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Abstract

Our non-representative sample of 245 undergraduates had significantly lower scores on questions presented in the standard heterogeneous form (i.e., Direct Demand equation and Inverse Demand graph) than on questions presented in non-standard homogenous forms. This result, which holds for advanced students, highlights one reason why 95 percent of students in economics principles classes do not enter the major---economics can be gratuitously mathematical. We argue that the Inverse Demand standard hurts rather than helps economics when it is used in early courses, but that professors have no incentive to change their methods. We recommend that early classes use either no graphs or a homogenous combination of graph and equation. The "standard" should be introduced later, when benefits outweigh costs.

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