Americans make dozens of economic decisions each day, ranging from the minute (should I spend $4.95 on that Grande Mocha Frappuccino at Starbucks?) to the major (should I take pre-med courses at LAVC to become an anesthesiologist?).


In recent decades, economists have begun to debate which factors matter most in our decision-making process. Whereas traditional economic models assume that human beings will make rational decisions, today’s behavioral economists argue that we can be easily swayed by habits, emotions, and advertising trickery. Economists who study happiness, meanwhile, insist that while we can’t put a price on happiness, we can certainly measure and graph it.

Following in the footsteps of Studs Terkel, the Pulitzer-prize winning journalist and author of Working (1974), students inquired into the causes of our financial behavior by conducting interviews with ordinary working people: teachers, administrators, campus aids, custodians, parents, extended family, etc.


Collecting these oral histories provide us with evidence that corroborates, challenges, or refines the economic theories we’ve been studying.  In addition, they grant us opportunities to gain wisdom that could lead to better financial futures.

Audacity Tutorial #1: Importing
Audacity Tutorial #2: Editing
We are creating podcasts using Audacity, a free, open-source audio editing software. It is simple to use and can run on any operating system, e.g., Windows, MacOS, and Linux.
Watch the three tutorials to learn the basics of using the software. If you'd like to download Audacity or any of the related plug-ins, click the icon on the right.
Audacity Tutorial #3: Exporting


Determine the central ideas or information of a primary or secondary source; provide an accurate summary that makes clear the relationships among the key details and ideas.

Evaluate various explanations for actions or events and determine which explanation best accords with textual evidence, acknowledging where the text leaves matters uncertain.

Integrate and evaluate multiple sources of information presented in diverse formats and media (e.g., visually, quantitatively, as well as in words) in order to address a question or solve a problem.

Conduct short as well as more sustained research projects to answer a question (including a self-generated question) or solve a problem; narrow or broaden the inquiry when appropriate; synthesize multiple sources on the subject, demonstrating understanding of the subject under investigation.

Gather relevant information from multiple authoritative print and digital sources, using advanced searches effectively; assess the strengths and limitations of each source in terms of the specific task, purpose, and audience; integrate information into the text selectively to maintain the flow of ideas, avoiding plagiarism and overreliance on any one source and following a standard format for citation.

Draw evidence from informational texts to support analysis, reflection, and research.