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Released May 3, 2005


HATTIESBURG A recently published study of economic education research productivity ranks The University of Southern Mississippi’s economics department in the top 100 of universities worldwide.

Southern Miss tied for 86th place with Boston University and Florida State University, among others, in the study that ranked 416 institutions based on their economics departments’ contributions to the Journal of Economic Education (JEE), a leading economics education journal.

Vanderbilt University in Nashville is the top-ranked school in the study based on the number of articles published, followed by the University of Nebraska and Purdue University.

Melody Lo and Sunny Wong, both assistant professors of economics at Southern Miss, authored the study “Ranking Institutions Based on Economic Education Scholarship” that is included in the new book Shaping the Learning Curve: Essays on Economic Education, edited by Frank Mixon, professor of economics at Southern Miss.

The researchers examined more than 950 articles published in 114 issues of the JEE, starting from the first issue in 1969 and ending with the third issue of the 35th volume in 2004. They computed rankings based on the number of articles published as well as the number of pages devoted to the articles.

According to Lo and Wong, this study constructs a new ranking of economics departments worldwide, based on the department’s contributions to knowledge about teaching economics.

“We use the research contribution to economic education literature as a proxy for teaching innovation (in economics). Much of the research in economic education is related to the effectiveness and innovations in economic teaching. As such, we assume that schools with greater contributions to the economic education literature have a comparative advantage in teaching economics,” said Lo and Wong in their study.

The Lo-Wong study is one of 11 chapters in the book that is published by iUniverse. Four other chapters are also authored by Southern Miss professors, including Mixon. The book is targeted to teachers at the high school and collegiate level and is divided into three sections: research, teaching and content, and the sociology of economic education.

Other Southern Miss authors and their chapters include the following:

  • “Have You Seen the New Econ Prof? Beauty, Teaching, and Occupational Choice in Higher Education,” by Trellis Green, Frank Mixon and Len Trevino (Washington State University)
  • “Teaching Economic Development as a Part of International Economics: A Survey of Methods and a Suggested Pedagogy,” by W. Charles Sawyer and Richard L. Sprinkle (University of Texas-El Paso)
  • “Intraindustry Trade: A More Intuitive Metric,” by H. Tyrone Black
  • “Bracketology 101: Using Sports to Apply Probabilistic Concepts from Elementary Econometrics,” by Frank Mixon and Michael Withers (Mississippi State University)

“We have individuals in the field at Southern Miss who have added to what we know about the delivery of economic education. They have been productive in researching methods of teaching and ideas to improve instruction in economics,” said Mixon, who also serves on the board of editors for the Journal of Economics and Finance Education.

“In the past several years, the scholarship of teaching economics has become more of a focus in the discipline, and our college economists have stayed current with this trend. The level of expertise we have in the College of Business is a contributing factor in our recent launch of the Center for Economic Education,” said Dr. Harold Doty, dean.


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July 20, 2005 4:00 PM