Teaching Economics with Excel


While the content of the typical undergraduate economics course has remained stable in recent decades, computers have become more powerful, easier to use, and as common as pencil and paper. In spite of these developments, teaching methods in the classroom remain virtually unchanged, with chalk-and-talk the dominant mode of delivery. This two-day professional development workshop will demonstrate how to utilize computer-based, active learning techniques to teach economics in a variety of subfields and different levels, enabling participants to create new course materials and content.

The workshop is designed to provide both ready-to-go classroom material and tools that can be used to generate your own examples and content. You can test drive a single application and gradually expand your teaching repertoire. This is an ideal, low cost way to improve and re-energize a course you have taught many times or to create an entirely new course.

The first day will focus on Introductory Economics. The topics include economic growth (exploring long-run trends in real GDP per person with Maddison's World Economy data), demography (directly downloading Census data on population into Excel), and national income accounting (using the FRED Excel add-in). The second day is devoted to intermediate theory and stats. We will work with prepared Excel workbooks with content from Micro and Macro, while learning how to use several Excel add-ins.

Individual lectures, lab modules, or entire courses can be reworked and enhanced, including flipping the classroom. Each day concludes with time for participants to explore workbooks and ideas on their own, with consultation if needed.

We will work in a computer lab, but participants are welcome to bring their own laptops.


Dr. Barreto is interested in using computers (especially Microsoft Excel) to improve the teaching and learning of economics. He is the Q. G. Noblitt Professor of Economics and Management at DePauw University and has published papers and books on pedagogy, including (with Frank M. Howland) Introductory Econometrics using Monte Carlo Simulation with Microsoft Excel (Cambridge University Press, 2006), Intermediate Microeconomics with Microsoft Excel (Cambridge University Press, 2009) and Teaching Macroeconomics with Microsoft Excel (Cambridge Univeristy Press, 2016). He has been a Fulbright Scholar, won several teaching awards, and has presented the materials used in this workshop at many colleges and universities around the world. 

Dates and Location

June 8 and 9, 2017 at Concordia University Irvine's Grimm Hall in Irvine, California.

Guest wifi is available for your laptop (Windows with Excel, of course, or a Mac emulating Windows is required).

We will begin on Thursday, June 8, 2017, at 8:30 AM and follow the schedule below.



2017 Schedule

Costs and Funding

This workshop is made possible by generous support from DePauw University and Concordia University. There is a non-refundable $30 registration fee to attend. Participants are responsible for all lodging (see below) and transportation costs.

Questions and Registration

Email hbarreto@depauw.edu if you have questions or would like further information.

Space is limited to the first 24 who register. Participants will be accepted on a first-come-first-served basis and registration will close on April 30.

Register here: Teaching Economics with Excel Workshop Registration


Concordia University Irvine has arranged a special rate of $115 plus tax (if available) and self-parking is $6 at the Wyndham Irvine Orange County Airport hotel.  This hotel is just a couple of miles from the John Wayne Airport (SNA) and offers a courtesy shuttle to and from the airport.  Concordia University Irvine is located about 3 miles south from the Wyndham Irvine Orange County.  Reservations can be made via phone or online by clicking here: The Wyndham Irvine Orange County Airport is a Preferred Hotel for Concordia University Irvine.

Previous Workshops

Click on a date below to see a list of participants, comments, photos, and a description of that year's workshop:

May 27 - 28, 2016

May 28 - 29, 2015

June 13 - 14, 2014

June 12 - 14, 2013

June 13 - 15, 2012

June 22 - 24, 2011

June 16 - 18, 2010

You can also view a map of all Econ Excel Workshop Home Institutions. Faculty from small liberal arts colleges to large state universities and a few international institutions have attended.

Last Updated: 20 March 2017