When Jason Childs and his colleagues went about devising a new course in economics at the University of Regina, they wanted to find a focus that didn’t involve the overused and fictitious widget.
What they arrived at was a product that was historic and central to people’s lives – and something most undergraduate students are familiar with: beer.
Childs, an associate professor of economics, said the Economics of Beer course had 80 seats, and they were filled in about two weeks. The course began in early May and finishes near the end of June.
“Basically, it’s an exploration of some economics concepts, in particular microeconomic concepts, and the brewing industry,” he said. “Beer is a really neat example because it allows you to talk about just about every fundamental concept in economics.”
Childs is also interested in the economics of happiness:
Not surprisingly, the economics of beer and happiness are related. For example, in most pubs, people are happy because beer is a good way to celebrate, he said. Childs’ economic view on happiness is that it isn’t tied to wealth but rather to income, because the latter allows you to acquire items that make you happy.
“It’s having that flow – always getting the next thing is what really seems to lead to happiness,” he said.
“Having stuff isn’t happy, getting stuff is – and that’s an important message … It’s the act of acquisition that I honestly believe makes us happy.”
(HT: Mike Meier)