Tearing Up an Economics Textbook

Robert Samuelson, the economics columnist, has written a column titled, It’s time we tear up our economics textbooks and start over. What he actually says is we should tear up Greg Mankiw’s Principles of Economics:

But as a teaching device, [Mankiw’s] “Principles of Economics” has fallen behind. There’s little analysis of the impact of the Internet and digitalization on competition and markets. I couldn’t find either Apple or Facebook in the index; Google gets a few mentions.

Likewise, little attention is paid to the 2007-2009 Great Recession, the worst business downturn since the Great Depression, which also receives scant coverage relative to its significance. (Together, the two recessions receive about three pages, from 725 to 727.)

There’s some misleading information about the Great Recession and parallel financial crisis. On Page 691, we have this: “Today, bank runs are not a major problem for the U.S. banking system or the Fed.” This would surely surprise the Fed, which poured trillions of dollars into the economy to prevent financial collapse.

Mankiw’s assertion can be defended on narrow, technical grounds. There was no run by retail depositors (people like you and me) against commercial banks. We were protected by deposit insurance. But there was a huge run — a panic — by institutional investors (pension funds, hedge funds, insurance companies, endowments) that withdrew funds from traditional banks, investment banks and the commercial paper market.

…Mankiw’s textbook needs more than a touch-up; it needs a major overhaul. It has very little history: for example, the industrialization of the 19th century. Nor is there much about the expansion of the global economy. China gets a few mentions.

The market for principles textbooks, however, is competitive and there are alternatives to Mankiw. Krugman and Wells, for example, have a lot of very interesting boxes on the world economy and historical events. Modern Principles of Economics doesn’t use boxes but we illustrate the principles of economics with historical events and, of course, we use tech companies such as Facebook and Apple to discuss network effects and coordination games. Samuelson is a bit harsh on Mankiw, however, because it’s very easy to overwhelm students with details. Like physics, economics is powerful because it explains many things with a handful of principles. It’s true that Mankiw’s book doesn’t have much history or color–his paradigmatic market is the market for ice cream–but abstraction can focus attention. The tradeoff, of course, is that it can also lead to vanilla economics. But the Mankiw text is clearly written and the micro text is especially well organized, one reason we chose a similar organization for Modern Principles.

In Modern Principles we illustrate the ideas with more interesting markets but we work with them repeatedly so students don’t become overwhelmed. Our paradigmatic market is the market for oil. We use it to teach supply and demand, cartels, and the importance of real macroeconomic shocks. Using the market for oil also lets us teach about some important events in world history such as the OPEC oil crisis and the industrialization of China.

Samuelson is correct that the financial crisis was a run on the shadow banks but he’s incorrect that this isn’t taught to students of Econ 101. Here’s Tyler on the financial crisis. He covers leverage, securitization, asymmetric information, bank runs, fire sales and the rise of the shadow banking system. Students with the right textbook are well informed about the financial crisis and the economic principles that can help us to understand, analyze and perhaps avoid future financial crises.

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The problem with Principles classes is that they have an identity crisis. No one is sure whether they are intended to give people a taste of economics, from a liberal arts perspective, or to prepare Econ majors for higher level courses. Because they often try to do both, they fail to do either one particularly well.

It is also clear, as someone who majored in Econ, that micro and macro are two separate beasts that should not be taught in one course.

While the Great Recession is fresh in the memory of most people, it is a poor topic for a principles class. The event becomes the focus, not the principles. It is like basing a physics course around a recent solar flare that blacked out several cities. Topical, timely, and important, but a distraction. Good teaching cannot depart from the crawl, walk, run method. If student attention spans are too short for that, they shouldn't be in college. This technique works well in the military where students are substantially lower in average IQ and academic achievement than the average college student. Principles is also an important crucible. If they cant get Principles of Econ, they cant perform well in any meaningful upper division course and dont deserve a college degree. These courses are applied Math and critical thinking.

All good points Willets, but, even so, that MRU video with Tyler was 13 minutes very well spent for almost anyone. It was extremely well organized and put the right amount of emphasis on the incentive problem when money managers making long term investments are paid on the basis of short term results.

Ideally students would have the military level attention spans you expect but the best teachers and books make paying attention easy rather than making it a test of discipline.

The MRU video on the GR is good for a general taste of the problem, but wholly inadequate for a testable basis in economic theory. The video had exactly zero macroeconomic concepts and only touched on a few microeconomic concepts that they didn't even bother to name, such as moral hazard, adverse selection, and principal-agent problems. The drop in house prices was exogenous, literally falling from the sky like a meteor. It didnt explain how all this debt and leverage created massive unemployment and reduced economic output.

