Thursday, November 20, 2008

Our Own Edification

While I understand time is a scarce commodity, one of the things I like to do is keep up on my subject. I know the same goes for regular visitors of this blog because you tell me so. So, given that we both understand that scarcity is an operative concept, let me point you at a couple of resources that made me think about how I approach economics.

The first is a series by Arnold Kling at the Library of Economics and Liberty blog. He mentions in the first post that these entries represent how he thinks macro should be taught. And while I'm not sure I'm ready to reconstruct my syllabus from the ground up, I did get a number of ideas about how to approach certain topics. Post one is at the link above. Posts two through six are here(#2), here(#3), here(#4), here(#5) and here(#6).

I have to state up front, that I've not done more than peruse the second resource. But I intend to go through the whole series, either watching the on-line videos or reading the transcripts. This is A Short Course on Behavioral Economics, produced by Edge.org. Behavioral economics represents the intersection of economics and psychology and attempts to explain why we sometimes act differently then logical assumptions in economics would predict - or as I like to put it, the personal rationale behind apparently irrational decisions.

Let me know how these work for you.

4 comments:

rdan said...

I like the series in a quick look, although Kling has a definite point of view which must be kept in mind.

The definition of rational in economics is strangely limited and linear and quite narrow to begin with...see interviews from Sir Goldsmith 1994 in Congress from a recent AB post.

It is very hard in my classes to help students separate what is actually political from economic reasoning...I find that in the morass of indoctrination about polarizing (the bogeyman of free versus centralized, the silliness of belief in WTO rules versus protectionism, is quite difficult to get kids to un-learn first...)

Tim Schilling said...

That's why I try focus on the economic concepts and try to avoid discussions of the political. My objective is to illustrate the concept.

As I've indicated, I don't think either political party (current or future administration) has a particularly strong record to run or an amazing claim to truth or morality - however we choose to define either of those terms.

rdan said...

Yes. But so much is embedded in the conversation, especially as we watch Mankiw, Goolsby, Paulson, and others claim truth at times.

rdan said...

I sympathize greatly. Even though AB has a political point of view, I believe we try to keep the economics as clean as possible.

I use your illustrations in class.

Best,

Dan