Economics Optional Paper: Books to read for Civil Services Main Exam

Civil Services Economics (optional subject in mains) requires vast but focused reading. As optional subject requires an understanding at a honors degree level, graduation or PG level text books should turn really helpful here. For UPSC Civil Services Mains Optionals, the below mentioned books can help.

NB : This post is for those who wish to take Economics as an optional subject in IAS Mains. For regular students, though there is overlap of many books, the approach and books are slightly different.

Useful Books for Economics Optional – Civil Services Mains Exam

Paper 1:


  1. Ahuja – Advanced microeconomics theory – macro theories of distribution, welfare etc.
  2. Pindyck and Rubenfield – game theory, asymmetric info etc.
  3. Koutsoyiannis – markets, welfare economics etc.
  4. Varian – intermediate micro economics.


ClearIAS Prelims Online Test Series
  1. Snowdon and Vane – the best one.
  2. Froyen.
  3. Dornbusch.
  4. Dwivedi (for money multiplier).


  1. Salvatore – The best one.
  2. Krugman and Obstfeld.
  3. IGNOU.


  1. IGNOU.
  2. C I Jones.


  1. Thirlwall
  2. IGNOU

Public Finance:

  1. H L Bhatia.
  2. Musgrave.


  1. Economics of Environment – Subhashini Muthukrishnan

Paper 2:

Extra Reference:

  • Macroeconomics – H L Ahuja.
  • Modern Microeconomics – Koutsoyiannis A H. L. Ahuja.
  • Modern Microeconomics – Kalyanjit Roy Choudhury.
  • Monetary Economics – S B Gupta.
  • International Economics – M. L. Jhingan.
  • Statistical Methods – S P Gupta.
  • Dictionary of Economics – Ghaham Bannock; T.E. Baxter, Ray Rees (Penguin).
  • Economics – Paul A. Samuelson (Read Relevant Chapters*).
  • An Introduction to Economics – A.W. Stonier and D.C. Hauge.
  • Monetary Theory and Public Policy – Kenneth Kurihara.
  • Outline of Monetary Economics  – A.C.I. Day (Read Relevant Chapters*).
  • Public Finance – H.L. Bhatia.
  • Modern Banking  – R.S. Sayers (Read Relevant Chapters*).
  • Macro Economic Analysis – Edward Shepiro.
  • Money Supply in India: Concepts, Compilation and Analysis : Functions and Working (Relevant Chapters*) – Reserve Bank of India.
  • Economic Growth and Development – Mayer and Baldwin.
  • Public Finance – K.K. Andley and Sundharam.
  • National Income Accounting – Bakerman.
  • Economics Choice – Koutsweanik.
  • Banking – S.B. Gupta.
  • International Trade – Bo Soderston.

Extra Tips

  • Indian editions of the imported books may cost you less. But, make sure that the book has not compromised on quality and content.
  • IGNOU Materials and financial newspapers can provide a lot of insights.
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