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

Author

Listed:
  • Bradley A. Hansen
  • Mary Eschelbach Hansen

    () (Department of Economics, American University)

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.

Suggested Citation

  • Bradley A. Hansen & Mary Eschelbach Hansen, 2005. "Don't Put the Cart Before the Horse: Teaching the Economic Approach to Empirical Research," Working Papers 2005-12, American University, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:amu:wpaper:1205
    as

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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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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. McCloskey, Donald N, 1983. "The Rhetoric of Economics," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 21(2), pages 481-517, June.
    2. Joseph E. Stiglitz, 2000. "The Contributions of the Economics of Information to Twentieth Century Economics," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 115(4), pages 1441-1478.
    3. Blinder, Alan S, 1991. "Why Are Prices Sticky? Preliminary Results from an Interview Study," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 81(2), pages 89-96, May.
    4. 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.
    5. Garfinkel, Michelle R & Glazer, Amihai, 1994. "Does Electoral Uncertainty Cause Economic Fluctuations?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(2), pages 169-173, May.
    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.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    teaching economics; research methods;

    JEL classification:

    • A20 - General Economics and Teaching - - Economic Education and Teaching of Economics - - - General
    • A12 - General Economics and Teaching - - General Economics - - - Relation of Economics to Other Disciplines

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