Potential Project Description for 2010-11


Title: Fact-Checking Principles of Economics
Domain Expert: Tony Becker, Economics

Many theories and "laws" are put forth in introductory economics classes as though they are invariant. However, the most popular texts frequently offer no empirical evidence at all in support of their theories nor do they attempt to deal with controversies in economics by appealing to the data (which is Latin for "facts"). From the multiplier model to the determination of interest rates to the conduct of monetary policy, the introductory texts are ripe for fact checking. I see the project beginning with a review of the most popular texts with an eye towards finding those topics most amenable to simple data-based testing that can be conveyed to introductory students. Next, we'll look at the literature and techniques needed for analysis. Then, we'll "crunch the numbers" and see what they say. Most of the focus will be on macroeconomics and time-series analysis. I expect that our work can be submitted to the Journal of Economic Education and presented at conferences (funding permitting) such as Minnesota Economic Assoc. (April 2011) and Western Econ. Assoc. (July 2011, San Diego).