Archive for the ‘Teaching’ Category

Economics and Finance Teaching Before and After the Crisis

By Stephen Kinsella

Saturday, February 1st, 2014

Brian Lucey and I conducted a survey of all university teachers of economics and finance in December 2013. A presentation of our findings is here (.pdf). Brian’s thoughts are here.

The main results from the sample of respondents are:

  • Teaching has not changed much in response to the crisis.
  • Attitudes to newer, or more critical material appear mixed at best.
  • Respondents emphasised the need for broader contextualisation and increased mathematical competence.We find it hard to see how to reconcile these findings.
  • Irish Economic Policy Conference 2014: Economic Policy after the Bailout

    By Stephen Kinsella

    Tuesday, January 14th, 2014

    Organised jointly by the ESRI, Dublin Economic Workshop, UL, and UCD’s Geary Institute, this year’s policy conference (see previous years here and here) will be on the theme of economic policy after the bailout. This conference brings policy makers, politicians, civil servants and academics together to address this question of national importance. The venue will be the Institute of Bankers in the IFSC. (Click here for a map).


    Date: 31st January 2013

    Venue: Institute of Bankers, IFSC

    Programme

    9:15 - 10:45: Plenary: The Impact of the Crisis on Industrial Relations

    Chair: Aedín Doris (NUI Maynooth)

    • Kieran Mulvey (Labour Relations Commission) Prospects for Pay and Industrial Relations in the Irish Economy
    • Shay Cody (IMPACT Trade Union) “The impact of the crisis on industrial relations – a public service focus”
    • Michelle O’Sullivan/Tom Turner (University of Limerick) “The Crisis and Implications for Precarious Employment’”

    10.45-11.15: Coffee Break

    11:15 – 12:45: 2A. Migration and the Labour Market

    Chair: Philip O’Connell (UCD Geary Institute)

    • Piaras MacÉinrí (UCC) ‘Beyond the choice v constraint debate: some key findings from a recent representative survey on emigration’
    • Peter Muhlau (TCD) “Social ties and the labour market integration of Polish migrants in Ireland and Germany”
    • Alan Barrett (ESRI & TCD) and Irene Mosca (TCD) “The impact of an adult child’s emigration on the mental health of an older parent”

    2B. Economics: Teaching and Practice

    Chair: Ronan Gallagher (Dept of Public Expenditure and Reform)

    • Brian Lucey (TCD): “Finance Education Before and After the Crash”
    • Liam Delaney (Stirling): “Graduate Economics Education”
    • Jeffrey Egan (McGraw-Hill Education) “The commercial interest in Third Level Education”

    12:45 – 1:45: Lunch Break

    1:45 – 3:15: 3A. Health and Recovery

    Chair: Alex White, TD, Minister of State

    • David Madden (UCD) “Health and Wealth on the Roller-Coaster: Ireland 2003-2011”
    • Charles Normand TCD) and Anne Nolan (TCD & ESRI) “The impact of the economic crisis on health and the health system in Ireland”
    • Paul Gorecki (ESRI) ‘Pricing Pharmaceuticals: Has Public Policy Delivered?”

    3B. Fiscal Policy

    Chair: Stephen Donnelly TD

    • Seamus Coffey (UCC) “The continuing constraints on Irish fiscal policy”
    • Diarmuid Smyth (IFAC) ‘IFAC: Formative years and the future’
    • Rory O’Farrell, (NERI) “Supplying solutions in demanding times: the effects of various fiscal measures”

    3:15 – 3:30: Coffee Break

    3:30 – 5:00: Plenary: Debt, Default and Banking System Design

    Chair: Fiona Muldoon (Central Bank of Ireland)

    • Gregory Connor (NUI Maynooth) “An Economist’s Perspective on the Quality of Irish Bank Assets”
    • Kieran McQuinn and Yvonne McCarthy (Central Bank of Ireland) “Credit conditions in a boom and bust property market”
    • Colm McCarthy “Designing a Banking System for Economic Recovery”
    • Ronan Lyons (TCD) “Household expectations and the housing market: from bust to boom???”

    This conference receives no funding, so we have to charge to cover expenses like room hire, tea and coffee. The registration fee is €20, but free for students. Please click here or on the link below to pay the fee, then register by attaching your payment confirmation to an e-mail with your name and affiliation to emma.barron@ucd.ie. [Block bookings can be made by purchasing the required number of registrations and then sending the list of names to emma.barron@ucd.ie]

    Please click here to pay the registration fee.

    An updated economics syllabus after 44 years would be an asset

    By Stephen Kinsella

    Tuesday, September 24th, 2013

    I don’t normally post my indo columns here, but I think readers of this blog may be interested in this one. The column follows on from last week’s discussion on this blog about the leaving certificate economics exam and its problems, but focuses on trying to secure a constructive outcome if possible.

    I think we have to recognise two sets of constraints here.

    1. Second level teachers have mixed ability classes and can’t do an undergraduate level of work in their classrooms. The objective of leaving certificate economics is not to produce economists per se but rather economically knowledgeable citizens who study this subject as one among many subjects. Teachers and textbook writers are constrained by the 44 year old syllabus, but have to do their best with what they’ve got. So teachers will be rightly annoyed when reading comments about how potentially damaging the current syllabus is in terms of economic understanding.
    2. Third level economics lecturers like Kevin, Aedin and others rightly point out the deficiencies in the current exam content and structure and feel they should have some input into what is taught and why. Both sides agree the syllabus as is is not fit for purpose.

