My Goals with Teaching the Introduction to Economics

This semester I am teaching the Introduction to Economics in twelve or so ninety-minute lectures. This course is open to all students at the University Graz and (taking an exam in this course is) mandatory for all students of economics, business administration, and sociology.

I have the following goals with this course. One, I would like you to see the current relevance of what I teach. Two, I do not want to use more math than some simple algebra. Three, I would like you to be able to assess the plausibility of what I say by yourself. Four, I would like the course to have a natural progression of topics. Five, I want to convey (some of) the key insights of economics. Six, I want you to understand the different approaches we can and do take to tackle economic problems and to be able to decide when which approach is more appropriate. Anyway, it is a bit of a challenge and not everyone will completely agree with my choices as to what goes in the class and what does not and how I teach it. But I would here like to put on record what my choices are.

I do not follow a particular textbook. Perhaps my favorite introductory textbook is “The economic way of thinking” by Paul Heyne (et al), but I also like “The cartoon introduction to economics” by Yoram Bauman, and some popular science books such as Dani Rodrik’s “Economics rules” or “Freakonomics” by Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner. I also recommend that you google terms that pop up in class and read Wikipedia entries. You should be aware that not all Wikipedia entries are great (anyone can write and edit them). Perhaps a general guideline about Wikipedia entries: the more specific the problem the better Wikipedia entries seem to be. Other good sources for information on different topics are the survey articles in the Journal of Economic Perspective and the Journal of Economic Literature.

In posts to follow I will describe what I teach and also offer a link to the Videos (but these are in German). The first video offers general information about the course:



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