Once Upon an Economics Course: Using Fairy Tales to Teach Economics

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Are fairy tales merely bedtime stories that offer amusement and wisdom for children, or are they stories about how rational individuals (in a world of magic) make choices to allocate scarce resources and maximize utility? This paper proposes that fairy tales serve both purposes, therefore providing educators—specifically secondary and post-secondary instructors—with an opportunity to impart economic concepts in the classroom through the tales. As most students have been acquainted with fairy tales from childhood, incorporating them into an economics class allows the students to read the stories through a new lens of understanding by applying concepts including scarcity, opportunity costs, utility, technology, and risk.

Amanda Mandzik