A friend who writes for the Financial Times newspaper just published a terrific essay on recent books about economics, and about the applicability of standard  methods like what we use in class to real-world choices and policymaking.  To read it you’ll need to make yourself an FT login at their website but it’s well worthwhile:

https://www.ft.com/content/331ff894-f876-11e6-bd4e-68d53499ed71

Our TA Rachel Gilbert also pointed out a great NPR story about a famous line of research in economics: “Does studying economics make you selfish?.  The answer is… maybe.   In my experience, the problem of selfish “economists” arises when people learn too little economics, rather than too much.  By stopping at the introductory stuff, people may never get to adult stage of what real-life economists actually do to improve social outcomes.

Before I came to Tufts, I taught for 18 years at Purdue.  When I left, the grad students asked me to a confessional “last lecture” in which I asked what an ethical economics of food would look like.  The full text in context is here:

http://freakonomics.com/2010/06/10/toward-an-ethical-economics-of-food-policy/

Of course the Friedman School context is very different from Purdue.  A first step towards translation would be to search and replace “agricultural economics” with “food economics” — and then find what else should be updated?

 

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