Living at the Margin: Making Optimal Decisions Using Economics

Upper School

Grade 11, Grade 12

History and Social Science

Credits: .5

This semester-long course aims to apply the concepts of economics to the everyday life of the student. This will be accomplished by studying economic theory to understand how it can be applied to current events, public policy, and daily transactions. Possible topics include free trade vs. protectionism, taxes and spending, and behavioral economics, but topics can be driven by current events and contemporary political debates. The history of economic thought will also be examined through the lens of classic works from Aristotle to Adam Smith and into the 20th century with John Maynard Keynes and Milton Friedman. Specific periods of economic crises will be used as case studies, including the collapse of the U.S.S.R., German hyperinflation in the 1920’s, and the Asian and Celtic Tigers of the late 20th century. Case studies are vital to the study of economics because they are the “laboratory” in which economists test their theories.