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This pathbreaking system for teaching economics was developed from the original Be Your Own Chancellor under a Nuffield Foundation grant. Freely useable by everyone on the Web, it combines worksheets, glossaries and other educational materials with two powerful models of the UK economy: the Institute for Fiscal Studies Tax-Benefit model (Taxben) and the Treasury's macroeconomic model. The release of Virtual Economy gained us some very pleasing comments, amongst which were:
I think that the way the whole of this virtual economics is set up is very educational and complements our class notes very well. I would like to take this opportunity to say a personal thankyou for providing this type of information for me.
Excellent and useful tool and would be glad if this is available on a permanent basis, particularly during the summer so students can use this model to learn and refresh economic principles and insights when we have more time. Makes economics more fun with this 'program' and I feel this can be used effectively so we can see principles of economics taking place which reinforces theory or grants a better understanding of certain principles which may not usually be grasped.
Great fun. We put in some good old Thatcherite policies! Very impressed, pity what we did to the economy and single parents!
In 2002, further funding allowed us to update the materials and models to reflect the current tax system, add new input and output options, and to rewrite the output stage so it used XML as an intermediate format. Read our paper on Virtual Economy in CHEER, or an interview on e-learning and the construction of Virtual Economy for the Greek X-RAM computer magazine.