Economics for Leaders (EFL) is the flagship program of The Foundation for Teaching Economics and is designed specifically to address the twin goals outlined in the Foundation’s mission statement:
The mission of the FTE is to introduce young individuals, selected for their leadership potential, to an economic way of thinking about national and international issues, and to promote excellence in economic education by helping teachers of economics become more effective educators.
The curriculum materials – including background outlines for teachers and classroom-ready simulations and activities to engage students – support the teaching of critical thinking skills by equipping students with the tools of the economic reasoning.
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5 Economic Reasoning Propositions (ERPs)
Economic Reasoning Proposition #1:
People choose, and individual choices are the source of social outcomes. Scarcity necessitates choices: not all of our desires can be satisfied. People make these choices based on their perceptions of the expected costs and benefits of the alternatives.
Economic Reasoning Proposition #2:
Choices impose costs; people receive benefits and incur costs when they make decisions. The cost of a choice is the value of the next-best alternative foregone, measurable in time or money or some alternative activity given up.
Economic Reasoning Proposition #3:
People respond to incentives in predictable ways. Choices are influenced by incentives, the rewards that encourage and the punishments that discourage actions. When incentives change, behavior changes in predictable ways.
Economic Reasoning Proposition #4:
Institutions are the “rules of the game” that influence choices. Laws, customs, moral principles, superstitions, and cultural values influence people’s choices. These basic institutions controlling behavior set out and establish the incentive structure and the basic design of the economic system.
Economic Reasoning Proposition #5:
Understanding based on knowledge and evidence imparts value to opinions. Opinions matter and are of equal value at the ballot box. But on matters of rational deliberation, the value of an opinion is determined by the knowledge and evidence on which it is based. Statements of opinion should initiate the quest for economic understanding, not end it.
Download 5 Economic Reasoning Propositions
Lessons are designed to stand alone, or to be used together as the framework for a semester course. Applicable economics content standards are identified. FTE curriculum materials may be copied in whole or part for noncommercial educational classroom use only.
Web pages for each lesson listed below include links to download lesson outlines and presentation slides.
- Lesson 1: Economic Growth and Scarcity
- Lesson 2: Opportunity Cost and Incentives
- Lesson 3: Open Markets
- Lesson 4: Markets in Action
- Lesson 5: Labor Markets
- Lesson 6: Incentives, Innovations, and Roles of Institutions
- Lesson 7: Property Rights: Is the Environment Different?
- Lesson 8: Setting the Rules: Costs and Benefits of Government Action
- Lesson 9: Money and Inflation
- Lesson 10: International Markets
EFL Classroom Activities:
The links below include demonstration videos with instructional voice-over, summaries of materials and procedures, and download links for full activity guides including all handouts, visuals, procedures, debriefing questions and answers, and teacher guide. See link below for presentations slides.
- The Magic of Markets: Trade Creates Wealth*
- In the Chips — A Market in Computer Chips*
- Cartels and Competition*
- The Market for Thingamajigs,* a variation exploring the issue of price gouging (from The Economics of Disasters)
- The Job Jungle: A Labor Market Game*
- The Giant Sucking Sound – Trade Woes or Job Flows, a variation exploring outsourcing (from Issues in International Trade)
- The Wheat Activity
- The Fish Game*
- Farmers and Fishers*
- A Pollution Solution
- Foreign Currencies and Foreign Exchange*
- Tic-Tac-Toe Tariff * (from Issues in International Trade)
- Practice with Opportunity Cost – Lesson 1 supplement used in summer EFL teacher sessions
- EFL Performance Assessment – Public Policies on Trial – Student assessment activity used in summer EFL programs
*Presentation slides for select activities above.