Tuesday, September 4, 2012


It's early in the semester and many of us who are teaching principles or survey courses are either just into choice or only recently moved on. Here's a great article from today's edition of The Wall Street Journal that sets up a choice that is sure to promote discussion.

Read it through and share what you and/or your students came up with.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Non-Price Determinants of Demand

This is not appropriate for use in high schools. However, those of you who teach at the college or university level may find this helpful.  Econgirl at EconomistsDoItWithModels has a great illustration of non-price determinants of demand with the help of "the most interesting man in the world."

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Monday, February 27, 2012

Abbot and Costello Explain Unemployment

Greg Mankiw posts a great piece from a colleague at the University of Chicago.

Generation Gap Alert: I just talked about this with my freshmen at one of the universities where I teach. None of them knew the Abbott & Costello routine "Who's on First?"  Consequently, you may want to skip this or show your students this clip first.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Economic Systems and Institutions

First, I know it's been a long time between posts - life isn't always what we want. I frequently come across items that should be brought to your attention. But due to other factors, I have to choose. It seems opportunity cost is an operative concept.

I don't know how many of you spend time discussing economic institutions and systems.  While many textbooks seem to bypass the subject or give it short shrift, I always try to spend at least one class period discussing them. And they are revisited throughout the semester. The rules that a society puts in place to influence or control decision-making are important if we are to understand the decisions.

Here is an excellent article from The Daily (HT to Arts & Letters Daily) that really brings the importance of institutions home. What I find particularly interesting is the aspect of traditional economies in a modern setting. One quickly understands how traditions can be an important mold for many choices. And attempts to change the rules, by issuing formal rules to replace informal rules, can have significant costs on many levels. I hope you take a moment to check the article out. And I hope you will share your thoughts.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Honey...I May Have Shrunk the Economy

Actor/writer Rick Moranis has a very amusing piece in the opinion section of today's edition of The Wall Street Journal. What struck me was how good it would be in setting up a discussion of opportunity cost. It really harkened back to Bastiat's "that which is seen and that which is unseen." I strongly recommend it and I hope you comment with your opinion.