Marginal Revolution University makes economics education accessible globally


Marginal Revolution University (MRU) is building the world’s largest online library of free economics education videos – currently weighing in at more than 900 videos.

In 2012, George Mason University professors Tyler Cowen and Alex Tabarrok began recording economics lectures as bite-sized videos. Cowen and Tabarrok had already been writing together for years on their popular economics blog, Marginal Revolution. But they wanted to reach a wider audience of curious individuals with an interest in learning economics. The first course, Development Economics, was a success and more followed suit.

“We thought it was the natural extension from blogging,” said Cowen. “We were very much inspired by Salman Khan’s Khan Academy, which started with math videos, and we thought, ‘Hey, someone can do this with economics.’ Then we thought that should be us. Our audience is educated professionals. It started off as people who read our blog. It’s now spread.”

Initially, MRU’s videos were made by Cowen and Tabarrok as mini-lectures over slides. Flash forward to today and the latest courses are professionally produced, adding a high level of polish and videos collectively garnering millions of views.

Although MRU is based in Arlington, VA, at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University campus, its content is popular worldwide. In addition to being used in American colleges and high schools, MRU content is also used in Brazil, Australia, Denmark, Mexico, India, Germany, Kenya and many other countries. Many MRU videos are translated in Spanish, Hindi, Arabic, French, Portuguese, and Japanese.

All of MRU’s teaching and learning materials are completely free. MRU offers full microeconomics and macroeconomics courses that teach fundamental economic principles. Other courses span such topics as investing like an economist, economic thinking applied to everyday situations, economists debating opposing viewpoints on hot topics, the history of economic thought, and much more.

Current projects include an econometrics course called Understanding Data, building a Dictionary of Economics course with short videos, as well as adding more material to existing courses.

MRU partners with organizations that aim to make education more accessible to anyone who wants to learn. If you’d like to work with MRU, reach out to Justin Dile, MRU’s Partnerships Manager, at: justin@mruniversity.com