    The solution, at least it seems to me, is to take the 2005 revised economics syllabus and update it together in a forum like the business studies teachers’ association, and present that to the NCCA. If everyone was happy enough with it, I don’t see why it couldn’t be rolled out fairly quickly with some inservice training for teachers.

    It’s one thing to criticise and point out flaws when they exist, and Kevin and Aedin in particular were right to do so. But if we actually profess to know something about this subject, I think we should have a go at helping teachers to fix those flaws, if we can.

    Leaving Certificate Economics

    By Seamus Coffey

    Tuesday, September 17th, 2013

    Today’s Irish Independent has an article that looks at some issues Kevin Denny found from an analysis of the 2012 Higher Level Economics paper and the associated marking scheme.

    Leaving Cert paper ‘full of problems’, minister warned, Irish Independent, 17/09/2013

    Kevin has put up a post with links to his detailed comments.

    UCD MA in Economics

    By Karl Whelan

    Friday, April 8th, 2011

    I figure that some of you reading this blog may be interested in undertaking further study in economics. So this seems like a good place to provide some information about UCD’s MA programme in economics. Information about the course is available here, including an electronic version of our glossy brochure.

    I suspect some of the economists from other universities may also wish to use the site to promote their programmes, so let me briefly indicate what I see as the strengths of our programme. According to RePEc, UCD is Ireland’s leading university for research in economics, so the modules are taught by highly qualified research-oriented staff. The programme has a strong research element to it, with students doing a research thesis, for which we offer significant supports in the form of personal supervision by a staff member and classes on research methods. Finally, the programme offers a range of module options in the second term, allowing students to take advanced core modules (effectively tracking those taken in the first year of international graduate programmes) or to take a range of more applied and policy-focused modules or a mix of both. This means that students can decide at the end of their first term which track they want to go down.

    Anyone who has questions about the programme should feel free to contact me at karl.whelan@ucd.ie.

    Update: Hugh Sheehy points out in the (surprisingly entertaining) comments that our MA site isn’t clear about fees. I’ll try to get that fixed but I can tell you from this that they are €5,400 for EU students and €10,800 for non-EU students. Hefty, I know, but less than other comparable programmes.

    History of economic thought: back from the brink?

    By Kevin O’Rourke

    Friday, January 14th, 2011

    Bright undergraduates tend to enjoy courses in the history of economic thought — I know I did — but the field is in an even more parlous state than economic history when it comes to the hiring decisions of economics departments. After all, why spend time studying the mistaken theories of the past, when you can study the superior theories that have replaced them?

    (OK, perhaps that argument doesn’t seem quite so compelling now as it did a few years ago.)

    So I was interested to see David Warsh’s report from the AEA meetings which quoted James Heckman, no less, as making the argument for history of thought courses in Economics PhD programmes. It follows the launching of a blog which promises to “engage current financial news and policy debates from the standpoint of the classics of monetary theory.”

    And Brad makes the pitch in characteristically understated fashion here.

    Class Sizes Revisited: Denny and Oppedisano

    By Liam Delaney

    Tuesday, December 7th, 2010

    While we are on the subject of what really matters for human welfare, many people expressed approval of the government’s decision to not allow class sizes to increase further. Kevin Denny has been talking about this issue for several years and basically arguing that the evidence on class sizes is mixed at best and that it is more of a teacher workload issue than a pupil welfare and performance issue. He has just put out a paper with colleague Veruska Oppedisano testing the effect of classsizes on pupil performance. According to his results, bigger class sizes are associated with better performance in the PISA data, even controlling for a wide range of controls and using different estimation techniques. I think Kevin would be the first to say that you should be careful about overinterpreting any individual data analysis but it certainly points away from any simplistic assertions about the effects of class-sizes.

    Notes on Banking and Central Banks

    By Karl Whelan

    Tuesday, September 14th, 2010

    I know this website attracts a lot of readers who are interested in banking and in monetary policy. Often, these people are regular members of the public trying to understand what’s going on in the world but starting out from a somewhat hazy understanding of the various technicalities. So (hopefully without being too patronising) I thought I’d point people towards the course webpage for my UCD module “International Monetary Economics.”

    This is a final year undergraduate module that covers banking, financial stability, monetary policy and some issues in international finance. Probably most readers will find the material pretty basic but for those of you who would like to have some material to study, it’s intended to help those with a limited background get up to speed with current events in banking and monetary policy. The focus is largely international but Irish banks get the odd shout out. This is the first week of classes (out of a total of twelve), so I’ll be adding lecture notes and other material as I go along.

    Constructive criticism of the notes is welcome. (Long deranged rants about fractional reserve banking are not.)

    Wages

    By Kevin O’Rourke

    Thursday, December 17th, 2009

    I’d say this little piece by Paul Krugman, and the associated note, will end up on lots of undergraduate syllabi. Liquidity traps are boring to teach, until you find yourself in the middle of one. From an Irish point of view, however, the key section is the following:

    if some subset of the work force accepts lower wages, it can gain jobs. If workers in the widget industry take a pay cut, this will lead to lower prices of widgets relative to other things, so people will buy more widgets, hence more employment.

    The point is that the Irish are just a subset of the Eurozone workforce, and that our GDP is the equivalent of Krugman’s widgets, whose relative price can be reduced. Krugman makes the same point in a follow-up post here. Of course, devaluation would be preferable to wage (and price) cuts: it would avoid the debt deflation and rising real interest rates which Krugman talks about. But it is not an option.