Real world economics: the peculiar case of applied economics provision in England and Wales

Duncan Watson, Louise Parker, Steve Cook

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This paper examines the teaching of Applied Economics and questions whether it could be seen as a trendsetter providing a pluralist perspective via robust policy analysis. This is achieved through three elements. Initially by reviewing the characteristics of Applied Economics teaching in England & Wales we find very little variation in undergraduate pedagogy. Subsequently, we explore how the symbiotic development of economics and mathematics narratives could contribute to this rigidity. The results show an inherent idealism that inhibits and destabilises any value applied economic analysis could contribute to the pluralist position. Finally, we introduce Lakoff’s cognitive linguistics to explain how applied economics could impede the exploration of heterodox ideas. We conclude that Applied Economics teaching, as presently practiced in England and Wales, has less to contribute to the education of economists than typically asserted. Unless there is a conscious intent of highlighting pluralist implications in Applied Economics, we recommend a refocus on the study of the History of Economic Thought.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)286-299
Number of pages14
JournalInternational Journal of Pluralism and Economics Education
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 8 Dec 2017


  • Applied Economics
  • Real World Economics
  • Neoclassical Economics
  • History of Economic Thought
  • Cognitive Linguistics
  • Lakoff
  • Teaching Pedagogy

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