I figured this was appropriate for the occasion…
Earlier this year, the Massachusetts Council for Economic Education hosted its annual High School Economics Challenge, which brought students from all over the state to the Federal Reserve of Boston to compete to see which students are the biggest ner…er, which students know the most economics. The two main divisions- the David Ricardo division for regular economics students and the Adam Smith division for advanced placement economics students (apparently the council likes its economists to be of a certain age)- consist of an individual exam and then a quiz bowl round where the two top-scoring schools on the exam go head to head to decide a winner. The winner in each division is then eligible for the National Economics Challenge sponsored by the Council for Economic Education and to be held this weekend in New York. This year, Lexington High School, the Massachusetts winner in the David Ricardo division, scored high enough to qualify for the finals, so I will be watching the livestream of the finals on Sunday at 3pm on the Council for Economic Education Facebook page. I watched last year and Belmont High School won in the Adam Smith division, so clearly I am a good-luck charm. (See also: correlation versus causation.)
In addition to the quiz bowl rounds, the Massachusetts Economics Challenge introduced a new round this year, named the (continuing the trend) Alfred Marshall round, where students consider a case study and then make and defend policy recommendations based on the scenario described. The inaugural case was about the recent economic troubles in Ireland, and I had the pleasure of not only judging the written proposals (ever see high-school students try to use the word sequester properly?) but also asking follow-up questions to the two teams that we chose as finalists and then choosing a winner. (Just know that I have ALL the power.) The President of the council was nice enough to send along some pictures from the judging:
(Guess who knew the camera was there? Me and the guy in the bow tie, apparently.)
(The other judge is the economics department head at UMass Lowell. I swear that we were both taking our jobs equally seriously. Also, for the record, it was really hard to pick a winner because both of the finalist teams were pretty impressive.)
If you are a high-school student or teacher, I highly recommend looking into having your school participate in your state’s economics challenge. (You can see a list of state coordinators here.) I also recommend checking out my study materials to help you prepare.