Reading list and focus on modules

Three students laughing together - image

Pre-reading for your course 

If you’ve considered doing some preparation or pre-reading before the term starts. Here are some suggested resources that you can read or watch in advance. Although this is not a requirement, we hope you will find them interesting and useful. 

Journal article

What economists do by Robert Lucas (links to a PDF) 


Good Economics for Hard Times - by Abhijit Banerjee and Esther Duflo. Published in 2019

Freakonomics - by Steven D Levitt and Stephen Dubnar. Published in 2005 

The New Geography of Jobs - by Enrico Moretti. Published in 2013

Ted Talks

Social experiments to fight poverty - Esther Duflo

Will automation take away all our jobs? - David Autor

Reviving the American Dream: Lessons from Big Data - Raj Chetty

Could your language affect your ability to save money? - Keith Chen

Classical and Contemporary Thinkers in Economics

Classical and Contemporary Thinkers in Economics is a first year optional module in the applied pathway with the module leader being Professor Sarah Brown.

The module is unique at Sheffield as nine different Professors in the school introduce to you the work of a classical or contemporary economist. This currently includes Adam Smith, Karl Marx, John Maynard Keynes and more recent Nobel Prize winners in economics Arthur Lewis and Esther Duflo. *

Each Professor will introduce an economic thinker, explain why their ideas and theories were so important and discuss the relevance of their work to a range of contemporary economic issues. At the end of the module, students are asked to complete a written project, critically examining one of the featured economists' approaches to a modern day economic issue. 

*The influential economists may change depending on which Professors teach on the module each year. 

Public Economics

Public Economics is a second year optional module in the applied pathway led way Dr Vassilis Sarantides

The module is about the role of government and the different ways in which government policies affect the allocation of resources and the distribution of income in the economy. 

You will study market failures to justify public action, and subsequently we analyse how public policies can improve market outcomes. Following that, a wide range of issues are explored such as the effect of different tax instruments on economic outcomes, tax evasion, fiscal federalism and fiscal redistribution.

The module assessment is mainly assessed by a two hour exam at the end of the module. But there is also an applied portfolio which consists of a 2000 word mini-project, a 400 word reflection and 400 word summary for non economic specialists.

Dr Vassilis Sarantides research expertise are in Public Economics, Political Economy, and Economic History. His recent research considers how politics and culture interact with the fiscal policies implemented by governments.

The Economics of Race and Gender 

The Economics of Race and Gender is a new final year optional module in the applied pathway led by Dr Anita Ratcliffe. It covers economic theories of discrimination in labour markets and provides a historical overview of the empirical methods used by economists to test for discrimination in the real world. These methods range from examining wage differentials, exploiting digital technologies and contestant behaviour on TV game shows. 

The module also considers how research in psychology and sociology, which provides alternative perspectives on the same issues, can help to shape future research in economics. As part of the module, you will have the opportunity to design their own research to test for discrimination in a setting of your choice.

Anita’s own research considers discrimination towards ethnic minorities. A recent piece of her research presents evidence consistent with an increase in societal prejudice towards Muslims following the July 2005 London bombings.


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