Thursday Night Plenary (Roundtable) – Thinking Like an Inclusive Economist: Theory and Representation in Economics, In Memory of William E. Spriggs (1955-2023)
The theme for this ASE panels this year is “Lessons from the Pandemic,” but not all lessons from the pandemic are
about the pandemic. After the murder of George Floyd, there was a public outcry to reconsider race relations in the
U.S. As part of that moment in time many people stepped forward bear witness to the experiences of black Americans. Among those voices were those who talked about the climate in Academia. The AEA has acknowledged that there is a representation problem in economics. It has identified a climate problem in economics. But, the letter from Professor
Spriggs, “Is now a teachable moment for economists? An open letter to economists”spriggs-letter_0609_b.pdf
(minneapolisfed.org) goes further, arguing that there is a problem with the theories in economics. Tragically,
Professor Spriggs passed away this past summer, but I have asked four scholars to consider the argument made by Professor Spriggs. They will consider in what way economic theory contributes to the enabling myths that maintain and
reproduce inequalities, to what degree the theory problem contributes to the climate problem and the representation problem, and how economics should address the theory problem.
Barbara Hopkins, Wright State University
Nina Banks, Associate Professor of Economics and Affiliated Faculty in Critical Black Studies, Bucknell University
Marlene Kim, Professor of Economics and Associate Dean, The John W. McCormack School of Policy and Global Studies, University of Massachusetts-Boston.
Alicia Girón, Emeritus researcher in Programa Universitario de Estudios sobre Asia y África and Instituto de Investigaciones Económicas, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México
Farida Khan, Professor of Economics, University of Colorado Colorado Springs
Power, Finance and Development in Africa, and Issues in Development
Association for Evolutionary Economics and Association for Social Economics
Africa and the Global Financial System: Critical Perspectives
Howard Stein, University of Michigan
The China Railway Construction Corporation (CRCC) and African Development
Alicia Girón, National Autonomous University of Mexico
Corruption and African Development: A Critical Assessment
Geoffrey Schneider, Bucknell University
Supply Chain Economics: A Fresh Lens for Holistic Analysis
Larry Wigger, University of Missouri-Kansas City
Interrogating Theories of Power within Original Institutionalist Thought
Jacob Powell, Bucknell University
COVID-19 Pandemic and Cryptocurrency Volatility: An Empirical Analysis
Ben Chalbia Radhouan, Higher Institute of Transport Services of Sousse
Jan. 5, 2024 8:00 am-10:00 am
Association for Social Economics and the International Association for Feminist Economics
Chair: Anna Klimina
Insult to Injury in Ukraine’s Labour Market: The Dangers of IMF/World Bank Liberal Plan for Ukraine’s Post-War Recovery and the Promise of Social Economy Alternatives
Anna Klimina, St. Thomas More College, University of Saskatchewan
This paper discusses burgeoning crisis in Ukraine’s labour market, defined by steady decline of standard employment relations, heightened levels of social and economic precarity, and rise in labour migration; elucidates dangers of proposed IMF/WB plans for Ukraine’s post-war economic recovery; and argues that social economy provides more helpful perspective for economic development in Ukraine. This study explains that precariousness in Ukraine’s employment has been well-manifested since the early 1990s due to the neoliberal transition reforms. Subsequently, between 1992 and 2019, the economic migration from Ukraine has annually averaged at 12 percent of the population aged 15–70 (UNICEF). In 2021, Ukraine was considered the poorest country in Europe (World Bank). Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine has only worsened Ukraine’s poverty and exacerbated the precarity in employment and social life. Due to the war, Ukraine’s finances have been completely destroyed, but international financial donors—IMF and World Bank—have attached extreme structural conditionality to loan agreements with Ukraine— demanding wide-ranging free-market reforms, including – most problematically — a rapid transition to a globally-integrated neoliberal model of cheap ununionized labour. In August 2022 Ukraine’s government unanimously approved Labor Law, allowing labour flexibilization and permitting zero-hour contracts—measures that result in further acceleration of labour precarity. It is argued that perspectives of social economy, emphasizing progressive reshaping of economic evolution through ameliorative economic policies, provide more hopeful outlook for Ukraine’s recovery, in which the common good will be fruitfully pursued, social justice created, participatory processes throughout the economy nurtured, and economic democracy enhanced.
