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This isn't an economics class. It's a public policy class. Here are the course topics:[1]

- Part I: Equality of Opportunity

- Part II: Education

- Part III: Racial Disparities

- Part IV: Health

- Part V: Criminal Justice

- Part VI: Climate Change

- Part VII: Tax Policy

- Part VIII: Economic Development and Institutional Change

This really belongs in Harvard's "JFK School of Government", not economics.

Possible topics for a modern economics intro class:

- Instability and equilibrium, or why markets oscillate.

- From zero to one, the tendency to and effects of monopoly and near-monopoly.

- Externalities, their uses and discontents.

- Debt vs. equity vs. what tax policy rewards

- Scarce resources that don't map to money - attention and time.

- Finance as a system decoupled from productive activity

[1] https://opportunityinsights.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/E...




> This really belongs in Harvard's "JFK School of Government", not economics.

From the PDF you linked:

> ECON 1152 and HKS SUP 135

(HKS is Harvard Kennedy School)

> Sections: 1 per week at times to be arranged. Sections will be divided into two groups: one for students with no prior coursework in statistics/econometrics and another intended for those who have taken courses in statistics/econometrics. You may choose which type of section you would like to attend depending upon your background.

> Kennedy School students must enroll in the more advanced section.

So it looks to be a joint class between Econ and the Kennedy school, with the Kennedy school students required to take the class on "hard mode".


It’s a political economy class, what economics used of be before it became all simplified models and math.


If this passes as economics at an elite university the west is doomed.


Keynesian economics was not supposed to be taught during the McCarthy era, and it didn't doom the West. We didn't understand economics very well before the 20th century, and it didn't doom the West. I seriously doubt that one class being taught at Harvard is going to doom the West.


It is not one class being taught that is the issue, but that an university like Harvard would consider a class like this to be economics.


> "Scarce resources that don't map to money - attention and time."

time !== $ ?


Not reliably. Some seconds are a lot more valuable than others.


Is there a single book that covers all that? That would be awesome.


The class doesn't have a book, just a set of papers


Schools like Harvard don’t teach from a book.


Wrong side of the Atlantic. I didn’t have to buy a single textbook my entire undergrad because we had libraries and lecture notes. Required textbooks are far more a US thing than most other countries.

Harvard absolutely has courses taught from a book. I’m sure Mankiw requires his textbook for Harvard’s intro econ course. He wrote it, he thinks it’s good.


And he's made $42 million in royalties on the book. It's almost endearing how economists claim they are somehow immune to incentives, until you pause to consider they are primarily employed as apologists for the continuation of rent-seeking policies that entrench the rich and mighty.


> apologists for the continuation of rent-seeking policies that entrench the rich and mighty.

This.

"THE IMF CONFIRMS THAT 'TRICKLE-DOWN' ECONOMICS IS, INDEED, A JOKE" https://psmag.com/economics/trickle-down-economics-is-indeed...

> INCREASING THE INCOME SHARE TO THE BOTTOM 20 PERCENT OF CITIZENS BY A MERE ONE PERCENT RESULTS IN A 0.38 PERCENTAGE POINT JUMP IN GDP GROWTH.

> The IMF report, authored by five economists, presents a scathing rejection of the trickle-down approach, arguing that the monetary philosophy has been used as a justification for growing income inequality over the past several decades. "Income distribution matters for growth," they write. "Specifically, if the income share of the top 20 percent increases, then GDP growth actually declined over the medium term, suggesting that the benefits do not trickle down."

"Causes and Consequences of Income Inequality: A Global Perspective" (2015) https://scholar.google.com/scholar?hl=en&as_sdt=0%2C43&q=%22...

I'll add that we tend to overlook the level of government spending during periods trickle-down economics and confound. Change in government spending (somewhat unfortunately regardless of revenues) is a relevant factor.

Let's make this economy great again? How about you identify the decade(s) you're referring to and I'll show you the tax revenue (on income and now capital gains), federal debt per capital, and the growth in GDP.


He's actually had protests at his lectures. I don't know any other lecturers who have achieved that dubious honor.


I mean buying his book is an economics lesson in itself.


There is a difference between requiring a book and “teaching from” a book.




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