An intro to economics course at Harvard is the class everyone wants to take -- its professor explains why

Gregory MankiwCNBC‘I think it’s a great gateway into a lot of different careers,’ renowned economist Gregory Mankiw said.

“Economics 10: Principles of Economics” is the most popular class at Harvard this fall with 627 undergraduate students enrolled.

The class is taught by renowned economist Gregory Mankiw, who was chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers under President George W. Bush.

“I’d love to say it’s me, but I’m sure it’s not just me,” Mankiw told Business Insider when he taught the class last semester. “It’s really about economics.”

The course, which has been the most popular for the past few semesters, teaches microeconomics concepts in the fall, and continues into the spring term teaching macroeconomics.

Many students at Harvard begin their freshman year without ever having taken an economics class, Mankiw explained. These students are curious to see what the major is all about and Economics 10 is the prerequisite for higher level courses in the major.

Many of these students decide economics is a good fit; it’s the largest major on campus.

But even for those students who don’t intend to major in economics, the course provides huge benefit, according to Mankiw.

“I think it’s a great gateway into a lot of different careers,” he said. Studying economics is important “so you can read the newspaper, so you can be an intelligent voter, make intelligent decisions as you go about your personal financial life,” he continued. “It’s a great place to start to learn how the world works.”

Specific concepts reviewed in the course include how markets work, market efficiency and market failure, firm and consumer behaviour, policy issues such as taxation, international trade, the environment, and the distribution of income, according to the Harvard University course catalogue.

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