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Undergraduate economics teaching

EC102 MT “Economics as a Frame to See, Debate, and Change the World”
This introductory course in Microeconomics challenges students to view the world through an economist's eye. We use traditional economic tools to analyse consumers and firms in order to understand current political debates about taxes and inequality. We explore how game theory can inform the debate about burning social issues, such as the internet and violence, discrimination, health insurance, and CEO pay. Guest lecturers broaden the view; in the 2018/19 year a top executive from Virgin Atlantic will explain how companies set prices. And we will explore how new research about happiness challenges the traditional ways in which economists have evaluated economic policies.

EC102 LT “The Verbal Macroeconomist”
Economics relies heavily on mathematics as a tool to help fashion rigorous answers to clearly formulated questions.  Because it gets used so much, and takes on such a central role in the economics curriculum, students (and lecturers!) sometimes lose sight of the fact that maths is just a tool and a shortcut: the most important economics ideas can also be arrived at by rigorous verbal reasoning. Furthermore, a trained economist must be able to communicate with non-economists, who often do not have mathematical training. The Macroeconomics half of EC102 stresses verbal reasoning to enable students to focus on the economics rather than the maths and to develop early in their economics training the skill to communicate with non-economists.

EC201 “An Active Learning Environment for Microeconomics”
This course breaks with the traditional format of lecture, homework, and a weekly one hour class which reviews the solutions to homework. The EC201 format involves two hour classes with more students. Rather than reviewing answers to past problems, students also work in groups on new problems in class to consolidate skills, throw up new questions, and encourage students to work more actively in class. Class teachers typically roam the room offering help to individual groups and bring the class community back together to talk about issues arising for many students.  Students prepare better, get involved more actively, and take more away from classes as a result.

EC210 LT “Crisis Macroeconomics”
After the largest world recession since the Great Depression, a public debt crisis that threatened the euro, the return of hyperinflation to a South American country, and currency crises and speculative attacks popping up everywhere, students walked into the classroom every year wanting to understand these macroeconomic collapses. Fortunately, these events generated large swings in the data that make macroeconomic mechanisms more transparent through simple plots, which can be used to teach. Responding to students’ desire, EC210 is now taught unconventionally by going beyond textbooks. Instead, it starts every week in the Lent term with a question about financial systems, inflation, recessions, monetary and fiscal policy, from the perspective of these crises and their consequences. It then introduces the main tools, models and data of macroeconomics in the process of answering these questions.

EC220 MT “The Econometrics of Causal Effects”
The world throws at us an ever-increasing volume of data. Statistics and econometrics are the tools for turning that data into knowledge. And not just any old knowledge, but answers to questions that matter to us. What are the effects of raising school fees? Will attending lectures help you get better marks? Should Netflix recommend “Making a Murderer” or the next season of “Stranger Things”?  EC220 students will learn how these questions differ, and what type of tools are necessary to answer them. Students work with data to learn how to craft their own answers in order to push forward their understanding of economics. Oh, and in EC220 we have the other modest goal of having fun and changing forever the way you see the world.