8 Resources

8.1 Single textbooks appropriate for heterodox modules

A common problem on all modules is that students often demand that their lecture and seminar material be supported by a single textbook. Using a single textbook can have advantages: students can get more out of a book with which they are familiar and a single textbook is generally cheaper than a range of books. This demand presents a problem for modules teaching heterodox content, because unsurprisingly most textbooks - or books able to play that role - are written from the orthodox perspective. However, a few exceptions stand out:

  • Dow (1996) takes a methodological approach to examining schools of thought in macroeconomics. The advantage of this is that many of the differences between schools are methodological; and compare/contrast questions are often answered well if they address key methodological themes, such as predictive capability, the nature of the individual, etc. rather than merely expositing the two views and then attempting a contrast.
  • Snowdon, Vane and Wynarczyk (1998) is another text aimed at higher-level macroeconomics students and, like Dow, it outlines different schools of thought.

Neither book attempts to reach conclusions about which school of thought is 'best'; rather they allow students to make up their own minds.

However, heterodox concepts are most effective when the student is exposed to them early and often. Thus, some introductory texts would be useful. Again, most of the textbooks on the market tend to be written from a neoclassical perspective, even when attempts are made to address other views and other ways of thinking. There are some exceptions, however. Stretton (1999) is a book aimed at an introductory level student. It is interesting in a number of ways, principally because of the order of its chapters.

  • Rather than adopt a structure similar to that shown in Table 1a or the right side of Table 4b, the book comprises sections (each containing several chapters) on 'studying economics', economic growth, demands, productive institutions, distributive institutions and economic strategy.
  • Crucially, Stretton places an early emphasis on method and on the history of thought. This immediately impresses on the reader that economics is a changing subject. This encourages the student not to think of theories as fixed and correct forever.
  • Significantly also, Stretton introduces schools of thought: not as objects to be studied in depth, but as ways of thinking which can be applied to different problems.

Earl and Wakeley (2005) offer another resource, designed specifically with parallel perspectives in mind. It is explicitly practical, pragmatic and pluralist. Its focus is on business decision making and it deals particularly with dynamic problems of firm start-up, maintenance and rejuvenation. It embraces both orthodox and heterodox, where heterodox is defined as a synthesis of behavioural, Post Keynesian and evolutionary approaches. Its main resource is a set of applied contemporary-real world examples. Significantly, like the Kemp and Wunder simulation discussed above, the book develops an analysis on entrepreneurship. In other ways, the book reflects both traditional courses and heterodox concerns. For instance, one of its first topics is markets; however, the same chapter also deals with the nature of economic models. That then reflects the traditional order of modules but embraces the heterodox concern with methodology.

8.2 The multiple resource approach

The utility of a single textbook approach can be questioned, of course. Using only a textbook can discourage students from reading widely, and to think that they can rely on one text - no matter how many times they are told the contrary. A single book can also encourage the belief that there is only one way of thinking; in the context of this chapter that is a serious problem.

An alternative approach could require students to buy several key texts. Barone (1991) reports that students were expected to buy one book per perspective studied, for example Dugger (1984) on institutionalism and Littlechild (1978) on the Austrian approach. Such a strategy will usually come up against a cost constraint.

8.3 Using a reader

An alternative is to adopt a reader. Snowdon, Vane and Wynarczyk (1998) is one such readymade reader. Heilbroner's Teachings from the Worldly Philosophers (1997) is another. However, another option is to construct a reader from key texts. Although the readings in Table 4a suggest that Stretton is being used extensively, the author did not require students to buy the book. Certain key parts of the book were placed in a reader and many copies were placed in the library for reference. Other key readings, such as short handouts and newspaper articles, were placed in the reader. This has the disadvantage of being a little labour intensive but has the distinct advantage, assuming that all copyright issues have been resolved of providing the students with key material in a manageable format. A danger is that the students will regard this as an exhaustive list of readings, but nonetheless it might constitute more reading than they would otherwise have done. Using readers is one strategy advocated by Earl (2000) and adopted by Bucknell University. One of their readers is available as Schneider et al. (2005).

