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Here Are Some Tools You Need

to understand what's happening with our economy.

Three academics give us some tips for getting the economy.

About as long as we’ve had national dialogue, there has been a lot of talk about “the economy.” But the big, often esoteric topic now seems more pertinent than ever. That’s why we asked three academic economists for recommendations to help nonacademic types better grasp the forces around us.


COVID-Explained by Emily Oster
“Emily Oster is doing a fabulous job of distilling academic research on COVID for a nonacademic audience. An especially good article of hers is on how to make decisions about COVID risks using an economic framework. If I could recommend only one thing of Emily’s, that would be it.”

Kasey Buckles, associate professor of economics at the University of Notre Dame


Econ Talk hosted by Russ Roberts
“Economics only helps us evaluate effectiveness at achieving our stated objectives. Consequently, its greatest value is in the hands of people who’ve reflected on what a worthy objective is. I’m thrilled when pastors and engaged congregants who’ve given a good deal of thought to what we ought to pursue spend some time thinking about how various policies or actions lead or fail to lead to those objectives. We’re all aware that good intentions are generally insufficient. Russ Roberts is relatable and humane, an excellent interviewer willing to ask difficult questions in a civil manner, and he’s both clear and accessible. Listen to a handful of episodes, and you’ll quickly move beyond the common misconception of economics being equated with money — its etymology overlaps with the idea of stewardship.”

Enoch Hill, assistant professor of macroeconomics at Wheaton College


Economics in One Lesson by Henry Hazlitt

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“This is among the best-selling economics books of all time. Economics can’t tell us what we should or shouldn’t do. It helps reveal what some of the relevant trade-offs might be, but a discipline like ethics is required to determine how we ‘ought’ to negotiate those tradeoffs. In Economics in One Lesson, Hazlitt doesn’t focus as much on the ethics, but understanding the underlying econ is critical to getting the ethics right. Interestingly, Hazlitt did write extensively about ethics in other works, such as his book, The Foundations of Morality.”

Caleb S. Fuller, assistant professor of economics at Grove City College

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