Teaching Economics: Lessons from the Fields
Sunday, Jan. 3, 2021 10:00 AM - 12:00 PM (EST)
- Chair: Allen C. Goodman, Wayne State University
Teaching the Economics of Sports
AbstractTeaching The Economics of Sports presents unique opportunities and difficulties. This course can be a boon to departments, as it reaches beyond the normal audience for upper-level Economics classes and attracts students from a wide array of majors. In this essay, I discuss three prominent challenges.
First, the abilities and interests of the students vary much more than in a typical class. Many students think they will spend the semester discussing trades and boxscores. Instructors must set appropriate expectations at the very beginning of the class.
Second, the variance of skills means I must review models from introductory Economics. Technology allows me to do this without using up valuable class time. I construct a hybrid class in which students watch brief videos about basic concepts. They then take a short online quiz on what they have watched.
Finally, I provide a valuable summative experience that all students are capable of completing. I use a presentation technique called pechakucha. Students present 20 slides containing only images, each of which appears for 20 seconds. This has proven a valuable and enjoyable way for students to show what they have learned.
Economic Perspectives in Criminal Justice and Public Policy Education
AbstractThe theories and practices of economics is of particular importance in teaching students, researchers and practitioners in the broadly defined fields of criminal justice and public policy, especially for those in graduate education. Criminal justice practice and policy professionals are facing increased scrutiny due to cost growth in policing and incarceration even as crime declines (Executive Office of the President, 2016). While practitioners and policy makers are anecdotally convinced of successes in the field, they are often challenged in their understanding of quantifiable benefits of accepted practice versus the costs of those interventions. It becomes imperative that professionals in the field have a fundamental understanding of opportunity cost, marginal cost, average cost, benefit cost analysis and cost effectiveness in order to support an efficient criminal justice system. In addition, exposure to measurement regarding quality of life allows for a broad understanding of benefit calculation. Innovative teaching strategies involve case studies and participation in evaluation planning. Teaching challenges include the necessity of integration of economic principles in courses where students have had no previous exposure to economic teaching methods and theories. Programs that encourage students to participate in efficient practice of criminal justice must successfully integrate economic principles into their curriculum.
A Simple App to Teach Regression
AbstractThis paper introduces a web app for teaching regression that "inverts" the usual pedagogy. Rather than asking students to run regressions on data, it asks them to "create" data to achieve a given outcome, like a statistically significant line. By clicking on an (x, y) graph, students watch as the regression line, with its confidence intervals and statistics, is redrawn with each new data point. We describe three self-guided exercises, designed to teach the ideas of statistical significance, and correlation vs. causality.
The Rich Palette of the Economic History Curriculum
AbstractNobel Laureate Douglass North described the task of economic history as “the study of performance and structure of economies through time.” Training economic historians to teach and perform research requires the study of how to combine the economists’ modeling and statistical methods with the methods used by historians and the other social sciences. It often involves learning how to search for quantitative data from a variety of sources and then building panel data sets that match the data found with existing data sets. Researchers also must work with narrative sources to develop an understanding of the historical context and the political, social, and economic institutions that influence the research questions. In some settings the analysis focuses fully on narrative evidence because it is the only material available. A key feature in North’s definition is his discussion of “through time.” Modern studies are restricted because the future is unknown, while economic history can examine issues in both the short, intermediate, and long run.
- A2 - Economic Education and Teaching of Economics