Improving the Principles of Economics Course
6 Pages Posted: 24 Jan 2003
Reading William Becker's (2001) suggestions of how to teach principles reminded me of a paper George Stigler (1984) wrote years ago commenting on a 1961 report by an American Economic Association (AEA) committee on what should be taught in high school economics courses. I don't find myself in agreement with George Stigler that often, so this paper stuck in my memory. What stood out for me in his comments was that it is a mistake to try to make the principles course comprehensive - to try cover too many policy issues. What Stigler poked a bit of fun at was the long list of "essential" topics the committee envisioned for the high school course. The large number of chapters in most principles books which are needed to touch upon nearly every subfield of the discipline reveals that this approach still pervades some texts at the college level.
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