Robert Lucas demands more books in economics!

The quote is extracted from a Panel Discussion on “Promoting Economic Literacy” in the American Economic Review in 2002 (v.9, n.2):

Another way to define the new course, … might be to provide an economics canon: a list of economics writings that all well-educated people should have read. The appeal of this idea led me, last year, to assign to my sophomores the selection from Ricardo’s Principles that treats comparative advantage. This was a pedagogic failure, even by my modest standards, and not even an honest failure: I didn’t learn about comparative advantage from Ricardo, so why make my students do so? One could probably do better with selections from the Wealth of Nations, but I am skeptical that an entire, good, one-semester course could be defined as a course in the Great Books of economics. Maybe we just have not written enough of them.

Not new, but it is news, no?

4 thoughts on “Robert Lucas demands more books in economics!

    1. This is a most curious comment on a history blog. You appear to say that Ricardo should be shunned for failing to make himself understood to a 21st century economics student of no apparent intellectual ability. Ricardo of course was not writing for that student. Am I to understand that Newton, writing in Latin, was unnecessarily obscure? The mind boggles, and Herodotus, to say nothing of Hayden White, would be scandalized.

    2. I thought they were saying that Ricardo should be shunned by 21st century economics students with no appararent intellectual ability.

  1. I guess the first title of the Lucas Series will be “What we can NOT learn from the History of Economics”… It’s history as a pedagogic tool, anyway.

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