In the author's parallel perspectives module, there were two recommended texts: Real World Micro (Agia, et al., 2002), which encompassed a heterodox slant on real-world issues connected to consumers (such as credit card companies' marketing schemes), firms (such as price gouging), markets (living wage movements), government policy (such as welfare reform), plus environmental and globalisation articles; and Heilbroner's Worldly Philosophers. As Earl discusses below, it may be useful to explain how economists came to their own views; but in any case, Heilbroner's book adds some colour to the thoughts of famous economists in terms of their personal backgrounds and their historical context. Thus, engagement is achieved, as is the heterodox attention to history of thought. As shown in Table 4a, the readings from Heilbroner are interspersed into the programme as appropriate to invigorate certain topics. An alternative is to teach a block of history of thought at the beginning of the course (Barone, 1991).

8.4 Websites

A community led by Andy Denis of City University, London is building a site to share dozens of learning materials from pluralist economics courses.

Bucknell University links on teaching institutionalist economics: http://www.orgs.bucknell.edu/afee/afit/teaching_institutionalism.htm

Institutionalist market model experiment (Kemp and Wunder, undated): description and commentary http://web.archive.org/web/20070810060837/http://www.orgs.bucknell.edu/afee/afit/teaching_institutionalism_exercises.htm

Heterodox syllabuses: collection: http://web.archive.org/web/20060903004436/http://www.orgs.bucknell.edu/afee/afit/teaching_institutionalism_syllabi.htm

Module on Economic Theory: http://business.curtin.edu.au/files/cbsUnitsCourses/Economic_Theory_3002.pdf

Forecasting module: http://web.archive.org/web/20080618165030/http://www.wartburg.edu/business/syllabi/EC317syl-F04.htm

Economics of Social Issues module: http://ux1.eiu.edu/~erhake/2800syllabus.htm

Economics Network Tests and Exams Resources: http://www.economicsnetwork.ac.uk/teaching/exams.htm

Virtual Classroom Experiments: http://veconlab.econ.virginia.edu/admin.htm

8.5 Books/articles as resources

Agia, A., Peters, C., Williamson, T., Yager, J. and the Dollars and Sense Collective (eds.) (2002). Real World Micro: A Microeconomics Reader, Cambridge, MA: Economic Affairs Bureau.

Arestis, P. (1992). The Post-Keynesian approach to economics: an alternative analysis of economic theory and policy, Cheltenham: Edward Elgar.

Brokken, R. and Bywater, A. (1982). 'Application of Isoquant Analysis to Forage: Grain Ratios in Cattle Feeding', Journal of Animal Science, 54 (3): 463-472.

Dow, S. (1996). The Methodology of Macroeconomic Thought, Cheltenham: Edward Elgar.

Dugger, W. (1984). An Alternative to the Great Retrenchment, Princeton, NJ: Petrocelli.

Earl, P. and Wakeley, T. (2005). Business Economics: A Contemporary Approach, London: McGraw-Hill.

Galbraith, J.K. (1958). The Affluent Society, London: Hamish Hamilton.

Galbraith, J.K. (1967). The New Industrial State, Boston: Houghton Mifflin.

Heilbroner, R. (2000). The Worldly Philosophers: The Lives, Times and Ideas of the Great Economic Thinkers, London: Penguin.

Heilbroner, R. (1997). Teachings from the Worldly Philosophers, New York: Norton.

Himmelweit, S., Simonetti, R. and Trigg, A. (2001). Microeconomics: Neoclassical and Institutionalist Perspectives on Economic Behaviour, Thomson.

Keynes, J.M. (1936). The General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money, London, Macmillan.

Lavoie, M. (1992). Foundations of Post Keynesian Economic Analysis, Aldershot: Edward Elgar.

Littlechild, S. (1978). The Fallacy of the Mixed Economy, London: Institute of Economic Affairs.

Rubin, R. (2002). 'Diminishing Marginal Productivity in Class'. Resources for Economics Teaching, Vol. 2004: Chapel Hill.

Schneider, G., Knoedler, J. and Sackrey, C. (2005). Introduction to Political Economy, Cambridge, MA: Economic Affairs Bureau.

Smith, Adam (1976 [1776]). An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations, Oxford: Clarendon.

Snowdon, B., Vane, H. and Wynarczyk, P. (1998). A Modern Guide to Macroeconomics: An Introduction to Competing Schools of Thought, Cheltenham: Edward Elgar.

Stretton, H. (1999). Economics: A New Introduction, London: Pluto.

Tomer, J. (2001). 'Economic Man vs. Heterodox Men: the Concepts of Human Nature in Schools of Economic Thought', Journal of Socio-Economics, 30: 281-293.

Veblen, T. (1967 [1899]). The Theory of the Leisure Class: An Economic Study of Institutions, New York: Funk & Wagnalls.

