Yale Center for Teaching and Learning


Instructors of economics enjoy a wealth of materials exploring teaching issues like economic factors impacting diversity and inclusion in education; the underrepresentation of women and minorities in the undergraduate economics major; the benefits of cooperative learning; and studies considering the relative merits of common and emergent practices in economics introductory courses. The literature also covers active learning strategies like flipped classrooms.

Journals and Websites

Articles and Papers

Goldin C. (2015). Gender and the Undergraduate Economics Major: Notes on the Undergraduate Economics Major at a Highly Selective Liberal Arts College. Harvard University, Economics Department.

Excerpt (Page 1): “Differences in the male and female rates of majoring in economics are large and do not appear to be narrowing. It should be said at the outset that economics continues to be a highly popular major in most universities and colleges…..The emphasis in this note is on the relative popularity of economics among female undergraduates…..The reason for my interest in female economics majors is because I would like all students to have accurate information regarding the usefulness of a major. Many college seniors, both male and female, realize too late in their studies that knowledge of statistics, econometrics, and economic modeling are helpful tools in a large number of areas. Too often students think that economics is only for those who want to work in the financial and the corporate sectors. Many do not realize that economics is also for those who have broad intellectual interests. And that it is also for those with far-reaching goals that may include reducing crime, obesity, inequality, terrorism, poverty and infectious disease, to mention a few of the areas in which economists have advanced knowledge.”

Heijltjes A. et al. (2014). Improving critical thinking: Effects of dispositions and instructions on economics students’ reasoning skills. Learning and Instruction 29, 31–42.

Abstract: “This experiment investigated the impact of critical thinking dispositions and instructions on economics students’ performance on reasoning skills. Participants (N = 183) were exposed to one of four conditions: critical thinking instruction, critical thinking instruction with self-explanation prompts during subsequent practice, critical thinking instruction with activation prompts during subsequent practice, or no critical thinking instruction or prompts (control)….Participants in the instruction conditions significantly outperformed participants in the control condition on the immediate and delayed post-test, but only on the practiced task categories – with the exception of the self-explanations condition, which also showed a better performance than the control condition on not-practiced categories, though only on the immediate post-test. Dispositions (i.e., Actively Open-minded Thinking and Need for Cognition) predicted reasoning skills at pre-test but did not interact with instructions on post-tests performances.”

Roach T. (2014). Student perceptions toward flipped learning: New methods to increase interaction and active learning in economics. International Review of Economics Education 17, 74–84.

Abstract: “The ‘flipped classroom’ has begun to revolutionize the way that students receive information from their teachers and is ushering in a new era of active and creative thinkers….This paper documents the implementation of a “partially-flipped” class over one semester of a large enrollment microeconomics course, as well as presents results of students’ perception toward flipped learning. I find that students respond positively to flipped learning, and that it is an instructional design that is beneficial across student groups.”

Chen J and Lin T. (2012). Do Supplemental Online Recorded Lectures Help Students Learn Microeconomics? International Review of Economics Education 11(1), 6.

Abstract: “With the increasing popularity of information technology in higher education, it has become important to study how students use new technologies and how effective these methods are. This study sheds light on the relationship between the use of online recorded lectures and exam performance of students in the case of microeconomics. The study uses a rich panel data set covering Taiwanese students. Our results show that those who skip more classes and males are more likely to use online recorded lectures. As may be expected, most students access online recorded lectures just before exams, rather than immediately after lectures. Our fixed effects model shows a significant and positive relationship between students’ use of online recorded lectures and their grades. On average, performance improvement attributable to the use of online supplements is close to 4 percentage points. In addition, watching online recorded lectures just before an exam increases students’ performance by 3 to 5 percentage points.”

McGoldrick KM et al. Walstad WB and Salemi MK (Eds). (2010). CHAPTER 4: Making Cooperative Learning Effective for Economics. Teaching Innovations in Economics: Strategies and Applications for Interactive Instruction, 65–94.

Excerpt (Page 1): “Well-constructed cooperative learning exercises have been demonstrated to be more effective than individual learning and, by appealing to a broader set of students, have the potential to increase diversity within the economics major. Students participating in cooperative learning exercises earn higher grades and better scores on tests for both volume and accuracy of material, long-term retention, and problem-solving and higher reasoning abilities (Johnson, Johnson, and Smith 1998). [In economics,] Yamarik (2007) argues that this gain in examination scores can be linked to greater instructor-student interaction, greater likelihood of group studying, and enhanced interest in economics….The objective of this chapter is to promote increased use of cooperative learning in economics by reducing implementation costs through describing key structures for success and methods for choosing among the wide variety of exercise formats.”

Cohn, E, Cohn, S,  Balch, DC, and Bradley Jr, J. (2004). The relation between student attitudes towards graphs and performance in economics. The American Economist 48(2), 41-52.

Abstract: “This study examines student attitudes about graphs used in the macro- and microeconomic sections of the one-semester principles of economics course at a large southeastern state university. In addition, we investigate the relation between attitudes about graphs and student performance in the course, control ling for a variety of factors, such as SAT scores, college GPA, and a number of other student characteristics (e.g., sex, race, college major, and term standing). Employing a probit regression model, we also study the factors that predict student attitudes toward graphs. Our sample includes data collected from 663 students during the period 2000-2001.”

Reimann N. (2004). First-year teaching-learning environments in Economics. International Review of Economics Education 3(1), 9-38.

Abstract Excerpt: “This paper offers an analysis of selected first-year teaching–learning environments in economics. Evidence is derived from 41 semi-structured interviews conducted as part of the Enhancing Teaching–Learning Environments in Undergraduate Courses (ETL) Project with staff and students in three introductory economics modules from three different UK economics departments. The literature about teaching and learning economics at university level suggests that teaching–learning environments in economics adhere to a fairly uniform format and, as expected, each of the modules investigated was found to follow a content-driven lecture–tutorial approach, complemented by the use of textbooks and tutorial question sheets. The paper discusses the implications of such an approach for student learning.”