desirable future.”—New York Times

 An award-winning author and leading international economist delivers a hard-hitting and much needed critique of modern capitalism in which she argues that, to solve the massive crises facing us, we must be innovative—we must use collaborative, mission-oriented thinking while also bringing a stakeholder view of public private partnerships which means not only taking risks together but also sharing the rewards. 

Capitalism is in crisis. The rich have…


Book cover of A Call to Arms: Mobilizing America for World War II

Iwan W. Morgan Author Of FDR: Transforming the Presidency and Renewing America

From my list on why FDR was the greatest American president.

Why am I passionate about this?

I consider FDR the greatest of all presidents for leading America with distinction in the domestic crisis of the Great Depression and the foreign crisis of World War 2 and creating the modern presidency that survives today in the essential form he established. I have written books on Dwight Eisenhower, Richard Nixon, and Ronald Reagan during fifty years as a US history professor in UK universities. I always intended to write a book about how FDR reinvented the presidency that these Republicans inherited, something I finally did in ‘retirement’. My five chosen books explain the challenging times he faced and the leadership skills he displayed in meeting them.     

Iwan's book list on why FDR was the greatest American president

Iwan W. Morgan Why did Iwan love this book?

This is a vivid retelling of the US production miracles that enabled America and its Allies to win World War 2. Instead of overwhelming readers with dry numbers, the book comes alive by focusing on the human dimension. Klein credits FDR for understanding that the US had to become the ‘Arsenal of Democracy’ to win the war, while lionizing innovative industrialists and engineers who turned this vision into reality and the federal officials who cleared the way for their operations to succeed. He also highlights the struggles of the millions who endured disruption and discomfort in migrating to undertake war work far from their home regions. This is essential reading to understand the home front in America’s greatest foreign war. 

By Maury Klein,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked A Call to Arms as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The colossal scale of World War II required a mobilization effort greater than anything attempted in all of the world's history. The United States had to fight a war across two oceans and three continents--and to do so, it had to build and equip a military that was all but nonexistent before the war began. Never in the nation's history did it have to create, outfit, transport, and supply huge armies, navies, and air forces on so many distant and disparate fronts.

The Axis powers might have fielded better-trained soldiers, better weapons, and better tanks and aircraft, but they could…


Book cover of The Trickle-Up Economy: How We Take from the Poor and Middle Class and Give to the Rich

Blaine Stewart Author Of Hourglass Socioeconomics: Vol. 1, Principles & Fundamentals

From my list on reads that are almost economics.

Why am I passionate about this?

I'm addicted to discovering what lies within the unknown. The biggest mystery, I believe, that baffles us today is not necessarily what lies at the edge of the universe but what lives within this one here. I enjoy attempting to solve large problems and if I can’t compute a result at least understand what the problem suggests. In the realm of the unknown, I'm an expert of nothing. In hours of research and reading and writing, one comes to a point in their process of learning with the realization that it does not matter how much one learns, there will always be that much more, logarithmically multiplied exponentially by the rate of acceleration, to learn.

Blaine's book list on reads that are almost economics

Blaine Stewart Why did Blaine love this book?

Since the days of Ronald Regan, trickle-down economic theory has been a pipe dream of the uneducated and I don’t even have a degree. Mark Mattern does a great job inverting the theory of trickle-down in explaining that indeed wealth piles from the bottom up not drip down from the top. I recommend reading this book before you read mine for the simple fact that instead of inverted trickle-down theory, I describe how water moves like a stream through an ecosystem. If it is not properly pitched from the mountaintop to the valley, with proper displacement of creatures below, and flow rate through the foothills, we are inevitably left dependent on drinking from a wasteland.

By Mark Mattern,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Trickle-Up Economy as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

One of the most durable myths of US political economy is that we take from the rich and give to the poor - penalising the rich for their hard work and rewarding the undeserving. Mark Mattern turns that story on its head. Documenting the everyday, institutionalised ways that income and wealth are transferred upward in the United States, Mattern shows how in fact the bottom subsidises the top.

His provocative analysis, describing in detail the processes and policy choices that systematically favour the rich, is both a tale of "Robin Hood in reverse" and a call for a more equitable,…


Book cover of Chasing Innovation: Making Entrepreneurial Citizens in Modern India

Mircea Raianu Author Of Tata: The Global Corporation That Built Indian Capitalism

From my list on capitalism in 21st century India.

Why am I passionate about this?

I'm a historian of global capitalism and South Asia, writing about corporations as they are and how they could be. I've looked at India with the eyes of an outsider, drawing on my experiences growing up in 1990s Eastern Europe during a time of political upheaval and shock privatizations as the old communist order crumbled. Having witnessed the rise of a new class of monopolists and oligarchs in its stead, I became interested in the many different ways capitalists exercise power in society over time and around the world, and how we as ordinary citizens relate to them. I'm now interested in thinkers, activists, and entrepreneurs who have tried to experiment with alternatives

Mircea's book list on capitalism in 21st century India

Mircea Raianu Why did Mircea love this book?

A key aspect of the “India story,” as described on the macro level by Kaur, is entrepreneurship and the ethos of jugaad (innovating by making do). The idea of India as the new Silicon Valley has captured the global imagination, while the creative use of technology promises to solve longstanding social and economic problems within the country. Lilly Irani’s study questions the dominant framework of “entrepreneurial citizenship” among the new middle classes and the centrality of design practice to India’s current development model. This is another stellar example of interdisciplinary scholarship, based on ethnographic fieldwork at a Delhi design studio and drawing on the author’s background in computer science. 

