Fall 2024

Economics of Race and Gender

Listed in: Black Studies, as BLST-416  |  Economics, as ECON-416  |  Sexuality, Women's and Gender Studies, as SWAG-416


Jessica Wolpaw Reyes (Section 01)


(Offered as ECON 416, BLST 416 and SWAG 416) Economics is fundamentally about both efficiency and equity.  It is about allocation, welfare, and well-being.  How, then, can we use this disciplinary perspective to understand hierarchy, power, inequity, discrimination, and injustice?  What does economics have to offer?  Applied microeconomics is a fundamentally outward-looking and interdisciplinary field that endeavors to answer this question by being both firmly grounded in economics and also deeply connected to sociology, psychology, political science, and law.  In this class, we will employ this augmented economic perspective to try to understand the hierarchies and operation of race and gender in society.  We will read theoretical and empirical work that engages with questions of personal well-being, economic achievement, and social interaction.  Students will have opportunities throughout the semester to do empirical and policy-relevant work.  Each student will build a solid foundation for the completion of an independent term paper project that engages with a specific economic question about racial or gender inequity.

Requisite: ECON 300/301 (Microeconomics) or consent of the instructor. Limited to 15 students. Fall semester. Professor Reyes. 

How to handle overenrollment: Preference will be given to economics majors and to students with interests in other related disciplinary approaches to these issues. 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: Reading and engaging with academic research, writing analytical and theoretical economic papers, group work, quantitative and analytical reasoning, oral presentations.

Course Materials


Other years: Offered in Spring 2012, Spring 2013, Spring 2015, Fall 2022, Fall 2024