2021 Outstanding Academic Titles: Economics

This week we share a selection of 2021 Outstanding Academic Titles about economics.

Five selections from the Choice Reviews 2021 Outstanding Academic Titles list. This week we share a selection of Choice 2021 Outstanding Academic Titles about economics.

1. Boom and bust: a global history of financial bubbles
Quinn, William. by William Quinn and John D. Turner Cambridge, 2020
Boom and bust: a global history of financial bubble a Choice 2021 Outstanding Academic Title about economics.

What causes financial bubbles? Quinn and Turner (both, Queen’s University Belfast) argue that four things are necessary: “marketability” (the ease with which assets can be freely bought and sold, the “oxygen” of bubbles); money and credit (especially low interest rates and loose credit conditions, the “fuel” of bubbles); speculation (buying with the sole motivation of generating capital gains, especially by novices, analogous to “heat”); and a technological or political “spark” to ignite the combustible mix. They use this framework to great effect, illuminating the causes and consequences of eleven historical bubbles. These include the Mississippi and South Seas bubbles that arose in London and Paris (1720); Latin American investments in the 1820s; Britain’s railway investment bubble in the mid-1840s; Australia’s land “boom and bust” as seen in the late 1800s; Britain’s bicycle mania of the 1890s; the Wall Street boom and crash of the 1920s; Japan’s stock market and land bubble of the 1980s; the dot-com bubble; the subprime bubble that burst in 2008; and China’s recent stock market bubbles. View on Amazon

2. Case studies in suburban sustainability
ed. by Sandra J. Garren and Robert Brinkmann University Press of Florida, 2020
Case studies in suburban sustainability a Choice 2021 Outstanding Academic Title about economics.

Garren and Brinkmann (both, Hofstra University) have edited a superbly written, well-illustrated collection of sustainable development case studies from studies of various suburbs around the United States. The suburban zone surrounding a city is often orders of magnitude larger in area than the city itself, while having fewer financial and political resources to address the complex sustainability issues attending their lower human densities. These suburban rings are tightly connected to urban centers by transportation, labor, and the environment, but to date they have been relatively ignored by urban sustainability scholarship. In this multi-authored collection, each chapter focuses on a specific suburban area, and chapters are arranged in four parts: planning, socioeconomic issues, air pollution, and land and water management. Focal scales include neighborhood-level development plans in Colorado Springs and Tampa, expanding to metropolitan-scale planning in Pittsburgh, Phoenix, and New Orleans, and to regional-scale sustainability issues (in southern California and Florida) that require multi-jurisdictional cooperation. View on Amazon

3.Financial stabilization in Meiji Japan: the impact of the Matsukata reform
Ericson, Steven J. Cornell, 2020
Financial stabilization in Meiji Japan a Choice 2021 Outstanding Academic Title about economics.

Modernization in late-19th-century Japan was accomplished by successfully navigating an abrupt entry into the world market, albeit not without some missteps. In this important book, Ericson (history, Dartmouth) illuminates essential pieces of this process through a detailed study of finance minister (and later prime minister) Matsukata Masayoshi (1835–1924) and his policies during the 1880s, including the context of their formation. As much a world history of late-19th-century capitalism and economic thought as a financial history, the book documents the concomitant issues of inflation, deflation, and trade imbalance coupled with efforts to create a stable financial structure to fund the new government. Ericson challenges conventional views of Matsukata’s economic policy as conservative, suggesting he was not an orthodox follower of liberal and neoliberal finance and economics; rather, he pragmatically applied a broad range of philosophies to what might be characterized as a nationalist, developmentalist approach. Rather than slash taxes and spending as usually assumed, Matsukata often ditched theory for practice. View on Amazon

4. Gray to green communities: a call to action on the housing and climate crises
Bourland, Dana. Island Press, 2021
Gray to green communities: a call to action on the housing and climate crises a Choice 2021 Outstanding Academic Title about economics.

With Gray to Green Communities, Bourland, vice president for the environment at the JPB Foundation, hopes to make readers aware of problems that need to be addressed with existing housing needs and of how increasing climate changes will affect housing. A former vice-president of Green Initiatives for Enterprise Community Partners, a national affordable housing intermediary, the author captures the essence of the problem in the second paragraph of the introduction: “The only housing stock within reach for most people living in the United States is inefficient, expensive to operate and maintain, unprepared for intense weather events, and potentially unhealthy.” Bourland clarifies the myriad challenges current housing stock faces, and the benefits of designing/building with a sustainable/green mentality. She even provides a series of suggestions that can be implemented by individuals now. Accomplishing this will not be easy, but change needs to start happening immediately in order to give the generations that follow a chance at life. View on Amazon.

5. The sum of the people: how the census has shaped nations, from the ancient world to the modern age
Whitby, Andrew. Basic Books, 2020
The sum of the people: how the census has shaped nations, from the ancient world to the modern age a Choice 2021 Outstanding Academic Title about economics.

Economist and data scientist Whitby offers a well-written treatise on the evolution and impact of census-taking. While this is Dr. Whitby’s first book, his international experience working as a data scientist for the World Bank complements the thorough historical research and animated writing brought to bear here. Vignettes throughout detail the development and ultimate impact of censuses across time and space, relating them to national conflicts, democracy, citizenship, nationality, ethnicity, and race. While generally a champion of census-taking, Whitby also provides unflinching details on how some censuses have enabled moral failings, weaponized numbers, and played into problematic political arithmetic. This book underscores the need for data ethics, particularly when paired with such works as Cathy O’Neil’s Weapons of Math Destruction (2016). Placing current US census debates in international and historical context and theorizing about how the modern information landscape may lead to significant change, this will be an exceptionally valuable read for any student of data analytics, public affairs, or history. View on Amazon.

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