Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Teaching Economics

I held my yearly "Antitrust Economics from 30,000 Feet" class last week. That topic is always a bruiser. I have never found a happy way to communicate the dynamics of supply and demand in markets characterized by differing levels of concentration. I frankly wonder if the idea of setting that topic apart in a separate class meeting is a futile endeavor. I would love to appeal to students' intuitions, but for all my efforts talk of gas stations, wheat farmers, auto makers and Microsoft, I am rewarded mostly with blank stares.

To show this is not off-topic: I deliberately schedule that class for after the close of the add-drop period, for fear of students running for the door!

1 comment:

  1. It has been a while since I taught Antitrust (1996), but I felt then that in a legal environment where so much of the policy debate turns on the comparative costs of market failure and political process failure, that the microeconomics of competition ought to be taught to every law student. Period. As a result, I have been repeatedly shocked at the various schools where I have taught at the relatively small enrollments in the basic Antitrust class. I assume that you and Spencer draw a crowd, but this is not true at Brooklyn . . . I suspect that most students get there basic micro in the course on international trade, or the trade component of an IBT course, if they get it at all.

    So, this is probably a topic for another thread, but where, if anywhere should we teach the economics of competition, in a world where Antitrust is not viewed as a foundational course by most law students?