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Don't Put the Cart Before the Horse: Teaching the Economic Approach to Empirical Research

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  • Bradley A. Hansen
  • Mary Eschelbach Hansen

    ()
    (Department of Economics, American University)

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    Abstract

    When students are taught how to do original research in courses outside economics, they are taught to begin with the collection of data. This is not the approach followed by economists, who typically begin an answer to a research question by developing a model. The model then guides the search for evidence. We argue that the economic approach is more likely to lead to the development of a persuasive argument, and that greater awareness of the contrast between the economic approach and its alternatives can enable economists to improve the teaching of the research process.

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    File URL: http://w.american.edu/cas/economics/repec/amu/workingpapers/2005-12.pdf
    File Function: First version, 2005
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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by American University, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers with number 2005-12.

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    Length: 22 pages
    Date of creation: Dec 2005
    Date of revision:
    Handle: RePEc:amu:wpaper:1205

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    Web page: http://www.american.edu/cas/economics/

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    Keywords: teaching economics; research methods;

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    1. Garfinkel, Michelle R & Glazer, Amihai, 1994. "Does Electoral Uncertainty Cause Economic Fluctuations?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(2), pages 169-73, May.
    2. Joseph E. Stiglitz, 2000. "The Contributions Of The Economics Of Information To Twentieth Century Economics," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 115(4), pages 1441-1478, November.
    3. Shaban, Radwan Ali, 1987. "Testing between Competing Models of Sharecropping," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 95(5), pages 893-920, October.
    4. Alan S. Blinder, 1991. "Why are Prices Sticky? Preliminary Results from an Interview Study," NBER Working Papers 3646, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. McCloskey, Donald N, 1983. "The Rhetoric of Economics," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 21(2), pages 481-517, June.
    6. Fogel, Robert William, 1962. "A Quantitative Approach to the Study of Railroads in American Economic Growth: A Report of Some Preliminary Findings," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 22(02), pages 163-197, June.
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    Cited by:
    1. Robert Sproule & C?lin Vâlsan, 2009. "The student evaluation of teaching: its failure as a research program, and as an administrative guide," The AMFITEATRU ECONOMIC journal, Academy of Economic Studies - Bucharest, Romania, vol. 11(25), pages 125-150, February.

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