8.6 Articles on comparative approach

Barone, C. (1991). 'Contending Perspectives: Curricular Reform in Economics', Journal of Economic Education, 22: 15-26. http://www.jstor.org/stable/1182330

Bridges, D. (1992). 'Enterprise and Liberal Education', Journal of Philosophy of Education, 26 (1): 91-8. DOI:10.1111/j.1467-9752.1992.tb00267.x

Clarke, P. and Mearman, A. (2001). 'Heterodoxy, Educational Aims and the Design of Economics Programmes', Journal of Economic and Social Policy, 5 (2): 43-57.

Clarke, P. and Mearman, A. (2003). 'Why Marxist Economics Should be taught but Probably won't be!', Capital and Class, 79: 55-80. DOI:10.1177/030981680307900105

Earl, P. (2000). 'Indeterminacy in the Economics Classroom', in S. Boehm, S. Frowen and J. Pheby (eds.) Economics as an Art of Thought: Essays in Memory of GLS Shackle, London: Routledge.

Goodwin, N. and Harris, J. (2001). 'Better Principles: New Approaches to Teaching Introductory Economics', GDAE Institute Working Paper 01-05.

Knoedler, J. and Underwood, D. (2003). 'Teaching the Principles of Economics: A Proposal for a Multiparadigmatic Approach', Journal of Economic Issues, 37 (3): 697-725. http://www.jstor.org/stable/4227928

8.7 Other books/articles cited

Becker, W. (2004). 'Economics for a Higher Education', International Review of Economics Education, 3 (1): 52-62.

Bowles, S. and Gintis, H. (1985). 'The Production Process in a Competitive Economy: Walrasian, neo-Hobbesian and Marxian Models', American Economic Review, 75 (1): 16-36.

Colander, D. (2000). 'The Death of Neo-Classical Economics', Journal of the History of Economic Thought, 22 (2): 127-143.

Colander, D., Holt, R. and Rosser, B. (2004). 'The Changing Face of Mainstream Economics', Review of Political Economy, 16 (4): 485-499.

Friedman, M. (1953). 'The Methodology of Positive Economics', in Essays in Positive Economics, Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Garnett, R. (2005). 'Whither Heterodoxy?', Post-Autistic Economics Review, 34.

Hodgson, G. (2001). How Economics Forgot History: The Problem of Specificity in Social Science, London: Routledge.

Keen, S. (2000). Debunking Economics: The Naked Emperor of the Social Sciences, New York: Zed Books.

Lawson, T. (1997). Economics and Reality, London: Routledge

Lawson, T. (2003). Reorienting Economics, London: Routledge.

Lee, F. and Keen, S. (2004). 'The Incoherent Emperor: A Heterodox Critique of Neoclassical Microeconomic Theory', Review of Social Economy, 62 (2): 169-199.

McCloskey, D. (1994). Knowledge and Persuasion in Economics, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Meyer, J. H. F. and Land, R. (2005). 'Threshold concepts and troublesome knowledge (2) Epistemological considerations and a conceptual framework for teaching and learning', Higher Education, 49, pp. 373-388.

Mullainathan, S. and Shleifer, A. (2005). 'Persuasion in Finance', NBER Working Papers, 11838, National Bureau of Economic Research.

Ormerod, P. (2003). 'Turning the Tide: Bringing Economics Teaching into the Twenty-First Century', International Review of Economics Education, 1 (1): 71-79.

Potts, J. (2000). The New Evolutionary Microeconomics: Complexity, Competence and Adaptive Behaviour, Cheltenham: Edward Elgar.

Reimann, N. (2004). 'First Year Teaching-Learning Environments in Economics', International Review of Economics Education, 3 (1): 9-38.

Robbins, L. (1932). An Essay on the Nature and Significance of Economic Science, London: Macmillan.

Robinson, J. (1980). 'Time in Economic Theory', Kyklos, 33 (2): 219-229.

Runesson, U. (2005). 'Beyond Discourse and Interaction. Variation: A Critical Aspect for Teaching and Learning Mathematics', Cambridge Journal of Education, 35 (1): 65-87.

Salanti, A. and Screpanti, E. (eds.) (1997). Pluralism in Economics, Cheltenham: Edward Elgar.

Salemi, M. (2005). 'Teaching Economic Literacy: Why, What, and How?', International Review of Economics Education, 4 (2): 46-57.

Sutton, J. (2000). Marshall's Tendencies: What Can Economists Know?, Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.