Basic economics education is often theory-heavy, with abstract examples. Working from concrete examples in real life can provide greater relevance even to novice students.
Author Robert Frank of Cornell University talks about economic education and his recent book, The Economic Naturalist.
Frank argues that the traditional way of teaching economics via graphs and equations often fails to make any impression on students.
In this conversation with host Russ Roberts, Frank outlines an alternative approach from his new book, where students find interesting questions and enigmas from everyday life. They then try to explain them using the economic way of thinking.
Frank and Roberts discuss a number of the enigmas and speculate on the future of economics and education. The topics discussed include tuxedos vs. wedding dresses, the level of civility (or lack thereof) in New York City, the difference between vending machines for soda and newspapers, the tragedy of the commons, and the economics of love.