Economic Education Production Functions for the Principles of Macroeconomics and the Principles of Microeconomics: Is There a Difference?


  • Hart Hodges
  • Yvonne Durham
  • Steve Henson


This paper examines the relationships among student attitudes towards economics, performance, and knowledge retention in introductory economics courses. We find that the economic education production functions differ across the introductory microeconomics and macroeconomics courses. Attitude affects performance in microeconomics, but not in macroeconomics, while performance does not impact ending attitude significantly in either course. Classroom experiments and gender affect performance directly in macroeconomics, but only indirectly through attitude in microeconomics. The existence of differing production functions provokes important questions about how each of the introductory courses should be designed and taught, suggesting that it is not appropriate to treat all introductory courses in the same way. Additionally, we find that the retention of knowledge depends primarily on past performance and native ability, with classroom experiments slowing the depreciation rate. 


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