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Familien- gleich Staatshaushalt? Wie denken Lehramtsstudierende über Wirtschaftspolitik?
Blum, Silvia | van Treeck, Till
Vierteljahrshefte zur Wirtschaftsforschung, Vol. 86 (2017), Iss. 3 : pp. 55–67
This article reflects upon the recent debate over the introduction of a separate subject matter „Economics" at the secondary school level in Germany and presents selected results of a survey of prospective teachers in „Politics" and „Economics" during their first university year in the German state of Baden-Württemberg. A common claim in the debate over a separate subject matter Economics is that students at the secondary school level should receive a better financial education to help them make better financial decisions as individuals. Moreover, in many teaching materials general principles of economics and economic policy are discussed with reference to individual saving and portfolio decisions. This approach to economics education may be seen as appropriate from a pedagogical viewpoint because it takes into account the real world experiences of teenagers. However, to the extent that economics education makes use of simple micro-macro analogies, it may run the risk of violating the so-called imperative of controversy, which traditionally has been an important cornerstone of citizenship education in Germany and says that scientifically controversial issues must be treated as such also in the classroom. In particular, demand-oriented approaches to macroeconomics and economic policy reject the notion that microeconomic principles can be aggregated to the aggregate level. Our survey shows that students enrolled in teacher training programmes in „Economics" are more interested in business topics and personal saving and portfolio decisions, and less interested in employee topics and political-economic topics, than students enrolled in teacher training programmes in „Politics". They are also more critical of countercyclical deficit-spending by the government and regulation of financial markets by the government. More generally, a stronger interest in individual saving and portfolio decisions goes hand in hand with a weaker support for a demand-oriented approach to economic policy.