ECON 4626-001 Economics of Inequality Discrimination

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ECON 4626-001 Economics of Inequality Discrimination
Spring 2007
Economics of Inequality and Discrimination
Econ 4626
Economics of Inequality and Discrimination
Instructor: Alpna Bhatia
Spring 2007: Econ 4626
Office(s): Econ TBA
Sewall 42 C
Office Phone: 303-492-8295
E-mail: [email protected]
Office Hours: T 1-2:30 in Econ 109
Th 1-2:30 in Sewall 16
and By Appt.
What is economic well being? Are there any significant differences in income and
wealth? Are there any patterns in these differences? What light can neoclassical
economic theory shed on these differences? Are there other explanations for these
differences? The Economics of Inequality and Discrimination is a course that
assumes that economic outcomes are not only based on personal preferences and
decisions but also the race and gender identity of the economic actor, the
microeconomic climate, and macroeconomic institutions. The importance of these
identities vary from place to place and from time to time, depending on the social
definitions and the relative privilege (or disadvantage) of each identity.
This course will attempt to define and understand socio-economic stratifications of
income, and how they impact our economic lives. We will look at how economics as an
academic discipline incorporates these social groups into its analysis of decisions and
outcomes. Some topics include labor force participation decisions, theories of
discrimination, and patterns of occupational segregation. We will explore both the
dominant form of economic analysis—the neoclassical model—and also criticisms and
alternatives to that model (heterodox economics). Lastly, we will incorporate some
specific economic, social, and political issues that involve race, and gender, and analyze
them with the tools we have learned. We will also review basic statistical concepts and
tools in class. How do you formulate a hypothesis? How do you empirically test a
hypothesis? What is the difference between statistical significance and economic
significance? How do you interpret the output from a regression? Prior programming
experience is not required or expected.
This course will be a mixture of lecture and class discussion. It is also a reading-and
writing intensive course, and the quality of the class discussion depends on thoughtful
and timely reading of the assignments. We are not constrained to follow this syllabus
exactly-- if we find that there is another issue we wish to explore, we can decide to do
The course web page is located at https://culearn.colorado.edu. At that page you
should be able to log on using your student user name and password. All information for
the course will be posted on the web page. I will also post relevant administrative and
substantive information regarding exams, and other announcements about the course at
the above website. It is your responsibility to check the website for announcements,
assignments, and any possible changes related to the course plan.
Spring 2007
Economics of Inequality and Discrimination
Econ 4626
Course Prerequisite :This class requires previous completion of Intermediate
Microeconomics or the equivalent. We will use a lot of algebra and some calculus
(integration and differentiation) and draw LOTS of graphs. This preparation is nonnegotiable.
Required Text: I will be drawing a lot of my lecture materials for the textbooks below.
Schiller, The Economics of Poverty and Discrimination is the selected textbook for the
Modern Labor
Ehrenberg and Economics:
Smith (E&S) Theory and Public
Collins et. all The Wealth
Inequality Reader 2004
The Economics
9780130385680 Schiller
of Poverty and 9E
Dollars and
Prentice Hall selected
I will follow the texts closely on theoretical parts of the lecture. However, most lectures
are not in any one text. Also, for some topics, my treatment will be different than that of
the text. The texts should be viewed as a complement to the lectures, not a substitute.
You are responsible for the material in the assigned texts, and in the lectures. These
books should be available at the University Bookstore.
Appropriate additional readings will also be assigned during the course of the semester.
You should also try and have access to a newspaper with substantial economic
reporting such as The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, or The Financial
Times. Some of these have free content available online, some have content available
through Norlin.
Exams will focus primarily on material presented in lecture-including material not in the
text, current events, and such. If I spend class time on a topic/event I consider it material
for your tests.
Office Hours: Office hours are Tuesdays and Thursdays 1p -2:30p and by appointment..
Tuesdays I will hold my office hours in my office in the Economics building in room 109.
Thursdays I will hold my office hours in my office in the Sewall building in room 42C.
These hours are reserved for you, and I encourage you to to spend as much of this time
as you need getting help. If you are unable to make these office hours I will also
schedule appointments at other times at your request.
Email is absolutely the best way to get in touch with me, except in case of emergencies.
I try to be prompt about replying to e-mail. However, you must allow me 24 hours to
Spring 2007
Economics of Inequality and Discrimination
Econ 4626
Work: The class grade is based on a (one best of 2) midterm exams, a final exam,
home works, papers, journal entries, and your class participation grade.
Final Grade:
1 best of 2 midterms: 75 points
: 75
1 Final:
100 points.
