Perishing for Want of Wonder

ECON 101 has fallen on hard times. I won’t repeat all the rebuttals to this perspective that have been offered by sophisticated true believers or by master teachers of 101.

Instead, I simply wanted to share the approach I take. Each class period centers on a question about the social world that economics illuminates. My goal is to invoke a sense of awe and wonder at the power and beauty of economic reasoning.

Posting these here because I’m always open to new suggestions.

The Economic Approach I: Do seatbelt laws kill?
The Economic Approach II: Do economists agree?  
Foundations of Economics: Why should you thank your high school geometry teacher?
Economic Method: What’s the difference between a rock and a person?
Human Action: What did the Martian see at Grand Central Station?    
Opportunity Cost: Do hurricanes make the world a better place?    
Economic Goods: If your life depended on it, could you make an omelet?
Marginal Utility: Why do quarterbacks earn more than economics professors?
Direct Exchange: Should we “cut out the middleman”?
Direct Exchange: Are low wages exploitative?
Absolute Advantage: Whatever happened to Tasmania?
Comparative Advantage: Which state is the best for growing cars?
Property and Ownership: Where do the biggest oysters grow?
Indirect Exchange: Can you spare a smoke?
The Law of Demand I: In ten years, what should you remember from this class?
The Law of Demand II: Do sugar tariffs make us fat?
The Law of Supply: Why aren’t you a garbage collector?
Price Formation I: What is a price?
Price Formation II: How do prices turn enemies into friends?
Elasticity: Did Prohibition fail?
Market Changes I: What happens to ER visits when the price of water changes?
Market Changes II: What’s graphite got to do with peanut butter?
Market Changes III: How does Uber’s “surge pricing” make the world a safer place?
Factor Prices I: Will recycling paper save the trees?
Factor Prices II: What’s the deadliest job in America?
Profit and Loss I: What does it profit a main to gain the world and lose his soul?
Profit and Loss II: Is profit a four-letter word?
Cartel: What if I told you that airplane food used to be delicious?
Monopoly: Why does the DMV take forever?
Labor Unions: Who should we thank for high wages?
Price Ceilings I: Need an apartment? Search the obituaries!
Price Ceilings II: How do you conquer a city in three days (or less)?
Price Floors I: What happened to elevator operators?
Price Floors II: Why does Europe have “butter mountains”?
Taxes and Subsidies: Where did all the windows go?    
Regulation I: Will concussions doom the NFL? (And what’s the solution?)
Regulation II: Will MySpace ever lose its monopoly?
Regulation III: Who wants to be regulated?
Economics Everywhere: Where can economics take you?

Here’s a link to the syllabus itself.

One thought on “Perishing for Want of Wonder

  1. October 14th – CSOC

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