Dec 5, 2011

On Teaching the History of Economic Thought

Some data:
In a survey done 10 years ago, Ted Gayer ((2002) reported that only 13 of the top 62 graduate economics programs reported offering any course in the history of economic thought in the previous five years. Among the top 20 departments, only four reported having offered such a course. It seems likely that these numbers have declined even further in the last decade.
Why teaching and learning the history of economic thought is important?
Finally, Sandmo suggests that the study of the history of economic thought shows our students that economic analysis is not a static field but, as he puts it, an evolving one. This is no doubt true if we limit ourselves to what most of us know as microeconomics, but is it equally true of the study of aggregate or macroeconomics? Reading Grand Pursuit raises as many questions as it answers about just where the pursuit has led.
That is from this new interesting paper by Orley C. Ashenfelter. 

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