Demographic Representation of Workers in Jobs at High and Low Risk of
Kristen Broady, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago; Anthony Barr, National Banker’s Association; Darlene Booth-Bell, Coastal Carolina University; and Lucas Cain, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago
Even before the Covid-19 pandemic, automation was altering how both specialized and non-specialized tasks were completed and decreasing or eliminating the necessity of human workers in some occupations. Our research shows preliminary evidence that the pandemic accelerated trends in automation as employers sought to save on labor costs amid widespread illness, increased labor organizing and worker leverage, and continued market pressure to onshore jobs to combat international supply chain issues. The acceleration in automation and worker displacement is likely to exacerbate preexisting racial and gender inequities. We find that Black and Hispanic workers continue to be overrepresented in jobs at higher risk of automation, while Asian workers are overrepresented in jobs at lower risk of automation. Our analysis shows that jobs at lower risk of automation pay significantly higher wages than jobs at higher risk of automation. Hence, we include a discussion of the potential impact of
automation on the wages of workers by race and provide policy solutions to prepare all workers for the possibility of job displacement or elimination.
The transition from cotton to horticulture: Effects on the role of rural women in Uzbek agriculture
Suray Charyyeva, Leibniz Institute of Agricultural development in transition economies (IAMO), Germany and Thomas Herfeld, Leibniz Institute of Agricultural development in transition economies
In developing countries, diversifying crop production improves household nutrition, creates substantial employment
possibilities in rural areas, especially for women occupying a dominant place in most production and processing areas, and promotes sustainable agriculture. In Uzbekistan, the transition from cotton monoculture to horticultural crops is taking place in individual farms but only to a limited extent. Therefore, this study explores the impact of the transition to horticultural crops on the possible empowerment of rural women in Uzbekistan. We compare the opportunities of rural women in two different agricultural systems practised in Uzbekistan, cotton and non-cotton, and between two different status groups, farmers and
seasonal workers. The three dimensions of women’s empowerment proposed by Kabeer (1999) form the conceptual underpinning of this analysis. In-depth interviews in four districts of Uzbekistan were conducted between September and
December 2021. Using a qualitative perspective, our results show several positive effects of a more liberal commodity policy for farmers. In particular, seasonal workers in the non-cotton district have more considerable labour and can be economically active for a more extended period during the year.
Underrepresentation of Minorities and Women in Economics: PhD field specializations and their determinants
Karan Singhal, University of Luxembourg and Luxembourg Institute of Socioeconomic Research and Eva Sierminska, Luxembourg Institute of Socioeconomic Research
The presence of a gender and underrepresented minority scholar (URM) gap in economics is concerning, given the field’s pervasive influence in academia and policy. However, understanding disparities within economics sub-fields based on ethnicity/URMs has been challenging, resulting in limited research in this area. Recent studies show that women are underrepresented in published work, dissertations, and conferences, and tend to specialize in only a few sub-fields. The composition of gender and ethnicity within sub-fields may also affect research preferences and viewpoints, as male and female economists have different perspectives on important issues. Additionally, ethnicity may influence field choice due to differences in social norms and environments. To address this issue, the study uses a data framework developed by Sierminska and Oaxaca in 2021 and 2022, which includes over 9000 PhD Economics graduates from US universities (2008-18) and determines field specializations using Journal of Economic Literature (JEL) codes and topic modelling, an unsupervised machine learning technique. Ethnicity information is gathered through name-matching algorithms and genealogy databases. The study aims to explore the decision-making process of PhD students and determine the role of demographic factors and environmental/personal characteristics that affect field choice among specific groups. The study employs multinomial/conditional logit models to model field choice and uses a fixed effects approach to account for variations within
gender and ethnicity on factors such as university rankings, graduation year, and supervisor characteristics. This study sheds light on the status of underrepresented scholars in sub-fields of economics based on their ethnicity and gender, with the aim of increasing their representation in Economics and STEM disciplines. The results of this study could provide insights into ways of
improving diversity in the field and bridging the gender and URM gap in economics.
