Relevance of Economics Teaching at University
Here is a link to Peter Day’s Global Business programme from the BBC World Service – Economic Rebellion. In this episode he looks at the history of economics teaching and asks why some universities are changing their courses whilst others are staying put. Since the crash of 2008 students have been rebelling against the economics teaching. In an interview with John Kay, he quite rightly stresses the importance of teaching ‘Economic History’.
Arthur Marshall gave his advice to the economics profession.
* Are you covering different schools of economic thought in your teaching? Is your approach intellectually pluralistic enough?
* Are you teaching enough economic history, so that we can learn the lessons from the past?
* Do your students have enough time to absorb and reflect on the material they are learning? In fact, as the discipline expands, are your students taking enough economics?
* Are you encouraging your students to embrace and respect the perspectives that other disciplines bring to thinking about and solving economic problems? What, for example, have we learned about neuro, evolutionary and behavioural economics? And how can that learning be better incorporated into public policy-making?
* How can we better understand the trade-offs between policies that improve incomes and those that improve social inclusion or environmental sustainability or our resilience to economic shocks?
* And, perhaps most importantly, are you challenging yourselves, and your students, to think beyond the comfortable?
Having read ‘This Time is Different’ by Carmen Reinhart and Kenneth Rogoff you often wonder why economists and public officials didn’t pick the common patterns amongst so many previous financial crises
I can also recommend the book “What’s the use of Economics”, edited by Diane Coyle, which examines what economists need to bring to their jobs, and the way in which education in universities could be improved to fit graduates better for the real world.