A few weeks ago I had a brief exchange on Twitter with @unlearningecon about the possibility of introductory economics instruction going beyond teaching the neoclassical model of perfect competition and exploring alternatives. If I remember correctly our exchange didn’t get much beyond me saying that to do so is quite a challenge. Students can find it difficult enough to grasp the standard model, let alone alternatives to it. The challenge is compounded because some of the alternatives, at micro-level at least, are not as well worked through as the standard model. @unlearningecon didn’t feel it was so difficult.
Of course, I’ve no idea upon what @unlearningecon is basing his/her view. Our exchange was no more extensive than that. We didn’t pursue the issue. The view might be underpinned by plenty of experience. All I can say is that, in that case, the experience is different from mine.
For quite a while I have been thinking about what students should be introduced to when they are introduced to economics. The issue has become somewhat more high profile following the global financial crisis and the questioning of established economic paradigms. [Read more…]