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I Teach Economics, Not Algebra and Calculus


  • John D. Hey


Most people learn to drive without knowing how the engine works. In a similar vein, the author believes that students can learn economics without knowing the algebra and calculus underlying the results. If instructors follow the philosophy of other economics courses in using graphs to illustrate the results, and draw the graphs accurately, then they can teach economics with virtually no algebra or calculus. The author's intermediate micro course is taught using mathematical software that does the mathematics and that draws accurate graphs from which students can see the key results. He backs up this no-algebra no-calculus approach with tutorial exercises in which students do economics and with exams that require no knowledge of algebra and calculus. The students end up feeling the economics, rather than fearing the algebra and the calculus.

Suggested Citation

  • John D. Hey, 2005. "I Teach Economics, Not Algebra and Calculus," The Journal of Economic Education, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 36(3), pages 292-304, July.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:jeduce:v:36:y:2005:i:3:p:292-304
    DOI: 10.3200/JECE.36.3.292-304

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