Chalk Radio — Episode 9, “Thinking Like an Economist with Prof. Jonathan Gruber”
In this episode, Professor Jonathan Gruber describes how he engages students in 14.01 Introductory Microeconomics with accessible examples of economic principles in action.
Professor Jonathan Gruber wants to train students to think like economists. Economics uses elegant mathematical models to explain how people make decisions and allocate their resources — but all too often those models are taught in ways that remain disconnected from students’ own experience. In this episode, Professor Gruber shares his thoughts on bridging that gap in his course 14.01 Introductory Microeconomics. He says he tries to anchor the course with real-world examples; as he explains, “You only really understand something when you go out in the real world and apply it.” And those examples, he says, have to be relatable. So rather than discussing companies none of his students have heard of or commodities nobody cares about, he illustrates fundamental economic concepts with examples like Kim Kardashian’s exercise corset, Uber’s policy of surge pricing, and LeBron James’s decision not to attend college. By engaging students with accessible examples of economic principles in action, Professor Gruber helps them develop economic intuition — a sense of how the mathematical models apply in the real, seemingly chaotic world. If you’ve always thought economics was boring, listen in on this podcast. It may change your mind!
This episode was originally released on June 24, 2020.