This research evaluates from what perspectives Dutch economics students are taught to understand the economy. It is based on a comprehensive content analysis of all 325 course outlines in the nine existing Dutch bachelor programs in general economics. Programs are compared on the following aspects: research methods, theoretical economic approaches, multi- and interdisciplinarity, real world economics, tools for critical thinking and didactic methods.
The main findings are that: the neoclassical approach dominates, taking 86% of all economics theory teaching time. Complementing this approach, 97% of methodological teaching time is spent on mathematics and quantitative research methods. 75% of courses do not engage with the actual economy. Most universities do offer courses in ethics, economic methodology and philosophy of science. Didactic and testing techniques are increasingly focused on reproduction rather than independent thought, using mostly textbooks and multiple-choice exams instead of more open formats. In short, students are taught to think like a (neoclassical) economist, rather than to analyze and understand the existing economy.