Money and Class

The vertical leap is the most difficult feature of economics Ph.D. programs.

A popular economics blog launches an online university

Economics has been known as “the dismal science” since Thomas Carlyle coined the phrase in 1849.

But the dismal science has found a new voice in recent years – still dry and sober, but at least tackling entertaining issues. Witness the success of Freakonomics and the economics blog Marginal Revolution.

It was the founders of that blog – Tyler Cowen and Alex Tabarrok, professors at George Mason University – who realized that economics’ new moment in the sun was a perfect opportunity to start educating people in rarefied science of supply and demand.

MRUniversity was launched in October 2012 using the massive online open course model. Classes are available in topics like Economics of the Media and The American Housing Finance System; they run anywhere from three to fifteen hours.

Users are able to contribute their own supplementary materials, and participants can register to receive a certificate of completion. The videos are also free-to-use for non-commercial purposes, so they are available for classroom use.

If you’d like to improve your knowledge of the dismal science, get started on classes here.

Now go forth (and cheer up).


Nitty Gritty:

4MM+: # of copies sold of Freakonomics

2007: Year the Freakonomics blog was incorporated into the New York Times

2011: Year Japanese Grand sumo tournament was cancelled due to match fixing, something Freakonomics originally predicted in 2005.