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Economic Understanding in US High School Courses


  • William B. Walstad


The effects of courses on student achievement are studied using 2006 data from the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) in economics. A regression analysis showed expected and significant achievement differences by course, with the highest scores in advanced economics, followed by general economics. Courses in business and personal finance were not substitutes for advanced or general economics courses. A probit analysis showed that students taking economics courses relative to personal finance courses are significantly more likely to think their courses helped them understand the US economy, the international economy, and current events--but not how to manage personal finances.

Suggested Citation

  • William B. Walstad, 2013. "Economic Understanding in US High School Courses," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 103(3), pages 659-663, May.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:aecrev:v:103:y:2013:i:3:p:659-63
    Note: DOI: 10.1257/aer.103.3.659

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. William B. Walstad & Ken Rebeck, 2012. "Economics Course Enrollments in U.S. High Schools," The Journal of Economic Education, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 43(3), pages 339-347, July.
    2. William B. Walstad & Stephen Buckles, 2008. "The National Assessment of Educational Progress in Economics: Findings for General Economics," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(2), pages 541-546, May.
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    Cited by:

    1. Cordero, José Manuel & Gil, María & Pedraja Chaparro, Francisco, 2016. "Exploring the effect of financial literacy courses on student achievement: a cross-country approach using PISA 2012 data," MPRA Paper 75474, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    2. Michael Batty & J. Michael Collins & Elizabeth Odders-White, 2015. "Experimental Evidence on the Effects of Financial Education on Elementary School Students' Knowledge, Behavior, and Attitudes," Journal of Consumer Affairs, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 49(1), pages 69-96, March.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • A21 - General Economics and Teaching - - Economic Education and Teaching of Economics - - - Pre-college


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