West Virginia University College of Business and Economics doctoral student Joshua Hall is on a mission to make economics exciting for students.

In 2005, he was given the Best Educational Note award in the Journal of Private Enterprise for his article, �€?Homer Economicus: Using �€~The Simpsons’to Teach Economics.�€?

Now, for the third consecutive year, Hall, of Cleveland Heights , Ohio , has been named a fellow at the Institute for Humane Studies in Fairfax , Va.

His journal article gave examples of how students can be shown that economics exists everywhere, even with pop-culture icons such as �€?The Simpsons�€? characters. In one example, Homer, the bungling �€?head�€? of the family, charged people a small fee for a ride on his son’s new pet elephant. After experiencing losses, Homer drove up his prices to $500 a ride and caused his revenues to fall to zero, forcing himself out of business.

�€?What I find so interesting about economics is how it helps explain the world we live in,�€? Hall said. �€?Economics is a way to explain everything from why popcorn is so high at the movie theater to declining birth rates in developed countries.�€?

The Institute for Humane Studies awards fellowships to support the work of outstanding students who are interested in exploring the principles, practices and institutions necessary to a free society.

�€?The fellowship money will be used to offset non-tuition related expenses so that I can continue with my aggressive research agenda,�€? Hall said.

Most of Hall’s published research is in the area of economics education, covering topics from the impact of competition on public school teacher’s salaries to the economic justifications for government involvement in education.

Hall’s research and the tentative subject of his dissertation will cover entrepreneurship and economic development and how free market institutions such as property rights affect entrepreneurship.

Hall also plans to share his passion for economics with others.

�€?My career goal is to become a professor of economics at the best school that will hire me,�€? he said. �€?I hope to help my students see that economics is all around us. I want them to begin recognizing economics at work in songs, television shows and everyday life, and I try to encourage that in my classroom assignments.�€?