The value in 'value': An exercise for pluralising economics instruction

Nathan Coombs, Ashley Frawley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This paper suggests pluralising economics instruction by introducing different concepts of ‘value’. We argue the labour theory of value (LTV) and subjective value theory (STV) provide an enlightening pair of contrasting concepts which can impart appreciation for the relationship between different economic theories and political ideas of social justice. We present a series of active learning exercises designed to introduce students to differences between LTV and STV. After running and modifying exercises over three years as part of economics instruction for sociology and social policy students, we find the intervention broadly successful in encouraging students to engage with economic ideas and draw connections between personal experience, society, economics and politics.
Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Review of Economics Education
Early online date18 Jul 2018
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2019


  • value theory
  • pluralism
  • economic sociology
  • social policy
  • inequality


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