Michael Caputo, Ph.D.

Professor of Economics

Michael Caputo, Ph.D.


My Teaching Philosophy

I take teaching very seriously, and for the most part view teaching as important as research.  I have high expectations of the students, which is generally something they haven’t encountered in their prior education.  I eschew grading on a curve, for I find a curve unpalatable inasmuch as any true curve, e.g., a normal distribution, necessarily forces me to pit students against one another when assigning grades.  Instead, I prefer the time-honored 90–100 A, 80–89 B, and so on scale, as it sets clearly articulated hurdles for the students to reach and does not pit them against one another for grades.  I firmly believe that students are not here to compete against their classmates for a limited number of, say, A’s, they are in competition only with themselves to master the material.  My grading system recognizes this philosophical point of view.

My teaching style involves using three methods to convey the economic theory to the students, to wit, (i) an intuitive explanation of the economic theory using the simplest possible language, (ii) a geometric and graphical explanation of the underlying economic theory, and finally (iii) a mathematical exposition of the theory using the appropriate level of mathematics.  I resolutely believe that it is essential to present the mathematics underlying the intuitive and graphical expositions of the economic theory, seeing as this is the only way for the students to fully and deeply understand the basis for the intuition and geometry.

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In the News

Research and Publications

  • Foundations of Dynamic Economics Analysis: Optimal Control Theory and Applications
    Cambridge University Press

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