In other words, this (quite good) video is the equivalent of using Schoolhouse Rock "I'm Just a Bill" to teach a Poli Sci 101 course. My daughters watched Schoolhouse Rock in home school. But we didnt pretend that was the end of the lesson. A 13 minute video simply cannot cover the GR in any college level depth. A single lecture can't. Perhaps if I had a semester of teaching AD/AS, monetary and fiscal policy, and some micro-foundations, I could probably cap the course with the GR.

I'm afraid that this video would leave students believing the same tropes about the GR that they entered the course with, and hence not understanding the problem at all.

Willits, that's correct. The video offers a general taste to get the students interested. It's based on our textbook Modern Principles of Economics: Macroeconomics which of course is precisely what you suggest, namely "if I had a semester of teaching AD/AS, monetary and fiscal policy, and some micro-foundations, I could probably cap the course with the GR." Exactly!

I commend you for both. The quality of the video tells me a great deal about your quality as teachers, and all positive.

I hope you dont think I was critical of the video. I was merely responding to the suggestion that the video serves as a lesson in the GR unto itself.

I for one love blended learning and adopted a video textbook when I taught micro and macro principles. My students also use video lessons for the CFA program and we go more in depth in the classroom.

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I'm confused about why falling housing prices was the "precipitating event." Shouldn't the precipitating event be that people stopped paying their mortgages? Presumably my mortgage-backed security is still paying me the same rate of interest, even if the underlying home prices are falling, right? So what do I care what the underlying homes are worth unless I need to foreclose - which I won't do unless the homeowner stops paying, right? And, shouldn't the price of the mortgage-backed security depend on the interest/rate of return/risk, not the prices of the underlying houses?

Thanks for the clarification.

Not really. Default rates were high by historical standards but not in absolute terms. The vast majority of mortgages continued to pay.

It was a combination of the slowdown in home sales, the collapse of securitization, drop in house prices, etc. that precipitated it. Then securities prices collapsed, undermining capital. Commercial real estate collapsed on the heels of housing.

My beef is not what precipitated it. I agree it was housing. But house prices didnt just drop exogenously. The drop was baked into the inventory overhang, collapse in demand, and collapse of financing. That is, the crash resulted FROM the poor underwriting that preceded it.

Falling house prices served as an anchor for people who lost their jobs but didnt want to realize their loss of equity. Those who did move defaulted.

The recession hit hardest the very people who should have never been given home loans: low income people with cyclical employment. House price drops in percentage terms were largest in the lowest tier homes. These were primarily subprime loans.

This was very much a housing crisis. While all of the funky banking fueled and spread it, the fact is that NO securities would have defaulted if the underlying mortgages were sound. Underwriting was the linchpin. One could say that security underwriting was also important.

I'm afraid the wrong lessons get learned. The video feeds directly into the "greed" explanation which is just wrong, unless by greed you mean everyone including homebuyers.

An undiscussed factor in the "housing crisis" was smart phone contracts. People with money problems had to choose two of three monthly payments, mortgage or rent, automobile loan and smart phone contract. Of those three the mortgage was least important. One can live in a car but after having a smart phone there was no losing it.

Also, nobody ever talks about the fact that every house sold before the housing crash paid off in full the equity of the owner, who was then able to buy practically the same house as he sold for a much reduced price. Everyone who sold in the months leading up to the crash made out great. We never hear about them, though.

You are certainly correct about the nuts and bolts. As basic economic principles, I would describe this as the embedded option of buying a house. If prices go up, the owner cashes in or up. If prices go down, the owner walks away from the mortgage. For a lot of people, the impact on their credit rating was less important and temporary. Those who got principal writedowns and refinancing didn't even have to give up their homes.

Certainly those who "timed" the crash made out very well. I'm not sure that has any relation to economic principles. But as you say, lots of people had huge paydays.

Everyone involved in the housing market and associated financing was reaping rich personal rewards. Not just Wall Street bankers but carpenters, electricians, realtors, mortgage brokers, landscapers, government officials, home buyers...the list is endless. It was the proverbial punch bowl that no one had the courage to take away. By the time the Fed raised rates, it was too little, too late. By the time Fannie and Freddie retreated, the bubble was already formed and they continued as the #1 and #2 securitizers. Local governments never reigned in permits. Congress never recognized the problem of affordability products. Bank regulators never recognized poor underwriting and excessive leverage.

