International Journal of Pluralism and Economics Education (8 papers in press)
Rational Choice, Independent Utility and the Inclusive Classroom
by Lisa Saunders
Abstract: Neoclassical models of individual utility maximization seem logical and consistent to many students; however, they can seem unrealistic and alienating to many others. When students have such misgivings acknowledged, they are more open to learning. This article describes an in-class exercise designed to allow undergraduates to examine their own motivations and choices. When students identify and compare their diverse motivations to the widely taught assumptions of selfishness and individualism, they gain important critical thinking skills. This, in turn, facilitates their development of insight into, and confidence about their abilities to learn and critique rational choice theoretical models. Greater familiarity with abstraction in the development of theoretical arguments makes students more open to learning about heterodox theories, methods and policy debates.
Keywords: neoclassical economics; rational choice; utility maximization; individual labor supply; labor economics; gender and work; economics education; under-represented economics majors.
(Re)Thinking like an Economist: Pluralism, Critical Thinking and Economic Pedagogy
by David Kristjanson-Gural
Abstract: This paper describes the economic way of thinking and how adherence to the goal of encouraging students to think like an economist arose. The example of the theory of demand in Institutional and Marxian economics is used to illustrate how the mainstream economics curriculum, by adhering to a singular way of thinking, deprives students of the opportunity to think critically about the their role as producers and consumers in the economy and about how economic theories work. Only by adopting theoretical and pedagogical pluralism can the profession overcome these weaknesses. It concludes by assessing the prospects and strategies for promoting a pluralist approach within the profession and by outlining some steps that faculty and students might take to ensure that education in economics is genuinely empowering.
Keywords: economics education; economics pedagogy; pluralism; critical thinking; Institutional economics; Marxian economics; contending theories; thinking like an economist; economic way of thinking.
Beyond the models: A Case Study of the management of epistemological issues in teaching a Globalisation and the World Economy subject 7 years after the start of the Global Financial Crisis
by Adam Fforde
Abstract: This paper reports on personal experience writing and teaching a 2nd Year Subject in Globalisation and the World Economy in Semester 2, 2014, before the full ending of Quantitative Easing and 7 years after the closure of Lehman Brothers. The focus is upon the management of epistemological issues: for example, how to engage students in a broad discussion of possible implications of the failure of economic analysis in general to predict the Global Financial Crisis and how to avoid various well-known pitfalls whilst retaining student interest. The course was a success, so far as can be told from student remarks and evaluation
Keywords: teaching globalisation; epistemology; economic theory.
Real World Economics: The Peculiar Case of Applied Economics Provision in England and Wales
by Duncan Watson, Louise Parker, Steve Cook
Abstract: This paper examines the teaching of Applied Economics and questions whether it could be seen as a trendsetter providing a pluralist perspective via robust policy analysis. This is achieved through three elements. Initially by reviewing the characteristics of Applied Economics teaching in England & Wales we find very little variation in undergraduate pedagogy. Subsequently, we explore how the symbiotic development of economics and mathematics narratives could contribute to this rigidity. The results show an inherent idealism that inhibits and destabilises any value applied economic analysis could contribute to the pluralist position. Finally, we introduce Lakoffs cognitive linguistics to explain how applied economics could impede the exploration of heterodox ideas. We conclude that Applied Economics teaching, as presently practiced in England and Wales, has less to contribute to the education of economists than typically asserted. Unless there is a conscious intent of highlighting pluralist implications in Applied Economics, we recommend a refocus on the study of the History of Economic Thought.
Keywords: Applied Economics; Real World Economics; Neoclassical Economics; History of Economic Thought; Cognitive Linguistics; Lakoff; Teaching Pedagogy.
A Nutty Model for Teaching Macroeconomic Models
by Kevin Capehart
Abstract: This pedagogical paper draws attention to Basil Moore's peanut multiplier theory of income determination and argues that it is a useful tool for teaching macroeconomic models and for critical understanding them. The peanut multiplier theory can be used to teach the essential elements of any macro model, the manner in which the internal logic of a model can be explored, and the manner in which external critiques of a model can be formulated, all within an ideologically neutral yet still memorable context. A critical understanding of the peanut multiplier theory also lays the foundation for a critical understanding of standard macro models like the simple Keynesian theory of income determination, quantity theory of money, and money multiplier theory. Student feedback provides evidence of the effectiveness of using the peanut multiplier theory to teach macro models.
Keywords: models; pluralism; Basil Moore.
Teaching Endogenous Money with Systems Thinking and Simulation Tools
by I. David Wheat
Abstract: This paper is primarily for instructors seeking new ways to teach the endogenous view of money creation; i.e., the view that money supply responds to the economys credit demands, in contrast to the textbook money multiplier suggestion that central banks can unilaterally adjust the monetary base to trigger desired changes in the money supply. This approach helps students visualize endogenous money in a transparent conceptual model. They learn to use a simulation model that demonstrates endogenous money dynamics. The paper has two additional purposes with a broader audience in mind. It proposes a consensus-building definition of endogenous money to mean \'created by an endogenous feedback structure.\' Also, it supports the call for post-Keynesians and institutionalists to experiment with system dynamics as a method of scientific inquiry and a tool for dynamic simulation of economic systems characterized by uncertainty, delays, nonlinearities, and feedback in structures that reflect socioeconomic and political history.
Keywords: central bank; economics education; endogenous; exogenous; feedback; macroeconomics; monetary policy; money; system dynamics model; systems thinking.
Enhancing pluralism in the undergraduate economics curriculum by incorporating a political economy approach
by Pat Cantrell, David Mitchell
Abstract: Incorporating public choice not only adds another viewpoint to traditional economics, if offers the opportunity to engage in critical thinking about alternative methodologies and experience debate about economic hypotheses and conclusions. Adding political economy has the potential to make the material more lasting or sticky for students by making economics more relevant. Weaving the material into an overall curriculum not only adds an additional layer of learning and repetition but provides scaffolding for higher learning. We provide a rationale as well as many suggestions for courses. Incorporating pluralistic curricula with political economy instead of inserting the ideas into a single course allows economics departments to improve student learning so that it becomes truly meaningful to the student.
Keywords: public choice; critical thinking; pluralism.
Problem based learning - A non-mainstream way to teach economics
by Finn Olesen, Mogens Ove Madsen
Abstract: For decades now, in general, teaching in economics has been characterized by uniformity: not only do most economics departments focus exclusively on the mainstream economic understanding; at the same time, there is, in general, little room for addressing phenomena or problems of real life in a thorough manner. However, some universities have given way to progressive teaching methods in economics. As a case study, we try to highlight some aspects of the way we teach economics at Aalborg University, Denmark. Economics is taught in a pluralistic way, allowing for the incorporation of both the orthodox, and a range of heterodox approaches to addressing issues in economics. Especially, we have tried to give economics a post Keynesian flavour. In addition, the way we teach economics is based on the approach of Problem Based Learning.
Keywords: Post-Keynesianism; macroeconomics; Problem-Based Learning; economics teaching; economics pedagogy.