Teaching Profit Seeking as the Source of Growth
affiliation not provided to SSRN
January 31, 2011
International Review of Economics Education, Forthcoming
This paper offers an alternative to the typical presentation of economic growth theory in standard introductory textbooks. The standard textbook presents neoclassical production functions with diminishing marginal returns and predictions of convergence. For many students, the incentives to learn it are weak since the theory is abstract and its initial predictions inaccurate. A few changes to the presentation can create clarity and believability. One change is to present both creative destruction and rent seeking as possible paths of the profit motive. In this case, not only can students find greater consistency with their own observations, whereby profits can be well-earned or ill-gotten, but students can find consistency with the cross-country data and the simultaneous existence of converging and diverging countries. Students will be more motivated to understand neoclassical production functions with diminishing returns, since they are relevant for all countries of the world, not just an abstract few.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 31
Keywords: teaching, growth, institutions
JEL Classification: A22Accepted Paper Series
Date posted: January 16, 2012 ; Last revised: January 23, 2012
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