Immigrants and Unskilled Workers: Complements or Substitutes?
Empirical Evidence of Multiple Equilibria in International Finance

Dani Rodrik Thinks About Teaching

Dani Rodrik writes:

Dani Rodrik's weblog: If it is July, it must be time to think about teaching...: This gives me occasion to meditate about the nature of teaching economics in a public policy school. There is a standard mold for teaching economics to undergraduates and to doctoral students.... But how do you teach international trade and trade policy to a group of students who will be policy makers and professionals in the real world--who are too sophisticated and well informed to treat as undergraduates, but for whom the typical doctoral course is useless because it covers the research frontier and not the tools for thinking about policy?...

[I]t is a question that still baffles me.... [T]he students who take my course have invested in heavy duty economics for a whole year.... My hope is to train them beyond simply being able to understand what is in the WSJ, FT, or The Economist. They need to be able to evaluate critically what is in the policy-relevant academic literature and think creatively about policy options in light of that literature.

This is a lot more difficult than it may appear. The last few times I have tried to do this, I found myself teaching too much of a conventional doctoral economics type course.... Students (rightly) complained.... So this time around... I am organizing the syllabus around policy issues.... [T]he relevant headings become "why do countries trade what they do," and "does it matter?" Globalization strategies, China, WTO, and regional trade agreements get their own sections.... [T]he challenge is to teach an issues-oriented course while avoiding superficiality.... I do not know if I will pull it off. Check back at the end of the Fall term...

Well, it looks like Economics 113, "American Economic History," has just been added to my fall teaching plate. And I haven't even begun to think about how to teach it this time.