Using Economic Freedom and Statistical Analysis to Teach Principles of Macroeconomics

By Ryan, Matt E. | Journal of Private Enterprise, Fall 2012 | Go to article overview

Using Economic Freedom and Statistical Analysis to Teach Principles of Macroeconomics


Ryan, Matt E., Journal of Private Enterprise


Abstract

As statistics becomes further entrenched within economics, administrators' desire to see statistics woven into a range of economics offerings increases. This article presents a means by which to incorporate statistical concepts into a principles-level macroeconomics course while reinforcing the role that economic freedom plays in generating superior economic outcomes.

JEL Codes: A20,A22

Keywords: Economics education; Teaching of economics; Macroeconomics; Statistics; Economic freedom

I. Introduction

As the economics profession waxes empiric and the world at large becomes increasingly data-driven, so, too, does the emphasis on statistics for undergraduates. While students typically have had the option of pursuing quantitative analysis through statistics and econometrics, many business schools now require courses in statistics in order to receive a degree. Economics majors often must show further proficiency in econometrics and/ or forecasting techniques. However, while increased quantitative skills offer value to students both in the classroom and on the job market, students tend to be less than eager when confronted with the subject of statistics.

Increasing quantitative skills, while beneficial, should also be viewed with a modicum of caution. Arming students with ever-more statistical tools raises the opportunity for rote computation absent economic reasoning to occur along with the dangers that aggregate from performing such blunders. Instead of slogging through compulsory statistical exercises in order to satisfy course requirements, the following exercises allow students to utilize World Bank data and draw unique conclusions based upon their particular analysis by pairing quantitative methods with economic analysis. Furthermore, the particular nature of these assignments allows the importance of economic freedom to emerge both to the individual student (when the student completes the assignment) and to the class as a whole (when the results are aggregated).

The following exercises were used in a principles-level macroeconomics course in the 2011 spring semester at Duquesne University to achieve the goal of incorporating statistical analysis with economic reasoning to confirm the critical importance of economic freedom. The data for these exercises come from two publicly available data sets. The first source is the World Bank's World Development Indicators, available at http://data.worldbank.org. The formerly subscription-only data set contains more than 1,100 separate series for more than 200 countries since 1960, covering traditional economic indicators along with a wide range of other areas of interest such a health, education, and environment.1 The second source is the Fraser Institute's Economic Freedom of the World, available at http://www.freetheworld.com. First published in 1996, this report looks to characterize the amount of economic freedom evident in countries around the world.2 The most recent report provides an overall economic freedom score, derived from five subcategories, for 141 countries annually from 2000 to 2008 and every five years from 1970 to 2000. These are the only data required for the statistical analysis portion of the assignments.

There are two stages to each assignment. First, students complete the assignment as it individually pertains to them. Students are assigned a country at the beginning of the semester, so the outcome of each student's work will be unique. Second, results from various statistical tests are aggregated across the class and presented as a whole to give a data-based picture of the world. For a more descriptive analysis, please see the sample assignment presented below.

The assignments also allow for the student to aggregate countryspecific information toward completing an original research paper by the end of the semester. Not only do the assignments provide a store of country- specific data to access, but completing the assignments over the course of the semester allows for potential research ideas to emerge. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • A full archive of books and articles related to this one
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Using Economic Freedom and Statistical Analysis to Teach Principles of Macroeconomics
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

    Already a member? Log in now.