Research | Applied Economics

Research Models

Two professors in the Department of Applied Economics have developed a new teaching tool that helps students understand complex issues in international trade. Dr. Reza Oladi, Associate Professor in APEC, and Dr. John Gilbert, APEC Adjunct and Associate Professor in the Department of Economics and Finance, have instilled various international trade models, with their emphasis on general equilibrium effects and intricate geometric expositions, into a series of Excel programs that highlight key theoretical and policy findings.

For example, Oladi says, “Explaining the benefits and costs of the formation of free trade areas (such as NAFTA) is very difficult at the undergraduate level, but the Excel simulation tool illustrates in numbers and graphs the effects of such free trade unions. Our tool also allows students to play a number of different “What if…” scenarios outside of class, so we think this will stimulate a lot of student learning.”

Although Gilbert’s and Oladi’s findings will be published in a forthcoming issue of the Journal of Economic Education, the Excel programs have already been downloaded by teachers from around the world.

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