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What’s Happening to Econ Teaching?

A few days ago I encountered a very nice, deeply thoughtful, and highly intelligent student pursuing a PhD in economics from a prestigious university. When I mentioned to this student, in passing, the textbook economic argument that minimum-wage legislation reduces the employment options open to low-skilled workers, this student was mystified. This student told me that he/she had never before heard this argument. After I summarized the argument for this student, he/she expressed skepticism of its validity.

Encountering from young economists skepticism of the Econ 101 argument that minimum-wage legislation helps some workers only by inflicting harm on other workers leaves me disappointed but not surprised. But encountering a PhD econ student who is unaware of the Econ 101 argument is both disappointing and surprising. The quality of both undergraduate and graduate training in economics is getting worse.

This student, of course, has no connection with GMU Econ – where both undergraduate and graduate training continue to be first-rate.

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