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Working Paper No. 09-12

The Impact of Analyzing Economic Events on the Learning of Undergraduate Economic Theory
J. Dean Craig and Samuel Raisanen
November 2009


In this paper, we look at the effect of having students read and respond to articles regarding economic events on the learning of economic theory in both Intermediate Microeconomics and Intermediate Macroeconomics. We find that having students apply theoretical material to real world situations has spillover effects into the learning of theoretical material itself. By assigning articles and measuring performance on midterm exams in four Intermediate Theory courses during the 2007-08 academic year, we find that each additional article a student completed resulted in an improvement of approximately one percentage point on a given midterm exam. This effect grew to three percentage points per article completed on the middle of three midterms where we could ensure that both “finish everything early” students and “procrastinate as long as possible” students were represented.

JEL classification: A22
Keywords: Academia, Economic Education, Intermediate Theory, Undergraduate Teaching