The crisis was completely started and facilitated by government. It fed into everyone's self interest and ego.

What moron who ever personally considered a buy vs rent decision ever thought that more than 60% of households should own homes?

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Do you have a source for the statement that military people have substantially lower IQs than the average college student? The Navy has stopped recruiting in several large cities because very few of their high-school graduates can meet the Navy's standards. And there are many colleges with very low admission standards, or none at all. A few years ago, when I was doing volunteer work with kids, one of my charges came pretty close to enrolling in a local college even though he had dropped out of school in tenth grade, had an IQ of 80, and once asked me if I was going to drive to Germany. The college would certainly have admitted him. He would not have been able to enlist in any of the armed forces, even at the height of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.

I'm not saying your claim is wrong, but it's not obviously right, either.

Obviously anyone who joins the military is “low IQ”. I don’t believe in IQ as a measurement, or the SAT. It’s all privilege. But the military obviously discriminates against minorities, such as Trans Volunteers.

But anyone who joins the military is obviously mentally retarded. And more importantly, immoral.

And Warren has no time for racist transphobic shenanigans.

End the military, they’re threatening to murder millions of Iranian Children. Promote peace: vote Warren. End the war.

I did not say that at all. 100% of officers are college educated and 100% of enlisted have a high school diploma or GED. The US military is BETTER educated than the general population.

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You are asking a fair question and I'm not sure I have a satisfactory answer. My first error or generalization was conflating IQ and education. Clearly fallacious. Lots of high IQ people with no college education.

18% of soldiers are officers, and 100% of those have college degrees. They are at least as smart if not smarter than the average college student.

Of the remaining 82% enlisted, about 70% have some college. But often they get college credits for their military education.

I'd chalk it up to opportunity costs. By no means am I saying soldiers are dumb. I'm merely comparing them on the whole with a group that has already passed some substantial hurdles.

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"It is also clear, as someone who majored in Econ, that micro and macro are two separate beasts that should not be taught in one course."

There's nothing wrong with the basic insights of microeconomics. Macroeconomics, which is most of what he seems to be complaining about, is a mess, which makes combining micro and macro in a single course difficult to pull off well.

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Plus, Economics Principles textbooks that don't advance the agenda will be burned.

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"...asymmetric information..."

Can any 'book' - much less 'textbook' - avoid being torn up in the 21st century? If information is the most valuable commodity on earth (and it is...) than those who can't do, but teach are going to need to learn how to tread water without pages filled with axioms that last for shorter periods.

Information isn't the most valuable commodity on earth, knowledge is. They're not the same thing.

Chuck, thanks for catching that. Information is too commonly conflated with knowledge. Information is cheap, given the information technology revolution. Knowledge is hard to acquire, and as expensive as it always has been, because to gain knowledge requires time -- which in our case, we have only a limited amount of.

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"Samuelson is correct that the financial crisis was a run on the shadow banks..."

Hubris. People are still arguing about the cause of The Great Depression. To prevent a recurrence, perhaps we could appoint a body to ensure liquidity in the financial system or something. Just thinking out loud here.

Correct.

The book Fault Lines comes as close as any to recognizing all of the problems. There are no good single-bullet theories for the GR. It was a combination of many problems all built up to dangerous proportions by bad incentives.

The only place where Rajan misses the mark is his misplaced and purely speculative reliance on income inequality as the political impetus.

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True. There are as many theories as there are writers on the causes of: The Great Depression, The Subprime Mortgage Crisis, The GR, the Fall of the (western) Roman Empire, . . .

One thing stands out: The Fed and 800,000 regulations did failed in the GD, the GR, and every other event since 1913. So, after each event, give it even more discretion and power!

You point to the period from 1935 to 1975 as proof regulations do not work, and from 1975 to 2005 of deregulation working?

Circa 1975 money market funds were deregulated to point they could be advertised as better substitutes for FDIC or Federal insured savings banks or State regulated/insured banks. Eg, the great banking disintermediation began, the creation of non-Fed banking, aka shadow banking.

Then in 2000, insurance was deregulated so the failure of private credit insurance in thee 80s would not burden capitalists with having to make good on bank insurance writing. Thanks to Phil Gramm, the 1907 "bucket shop" prohibitions were eliminated and insurers like AIG could easily take on billions in risk with a few million in capital reinssuring insurance policies written by banks with no capital behind the insurance.

In 1970, 90% plus of home loans were made with savings of people in the community getting the loans. Further, home value was defined by the number of people it housed and its floor area for living. A mortgage was written for successful people to buy a home. If someone with a home took on a mortgage, that was a family in failure.

