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Nicolas Treich

Uncertainty is prevalent in policymaking, and is thus an important dimension of policy evaluation and BCA. This chapter introduces the methods and practices to take uncertainty into account in BCA. The pedagogical approach consists in building on the contrast between two related concepts, such as risk versus uncertainty, static versus sequential analysis or ex ante versus ex post BCA.

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Lisa A. Robinson

The value of small changes in mortality risks, conventionally expressed as the value per statistical life (VSL), is an important parameter in benefit-cost analysis. These risk reductions often dominate the benefit estimates for environmental, health and safety policies and regulations. As a result, their value has been extensively studied, raising questions about how to best synthesize the resulting research and to adjust it for different contexts. The VSL terminology has led to substantial confusion about what is being measured, however. The VSL reflects individuals’ willingness to pay for small reductions in their own mortality risks within a defined time period. It is not the value of preventing certain death.

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Riccardo Bellofiore

The ‘theses’ published in this chapter were written for the first time 15 years ago, then rewritten more than a decade ago as an intervention in a round table: some updating has been done for the present publication. They have had a long gestation: in fact, the maturation of the theses covers the author’s entire life in the university, first as a student and then as a teacher.

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Daniela Tavasci

Mainstream economics frequently reproduces itself by excluding alternative perspectives from undergraduate curricula. Challenges also arise from the unwillingness of lecturers to experiment in their teaching as a result of institutional pressures related to students’ satisfaction and, in general, to issues around the commodification of higher education. This chapter outlines an innovative approach to introducing alternative economic perspectives into economics curricula through a reflective redesign of a History of Economic Thought module taught at the School of Economics and Finance of Queen Mary University of London. An account of this learning and teaching experience is accompanied by the findings of a small research project focused on the students’ experience of their exposure to pluralistic economics.

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Constantinos Repapis

In most universities in the UK, history of economic thought, when it is taught, is taught either as a specialist or an optional module in the second and third year of the degree. This contribution argues in favour of introducing elements from the history of economic thought into the first-year introductory economics module. The author looks at five reasons why this is an important change in developing curricula that teach economics through its history and evolution.

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Gerald Friedman

The author presents ideas on using history of thought to illuminate economic theory in the teaching of introductory economics. In this, he draws on his experience as a life-long observer of economics teaching and from 35 years teaching Introduction to Microeconomics, first at Tufts University and then at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. He suggests how the study of history of thought can enhance learning both for those who follow the dominant orthodoxy and those who criticize it. Furthermore, as pedagogy, teaching history of thought can help students learn, by maintaining their interest and by giving them a deeper and richer understanding of economic theory.

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Daniela Tavasci and Luigi Ventimiglia

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Stephanie Fuller

Teaching the history of economic thought is fast becoming an important topic of debate and discussion within economics teaching. But the use of historical perspectives in teaching is also an issue of much wider relevance across higher education. The motivations and challenges of implementing this kind of approach are specific to each discipline; however, there are things that we can learn from a range of subjects that can help inform teaching the history of economic thought. This chapter explores the debates around teaching with historical perspectives in a range of subjects, before focusing on some of the practical approaches used by teachers, and exploring the impact of this pedagogical approach on students.

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Joseph Halevi

In 2004 the author founded, and taught till retirement, the main second-year economic theory course at the newly established Department of Political Economy at the University of Sydney: Economic Theories of Modern Capitalism, code ECOP2011. The Department, which was formed in 2000, originated from a split within the traditional one in the 1970s. Although its main focus is on issues and not on analytical approaches to economics, its creation provided the opportunity for establishing a mainstay course based on a comprehensive historical and analytical view of economics from its modern inception.

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Luigi Ventimiglia

During his teaching career, the author realized that a logical flow needed to be adopted in teaching financial economics in order to bring to life those modules that students found hard to understand behind the simple mechanical application. This chapter shows how teaching with historical perspectives (THP) is about contextualizing the teaching of a subject both in terms of the genesis of a model or theory, and in terms of its development and evolution. THP provides a framework that allows students to group models together within the same school of thought and discuss the formation of new paradigms. As a result, students are able to easily use models that are relevant to their employability.