How to Teach the History of Economic Thought

by Gene Callahan

I was recently asked about a good textbook to use in teaching the history of economic thought. Well, last year I had used William Barber’s book, and found it wholly adequate. But as I was teaching the course, I became somewhat uneasy about the textbook approach. I started to feel I was giving what Michael Oakeshott referred to as a “museum tour” of that history: “Over there, on your left, is Aristotle… he held exchange should take place when values exchanged are equal. There, on the right, is Adam Smith. Do you see the extensive division of labor in his diorama? Just past him is David Ricardo…” Continue reading

Changes in Teaching Economics?

by Mario Rizzo  

The Economist asked how the teaching of economics might change in the wake of the financial crisis and the recession.  

Predictably, some economists said they would teach more about the (shadow) banking system and economic history. That is good. But most will simply tweak their courses. 

The vast majority of economists know what they have been taught. The active researchers also know the models or frameworks that have governed their research. Most are not about to shake up the world of ideas that has been good to them.   Continue reading