I "woke" in 1990 to realize that the economic morality and theory from 1900 to 1970 had been flipped.

Going deeper in debt became a virtue by 1990, and being free of debt, living within your means, was now leftist, thus immoral.

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Greg Mankiw addresses the post in his blog. Makes some good points.

Not So Fast

Yes, Mankiw's "timeless truths". From a time long ago. I suspect, as does Samuelson, that those "timeless truths" have been overtaken by events. It is possible to restore those "timeless truths". Yes. How? Ask Tabarrok's Austrian friends.

I think fwiw, one reason for the extinctions of "timeless truths" could be that they are "played with' by governments' alphabet soup (alpha order: CFTC, CRA, FDIC, FHA, FHLMC, FNMA, FRB, HUD, GNMA, HMDA, OCC, OTS, SEC, VA, etc.) and their 550,000 market interferences and interventions.

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So we feed students a steady stream of Samuelson's opinion pieces? That should work rather well.

Mankiw's book is fairly even handed (he does throw some economists under the bus, but mostly in appendices) and a good introductory read. Samuelson's articles are usually clickbait and should be deflated in half to control for the hyperbole (I love that quote).

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'Like physics, economics is ...': thank you for the chuckle. It would seem that economists may not have realised that physics in no longer the #1 science. An analogy with genetics might impress youngsters more. Hayek quite often commented on the analogy between economics and the theory of evolution: you could always start a discussion from there.

I think you are on to something by thinking of an economy like a living organism. But I think the reverse is more apt. A living organism economizes on scarce resources, but as a planner with limited choices and abilities. A broader perspective of evolution resembles economic growth and development.

The one concept that is fundamental to physics, economics, and evolution is constrained mathematical optimization with risk and uncertainty. Everything is math.

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Actually, Samuelson targets all economics textbooks, but singles out only Mankiw's by name (because Mankiw sells the most textbooks): "We need to tear up the existing texts and start over, adding what is relevant and discarding what is outdated or unimportant. Mankiw’s textbook needs more than a touch-up . . . ." Samuelson's point is that both economics and economic textbooks have been overtaken by events: globalization, inequality, financial instability, etc. Few economists seem to understand that the world today is different, that old theories and models don't work anymore, that economic thinking as well as economic textbooks need to be updated to reflect the new economic order. It's understandable that economists, like everyone, would prefer to stick with what they already know rather than learn something new. But if they don't, soon enough nobody will pay any attention to what they have to say.

Probably they "don't realize it" because it's not true

What a damn joke to say that "globalization, inequality, financial instability" are new!

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Maybe Samuelson singles out Mankiw because his textbook has made him $42 MILLION dollars so far.

I've been reading economics for years and I do not think there is a coherent theory to what happens in the economy.

I liked Tylers video, but that is all after the fact analysis.

I hope the economists can find better things to do then make millions selling out of date textbooks.

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Q. Why could Lehman Brothers increase their leverage from 22 to 44 times?
A. They were authorized to do so by the SEC.
https://subprimeregulations.blogspot.com/2009/12/day-sec-delegated-to-basel-committee.html

So, Lehman was not dependent on small businesses and workers lending them money?

I remember Milton Friedman arguing money maket funds would be safer than FDIC savings banks because without government insurrance, the fund managers would be far more risk adverse than FDIC bankers in making loans.

So, if fund managers lending your savings in money funds are lending to Lehman, then Lehman must have been a much lower credit risk than say Google, Microsoft, Toyota, in 2004.

When government did what the banks asked and eliminated regulations, that did not result in government lending to these now less regulated banks. Nor did government authorize government insured saves be lent to these less regulated banks. Not did government order non-FDIC savings be lent to these unregulated banks.

It was the eager workers desperate for higher interest rates than Fed policy in both interest rates and mortgage market competition that fueled cash flowing into money funds to high risk loans like those to Lehman.

And the kinds of mortgages Lehman was begging for were clearly illegal inn 2000, until Phil Gramm got his deregulation jammed into the last bill Bill Clinton signed, a bill that was voted on with no one reading the bill because its was 2000 pages pasted together in secret hours before the vote. Then Greenspan refused tlo write the regulations required by that law, and the Bush administration sued to have the State mortgage regulations invalidated in favor of the non-existent Fed mortgage regulations Greenspan was opposed to.

