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

See all articles by Marianne Johnson

Marianne Johnson

University of Wisconsin - Oshkosh - Department of Economics

Chad D. Cotti

University of Wisconsin - Oshkosh

Date Written: August 22, 2011

Abstract

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

Johnson, Marianne and Cotti, Chad D., Teaching Economics Using Historical Novels: Jonathan Harr’s the Lost Painting: The Quest for a Caravaggio Masterpiece (August 22, 2011). “Teaching Economics Using Jonathan Harr’s The Lost Painting: The Quest for a Caravaggio Masterpiece,” Journal of Economic Education 43 (3), 2012: 1 – 13. , Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1914573 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1914573

Marianne Johnson (Contact Author)

University of Wisconsin - Oshkosh - Department of Economics ( email )

800 Algoma Blvd.
Oshkosh, WI 54901
United States
920-424-2230 (Phone)
920-424-1734 (Fax)

Chad D. Cotti

University of Wisconsin - Oshkosh ( email )

800 Algoma Blvd
Oshkosh, WI WI 54901
United States

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