A Framework for Developing Spreadsheet Applications in Economics

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Working Paper

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economics, teaching, computer software, spreadsheet, Microsoft Excel


This paper presents a framework for thinking abaout the different types of spreadsheet modeling applications available for teaching economics. Spreadsheet applications are categorized by the degree to which students are involved in the spreadsheet's construction, and the degree to which students are involved in the mathematics of the model. Examples of applications from each category call attention to the high degree of flexibility that instructors have in designing spreadsheet applications, and suggest alternative ways that instructors can tailor applications to fit their specific instructional style and setting. While the costs associated with developing spreadsheet applications are significant, we believe that the costs are manageable, even for instructors who are new to spreadsheets. We conclude that the advantages imparted to students by carefully tailored spreadsheet applications are significant, and we hope to encourage the development and use of such applications.

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