Jan. 5, 2024 10:15 – 12:15
Education, and Security
Association for Social Economics and the International Association for Feminist Economics
Chair: Yana Rodgers, Rutgers University
Evaluation Of Strategies To Combat Covid-19 And Results Achieved In The G20 Countries
Richard Wilson Borrozine de Siqueira, Federal Institute of Brasilia – IFB, Brazil
Abstract: This article analyzes the main strategies to combat Covid-19 in the G20 countries and the results obtained. In the study, we collected data and analyzed the policies, problems, and results achieved to combat the pandemic in these countries. We point out multidimensional problems that include social, economic, political, and health issues. We present lessons from this pandemic poly-crisis that are useful for preventing new health emergencies.
Long Covid Symptoms, Disability, and Accommodations: An Intersectional Analysis
Yana Rodgers, Rutgers University, Jennifer Cohen, Miami University
Abstract: We document the evolution of conceptions, abortions, and births, during and after the pandemic in Spain, using high-quality administrative data. We find, first, a sharp drop in conceptions during the Spring 2020 hard lockdown (followed by a decline in abortions and births in the following months). We present evidence consistent with part of the decline coming from the reduction in social interactions, while some was likely due to public health concerns and economic uncertainty. The results also suggest an important contribution of the closure of IVF clinics during the lockdown. Second, since the summer of 2020 (after the first lockdown) and until the most recent data available, we document a significant increase in conceptions among native women (somewhat hidden in the aggregate because of a decline among foreigners, possibly related to unusual patterns in migration inflows and outflows during the pandemic). We quantify the magnitude of this increase, including a sensitivity analysis considering different ways of constructing the counterfactual trend, and show that it is more than just catch-up. We then explore the potential sources of this reversal of the pre-existing negative trend in fertility.
Enhancing Diversity in Institutions: The Role of Social Economics
Babita Srivastava, William Paterson University
Abstract: This paper examines the role of social economics in promoting diversity within universities and professional
organizations. Recognizing diversity as crucial for inclusive societies, it explores how social economics principles shape effective policies and procedures. Institutions increasingly value diversity for its enrichment of perspectives, driving innovation and creating inclusive communities. However, achieving meaningful diversity requires evidence-based policies grounded in social economics principles. Social economics investigates the social and economic factors influencing human behavior, offering insights for understanding diversity dynamics. By considering social factors, economic structures, and strategic policy interventions, social economics provides a foundation for designing inclusive approaches. This abstract highlight key areas where social economics applications contribute to diversity initiatives. It explores the impact of disparities on access to
education and opportunities, the influence of biases and stereotypes in decision-making, and proactive strategies to dismantle barriers. Evidence-based policy interventions informed by social economics theories, such as affirmative action, mentorship, and diversity training, are discussed. Successful case studies demonstrate the effectiveness of these approaches in fostering inclusive environments. The abstract emphasizes the importance of recognizing intersectionality and addressing unique challenges faced by individuals with multiple identities. In conclusion, this abstract calls on policymakers, administrators, and practitioners to adopt evidence-based social economics approaches in promoting diversity. By leveraging these strategies, institutions can create equitable environments that value diversity and contribute to inclusive societies.