By Lilly Irani,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A vivid look at how India has developed the idea of entrepreneurial citizens as leaders mobilizing society and how people try to live that promise

Can entrepreneurs develop a nation, serve the poor, and pursue creative freedom, all while generating economic value? In Chasing Innovation, Lilly Irani shows the contradictions that arise as designers, engineers, and businesspeople frame development and governance as opportunities to innovate. Irani documents the rise of "entrepreneurial citizenship" in India over the past seventy years, demonstrating how a global ethos of development through design has come to shape state policy, economic investment, and the middle class…


Book cover of The Russian Economy: A Very Short Introduction

Andrew Monaghan Author Of Russian Grand Strategy in the Era of Global Power Competition

From my list on Russia and why the Kremlin does what it's doing.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve always been fascinated by different cultures. I started to learn Russian in 1998, and intrigued by the language, I began to study Russia more—delving into history and politics and then doing a PhD in Russian foreign policy. Ever since, trying to learn about and understand Russia has been my professional focus. Alongside books in Russian, these books are all to hand on my reference shelf, well-thumbed and marked up, as I try to write my own work. I hope you enjoy them as much as I have! 

Andrew's book list on Russia and why the Kremlin does what it's doing

Andrew Monaghan Why did Andrew love this book?

The strength and resilienceor notof the Russian economy is one of the most important questions in international affairs since Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine in February 2022: policymakers and observers alike are asking what effects the wide-ranging sanctions are having, and whether the Russian economy will implode, thwarting Moscow’s aggression. I’m not an economist so I need help understanding this, and I found this book to be the best introduction to this complex and difficult subject. Connolly also wrote a fine book on the impact of sanctions on Russia since 2014, but I think this one gives a concise and accessible assessment of the Russian economy as a whole, the role of the state, and Moscow’s attempted diversification of economic partners and integration into the global economy.

By Richard Connolly,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Russia today is as prominent in international affairs as it was at the height of the Cold War. Yet the role that the economy plays in supporting Russia's position as a 'great power' on the international stage is poorly understood. For many, Russia's political influence far exceeds its weight in the global economy. However, Russia is one of the largest economies in the world; it is not only one of the world's most important exporters of oil and gas, but also of other
natural resources, such as diamonds and gold. Its status as one of the largest wheat and grain…


Book cover of Thinking like an Economist: How Efficiency Replaced Equality in U.S. Public Policy

Emily Erikson Author Of Trade and Nation: How Companies and Politics Reshaped Economic Thought

From my list on economic theory by non-economists.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m fascinated by systems of thought and very interested in understanding how we can improve our ability to create a better society for all. I think the past makes a good laboratory for investigating these kinds of questions. I got interested in early modern economic theory while researching the English East India Company for my dissertation in the sociology department of Columbia University, which was a great place for historical and computational sociology. I now teach economic sociology and theory as a professor at Yale University, another institution with amazing strengths in history, data science, and computational methods.

Emily's book list on economic theory by non-economists

Emily Erikson Why did Emily love this book?

This is a detailed and rigorous history of the relationship between economic thought and state policy in twentieth-century US history. Berman ultimately concludes that economic theory has negatively impacted the democratic party. I disagree and would say that economic theory has given the party new tools with which to govern more judiciously. Either way the institutional story about the increasing influence of economics is fascinating and compelling. 

By Elizabeth Popp Berman,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Thinking like an Economist as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The story of how economic reasoning came to dominate Washington between the 1960s and 1980s-and why it continues to constrain progressive ambitions today

For decades, Democratic politicians have frustrated progressives by tinkering around the margins of policy while shying away from truly ambitious change. What happened to bold political vision on the left, and what shrunk the very horizons of possibility? In Thinking like an Economist, Elizabeth Popp Berman tells the story of how a distinctive way of thinking-an "economic style of reasoning"-became dominant in Washington between the 1960s and the 1980s and how it continues to dramatically narrow debates…


Book cover of Brand New Nation: Capitalist Dreams and Nationalist Designs in Twenty-First-Century India

Mircea Raianu Author Of Tata: The Global Corporation That Built Indian Capitalism

From my list on capitalism in 21st century India.

Why am I passionate about this?

I'm a historian of global capitalism and South Asia, writing about corporations as they are and how they could be. I've looked at India with the eyes of an outsider, drawing on my experiences growing up in 1990s Eastern Europe during a time of political upheaval and shock privatizations as the old communist order crumbled. Having witnessed the rise of a new class of monopolists and oligarchs in its stead, I became interested in the many different ways capitalists exercise power in society over time and around the world, and how we as ordinary citizens relate to them. I'm now interested in thinkers, activists, and entrepreneurs who have tried to experiment with alternatives

Mircea's book list on capitalism in 21st century India

Mircea Raianu Why did Mircea love this book?

We start at the top with the Indian nation-state itself and how it has been turned into a brand. What lies behind the narrative of “emerging” economies as attractive destinations for foreign investors? Where does it come from and who does it serve? Establishing a persuasive link between identity politics, populist nationalism, and global capital, Ravinder Kaur offers a model of critical interdisciplinary scholarship on the present. From the World Economic Forum in Davos to the corridors of power in Delhi, Kaur’s interviews shed light on how Indian elites think of themselves in the world (and how this differs radically from the postcolonial dream of non-alignment and social democracy). The close reading of the “Incredible India” publicity campaign is especially innovative, bringing together visual analysis and political economy. 

By Ravinder Kaur,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A Financial Times Best Book of the Year

The first book that examines India's mega-publicity campaigns to theorize the global transformation of the nation-state into an attractive investment destination.

The early twenty-first century was an optimistic moment of global futures-making. The chief narrative was the emergence of the BRICS nations-leading stars in the great spectacle of capitalist growth stories, branded afresh as resource-rich hubs of untapped talent and potential, and newly opened up for foreign investments. The old third-world nations were rapidly embracing the script of unbridled capitalism in the hope of arriving on the world stage. If the tantalizing…