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Issue-based teaching in economics


  • Dean Garratt
  • Rebecca Taylor


Economics has evolved into a highly technical academic discipline. Considerable weight is placed on the ability of academic economists to be familiar and skilled in the use of mathematical and statistical techniques. This is how academic economists tend to be judged by their peers. As a consequence, academic economists in demonstrating their ability to use such techniques often apply their work to abstract problems or confine themselves to conceptual discussions. But, when adopted by economic instructors there is a real danger that students become disengaged and de-motivated which is of particular significance at a time of increasing concerns about recruitment and retention rates. This paper addresses how the adoption of issue-based teaching to level 1 economics undergraduates would help in motivating students to engage with economics. It argues that issue-based teaching can enable students to achieve higher levels of learning with students recognising that they can apply economic concepts and tools across a series of real and relevant issues. Although the paper is directed towards the teaching of economics it is, nonetheless, of relevance to all instructors of level 1 students.

Suggested Citation

  • Dean Garratt & Rebecca Taylor, 2004. "Issue-based teaching in economics," Working Papers 2004/2, Nottingham Trent University, Nottingham Business School, Economics Division.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbs:wpaper:2004/2

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. William E. Becker & Michael Watts, 2001. "Teaching Methods in U.S. Undergraduate Economics Courses," The Journal of Economic Education, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 32(3), pages 269-279, January.
    2. David G. Loomis & James E. Cox, Jr., 2003. "Principles for Teaching Economic Forecasting," International Review of Economic Education, Economics Network, University of Bristol, vol. 2(1), pages 69-79.
    3. William E. Becker, 2000. "Teaching Economics in the 21st Century," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 14(1), pages 109-119, Winter.
    4. William E. Becker, 1997. "Teaching Economics to Undergraduates," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 35(3), pages 1347-1373, September.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item


    Issues-based teaching; engagement; motivation; learning theory.;

    JEL classification:

    • A20 - General Economics and Teaching - - Economic Education and Teaching of Economics - - - General
    • A22 - General Economics and Teaching - - Economic Education and Teaching of Economics - - - Undergraduate


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