Fall 2023

Pluralist Applied Micro Practicum

Listed in: Economics, as ECON-412


Jessica Wolpaw Reyes (Section 01)


In this class, we will engage in a pluralist approach to applied micro. What is pluralism, and what is applied micro? Pluralist economics challenges and reconceptualizes the methods, topics, models, values, and pedagogy of economic practice. By taking a diverse big-tent approach to how to do economics, pluralist econ aspires to reinvigorate the "social" in the social science of economics, while also de-emphasizing some of the "science" (at least the scientific posturing). It includes ecological, cooperative, Marxist, feminist, stratification, and antiracist varieties of economic practice. Applied microeconomics also understands itself as modern and innovative: it employs the tools of economics to provide insight into individual behavior and societal outcomes, and is perceived by mainstream economists as interdisciplinary, creative, and diverse. However, in its strict adherence to the norms of mainstream economics – methodological individualism, mathematical formalization, prioritization of efficiency, and blindness to power – applied micro may instead be seen, from a pluralist perspective, as rigid, doctrinaire, and homogeneous. This practicum brings pluralism to applied micro via two complementary endeavors. First, as a group, we will employ pluralist framings to explore the applied micro literature. Second, as individuals, each student will implement a pluralist approach to an applied micro research project. Our two class meetings each week will be shared equally between these endeavors: one for seminar-style discussion of literature, one for practicum work on individual research in community. The aspiration is to do economics in a way that is adventurous rather than imperialist, curious and exploratory rather than settler colonial, and humanistic rather than narrowly scientific.

Requisite: Econ 300/301; Econ 360/361. Also, one course on non-mainstream economics, racial capitalism, Marxism, history of economic thought, or sociology applied to economies; examples from within econ include Econ 205, Econ 211, Econ 416, or Econ 300 from Fall 2022. Limited to 15 students. Professor Reyes.

Pending Faculty Approval

How to handle overenrollment: Preference will be given to junior and senior economics majors and to students with interests in other related disciplinary approaches. To achieve a diverse group, students may be asked to describe their academic background and interests.

Students who enroll in this course will likely encounter and be expected to engage in the following intellectual skills, modes of learning, and assessment: Pluralizing economic practice, engaging with academic research, collaborating on research work, producing a substantial term project.

ECON 412 - LEC

Section 01
Tu 2:30 PM - 3:50 PM CONV 308
Th 2:30 PM - 3:50 PM CONV 308


Other years: Offered in Fall 2023