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Is undergraduate economics curriculum relevant?

Faculty Advisor




undergraduates, economics, teaching, introductory economics

Abstract (summary)

Introductory economics textbook models and theories are simple, intuitive, and elegant. Another thing they have in common is they are not supported by the data. Textbook models such as exchange rate determination are reviewed and compared to empirical literature. It is argued that much of the material taught in intro courses is irrelevant for many students. Three major sources or irrelevance are identified. First, many of the theories have no external validation. Second, some are incomplete. Students need to take additional courses for understanding these incomplete theories. Last, textbooks do not describe nor discuss aspects of the economy that would be of great interest for any citizen. This work asks how the teaching of introductory economics can become more useful and attractive for the majority of students, especially those who do not seek a degree in economics.

Publication Information

Colonescu, C. (2011, June). Is undergraduate economics curriculum relevant? Paper presented at the conference of the Canadian Economics Association, Ottawa, ON. doi:10.2139/ssrn.1913435


Presented on June 4, 2011 at the Canadian Economics Association annual conference held at the University of Ottawa in Ottawa, Ontario.

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