Teaching Economics Using Historical Novels: Jonathan Harr’s the Lost Painting: The Quest for a Caravaggio Masterpiece
“Teaching Economics Using Jonathan Harr’s The Lost Painting: The Quest for a Caravaggio Masterpiece,” Journal of Economic Education 43 (3), 2012: 1 – 13.
18 Pages Posted: 23 Aug 2011 Last revised: 22 Jul 2018
Date Written: August 22, 2011
Undergraduate students are often interested in and benefit greatly from applications of economic principles. Although popular historical novels do not provide modern examples or business applications, they do draw from historical situations that can help engage students in economic concepts and provide a useful tool to help enhance the instruction of economics. In this paper, we discuss historical novels generally, as well as the specifics of how The Lost Painting, a historical novel by Jonathan Harr, could be used to serve this purpose. Topics illustrated in the novel include scarcity, opportunity cost, cost-benefit analysis, tax avoidance, labor market specialization, compensating wage differentials, competition and market structure, pricing, income, and government regulation. We also provide a detailed discussion about how some of these topics are discussed in the novel and how such a novel can be used in microeconomics instruction.
Keywords: Microeconomics, Historical Fiction, Novels, Art, Taxation, Incentives
JEL Classification: A22
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation