Jonathan Graves

Assistant Professor of Teaching
Majors Program Advisor

I am an Assistant Professor of Teaching at UBC’s Vancouver School of Economics. I am also the Majors Program Advisor, supporting undergraduate students who are majoring or intending on majoring in economics.

I primarily teach intermediate and senior undergraduate courses, focusing on how we can use economic intuition, modelling, and data analysis to understand the world around us.

My pedagogical research includes developing undergraduate researchers, experiential learning, community-engaged learning, and the scholarship of teaching and learning. I also work on our Indigenous initiatives here at the VSE. My economic research areas include applied microeconomics, and industrial organization.

You can find more information about me, and my work on my personal UBC website.

You can find more information about my pedagogical and economic research on my website’s research pages.

Selected Publications and Working Papers:

  • Graves, Jonathan. (2021). “Course-Based Versus Field Undergraduate Research Experiences”. Teaching and Learning Inquiry 9 (2).
    • This paper compares undergraduate course-based research experiences to field-based research experiences in order to understand the relationship between these different forms of experiential learning. I study undergraduate research experiences across an economics department at a large Canadian research university. Statistical analysis indicates that there are not large differences between field and course-based experiences. The main differences favour course-based instruction, with course-based experiences associated with more independent thinking and relevant task engagement. Overall, I conclude that curriculum designers should focus attention on proper course-based curriculum design, rather than simply trying to adapt “research-like” experiences into the classroom
  • Optimal Assessment Weighting: A Backwards Approach
    • In this paper, I discuss a fundamental concept for all instructors: how do we weight the different assessments within our course in order to evaluate students effectively? Using a combination of statistical and pedagogical tools, I describe conditions for weighting assessments which result in (i) minimum statistical bias (in terms of difference of assessed achievement versus actual), (ii) maximum precision, and (iii) optimal trade-offs between precision and bias, when a perfect assessment is infeasible. I conclude that optimal assessment weighting closely parallels the “backwards” design of curriculum, requiring a tight correspondence between learning objectives, syllabus structure, and assessment rubrics. I also demonstrate that many commonly suggested weighting schemes are not optimal unless a very large emphasis is placed on formative learning experiences in a course.
  • Understanding the Hybrid Classroom in Economics
  • “Beyond COVID”: The future of teaching and learning. UBC Centre for Teaching, Learning and Technology. (2022, January 27). Retrieved January 28, 2022, from

Winter 2022

ECON221 Introduction to Strategic Thinking Sections

An introduction to how people interact in strategic situations drawn from political science, history, psychology, law, biology, military history, economics, business, and anthropology. The focus will be on developing intuition. May not be taken for credit by students with fourth-year standing. Credit will be granted for only one of ECON 221 or ISCI 344.

Winter 2022

ECON398 Introduction to Applied Economics Sections

Theory and practice of the analytical application of economics. Causality, empirical analysis, and the application of theoretical models through engagement in applied work.

Winter 2022

ECON421 Introduction to Game Theory and Applications. Sections

Principles of rational behaviour in strategic situations and various notions of equilibrium useful in predicting outcomes. Applications from economics, business, politics, law and biology.

Winter 2022

ECON492F Directed Reading - DIRECTED READING Sections

Winter 2022

ECON490 Seminar in Applied Economics Sections

Selected problems and issues in the theory and practice of Economics. Each section will focus on a different field. Restricted to Economics Majors, and Combined Majors in Economics their final academic session.

I teach a variety of different courses here at the VSE.  You can more information about these courses on my personal website, linked below.  I am also usually the coach for UBC’s Bank of Canada Governors Challenge team – you can find more information about this program here.

Current Courses

  • ECON 226: Making Sense of Economic Data (link)
  • ECON 326: Methods of Empirical Research in Economics (link)
  • ECON 398: Introduction to Applied Economics (link)
  • ECON 421: Introduction to Game Theory and Applications (link)
  • ECON 490: Seminar in Applied Economics (link)
    • This course changes frequently; you can find more information here.

Older Courses

  • ECON 406: Topics in Microeconomics (link)
  • Vancouver Summer Program: International Trade and Finance (link)