: 125
2 Papers:
50 points each
: 100
In Class exercises
5 best
: 25
In Class Participation (subjective)
: 25
Grand Total
Actual letter grades will be based on a combination of each student’s performance
relative to others in the class and the typical grading scale.
Your score
Your score
92.5% to 100%
73% to 77.5%
90% to 92.5%
A70% to 72.5%
C88% to 89.5%
68% to 69.5%
83% to 87.5%
63% to 67.5%
80% to 82.5%
B60% to 62.5%
78% to 79.5%
Below 59.5%
Exams: The course will include three exams: two midterms and a final. Exams will be a
a combination of multiple choice and short answer/long answer questions involving
I have a strict no make-up exam policy. If you miss any of the exams, no make up exam
will be given. If you miss one midterm, the grade on the second midterm will count. If
you miss BOTH midterms, due to circumstances beyond your control that you have
documented to my satisfaction of course, then the weight on your final exam will
increase appropriately. Students anticipating conflict with an exam date due to religious
observance must bring these to my attention within the first 3 weeks of class. In case of
over-scheduling (3 or more exams on the same day) it is your third exam of the day that
must be changed. The final is cumulative as much of the later material builds on the
earlier material.
Papers: There will be an extensive written component for all assessment.
Understanding the difference between description and argument is essential for a good
grade on these papers. The first paper will be concerned with the income levels in a
country. You can choose to write about the United States or a country other than the
United States. For the country paper you will analyze income stratifications in the
country of your choice.
Your second paper will involve your writing about current events (education reform,
affirmative action, child care, or health care, and so on) and relating them to topics being
discussed in class. You may write in response to readings, lectures, class discussions,
current events, or any other ideas you might have. Your paper must also deal with
gender or racial-ethnic differences related to the topic of your choice: If there is any
segregation, discrimination or rational choice that may explain any differences.
Each paper should include a brief summary of the issue, any economic tools that might
be helpful in understanding the issue, and any personal opinions about the issue. Late
papers are subject to a 5 points a class penalty. There are no make up papers if you
completely miss an assignment.
Spring 2007
Economics of Inequality and Discrimination
Econ 4626
In Class Exercise: We will have a fair number of in-class exercises. I will grade the
best 5 of your assignments.
Extra Credit Assignments: Might be given during the class period. If so, I will
announce the assignment in the class.
Reading Summaries: Students may turn in a short reaction (2-3 paragraphs) to the
readings for five of the class periods over the semester for extra-credit. These *typed*
summaries must be delivered to me before the beginning of the class period for which
the readings are discussed. The summaries will be graded as “0” for turning in
insubstantial information, and 1 for a well thought of one.
I realize that a majority of students do attend class regularly, but to aid the few that
don’t, in order to re-enforce the importance of attendance, it will be factored into final
grades. This is subjective evaluation, on my part, of your contribution to class: you show
up, behave appropriately, and contribute positively. I reserve the right to record an
absence or negative grade students who spend substantial class time on non-class
activities (e.g. reading the paper, sleep) or leave the class early, unless I ask you to do
Students who miss six class hours will fail the course. Six class hours is two
weeks of classes .To be clear, these absences are intended to cover both valid
(religious, illness, car breaking down) and invalid reasons for missing class. Excused
absences will therefore not be granted.
There will be a few students who will be unable to attend class for more than two weeks
due to very extreme circumstances. We can discuss these students on a case by case
basis but no make-up exams will be given.
Incomplete Policy:
Incomplete grades (IW or IF) are NOT granted for low academic performance. To
be eligible for an Incomplete grade, students MUST:
(1) successfully complete a substantial amount of course requirements:a minimum
of 75% of the course ,
(2) have special circumstances (verification required) that precludes the student from
attending classes and/or completing graded assignments,and
(3) make arrangements to complete missing assignments with the original instructor
in a timely manner.
A grade of incomplete will be given only in the most dire of circumstances. I cannot
award an incomplete that stipulates: (1) a student may repeat the entire course, (2)
repeat or replace existing grades, (3) allow the student an indeterminate period of time
to complete a course, or (4) allow the student to repeat the course with a different
Spring 2007
Week of
Economics of Inequality and Discrimination
21-JanIntroduction and Review
Ch 1, 2
Class notes
28-JanInequality measures including
HW 1
Wealth Inequality, and Mobility
Econ 4626
Ch 3,5
HW 2
Differences in Occupations and
Earnings: Overview
Class notes
Allocation of time between household
and Labor markets
25-FebAge and Health
paper I
Gender Labor Issues: price of
motherhood, child care issues
Changing Work Roles and the Family.
