ECO 150: Readings

This page includes readings for the course. These will often include chapters from the textbook. Keep in mind that we will not follow  the textbook too closely. As a result, some things from class may not appear in the book and vice-versa. In addition, there will typically be supplemental workshops or assigned readings for each topic.

Introduction: Scarcity and Tradeoffs:  Chapters 1 and 2 of the textbook provide a related treatment of this material. Supplemental worksheet on trade-offs.

Minimum Wage: Last year, the Congressional Budget Office (a non-partisan agency that performs economic analysis of proposed policies) examined the effects of a $15/hr Federal minimum wage. Here is an article on what they found. The CBO also has an interactive tool that allows you to estimate how different proposals affect jobs and wages.

Last year, three economists won the Nobel Prize, partly for their work on the minimum wage. Many of their findings suggest that higher minimum wages have surprisingly small effects on employment. Here is one short article on their work. In contrast, other economists have found that when Seattle boosted its minimum wage, it did result in significant job losses.

Supply and Demand: Chapter 3 of the textbook. We also used this worksheet.

September FOMC meeting: : a basic explanation of what the Fed is and why its decisions matter. An article on the details of September’s decision

Elasticities and Costs: Chapters 5 and 7 of the textbook cover this material.

Crime: This piece from Vox presents sixteen theories for why U.S.violent crime rates fell until the start of the pandemic (they have since risen). It also presents the evidence for and against each of these theories, much of it done by economists. Examples include the hypothesis that the legalization of abortion contributed to lower crime and theories that lower crime is due to more popular video games or unleaded gasoline.

Economist Roland Fryer’s visited Bates in 2015 where he presented evidence on racial disparities in policing (see page 5). Here is a blog piece by Justin Feldman disagreeing with Fryer.

Market Failures: Chapters 12-13 of the textbook cover this material. We also used this supplemental worksheet.