What is further misleading is the myth most mortgages go to home buyers. Most mortgages go to replace existing mortgages, in most cases a non-risky mortgage is replaced by a higher risk mortgage: lower interest rate, ie risk premium, with a bigger debt to equity ratio, ie, bigger mortgage principle outstanding.

The bankers got what they wanted. Phil Gramm and his bank lobbyist wife delivered exactly what the commercial bankers paid for: getting the government out of the way by rolling back bank and security regulations created from 1900 to 1950 by trial and error progress.

By 1950, the only game was highly regulated mortgages from highly regulated savings banks, pretty much all Federal regulated, but not all. A few States had less restrictive regulations than Fed member banks were under, eg Texas. That's why Texas had its Great Recession in the 80s, not in the 00s.

The SEC did not act to deregulate in isolation. It was forced by the Congress voters elected on the promises kof the GOP they were going to deliver free lunches to all: benefits with not merely no costs, but benefits, like safer investments with higher returns that are easier to get, paid for with the added benefits of tax cuts and less regulations.

Good points. Particularly emphasizing that this was not primarily a purchase mortgage crisis. It was a cash out refi crisis. And that mortgage equity withdrawal was pumping in hundreds of billions of dollars annually the economy from 2004-2007.

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What Tyler’s video on the financial crisis ignores, is how much house prices had been pushed up by too much easy financing.

When you allow only a 5% down payment instead of requiring 20% that translates into 5% of a higher house price.

https://subprimeregulations.blogspot.com/2018/12/affordable-homes-or-investment-assets.html

>---"What Tyler’s video on the financial crisis ignores, is how much house prices had been pushed up by too much easy financing."

Doesn't ignore that at all. Watch the video.

I didn't see it either. And the drop in house prices was purely exogenous in their video.

>---"I didn't see it either."

They showed how down payments shrunk from 20% to zero.

Surely anyone who doesn't recognize that as the "easy financing" that pushed up housing prices doesn't meet your own high standards for college entry in the first place.

It's worth pointing out that, since 2010, we have deliberately pursued the reverse policy of severely constraining credit for home purchases, resulting in a decade of very low new construction. Of course, lots of bigshots live in "Closed Access" cities with NIMBY issues, so the rest of the country must suffer.

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Down payments shrinking and house prices rising are independent. They coincided in the crisis but dont neccesarily go together. You're putting together information you know OUTSIDE the video to complete the picture. You need to view the video from the perspective of someone who knows next to nothing about the crisis or even with some misinformation.

The story has gaping holes. My argument isnt that A&T are incapable of telling this story correctly. I'm stating that it is impossible for anyone to do so in a 15 minute video.

“Down payments shrinking and house prices rising are independent”

A lower down payment does not increase the possibility of many buyers to pay a higher price?

Marginally, and one off. Even without a down payment, buyers are still constrained by their house payments and income.

At the moment down payments disappear from the market, there is a small surge in demand from people with no wealth to put down. Then no effect thereafter. The general rise in house prices would be much lower than 20%.

But you're missing my point. I'm not saying that affordability products played no role in the crisis. They did very much. But the video doesn't make this explicit. As someone else did, you are applying knowledge of what happened outside of the video and claiming the video covered it.

I'm not criticizing the video. It was an heroic attempt at brief explanation. But the walls of Troy took many years for Achilles to breach.

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I have always wondered why economists have such physicist envy and when they would be better served being better historians

Then they will get history envy. Economists can never be themselves because they don't have the confident grounding that other fields of study possess.

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I'm reminded from an EconTalk podcast from about 10 years ago with Robert Frank where he discussed some research he'd done on students who'd taken intro Econ courses. He found that 6 months after the course had ended students who took the course did no better on tests of economic knowledge than students who'd never taken an Econ course. The key discussion runs from about 1:20 to 3:00

http://www.econtalk.org/robert-frank-on-economics-education-and-the-economic-naturalist/

It's really unfortunate that neither Frank nor anybody else seems to have followed up on this. But it is understandable, I guess -- nobody involved in higher Ed is motivated to do research demonstrating that nearly everything taught is soon forgotten. (I'm reminded, too, of Bryan Caplan's question "How would your career have been different if you had failed all the classes you’ve totally forgotten?").

Anyway, the question of whether or not Econ 101 texts need to stuffed with more up-to-the-minute topics seems amusingly misguided, since apparently it would be a major victory if students (at least the majority who do not go on to Econ majors) were to retain *any* of even basic economic principles for more than a few months.

I think that would apply to all college courses outside one's major. I'd also guess that those who did the best had higher retention.

The problem isn't how we teach economics or what we teach. It is who we let into college at all.

