And finally…A Level economics textbook is Bank of England library’s most popular
A high school text book on economics has been revealed as the most checked-out title at the Bank of England’s vast library.
The Old Lady of Threadneedle Street’s library is where leading research and analysis goes on among rows of books to support the central bank’s policies.
But a list obtained under a Freedom of Information Act request from theTimes newspaper has revealed that the title most popular among staff is not a dusty tome or a cutting-edge theory, but a textbook written for A-level students.
Alain Anderton’s Economics, a bible for those seeking a handle on basic economics, was the most issued book in the bank’s information centre last year, according to the divulged list.
The fifth edition of the book, popular for motivating students with its “full-colour design” and “easy-to-use … flexible structure”, was published in 2008, at the height of the financial crisis, and was issued and renewed 33 times at the Bank in 2014.
Mr Anderton said that he was astonished to learn of his popularity at the bank. “Why would anybody at the Bank of England want to borrow my book?” he asked.
As he suspected, though, the Bank said it held copies of the textbook to support staff studying for A levels or other courses.
The Bank has said many remark that it feels like an “academic environment as much as a professional one”.
The bank said that while making use of “the best analytical tools and data sources to tackle the most challenging and relevant issues”, it also provides development for secretaries, graduates and school leavers.
“The economists at the Bank of England are top-notch,” Mr Anderton said. “They certainly don’t need to read my book.”
The list of the most popular titles at the central bank also offers a unique insight into its internal workings and thinking.
Among them is a book written by Anat Admati, an adviser to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, a US financial regulator, who in January at the World Economic Forum in Davos accused Mark Carney, governor of the Bank, of misleading the public with claims that progress had been made on ending the threat from too-big-to-fail banks.
The Bankers’ New Clothes, an attack published in 2013 on the weak regulation of banks that ushered in the crisis, was taken out 19 times, placing it joint seventh on the list, and has been endorsed by Lord King of Lothbury, the former governor of the Bank.
George Osborne’s favourite economist also makes the top ten. This Time is Different: Eight Centuries of Financial Folly, co-authored by Kenneth Rogoff, is credited as the definitive history of financial crises. Published in the aftermath of the collapse of Lehman Brothers in 2008, it was also towards the top of Amazon’s bestseller list.
Other popular books at the Bank of England are also concerned with learning from the mistakes of the past. House of Debt by Atif Mian and Amir Sufi, published last year, was taken out 15 times as was Wrong: Nine Economic Policy Disasters and What We Can Learn from Them by Richard Grossman.