Academic journal article American Economist

Regional Economics: Survey of Reading Lists in Universities in Canada and the United States

Academic journal article American Economist

Regional Economics: Survey of Reading Lists in Universities in Canada and the United States

Article excerpt

1. Objective:

Regional economics plays an important role in the economics curriculum. The positive feedback from readers on earlier works like micro- and macroeconomics prompted the author to conduct the present survey. The intent of the survey is to provide information on books and journal articles assigned to students, the frequency or the number of universities using each title; the average number of books and journal articles assigned; the prerequisites to students before allowing them to register in a specific course; and the weights assigned to grading and new areas of emphasis, if any, introduced since 1981 by faculty members in the teaching of regional economics courses. The provision of such information might improve the quality of teaching by assisting faculty members to update their reading lists; might help students to choose frequently used titles for the completion of term projects and problem sets; might enable publishers to make decisions about reprinting of journal articles and monographs; and might help librarians to develop a balanced collection in the light of budget cuts in real dollars and high prices in printed materials far exceeding inflation.

2. Survey:

To fulfill the above outlined objectives, a sample of universities representing the South, North, East and West of the United States and Canada was selected. The data on North American universities where the program of economics at the undergraduate and graduate levels was considered to be the strongest has been retrieved from reference works like directories and guides at resource centers: 1. The World of Learning, by Europa Publications, 41st ed., 1991.

2. American Universities and Colleges, edited by American Council on Education, 13th ed., 1987.

3. Guide to Graduate Study in Economics, Agricultural Economics and Related Fields: United States of America and Canada, 5th ed., edited by W.F. Owen, 1979. 4. Peterson's Annual Guide to Graduate Study: Book 2, Humanities and Social Sciences, 24th ed., 1990.

A questionnaire along with a formal letter were directed to a sample of 97 (ninety seven) North American universities. After eight weeks had elapsed since the initial inquiry, reminders were sent to heads of economics departments requesting their cooperation in the transmittal of information.

Fifty eight (58) universities responded by providing information which shed light on books and journal articles assigned to students, objectives and scope of the courses, pre-requisites and grading. The information about recent developments in regional economics since 1981 and their incorporation in teaching was obtained by meeting senior faculty members at major universities who had spent several years in teaching and had contributed to research in regional economic issues. Also, the information was further augmented by a literature search in economic indexes and abstracts, such as journal of economic literature, index of economic articles and key to economic science. Typographical errors and incomplete bibliographic details were corrected by comparing catalogues and journals located in university libraries.

3. Tabulation:

A total of 140 (one hundred and forty) books and 213 (two hundred and thirteen) journal articles were selected from course reading lists. Books which were assigned as texts (45) were separated and listed alphabetically by last name of the author under the heading titled "Core Texts." Additional references and/or supplementary monographs were merged with journal articles and arranged alphabetically by last name of the author or by corporate body when there is no author. Space constraints prompted to condense the survey results without distorting its quality.(*) Monographs used by at least two or more universities and journal articles by three or more universities were listed under appropriate subject headings listed below:

1. Core Texts 2. Location Theories and Analysis 3. …

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