Monthly Archives: January 2007

Choosing an Economics Textbook or… Self-publishing Your Own Book?

Uwe E. Reinhardt discusses the choice of economics textbooks for principle of economics courses in Choosing textbooks and toothpaste. ( Pointer by Greg Mankiw).

Reinhardt argues that: Choosing a textbook for Economics 100 is like choosing toothpaste. There are as many textbooks to choose from in the bookstore as there are brands of toothpaste in the supermarket. Furthermore, just as the “new, new” toothpastes do not differ very much from what they replace, neither do the new editions of textbooks released every three years or so there is just enough changed to destroy the used-book market for the previous editions. Finally, there is not much more substantive difference in the structure and content of introductory economics texts than there is among different brands of toothpaste.

He adds: It appears that to be publishable, an introductory textbook in economics now must fit snugly into a cookie-cutter mold that appeals to the mass market for textbooks, which now includes high schools. This requirement dictates the remarkable homogeneity among introductory economics texts and also explains why many of them do not engage Ivy League students. In their quest to tailor their textbooks to the mass market, some publishers even highlight with yellow markers passages in the text they deem important. The thought appears to be that students either are preoccupied listening to their iPods while reading the text or are just plain too dumb to highlight important passages on their own..

As pointed out in a comment to Mankiw’s post, this last statement is possibly true is one substitutes publishable with marketable. As an example, the comment points out to the self-published Introduction to Economic Analysis textbook by McAfee, R. Preston (2005). McAfee released his book online under Creative Commons license. The book is available from here.

The 15th Improving Student Learning Symposium, Trinity College, Dublin, Ireland, 35 September 2007.

The closing date for submissions is 28 February 2007.

All submissions will be reviewed by three independent international referees. Decisions will be relayed to authors in the end of March 2007.

More infomation

Learning Tools for Intermediate Microeconomics

A very popular book in the teaching of microeconomics is Varian’s Microeconomic Analysis. (3rd ed. New York: W.W. Norton & Company, 1992).

MIT OpenCourseWare offers Prof. Izmalkov’s answers to the even-numbered textbook problems used in the course. As Varian’s textbook contains only the answers to odd-numbered problems, Prof. Izmalkov’s answers may be helpful to students who want to deepen their understanding of microeconomics.

Economics teaching at ASSA 2007

Here are the sessions on economics teaching at this year ASSA.

Friday, January 5, 2007, 10:15 AM

Session: K-12 Economic and Financial Literacy Education

Presiding: Elizabeth Webbink (National Council on Economic Education)

Field Testing Novel Digital Learning Modules for Economics in the Third Millennium
Hodgin, Robert F. (University of Houston, Clear Lake)
Cobb, Steven L. (University of North Texas)
Davila, Alberto (University of Texas, Pan American)

Testing the Economic Literacy of K-12 Teachers: A Baseline Analysis for Mississippi
Grimes, Paul W. (Mississippi State University)
Millea, Meghan (Mississippi State University)
Thomas, M. Kathleen (Mississippi State University)
Download Full-Text Paper

Does Professional Learning for High School Economics Teachers Improve Student Achievement?
Swinton, John R. (Georgia College and State University)
Scafidi, Jr., Benjamin P. (Georgia State University)
De Berry, Thomas W. (North Georgia College and State University)
Woodard, Howard C. (Georgia College and State University)
Download Full-Text Paper

Assessing the Effectiveness of Financial Fitness for Life in Eastern Kentucky
Harter, Cynthia L. (Eastern Kentucky University)
Harter, John F. R. (Eastern Kentucky University)
Download Full-Text Paper

Saturday, January 6, 2007, 8:00 AM

Session: Interactive Workshops on Teaching Economics

Presiding: Michael K. Salemi (University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill)

Using Cooperative Learning to Improve Student Understanding of Exam Evaluation
Caviglia-Harris, Jill L. (Salisbury University)
Download Full-Text Paper

A Classroom Experiment on Exchange Rate Determination
Rebelein, Robert (Vassar College)
Simpson, Nicole B. (Colgate University)
Download Full-Text Paper

New Insights from In-Class Experiments: Using Excel to Post and Analyze Results on the Spot
Creahan, Thomas A. (Morehead State University)
Download Full-Text Paper

Saturday, January 6, 2007, 10:15 AM

Session: New Strategies for Teaching Economics Courses

Presiding: Paul Romer (Stanford University)

Teaching the Dismal Science Socratically
Elzinga, Kenneth G. (University of Virginia)

A Fresh Look at the Daily Quiz: Engaging Students in Principles Courses
Hoyt, Gail (University of Kentucky)

The Principles of Macroeconomics Class: Teaching Aggregate Thinking
Wood, William C. (James Madison University)
Download Full-Text Paper

Saturday, January 6, 2007, 2:30 PM

Session: Poster Session on Teaching Ideas and Projects

Presiding: Rae Jean B. Goodman (U.S. Naval Academy)

Collaborative Assignments without Regrets
Joerding, Wayne (Washington State University)
Download Full-Text Paper

Using Excel to Teach New Keynesian Economics
Kapinos, Pavel (Carleton College)

An Experimental Market for the Classroom to Test if Speculators Stabilize Prices
Kilkenny, Maureen (University of Nevada, Reno)

The Hogwarts System: An Internet Based Utility to Foster Students’ Active Class Participation and Attendance
Lange, Carsten (California State University, Pomona)

Service or Community-Based Learning Projects
Lopez, Mary (Occidental College)

An On-Line Scavenger Hunt with Blackboard
Quinn, Michael A. (Bentley College)

iPods in Economics? Technology for Enhancing Active Learning
Shackelford, Jean (Bucknell University)
Download Full-Text Paper

The End of Teaching? The Use of Active Technology in the Large Introductory Economics Class
Sheflin, Neil (Rutgers University, New Brunswick)
Download Full-Text Paper

Active Learning Strategies for Microeconomic Theory
Smith, John Z. (New York University)
Download Full-Text Paper

Demand Analysis with “Real Data”
Stockly, Sue (Eastern New Mexico University)

Top Ten Lessons on Ethics in Economics: The Templeton/NCEE Project
Wight, Jonathan B. (University of Richmond)

Sunday, January 7, 2007, 10:15 AM

Session: Computer Assisted Instruction: New resources and Updates

Presiding: Tod S. Porter (Youngstown State University)

New Developments in the UK Economics Network
Pomorina, Inna (University of Bristol)
Sloman, John (University of Bristol)
Download Full-Text Paper

Mathematics for Economics: An Update on the METAL Project
Taylor, Rebecca (Nottingham Trent University)
Download Full-Text Paper

Using Wikis to Empower Student Learning in Seminar Courses
Greenlaw, Steve (University of Mary Washington)
Elzer, Elizabeth (University of Mary Washington)

FlashEcon and Opus: Constructing Internet Applications to Support Instruction
Fung, K. K. (University of Memphis)
Download Full-Text Paper