Forty years ago, any student who enrolled in an undergraduate degree at the Faculty of Economics at Sydney University in 1971 had to complete four year-long courses in economics, out of a total of ten such courses: Microeconomics and Quantitative Methods in the first year, Macroeconomics in the second, and International Economics in the third.
Fast forward to 2011, when the Faculty of Economics and Business evicted the economics discipline into the Arts Faculty, and the economics-free entity renamed itself as University of Sydney Business School. There is now just one compulsory semester-long economics subject (Economics for Business Decision Making) in any Bachelor of Commerce degree at Sydney University, out of 24 such subjects – and that pattern is replicated across the globe. Economics has declined from 40 per cent of any business-oriented degree to 4 per cent in 40 years. For a profession obsessed with linear regression, it has suffered a near-perfect linear regression of its own.