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Education

Ethics

Economics Faculty Publications

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Full-Text Articles in Philosophy

Teaching Economics, Jonathan B. Wight Jan 2009

Teaching Economics, Jonathan B. Wight

Economics Faculty Publications

Ethical considerations intersect with economics education on a number of planes. Nonetheless, in terms of curricula, only a handful of economics departments offer courses specifically focused on ethics. This chapter addresses the ways in which instructors can incorporate ethical components into teaching principles and field courses in order to broaden economic understanding and to enhance critical thinking. It examines three pedagogical issues: the artificial dichotomy between positive and normative analysis; the limiting scope of efficiency in outcomes analyses; and the incorporation of alternative ethical frameworks into public policy debates.


Teaching The Ethical Foundations Of Economics: The Principles Course, Jonathan B. Wight Jan 2006

Teaching The Ethical Foundations Of Economics: The Principles Course, Jonathan B. Wight

Economics Faculty Publications

When we analyze the source of humor, one ingredient is surely incongruity, the juxtaposition of opposites. So when Tom Lehrer, the consummate Harvard mathematician, openly calls for plagiarism, this is funny because it is exactly the opposite of what we expect - it is absurd. And yet, from the viewpoint of modern economics, is plagiarism really so absurd? We teach our students to maximize short-term profits (in a moral vacuum). We drill them that producers minimize private costs of production (without reference to ethical codes of conduct). We expect economic agents to operate with atomistic selfishness, assuring them that this will ...


Teaching The Ethical Foundations Of Economics, Jonathan B. Wight Aug 2003

Teaching The Ethical Foundations Of Economics, Jonathan B. Wight

Economics Faculty Publications

Some economists consider their discipline a science, and thereby divorced from messy ethical details, the normative passions of right and wrong. They teach in a moral vacuum, perhaps even advocating economic agents' operating independently and avariciously, asserting that this magically produces the greatest good for society.