Promoting an ethical economics classroom through partnership

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review


In teaching economics, the instructor scaffolds what they teach on an implicitly assumed or explicitly recognized ethical vision. Such a vision holds true even as economists often separate “positive economics” from “normative economics,” claiming positive economics finds its basis in data and theory whereas normative economics concerns the ought or ethical statements that data or theory may imply (Davis, 2016). Economics, furthermore, suffers from lack of diversity: from white men constituting the majority of researchers and teachers, to textbooks that fail to show the diverse range of real people participating in the economy (Aerni, Bartlett, Lewis, McGoldrick, & Shackelford, 1999). In contrast, students taking economics at the undergraduate level, and particularly at Smith College, a liberal arts college in Massachusetts where I teach as an assistant professor, are especially diverse. I believe, therefore, that the choices about what an instructor teaches in a course and how that instructor does so are ethical choices in teaching. These choices cohere around an instructor’s pre-analytic vision of what a course ought to achieve, how the instructor models for students what constitutes good economics, or how diverse voices improve economics (Schumpeter, 2006/1954).1
Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Journal for Students as Partners
Publication statusPublished - 29 May 2019


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