Advanced Placement Economics: Where Markets Fail and Government Is Perfect

High school students taking advanced placement courses in economics are being shortchanged. In 2010 the College Board and Educational Testing Service (ETS) administered 134,747 Advanced Placement (AP) microeconomics and macroeconomics exams to high school students. A new study systematically reviews the content of AP Economics. AP Economics gives ample attention to market failure, but no attention to government failure. It gives ample attention to Keynesian economics and to the mechanical manipulation of diagrams, but practically no attention to entrepreneurship, innovation, economic freedom, and property rights. In general, AP Economics gives little attention to the economic way of thinking. The study appears in the January 2011 issue of Econ Journal Watch and is authored by Tawni H. Ferrari, James D. Gwartney, and John S. Morton. The authors suggest ways to improve the AP Economics materials. The article is accompanied by a podcast.

Robert C. Koons

Robert C. Koons is a professor of philosophy at the University of Texas-Austin.

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