We make the case for a shift in what students learn in a first economics course, taking as our exemplar Paul Samuelson’s paradigm-setting 1948 text. In the shadow of the Great Depression, Samuelson made Keynesian economics an essential component of what every economics student should know. By contrast, leading textbooks today were written in the glow of the Great Moderation and the tamed cyclical fluctuations in the two decades prior to 2007. Here, using topic modeling, we document Samuelson’s novelty and the evolution of the content of introductory textbooks since, and we put forward three propositions.
The full paper is available from the AEA website (complementary access).
This chapter provides a case study of creating a new online economics course at the incoming undergraduate level. The production of CORE was not a matter of simply transferring material found in traditional textbooks into an interactive and hyperlinked resource with rich media. The online course fundamentally reconceived the content of introductory economics, the sequencing and modularity of the material and the pedagogies and methods that can be used to teach the subject starting with undergraduate students. CORE also provides an example of a novel authorial model which harnesses the power of distributed international online production where over 20 authors and numerous teachers and students collaborated to produce resources which retain the cohesive feel and vision of a single-authored text and where the time from conception to publication was considerably shorter than a comparable print publication.
The chapter is available from the Edward Elgar website (a subscription may be required).
The money creation and monetary policy chapters in the leading introductory textbooks commonly present an outdated and misleading approach that is now largely irrelevant. A preferable model would help students understand that money and monetary policy are about bank and household motives, the importance of capital, and the role of credit. An updated approach would move beyond the current orthodoxy, which assumes both that the mechanical base-multiplier explains monetary policy and the quantity theory explains inflation. Monetary policy has evolved dramatically in the last 40 years. Therefore, textbook authors and teachers of introductory macroeconomics might consider some of these suggestions to help explain recent events.
The full paper is available from the Taylor & Francis website (a subscription may be required).
The article’s authors report on a comprehensive curricular reform aimed at communicating the broad range of social issues that economists study while engaging students in active learning strategies. The reform increased interest in taking additional economics courses and majoring in economics, broadened students’ views of what economists do, and imparted more content to students. Female students earn higher grades under the revised curriculum, but no differential impact on interest in majoring in economics for female students, students of color, or first generation college students is found. Engaging students with empirical work on important social issues appeals to all students, resulting in more majors from both under- and overrepresented groups, but generates little impact on the percentage of students majoring in economics from underrepresented groups.