The Indian Economy Blog

April 9, 2007

Are There Any Good Textbooks On The Indian Economy?

Filed under: Basic Questions,Education — Prashant @ 8:17 pm

Greg Mankiw has a lively discussion on his blog about the best non-textbook book on economics. Some great recommendations, there.

This got me thinking about my college education in India, in the 1980s. The economics textbooks we used then (Dutt & Sundaram, KK Dewett and such like) were so terrible that just thinking of them makes me shudder. On a scale of 1 to 10, I’d probably rate my economics education in college as -1. And mind you, I went to an institution that was supposed to be one of India’s better colleges. Suffice it to say that I learnt more economics from a single 10-week class in my MBA than in two years of my B.Com.

A question for IEB readers, especially current students: Has the situation improved since I went to college ie, are there any good textbooks on the Indian economy?

Sidebar: For those interested, we had a great discussion on IEB earlier about the ten best books on India.


  1. Hi…was curious as to where you did your B.Com. I am also doing Eco(Hons) from a top college in DU, and I find the course mostly cumbersome, overly vast and theoretical, and just plain obnoxious.

    Comment by Deependra — April 9, 2007 @ 11:13 pm

  2. [...] Read more at Prashant [...]

    Pingback by Street talk and opinions » Are There Any Good Textbooks On The Indian Economy? — April 10, 2007 @ 6:15 am

  3. looking for one for a long time. but could not find
    maybe our love for complexity , equating similicuty to inferior and inadequate writing skills are the reasons that prevent a good readable stuff being published , say like freakonomics, or armchair economist…

    Comment by Manoj — April 10, 2007 @ 10:20 am

  4. No, dutt & sundaram is still the ‘shah rukh khan’ of indian economic textbooks.

    Comment by sumeet — April 10, 2007 @ 10:51 am

  5. it’s not just economics textbooks, in general publishing industry never blossomed in india even though we have such high levels of education. bestsellers don’t even cross the 5000 mark…

    however, magazines and newspapers have seen a remarkable growth and stands are full of magazines covering a wide range of topics. i suppose working indians having limited time at hand calls for a quick read as opposed to reading books? cost of books could be a factor while magazines are cheap? even after reading rotten textbooks and our rote learning system produces such good economists like you all at IEB, then why invest in better textbooks ;)

    Comment by ashutosh — April 10, 2007 @ 12:16 pm

  6. I think it is best to read popular global books on economics for fundamental concepts. And for the Indian flavour – read through history of banking/mutual funds/capital markets etc. in India (which is available in many Indian MBA textbooks, read Indian economy blogs, read news articles on scams pointing out shortcomings of Indian economy (Enron, Harshad Mehta, MS Shoes, telecom etc).

    Comment by Shamil — April 11, 2007 @ 3:59 pm

  7. Haven’t come across one yet. Just wish there was a ‘Indian Economy for Dummies’ series

    Comment by Toe Knee — April 11, 2007 @ 10:15 pm

  8. I don’t think so. The last time I studied the Indian economy was in High School – back in ’93 or ’94. We used some lousy text book that told us that the ‘Mixed’-model of the Indian economy was the best form of economy and how Capitalism was evil :-) I wonder if that’s the text book still used in Indian Schools. That book was enough to destroy whatever little interest I had in the field.
    My interest in economics was re-kindled at IIT when we had an ‘Economics for Engineers’ course that used the the bible of economics – Samuelson & Nordhaus ( Best… book… ever!

    Comment by UmeshUnni — April 12, 2007 @ 9:11 am

  9. Dear Friends,

    After working in HR for many years I joined ICFAI Business School, Hyderabad for my MBA in 2004 and passed out last year. I found the internal text books prepared by ICFAI one of the best. Even IIM,C uses the same text book prepared by ICFAI.

    I found all the practical things you read in say THE ECONOMICS TIMES related to Macro economics of India, explained very well in my text books.

    I don’t know if ICFAI sells its text books to outsiders or not.

    Comment by Jolly — April 12, 2007 @ 6:55 pm

  10. Well, the undergraduate stuff, at least in Mumbai University, sucked. I became aware of the Keynesian slant much much later. Till that time, I had only heard about this person from Chicago called Milton Friedman.
    Have written an entry on my blog about this.

    Comment by Nandan — April 12, 2007 @ 8:56 pm

  11. An excellent though slightly technical analysis on India’s Macro economic policy is “Macroeconomics and Monetary Policy” by Ahluwalia,Reddy and Tarapore. I graduated last year from stephens econs..and I can vouch I learnt nothing of any practical use(except from Mankiw’s text). I am in Singapore now, and feel I wasted three precious years in college. How desperately we need a change..I’ll soon be working on employable charateristics of our graduates..and I’m sure I’ll find very disappointing results.

    Comment by Anusha — April 18, 2007 @ 8:34 am

  12. I agree with Prashant. A few years in little Jamaica opened my eyes to real economics. Until then, it was committing to memory and regurgitating facts concerning the various Five Year Plans, their targets and achievements and some shibboleths on the mixed economy, courtesy Dutt and Sundaram et al.

    Comment by R.Sankar — April 21, 2007 @ 11:02 am

  13. if nyone hv u has the ebook or knows the link for datt and sundaram pls paste it here too…

    Comment by manish mayank — April 25, 2007 @ 9:41 pm

  14. [...] Q) Are there any sites like this in India? My guess is that the demand should be tremendous, especially given the twaddle that passes for economics in our colleges. [...]

    Pingback by The Indian Economy Blog » Ask And Ye Shall Receive… — November 27, 2007 @ 3:42 am

  15. I have a specific query. I have not read Dutt and Sundaram yet. But could you point out why it is not good?

    Comment by Alex — December 11, 2007 @ 10:18 pm

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