Economics Department lobby

Discovery Course

MIT offers a number of first-year discovery subjects, created to help students explore majors, minors, concentrations, and topics of interest. The economics discovery course for academic year 2022-2023 is Economics and Society's Toughest Problems (14.009).

Economics and Society's Toughest Problems
(Course 14.009)

No prerequisites
Units: 1-0-2 [P/D/F]

Should we trade more or less with China? Why are some countries poor, and some countries rich? Why are the 1% getting richer? Should the US have a universal basic income? Why is our society becoming so polarized? What can we do to mitigate climate change? Will robots take all the jobs? Why does racism persist and how can we fight it? What will the world economy look like after the COVID-19 recession?

Economics shows you how to think about some of the toughest problems facing society — and how to use data to get answers. Features lectures by MIT's economics faculty, showing how their cutting-edge research can help answer these questions. In lieu of problem sets, quizzes, or other written assignments, students produce materials of their choice (podcasts, TikToks, longer videos) with the view to make a potential audience excited about economics. Subject can count toward the 6-unit discovery-focused credit limit for first-year students.

Taught in fall 2022 by Professor Esther Duflo.