Professor Roderick O'Donnell
Professor, Economics Discipline Group
BEc, BA, BE (Civil), MEngSc, PhD
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Rod was appointed as Professor of Economics with the School on a 50% fractional contract beginning in 2009. Rod was formerly Professor of Economics at Macquarie University. He has a formidable reputation for teaching economics and in 2008 was awarded an Australian Teaching and Learning Council Citation for Outstanding Contributions to Student Learning. Rod's teaching focus at UTS is in Economics for Business and Macroeconomics: Theory and Applications.
Economics for Business and Macroeconomics: Theory and Applications
The conceptual foundations of Economics, The thought of J.M. Keynes, Schools of modern economic thought, Economic policy formation
Research supervision: Yes
Selected Peer-Assessed Projects
O'Donnell, R. 2010, 'Economic pluralism and skill formation: Adding value to students, economies, and societies' in Garnett, R; Olsen, EK; Starr, M (eds), Economic Pluralism, Routledge, US, pp. 262-277.
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On the 75Th anniversary of the publication of The General Theory, this paper explores the framework of Keynes's thought as a whole, his development of a realistic and insightful analysis of a monetary production economy, and the practical conclusions that these entail. Ranging across philosophy, economics and politics, it comments on the approach needed to understand his distinctive thinking, some of the central elements of his analytical framework, the fate of the Keynesian revolution, his emphasis on reason and humanity, and his hope that individual greed and acquisition might be replaced in the future by non-economic, goodnessenhancing activities. The paper also argues that it is not sufficient to read The General Theory in isolation as a self-contained work if one wants to understand its pioneering nature fully. Three questions are posed by way of conclusion-why is Keynes so different from, more difficult to understand, and yet more appealing than, many modem economists?
O'Donnell, R. 2009, 'The concept of opportunity cost: Is it simple, fundamental or necessary?', Australasian Journal of Economics Education, vol. 6, no. 1, pp. 21-37.
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Surveys by Ferraro and Taylor (2005) point to abysmal understandings of the concept of opportunity cost by US undergraduates, graduates and faculty, and raise important pedagogical and conceptual issues. One implication is that the concept is poorly taught in textbooks and classrooms, from which it follows that remedies are needed. Three further implications strongly influence the nature and extent of these remedies. These are that opportunity cost is not a simple concept but a difficult one, that it is not a fundamental economic concept but a subordinate one, and that graduates do not require a good understanding of the concept for successful careers as economists. This paper presents logical arguments supporting these propositions, and discusses their bearing on general strategies for dealing with the pedagogical problem.
My purpose here is to offer, in hindsight, an assessment of the significance of the dispute in terms of its two underlying issues + the nature of economics and the role of university ideals. I write as someone who was a student activist, both inside and outside official channels, from 1974 to 1977 during the first major phase of the dispute, who graduated with degrees in economics (BEc) and philosophy (BA) and who, supported by scholarships from Sydney University, took a doctorate in Economics at Cambridge prior to returning to Australia and an academic career.
This paper investigates Keynes+s writings in the 1920s and 30s to uncover his views on the writing of economics, especially the writing of innovative or path-breaking works. His ideas were mainly presented in comments on other economists (particularly Marshall, Jevons and Malthus), and in reflections on his own experiences (chiefly in his 1932-33 lectures and a 1934 draft preface to the General Theory). These ideas are converted into five underlying principles, the implications of which are discussed in terms of their impact on the clarity and interpretation of his writings and of their relevance to all writings in economics
O'Donnell, R. 2004, 'What kind of economics graduates do we want? A constructive critique of HansenÔ++s proficiencies approach', Australasian Journal of Economics Education, vol. 1, no. 1, pp. 41-6-.
O'Donnell, R. 1999, 'The genesis of the only diagram in the general theory', Journal of the History of Economic Thought, vol. 21, no. 1, pp. 27-37.
O'Donnell, R. 1990, 'Keynes on mathematics: Philosophical foundations and economic applications', Cambridge Journal of Economics, vol. 14, no. 1-2, pp. 29-47.