Which Candidates Would Pass My Course?

Posted by | November 9, 2011 18:04 | Filed under: Top Stories

by Stuart Shapiro

CNN has an amusing post up on how most of the candidates for president would fail Econ 101 based on their claims.

America’s Econ 101 professors say yes. In their view, the candidates continue to offer ideas and policies that wouldn’t pass muster in their classes — populated by 18 year-old college students.

“There are so many economic ‘misstatements’ being made,” said Jonathan Lanning, a professor at Bryn Mawr who is teaching two introductory economics classes this semester. “And it isn’t confined to any one candidate.”

Michele Bachmann promised to bring back $2 gas. Tim Pawlenty suggested sustained 5% GDP growth was a realistic target. Rick Perry would balance the budget with lower tax revenues.

While I applaud their mocking of the candidates, I’m not sure the authors have been around 18-year-old freshmen lately.  I teach an introductory course on microeconomics for public policy.  If the candidates were in my class, I’m sure they would talk much more than my current students who (for the most part) sit there silently hoping not to make eye contact with me.  My problem would probably be getting the candidates to shut up and listen.

That said, I think when push came to shove Gingrich, Romney and of course, Obama would do quite well.  Romney wouldn’t be able to resist trying to get a good grade and Gingrich would show that he knows better than his rhetoric indicates.  The others though, I have my doubts they’d pass.  Maybe if I graded on a curve?

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Copyright 2011 Liberaland
By: Stuart Shapiro

Stuart is a professor and the Director of the Public Policy
program at the Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy at Rutgers
University. He teaches economics and cost-benefit analysis and studies
regulation in the United States at both the federal and state levels.
Prior to coming to Rutgers, Stuart worked for five years at the Office
of Management and Budget in Washington under Presidents Clinton and
George W. Bush.

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