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I Teach Economics, Not Algebra and Calculus

John D. Hey
The Journal of Economic Education
Vol. 36, No. 3 (Summer, 2005), pp. 292-304
Published by: Taylor & Francis, Ltd.
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/30042661
Page Count: 13
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I Teach Economics, Not Algebra and Calculus
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Abstract

Most people learn to drive without knowing how the engine works. In a similar vein, the author believes that students can learn economics without knowing the algebra and calculus underlying the results. If instructors follow the philosophy of other economics courses in using graphs to illustrate the results, and draw the graphs accurately, then they can teach economics with virtually no algebra or calculus. The author's intermediate micro course is taught using mathematical software that does the mathematics and that draws accurate graphs from which students can see the key results. He backs up this no-algebra no-calculus approach with tutorial exercises in which students do economics and with exams that require no knowledge of algebra and calculus. The students end up feeling the economics, rather than fearing the algebra and the calculus.

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