Publication Details

Pol, E. & Carroll, P. (2005). The double paradox of elementary economics education. In S. Cheung (Eds.), Innovation for Student Engagement in Economics: Proceedings of the Eleventh Australasian Teaching Economics Conference (pp. 84-97). University of Sydney: School of Economics and Political Science.


Elementary economics textbooks have become less attractive to students requiring only an introduction to economics, given that their content is pervaded by mathematical diagrams and simple equations. Also they are of relatively little value to those interested in, for example, attempting to gain an understanding of the New Economy, for they rarely emphasise business innovation and its crucial dynamic role. These factors engender something of a double paradox. First, the paradox of the tools and the audience, newcomers are frequently ‘turned off’ by existing economics textbooks, due to the pervasive use of mathematics. Second, the paradox of the content and the relevance, those newcomers who are not initially turned off tend to be disenchanted with economics because they perceive that economics is of little use in understanding the New Economy in which they work, or will come to work. We suggest an integrated solution to both paradoxes. The implementation entails a minor reorientation of the traditional pedagogical strategy for teaching introductory economics.

Link to publisher version (URL)

Australasian Teaching Economics Conference