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Greg Ransom

Math tests are easier to give than non-math tests -- and teaching math is closer to creating publications.

That's the bottom line of why economists teach math instead of economics ...

Sorry to put it so crudely.

You can't put entrepreneurial learning or non-equilibrium global price coordination or multiple production processes into a math construct -- and these are the very explanatory bedrock and causal mechanism of economics.

And all the math only keeps you guys for understanding this fundamental insight at the core of economics.

My wife learned all the math for an econ degree at a top 10 econ department -- she learned and forgot a ton of math. But learning the nature of economic causal explanation or the economic way of thinking? .. not so much.

You guys delude yourself about the "travel well" stuff re all the math. This math is almost immediately forgotten. And the math doesn't communicate the economic way of thinking or the explanatory problem and causal solution of economics.

It's easy to teach and serves your publish or perish interests. That's the real bottom line.

(Most of these arguments are straight out of Coase -- see his papers on "blackboard economics")

Greg Ransom

Does any economist care what kind of economic understanding a person has, say, 5 years after getting a BA in economics?

I've never seen any interest anywhere in looking at or even thinking about that. Is there a single research paper investigating this?

Which is just more evidence that economists really aren't concerned about teaching an understanding of the explanatory problem of economics or the economic way of thinking or the causal solution to the problem of economic coordination and order.

Last time the AEA investigated the economic knowledge and understanding of grad students at the very top economic department they discovered what the AEA committee described as "idiot savants" -- people with savant like mathematical ability and almost no knowledge or understanding of the real economy, the history of economic thought, the workings of the business world or the basic economy, etc.

Greg Ransom

I've always been amazed that economists don't look at the incentive structure of an economics professor and the public choice consequences of the bureaucratic structure of the economics profession the way, say, economists look at the incentive structure of a Congressman or the public choice consequences of the bureaucratic structure a gov. agency ...

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