By Arnold Kling
After studying leading graduate economics textbooks in micro, macro, and industrial organization, Dan Johansson writes,
Among the 19 books, only 2 references are made to entrepreneur, only 5 to institutions, only 8 to property rights, and not a single reference to economic freedom, invention, or tacit knowledge. It is quite obvious that economists have eradicated entrepreneurship and institutions from core Ph.D. training.
Thanks to Don Boudreaux for the pointer.
I believe that there is an uphill battle that is worth waging against mainstream economic education.
I agree that entrepreneurs are central actors in the economy. In the freshman class I taught at George Mason this year, the very first exercise I gave to my students was to get into groups, with each group pretending to launch a simple business, such as a lawn mowing service or a video game arcade.
In Learning Economics, there is more focus on the issues that Johansson raises than in standard textbooks.
At all levels of economic education, I believe that there is too much emphasis on mathematical techniques and too little emphasis on the forces that really drive economic growth and which account for differences in economic performance across societies.
For Discussion. How can one go about changing economic education?