School Boards Influence Economics Texts

Authors of economics textbooks for high school students are virtually required by school boards to discount free markets and promote state intervention. That’s the conclusion of a Mackinac center report,  which includes direct statements to that effect from the textbook authors themselves.

Here are some quotes from economics textbook authors:

“I agree with your review of my economics textbook.  In fact, I have in the past made suggestions to the publisher for changes along the lines of that in your review.   The problem is that I’m not in control of what is going into the text.  The publisher dictates the final result of what will be in the text.  The publisher has full and complete veto power over the contents of our text.  And the publisher wants a more liberal view presented in the text, and so that is what is in there.  They especially want government intervention treated with favor in several chapters of the text.”


The publishers looked at the problem as one of satisfying constituencies, not necessarily teaching sound economics.  When I made the case for a free-market approach, they were sometimes bemused.  They would say that if I appreciated free markets then I should appreciate their need to reach school markets and that I should want to write a text that would appeal to many teachers even if it did not say what I thought a text should say.