I think that would apply to all college courses outside one's major.

Yes, and probably plenty within one's major.

The problem isn't how we teach economics or what we teach. It is who we let into college at all.

I don't think so. I wouldn't expect that those students who forgot everything within 6 months necessarily did poorly in the class or were dullards generally.

I suspect it IS possible to teach a short list of fundamental principles of Economics in a way that would be durable and useful over years and decades. But it wouldn't take a semester to do it, and the course would be WAY too easy be useful for signalling purposes. For signalling, the course must be difficult, and in order to do that, it must technical and voluminous. For signalling, long-term retention doesn't matter a bit.

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It's difficult to answer that question because I'm sure there are some classes I've both failed and forgotten.

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Well, this comment didn't get much play. Do people think Frank's results are wrong and most non-major Econ 101 students DO actually retain a lot of what is taught? Or that the results are right, but we shouldn't pay any attention because that would mean major changes to university teaching that nobody wants to contemplate?

I'm reminded of the (probably apocryphal) quote about Darwinism from a bishop's wife: My dear, let us hope it is not true; but, if it is true, let us hope it will not become generally known.

I mean, what could be more important for the human capital development that purportedly occurs in higher education than checking to see if students retain course material even fairly briefly? Any yet is anybody at all interested in testing this? If anybody did (and found what I think we all expect/fear they would), might this not have an effect similar to the replication crisis?

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"This technique works well in the military where students are substantially lower in average IQ and academic achievement than the average college student."

Average college student? Really? Perhaps, you were referring to enlisted men and women who - without a doubt - are low IQ; because, well, you have such a high IQ and know about such things. In any case, I would be careful when using the adjective - average. College campuses are loaded with a lot of average folks who are quite deficient in common sense and the ability to think.

In addition, the following educational institutions have ROTC programs:

Harvard University
Stanford University
Cornell University
Columbia University in the City of New York
University of Chicago.

Yes, some enter ROTC to pay for school and complete the required service commitment; nonetheless, in order to become an officer, one must have a four year college degree. Plenty of engineers, doctors, lawyers, etc. in the military and I'm sure...econ majors.

18% of the US military are officers, all of which have college degrees. The remaining 82% are enlisted, only some of whom have college degrees.

I can safely say that the average soldier has a lower IQ than the average COLLEGE STUDENT. But I can also safely say the average soldier is better educated than the GENERAL POPULATION. 100% of officers have a college degree and 100% of enlisted have a HS diploma or GED. While these stats do conflate IQ and education, I think the correlation is high enough that my statements are still safe.

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Great job on the videos, by the way. I really appreciate your desire to improve instruction. It's a noble cause that is probably not rewarded enough in academia.

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Is cryptocurrency a libertarian's wet dream or a nightmare. Break stuff and see what happens, that's the libertarian's wet dream. Not so fast, my libertarian friends. Here's the nightmare view (with respect to Libra): https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2019/06/dont-trust-libra-facebooks-new-cryptocurrency/592450/ Will Mankiw's "timeless truths" mean anything in the new economic order represented by a currency controlled by large corporations?

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Go look in Mankiw's book and see if he has a computation on the monopoly costs of a central bank.

I need to know what the right to coin is valued at, my bank consortium intends to lease that right. If any econ textbook goes through that calculation, let me know.

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"Mankiw's textbook is... perfectly adequate. No need to tear it up. But if you do, by sheer happenstance we too have a textbook for your consideration."

We need an economics textbook whose paradigmatic market is the market for economics textbooks. Self-recommending!

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There is a paywall so I can’t see. Did Samuelson post his syllabus, problem sets and reading list?

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Willetts,

For incoming Gen Z freshmen this fall, the crash part of the Great Recession is history. They do not remember it.

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Exactly so. That’s why it’s better for a principles text to reference classic historical events like the industrial revolution or Great Depression. Let the instructor enhance with more current examples.

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It's just an introductory text. If the text makes it clear that it is just an introduction, people will know they have to go for the details in more advanced classes.

What bothers me most about economics textbook is that their empirical section are way too small. We basically have case studies to ilustrate the concepts. We should have a large empirical section discussing in more detail the findings.

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I don't suppose Mark Skousen was available for comment?

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I think Samuelson is just pissed off that his textbook is no longer the go-to econ textbook for intro to macroeconomics.

...and yes, I know the difference between Robert and Paul....

So, gvtucker, are you aware that Paul has been dead for nearly a decade now? I do not think he is upset about the status of his textbook.

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