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PEAKONOMICS: TOWARD A CASE TYPOLOGY FOR INCREASING UNDERGRADUATE ECONOMICS LITERACY AND CONCEPT RETENTION

Charles Jobs, West Chester University

ABSTRACT

This paper hypothesizes there is a legitimate enhanced role in undergraduate economics curricula for study examples modeled from the popular book Freakonomics Levitt and Dubner (2005). The following research question is posed: Can popular Freakonomics style economic case examples increase average student retention of basic economics principles? Selected Freakonomics case examples are compared with leading contemporary economics texts to reveal similarities in the economic concepts they demonstrate. An economics case typology named Peakonomics is then presented to establish face validity towards a case typology that can be further researched quantitatively. This line of inquiry warrants a rigorous analysis and academic dialogue in part due to a recent adoption pattern of Freakonomics in many universities in economics and non-economics classes.

INTRODUCTION

This paper hypothesizes there is a legitimate enhanced role in undergraduate economics curricula for examples modeled from the popular book Freakonomics Levitt and Dubner (2005). The following research question is posed: Can popular Freakonomics style economic case examples increase average student retention of basic economics principles? Selected Freakonomics case examples are compared with leading contemporary economics texts to reveal similarities in the economic concepts they demonstrate. An economics case typology named Peakonomics is then presented to build face validity for quantitative research answering the posed question. This line of inquiry warrants a rigorous analysis and academic dialogue

Journal of Economics and Economic Education Research, Volume 9, Number 1, 2008

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