Original Reporting

Original Reporting | | Alternative models, Economy, Education
Do economics departments exclude diverse perspectives and fail to foster critical thinking skills? This concluding article in Remapping Debate's six-part series, based on interviews with more than a dozen prominent economists, finds continuing denial and resistance among most, even as some acknowledge that departments need to do better.More
Original Reporting | | Alternative models, Economy, Education
The narrowness of undergraduate economics education in the United States can be seen in the limited course offerings that are available to students at the advanced level of the curriculum, where there are a host of topics and perspectives not available to be studied at many economics departments. It is also reflected in the pervasive pedagogical technique known as "chalk-and-talk," which critics say encourages passivity, discourages interest, and fails to help students build the intellectual tools needed to think critically.More
Original Reporting | | Corporate influence, Taxes
It's the corporate tax reform mantra these days — at least on the Democratic side of the aisle. Supporters frequently say that the goal is a corporate tax system that makes the U.S. more competitive in relation to other industrialized democracies, reduces inequities and inefficiencies, and is “revenue neutral.” But serious questions have been raised about the premises underlying the vision of lowering rates and closing unwarranted corporate tax loopholes concurrently, and about the fiscal prudence and ultimate revenue neutrality of proceeding in that manner.More
Original Reporting | | Alternative models, Economy, Education
Why don't introductory economics courses, which are “the single most important point of contact between the economic discipline and the student body,” nor intermediate courses, which shape the curriculum as a whole, offer greater diversity of perspective and increased focus on the real economy? Critics of the status quo offer alternatives and recommend adding additional courses to make the discipline more consistent with a liberal model of education, from economic history to moral philosophy.More
Original Reporting | | Alternative models, Economy, Education
Largely absent from most schools: alternative viewpoints and a focus on the actual economy. Those omissions deprive many economics students of adequate training in critical thinking; together with curricula that have become more math-centric, many other students are discouraged from pursuing economics at all. Critics see profound failings: “Economics is one of the fields, like history or English, that we think of as being part of a well-rounded, liberal education,” said Robert Garnett, of Texas Christian University. “But most economics departments have not been taking the liberal education side of what we do seriously.”More
Original Reporting | | Corporate influence, Taxes
For all the talk of "civil justice reform" and the need to curb rampant litigiousness in the U.S., there hasn’t been a peep about an important benefit to one class of litigants that is deeply baked into the current system. Unlike individuals who have to bear their own litigation costs in all cases where they lose and in almost all categories of cases even where they win, the tax code provides that businesses may deduct all of their legal expenses (for lawyer and expert fees, and for discovery costs) in all cases — win or lose, meritorious or non-meritorious, plaintiff or defendant.More
Original Reporting | | Alternative models, Economy, Education
While often presented to students as if the principles of neoclassical economics were “divinely ordained,” critics say that even the most basic assumptions of neoclassical economics are strongly biased toward individualism and support of free markets. That students are not taught to recognize these biases has raised concerns that the students may be unconsciously internalizing those value judgments. “If you don’t see the [current economic crisis] as evidence that something needs to be changed in economics, you’re not paying attention,” said David Ruccio, an economist at the University of Notre Dame. “That leads to questions about why we’re teaching our students the same old thing.” Part 2 in Remapping Debate’s new series on undergraduate economics education.More
Original Reporting | | Alternative models, Economy, Education
Undergraduate economic education in the United States has long been dominated by one school of thought ⎯ neoclassical economics. This is the same school many blame for the policies that caused the financial crisis. Meanwhile, other perspectives continue to be pushed aside, reinforcing calls for pluralism and diversity in the economics curriculum, which many say is crucial to encourage students to think critically about the economy and the world around them. “These students are adults,” said Frederic Lee, a professor of economics at the University of Missouri–Kansas City. “They can fight wars for us, have children, vote, but they’re not allowed to be introduced to alternative viewpoints.” Part 1 in Remapping Debate's new series on undergraduate economics education.More