Why do we need a “new normal?”
Most economics teaching is dominated by a single approach to thinking about economics, called neo-classical economics. This approach has many limitations in representing real-world economies as vividly illustrated in the fact that most economists did not see the 2008 Crash coming. Inspite of that there has been limited change over the last decade.
This also means that students end their studies only aware of one way of thinking about economics, which they are taught is ‘right’. They lack critical, creative and communication skills. They are stuck in the narrow box of neo-classical economics and cannot think outside it.
This group-think pervades policy, politics and the media which stifles policy reform.
There is a wide range of innovative teaching happening that recognises different approaches to thinking about economics. However this teaching has a limited profile and is often happening outside of the economics departments. It is seen as fringe if it is noticed at all.
How We Are Doing This
We worked with a wide range of academics, students and others to develop a consensus on the requirements for pluralist economics teaching
We used an online platform to establish high-level consensus, shared google docs and blogs to work through the detail, and Zoom meetings to discuss controversial issues. You can see more detail about the co-design process here.
We are now publishing and promoting information on how programmes meet these criteria:
- directors of programmes and others publish information about how their masters programmes are pluralist via a relatively simple survey against the main 5 criteria themes below.
- others can comment on programmes to provide some validation of this information.
We are working with student-led groups such as Rethinking Economics, Exploring Economics and the Network for Pluralist Economics to ensure this information gets attention from undergraduates in their final year when they are likely to be considering applying for 22/23 masters programmes.
Our criteria for teaching economics from a pluralist perspective
See here for full detailed criteria with translations into a range of languages
These are endorsed by the following key academic and student stakeholders: