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Economics: Referencing Guide

Referencing style

The Faculty of Economics recommends the Cite them right Harvard (author-date) referencing style. You could use any referencing system as long as you are consistent but this style is explained here. More details and guidance can be found in your handbook.To find out more about the University of Cambridge's view on plagiarism and good academic practice, as well as further advice on how and when to reference, visit these guidance pages.

Check out the Plagiarism Libguide and Quizzes

Specific advice for Economics students


This guide outlines how to reference using the ‘Harvard’ or Author-Date method according to Pears, R. & Shields, G. (2016) Cite them right: the essential referencing guide. 10th edn. Basingstoke: Palgrave. This is not the only standard of referencing but is commonly used in the Social Sciences. Using this method usually means that citations in the text should give the author’s name with the year of publication. All references should be listed in alphabetical order at the end of your paper or dissertation. Bibliographical references should contain sufficient information so that someone else can trace the item when following up your work. It is very important to be consistent and accurate when citing references. Good referencing is also important for good academic practice and the avoidance of plagiarism.

Harvard method of citation in the text

Statements, opinions, conclusions etc. taken from another writer’s work should be acknowledged. It does not matter if the work is directly quoted, paraphrased or summarised. Here are examples of how cited publications are referred to in the text:

Single author

Varian (2014) suggests the first thing we should do is consider the budget constraint

When an author has published more than one cited document in the same year these are distinguished by adding lower case letters after the year with brackets

Goyal (2014a) finds that incorporating information about co-author networks leads to a modest improvement in the accuracy of forecasts on individual outputs

Two authors

In the book by Kavanagh and Morris (1994) the role of trade unions is discussed…

More than two authors

Begg et al (2014) conclude that…

If more than one citation is referred to within a sentence, list them all in the following form by date and then alphabetically:

In the Marxist school of economics it is argued that ‘production is the basis of social order’ … (Marx, 1847; Engels, 1880; Kautsky, 1899; Luxembourg, 1913)

Harvard method of quoting in the text

When quoting directly in the text use quotation marks, as well as acknowledging the author’s name, year of publication and page number of the quotation in brackets. Short quotations of up to 2 lines can be included in the body of the text:

Chang states, “Capitalism would not have developed the way it has without the development of the financial system.” (2014, p.310)

Longer quotations should be indented in a separate paragraph:

Shaw et al. (1997) discuss the theory of the Phillips curve:

“The existence of a Phillips-type relation appeared to offer policy makers a straight choice between inflation and unemployment. One could trade off more of one for less of the other. Furthermore, once the curve was identified the rate of unemployment which was consistent with zero inflation could also be identified. Although a good deal of empirical support was identified for the Phillips relation in the mid-1960s, after 1968 the relation was seen to consistently under predict the rate of inflation.” (p.231)

If part of the quotation is omitted then this can be indicated using three dots:

Varian states that “the Internal Revenue Service distinguishes two kinds of asset returns for purposes of taxation. The first kind is the dividend of interest on return…the second kind of returns are called capital gains.” (2014, p.24)

Secondary referencing

Secondary referencing is when one author refers to the work of another author and the primary source is not available. You should cite the primary source and the source that you have read e.g. Laffan (1992 cited in Geddes, 2013, p.42)

Secondary referencing should be avoided if at all possible.

Harvard method of listing references at the end of the text

References should be listed in alphabetical order by author’s name and then by date (earliest first) and then if more than one item has been published in a particular year list by letter (2010a, 2010b etc.). Whenever possible details should be taken from the title page of a publication and not from the front cover, which may be different. Each reference should include the elements and punctuation given in the examples on the right. Authors’ forenames can be included if given on the title page. The title of the publication should be given in italics.

Faculty of Economics Harvard Referencing


Varian, H. (2014) Intermediate microeconomics: a modern approach. 9th edn. New York: W. W. Norton & Company

Kavanagh, D. and Morris, P. (1994) Consensus politics from Attlee to Major. 2nd edn. Oxford: Blackwell.

Begg, D., Vernasca, G., Fischer, S. and Dornbusch, R. (2014) Economics. 11th edn. London: McGraw Hill Education

Regional trends Basingstoke. (2010), London: Palgrave Macmillan for Office of National Statistics

Griffiths, S. and Hickson, K. (eds) (2010) British party politics and ideology after New Labour. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan

Humphries, J.(2007) ‘Standard of living, quality of life.’ in Williams, C. (ed.) A companion to nineteenth century Britain. Oxford: Blackwell, pp. 287-304

Lehrer, E. and Rosenberg, D. (2010) ‘A note on the evaluation of information in zero-sum repeated games’, Journal of Mathematical Economics, 46 (4), pp. 393-399

Goyal, S. and Vigier, A. (2015) ‘Interaction, protection and epidemics’, Journal of Public Economics, 125, pp. 64-69 doi:10.1016/j.jpubeco.2015.02.010

Plimmer, G. (2016) ‘Land registry vulnerable to fraud if privatised, transparency body warns’, Financial Times, 5 May, p. 4

Geraats, P. (2014) Transparency, flexibility and macroeconomic stabilization. CESifo Working Paper Series 4642

Bonfatti, R. (2011) An economic theory of foreign interventions and regime change. Unpublished Working Paper, University of Oxford

OECD (2016) Global trade in fake goods worth nearly half a trillion dollars a year – OECD and EUIPO. Available at: (Accessed: 5 May 2016).

HM Treasury (2007) Business rate supplements: a white paper. London: The Stationery Office. (Cm 7230) Available at: (Accessed: 6 May 2016).


Department for Work and Pensions (2006) A new deal for welfare: empowering people to work. London: The Stationery Office. (Cm 6730) Available at: (Accessed 6 May 2016).


Employment Rights Act 1996 c. 18. Available at: (Accessed: 6 November 2018).


Cermakova, K. and Rotschedi, J. (eds) (2014) Proceedings of the 2nd Economics and Finance Conference held at Vienna, Austria 3-6 June. Prague, International Institute of Social and Economic Sciences. Available at: (Accessed 6 May 2016).


Ptacek, O. and Kaderabkova, B. (2014) ‘Gap analysis in venture capital markets’ in Cermakova, K. and Rotschedi, J. (eds) Proceedings of the 2nd Economics and Finance Conference held at Vienna, Austria 3-6 June. Prague, International Institute of Social and Economic Sciences. Available at: (Accessed 6 May 2016).

If no author or editor is given on the title page the name of the conference is cited first in italics.



Gallo, E. (2010) Essays in the economics of networks. Unpublished PhD thesis. University of Oxford.

---------(2013) The transmission of unconventional monetary policy. Unpublished MPhil dissertation. Faculty of Economics, University of Cambridge.

Enron: the smartest guys in the room (2005) Directed by Alex Gibney [Film]. Santa Monica, Calif: 2929 Entertainment

The debt timebomb that is Britain (2013) Produced by Money Week. Available at: (Accessed: 6 May2016).

Laffan, B. (1992) The Finances of the European Union. London: Macmillan cited in Geddes, A. (2013) Britain and the European Union. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.

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