‘New’ approach to economics courses criticised

A new approach to teaching economics being piloted at eight leading universities has been criticised by campaigners

October 11, 2014

The course, entitled “The Economy”, has been produced by the CORE Project (Curriculum Open access Resources in Economics), a group of more than 20 leading economists.

It is in response to allegations that many existing economics curricula ignore developments of the past three decades – particularly the economic crash of 2008.

“Economics teaching has failed to convey the exciting progress made in many fields in economics over recent decades in addressing the big questions about the economy,” said Antonio Cabrales, a professor of economics at University College London, one of the institutions taking part. “We are hoping to change that.”

However, Ben Glover, campaigns coordinator and chair of the Post-Crash Economics Society at the University of Manchester, which has conducted a high-profile campaign to change the economics curriculum at the institution, said that the new course “isn’t really much of a change”.

“The issues CORE sets out to address aren’t the real gaps in economics,” he said. “We see the real hole in economic thinking being the neglect of alternative economic perspectives. This is why we continually call for pluralism in schools of thought. Nowhere does CORE make this clear to its students and why in its current conception it fails.”

The CORE Project, launched in November 2013, is funded by the Institute for New Economics Thinking in New York and based at the Institute for New Economic Thinking, part of the Oxford Martin School at the University of Oxford.

Wendy Carlin, also a UCL economics professor, said: “Students from Manchester to Santiago, Chile, demanded courses that helped them understand and engage with the big questions they face – not only the financial crisis, but rising inequality and environmental degradation.”

Universities taking part in the pilot include the University of Massachusetts and Columbia University in the US; the School of Public Policy at the Central European University, Hungary; and Sciences-Po, France.

The course is based on an ebook, the beta version of which is available to anyone online. 

chris.parr@tesglobal.com

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