Policies Affecting Paid Work and
5-Mar 11-MarWelfare Policies
13, 14
H W4
Midterm I due 11th March
12-Mar 18-MarThe Human Capital Model
Card and
19-Mar 25-MarPerspectives on discrimation.
10, 11
HW 5
Discrimination: Labor Markets, partial
HW 6
Political Economy
Spring Break
Measurements of labor market
Discrimination and labor market
HW 7
HW 8
Midterm II due April 22
29-AprHousing segregation,Fair housing
6-MayReview, and Catch-up
Final: 6th May 7:30 am- 10 am
Additional Readings may be assigned during the semester.
paper II
Spring 2007
Economics of Inequality and Discrimination
Econ 4626
Statement on Academic Dishonesty:I strongly believe in the Honor Code and expect
you to abide by it. Academic dishonesty includes, but is not limited to: Plagiarism,
Fabrication,Cheating, Forgery and Altering Documents . All instances of dishonesty will
be result in penalty without exception. The maximum penalty for the first offense is a
grade of "F" for the course and the incident will be reported to the Academic Vice
President for inclusion in the student's permanent university file. A second and all
subsequent offenses (in any course across the university) may result in the student's
expulsion from the university. The university is really not kidding about this. Cheating
includes:• Turning in papers without adequate references.
• Copying the work of another student during an examination or Permitting another
student to copy one's work during an examination.
• Possessing unauthorized notes, crib sheets, or other material during an examination.
• Writing an answer to an exam question outside of class and submitting that
answer as part of an in-class exam.
• Taking an examination for another student or soneone taking an exam for you.
• Altering or falsifying examination results after they have been evaluated by the
instructor and returned to the student.
The CU Honor Code is available at http://www.colorado.edu/academics/honorcode/
ADA Statement
I will try and make all reasonable accommodations for persons with documented
disabilities. If you qualify for accommodations because of a disability please submit a
letter to me from Disability Services in a timely manner so that your needs may be
addressed. Disability Services determines accommodations based on documented
disabilities (303-492-8671, Willard 322,( www.colorado.edu/disabilityservices).
Please realize I am under no obligation to provide retroactive accommodations.
I generally make sure that this class starts and ends on time. It is especially important
that an atmosphere which facilitates the maximum opportunity for learning be present at
all times. It is expected that all students present on a given day be attentive, polite and
not a source of distraction to the instructor or any other student.
Arriving late or departing early(except for a health emergency) unless you make prior
arrangements with me disrupts the class . Reading the newspaper disrupts the class.
Talking with other students about matters extraneous to the course while the class is in
session, reading anything while class is in session unless specifically instructed by me to
do so, and taking or making cell-phone calls or responding to a pager during class,
disrupt the class. Please refrain from doing so. Cell phones and other beeping, chirping,
singing, game-playing, text-messaging, yodelling, and otherwise noise-making electronic
things should be turned OFF during class else I will give the class a pop-quiz.
The subject matter in this class is often sensitive and many of us have strong feelings
about some issues. We all need to practice listening to others even when their views
may be diametrically opposed to our own and we need to think about what we say
before we speak. We will all learn more and feel more comfortable expressing our own
views in a respectful environment. For more information about the Classroom Behavior
Policy, go to http://www.colorado.edu/policies/classbehavior.html
Spring 2007
Economics of Inequality and Discrimination
Econ 4626
Please note:
You should try and read the assigned material before coming to class. It is not expected
that you will understand everything you read the first time. However, reading before
class and having a good sense of the material will make the lectures a lot easier to
After attending lecture, you should go over your notes and reread any material that is
confusing. Take class notes thoroughly. Course material not in the textbook will be
presented in class so attending lecture is both helpful in getting a good grade and
maximizing your learning experience.
If you miss class, you are responsible for obtaining the material you missed. You should
arrange to obtain notes from a classmate not from the professor. I encourage you to
come to my office hours to discuss the material you missed, but you must first obtain the
notes and relevant handouts, go over the information for yourself, and prepare specific
questions to ask me.
If you are having any problems in the course, or are encountering personal
problems that may affect your grade, please come to see me, when the problem
occurs. Do not wait until the end of the semester when it is difficult, if not
impossible, to correct any difficulties.
No student should expect special consideration beyond that offered
due to a student.. Students struggling with material or with weak math
backgrounds should take advantage of tutoring services offered by
The Economics department.
Students who come to see me with concerns about the course will be asked about each
of these expectations in turn. My belief is that for most students to succeed in this
course they must follow the above guidelines.
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