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Teaching Economics Using Historical Novels: Jonathan Harr's The Lost Painting

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  • Chad Cotti
  • Marianne Johnson

Abstract

Undergraduate students are often interested in and benefit greatly from applications of economic principles. Historical novels drawn from real-world situations can engage students with economic concepts in new ways and provide a useful tool to help enhance instruction. In this article, the authors discuss the use of historical novels generally in microeconomics, and examine The Lost Painting , a historical novel by Jonathan Harr (2005), in detail. Topics illustrated in the novel include scarcity, opportunity cost, cost-benefit analysis, tax avoidance, labor market specialization, compensating wage differentials, competition and market structure, pricing, income, and government regulation. The authors include an in-depth description of how to incorporate a historical novel into a microeconomics class and provide some evaluation strategies.

Suggested Citation

  • Chad Cotti & Marianne Johnson, 2012. "Teaching Economics Using Historical Novels: Jonathan Harr's The Lost Painting," The Journal of Economic Education, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 43(3), pages 269-281, July.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:jeduce:v:43:y:2012:i:3:p:269-281
    DOI: 10.1080/00220485.2012.686391
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