ECONOMICS FOR THE 21ST CENTURY
Presentation by Dave Colander
ECONOMICS: WHAT IS IT?
Woody Allen¡¯s definition: Economics is the study of money and why it is good.
Economist¡¯s definition: Economics is a way of thinking that places costs and benefits on everything. It is a social science that developed out of philosophy. It is not business education.
Economists and Models: An economist is someone who works extraordinarily hard to demonstrate in a model what is obvious in practice.
Economists and Policy: Economists generally favor markets, but most are liberal, and see business as using government to achieve its ends.
WHY STUDY ECONOMICS?
TOP 6 REASONS TO STUDY ECONOMICS
(From Economist Joke web site) http://netec.wustl.edu/JokEc.html
1. Economists are armed and dangerous: "Watch out for our invisible hands."
2. You can talk about money without every having to make any.
3. Mick Jagger and Arnold Schwarzenegger both studied economics and look how they turned out.
4. When you are in the unemployment line, at least you will know why you are there.
5. If you rearrange the letters in "ECONOMICS", you get "COMIC NOSE".
6. Although ethics teaches that virtue is its own reward, in economics we get taught that reward is its own virtue.
STRUCTURE OF THE ECONOMICS EDUCATION:
At College Level: Micro, Macro, Intermediate Micro, Intermediate macro, statistics, and advanced courses. Focus on models (baby math) Example: my textbook.
At Middle School level: Introduction to terminology and basic ideas. Often taught as business. Main idea is to give two sides to everything. Optimal level of pollution rather than no pollution&endash;costs and benefits.
At the High School level: Often taught as an institutional subject. Little theory. Introduce the basic ideas. Economics as part of Social Science.
AP Course: College approach to economics taught at the high school level. National Council provides funding for two-week training program for high school teachers
Middlebury College program: Allows students who have taken all courses in a field to take a course a Middlebury College if space is available.
GENERAL RESOURCES IN ECONOMICS FOR TEACHERS:
Links to resources can be found on my Web site at Middlebury. Go to Middlebury College¡¯s site and then to economics. The site with the links is:
National Council on Economic Education (EconomicsAmerica)
Lesson plans for various levels of teaching.
General Web Resources for Economists
Links to Experiments, Tutorials and on-line exercises.
Federal Reserve System: NY Fed
Free films, and teaching materials for various levels.
THE TEN MINUTE ECONOMIST:
1. The Fundamental Law of Economics: Markets are good.
2. The Fundamental Law of Micro: There Ain¡¯t No Such Thing as a Free Lunch (TANSTAAFL) .
3. The Fundamental Law of Macro: Once in a while you can snitch a Sandwich.
4. Economist's Law of Gravity: The Law of One Price.