Welcome, teachers and learners, to CORE’s Economy, Society, and Public Policy (ESPP).

Every democracy needs voters who are fluent in the language of economics and who can do some quantitative analysis of social policy. We also need a well-trained cadre of researchers and journalists who have more advanced skills in these fields.

Many students in other disciplines are drawn to economics so that they can engage with policy debates on environmental sustainability, inequality, the future of work, financial instability, and innovation. But, when they start to study economics, they find that many introductory courses are arid and theoretical, and are designed primarily for students who want to study the subject as their major.

The result: policy-oriented students often find they have to choose between a quantitative and analytical course of study-economics-that is only minimally social in content and downplays the insights of other disciplines, or a socially oriented course of study that gives them little training in modelling, or in quantitative scientific methods.

Economy, Society, and Public Policy changes this.

It has been created specifically for students from social science, public policy, business studies, engineering, and other disciplines who are not economics majors. If you are one of these students, we want to engage, challenge, and empower you with an understanding of economics. Using this, we hope you will have the tools to articulate reasoned views on pressing policy problems.

This ebook is the result of a worldwide collaboration between researchers, educators, and students who are committed to bringing the socially relevant insights of economics to a broader audience. We made it freely available online because we believe this understanding can contribute to richer participation in civil society, and help to underpin an understanding of policy that is clearly based in evidence. We are grateful to the contributions of this entire team, and to the Nuffield Foundation for supporting the project financially.

More about CORE, our ebooks and our mission

If you want to know more about the intellectual content of this ebook (and its companion text The Economy, an ebook designed for economics majors, and how both differ from a conventional introduction to economics, we have written about this in more detail.

For instructors who are considering adopting the ebook as the basis for either one semester or two semester courses, here is an introduction and guide to help you use Economy, Society, and Public Policy.

Economy, Society, and Public Policy is intended to provide hands-on experience for students in using data to understand economic questions. For each unit there is an accompanying empirical project called Doing Economics. These address important policy problems using real data. The Doing Economics: Empirical Projects website is here. We have also produced a guide to Doing Economics for instructors.

The CORE Team is a large and growing family. Join us! Let us know what you think of this ebook including things that we might improve.

The CORE Team
February 2018