Do economists read anthropology? Certainly David Graeber's and Gillian Tett's books have gained traction. Graeber's "Debt: The First 5,000 Years" ranks at #19 in Amazon's economic theory books and has even spawned a companion guide to explain the book's main points. Tett's Fool's Gold discussed the causes of the global financial crisis and was reviewed in places like the New York Times.
But there are many other books written by economic anthropologists that could be of interest to economists. I recently discussed what anthropologists can to to promote their work in a short article in the Society for Economic Anthropology's section of Anthropology News.
Here are a few recent books that I'd recommend:
- Economy of Words: Communicative Imperatives in Central Banks by Douglas Holmes (2014, University of Chicago Press)
- Anthropology, Economics and Choice by Michael Chibnik (2011, University of Texas Press)
- El Norte or Bust: How Migration Fever and Microcredit Produced a Bust in a Latin American Town by David Stoll (2014, Rowman & Littlefield)
- Dreaming of Money in Ho Chi Minh City by Allison J. Truitt (2013, University of Washington Press)
- Money from Nothing: Indebtedness and Aspiration in South Africa by Deborah James (2015, Stanford University Press)
- The Darjeeling Distinction: Labour and Justice on Fair Trade Tea Plantations in India by Sarah Besky (2013, University of California Press)
- Wall Street Women by Melissa Fisher (2012, Duke University Press)
- Liquidated: An Ethnography of Wall Street by Karen Ho (2009, Duke University Press)
- Global Outlaws: Crime, Money and Power in the Contemporary World by Caroline Nordstrom (2007, University of California Press)
- Tsukiji: The Fish Market at the Center of the World by Theodore Bestor (2004, University of California Press)
- The Good Life: Aspiration, Dignity, and the Anthropology of Well-Being by Edward Fischer (2014, Stanford University Press)
- Privatizing Poland: Baby Food, Big Business and the Remaking of Labour by Elizabeth Dunn (2004, Cornell University Press)
- Fresh Fruit, Broken Bodies: Migrant Farm Workers in the United States by Seth Holmes (2013, University of California Press)
And there are plenty more where they came from.