Teach Economics by Studying Real People

by George Leef

GMU economics professor Peter Boettke’s essay on The Freeman is crucial reading for economics professors and those who might want to become one of them.

Boettke writes:

Economics, as an academic discipline, rewards scientific cleverness over clarity, and research significance over teaching ability. The cost-minimizing strategy is to teach technique over substance. The material is straightforward and the tests are more or less unambiguous. So our young economics teacher — trying to balance the requirements of tenure, the wonders of economics (not to mention living a healthy, happy personal life) — must make trade-offs. And, on the relevant margin for our discussion, teaching economics thoroughly and passionately is what gets traded off.

I agree, and would add that what Boettke says about econ profs applies pretty much across the board.