Tuesday, April 06, 2004

Movies and economics

I was thinking last night about home. I pictured myself back to classroom, trying to make economics less dismal than what appears in textbooks. Among others, I will most likely teach Environmental Economics. The toughest part, I believe, is to convince students that this topic is important. Alas, they won't pay attention if it is not interesting. Should I just go with the standard procedure: intro - externality - social cost vs private cost - optimum policy - valuation technique - current issues - exam? If I go that way, more than 50 percent students would yawn in my classes. So here's what I'm going to do. In the first day, I will have them watch "Erin Brockovich". I will ask them to write a review for me. In the next meeting, I will discuss what "externality" is, using that movie as the illustration. Throughout the semester, I will also entertain them with "A Civil Action". Get the idea? Indeed, if I have to teach business class, I would prepare movie session with "Wall Street". Similary, "Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead" for game theory and probability classes, "Disclosure" for labor economics, "It's a Wonderful Life" for risk and uncertainty class.... [stop me, I could go on and on....]

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