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A Randomized Controlled Trial of Teaching Methods: Do Classroom Experiments Improve Economic Education in High Schools?

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  • Gerald Eisenkopf

    ()
    (Department of Economics, University of Konstanz, Germany)

  • Pascal Sulser

    ()
    (Department of Economics, University of Konstanz, Germany)

Abstract

We present results from a field experiments at Swiss high schools in which we compare the effectiveness of teaching methods in economics. We randomly assigned classes into an experimental and a conventional teaching group, or a control group that received no specific instruction. Both of our teaching treatments improve economic understanding considerably while effect sizes are almost identical. However, student ability crucially affects learning outcomes as more able students seem to benefit disproportionately from classroom experiments while weaker students lose out. Supplemental data indicates that our experimental treatment crowded out time for adequately discussing the subject, which may have limited less able students to generate a profound understanding. Furthermore there is no robust impact of economic training on social preferences, measured as both individual behavior in incentivized decisions or political opinions.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Department of Economics, University of Konstanz in its series Working Paper Series of the Department of Economics, University of Konstanz with number 2013-17.

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Length: 84 pages
Date of creation: 21 Jul 2013
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Handle: RePEc:knz:dpteco:1317

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Keywords: Education of Economics; Classroom Experiments; Conventional Teaching;

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