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The Economics Classroom
About the Workshops

Workshop Descriptions

1. How Economists Think
2. Why Markets Work
3. The Government's Hand
4. Learning, Earning, Saving
5. Trading Globally
6. The Building Blocks of Macroeconomics
7. Monetary and Fiscal Policy
8. Growth and Entrepreneurship

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Workshop Three: The Government's Hand

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MAJOR CONCEPTS

property rights
incentives and public policy
price floors and ceilings
price controls


This workshop explores the role of government in a market economy. The classroom activities emphasize that government protects property rights, corrects market failures, provides for pure public goods, and provides other goods and services. They also show how some government policies can have unintended consequences.

Kendra Cheese's 9th grade honors class at Lakewood Senior High School in Lakewood, Colorado, learns how the protection of property rights conserves and develops scarce resources.

Steve Reich's class at Valhalla High School in Valhalla, New York, uses the Corny Fuel Mystery to learn about public choice policy.

At Eau Gallie High School in Melbourne, Florida, Heather Anderson's class explores how surpluses and shortages are often the unintended consequences of price floors and price ceilings.

Dee Mecham and his class at Kamehameha High School in Honolulu, Hawaii, demonstrate how price controls can have negative, unintended consequences.


Kendra Cheese
Kendra Cheese
Teachers' Thoughts
"I was trying to introduce the concept of property rights and the fact that if people own something they take very good care of it 99% of the time. Is there some way that we can introduce the world to this concept: that if we have individual ownership of things then we might be able to preserve our environment better than we can with laws and courts? When I asked them [the students] to apply that principle to a new situation the problem arises, they'll look immediately to government, 'we'll pass more laws and everything will be just dandy.' Yet they know that things don't work necessarily with more laws … So the ultimate goal is that they can start thinking outside of what they have over the last several years: that government, by passing laws, can correct all problems."



 

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