Analyzing Content about the Federal Budget, National Debt, and Budget Deficit in High School and College-level Economics Textbooks

Journal of Social Studies Research 36 (3):283-297 (2012)
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Abstract

This study sought to identify content on the federal budget, national debt, and budget deficit in the 12 most commonly used high school and college-leveleconomics textbooks. Our systematic review of these sources leads to two key findings: (1) Textbooks are similar in how they represent fiscal policy yet treatthe federal budget, deficit, and debt differently across the sample, and (2) Textbooks treat the federal budget, budget deficit, and national debt as theoretical, without an examination of values and systemic electoral and budgetary politics. These findings lead us to argue that curriculum is needed that will permit a careful examination of how everyday citizens can gain knowledge, acknowledge values, and work towards a reasoned and realitybased view of what is at stake with regard to these issues in the 21st Century.

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