Private Sector Participation in Medical Education and Human Resource Development for Health in India: Analysing the Regional Inequalities in the Context of COVID-19 Pandemic
Pradeep Kumar Choudhury, Research Fellow, South Asia Institute, Harvard University
Abstract: Human resource availability is critical for effectively providing and delivering quality health care to India’s vast population, and this is more evident in the context of health emergencies and pandemics. This paper discusses three issues: (a) the role of the private sector in medical education, particularly its growth and regional distribution; (b) the availability and distribution of doctors in India, with a special focus on inter-state variations and rural-urban disparity; (c) mapping
out the regional variations in the availability of doctors and COVID-19 death and infection rate. We use data from the National Medical Commission, National Health Profile and Rural Health Statistics published by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, COVID-19 statistics of the Government of India, and the World Health Organisation. One of the most dominant features of Indian medical education is the rapid expansion of the private sector (especially after the 1990s), which has led to regional inequality in the production and distribution of doctors. Interestingly, this growth has occurred primarily in the more developed states with better health outcomes, while the low-income states with poor health indicators have lagged. We find a robust negative relationship between the availability of doctors and COVID-19 death rate i.e. states with less availability of doctors have high COVID deaths, and vice versa. But we did not find a clear relationship between doctor availability and COVID infection
rate. In a context where private sector participation in the health sector is increasing and the healthcare demand is growing in India, our results have important policy implications.
Do Eviction Moratoria Decrease Intimate Partner Violence?
Jeffrey Galloway, Howard University; Rebecca Hsu, Howard University; and Alex Henke, Howard University
We examine the effect of eviction moratoria enacted in 2020 in the United States. We leverage the staggered implementation of strict state-level policies to estimate the effects of the moratoria using a difference-in-differences approach. We use detailed criminal incident data to estimate the effect of moratoria on intimate partner violence, and we find evidence that eviction moratoria decreased reported intimate partner violence by 39% relative to the pre-treatment average, driven by a 42% reduction in reports of simple assault. The results are consistent for both male and female victims.
Jan. 5, 2024 2:30 – 4:30 The Viable Economy: Economic Policies for a Sustainable Future
Association for Social Economics
Chair: Barbara Hopkins, Wright State University
Social economics and policy: some qualifications
Paolo Ramazzotti, Università di Macerata
Abstract: A social economics perspective on policies for the future might be conceived of as a set of rules and incentives
that direct the economy’s performance towards socially desirable goals. The paper contends that such a view begs for qualifications. K.W. Kapp pointed out two issues. First, you cannot isolate environmental, health, gender, race or other
specific issues as if they were independent of how the economy functions in general. Policy involves specific measures but a broader, open-systems, perspective must encompass them. Second, business motives are distinct of social needs and determine an economy of unpaid costs. Policy requires that we assess costs and benefits in terms of social, rather than price-centered, accounting. This means that the issue is not to pursue social goals subject to extant prices but to change or substitute price-centered coordination of the economy in order to achieve social goals. Different strands of research stress that policy need not reflect people’s will. On the one hand, policymakers act in relation to the ideological, economic and political balance of power. They must also comply with the requirements of an institutionally structured economy, which is a legacy of the past balance of power. On the other hand, people do not manifest their will in a stable and consistent manner. Their perception of reality often reflects dominant ideologies even though these ideologies are at odds with their values. Furthermore, values may change abruptly, usually following unexpected circumstances. Consequently, policy must also act on the above balance of power.
Economic Nationalism and Development: Lessons from Rural America
Christine Ngoc Ngo, Bucknell University
Abstract: This paper argues that economic nationalism provides an alternative approach to capitalism as well as a new
framework to understand the social economy, particularly in the era of cascading interdependences. It is only rarely acknowledged that the nation-state is the primary source of legitimacy and guidance for economic and social development. In addition, the lack of unity within the nation-state regularly led to division among and across social classes. This paper presents
a conceptual framework to study economic and social development from the lens of economic nationalism. The framework relies on Fredrick List’s (1) concept of productive power, and (2) assertion that the role of the nation-state as the source of strength for growth and development. This paper subsequently applies the new framework to analyze social and economic development in rural central Pennsylvania in the United States. The case study demonstrates how economic nationalism is operated at the rural and regional scale and how it provides pathways to resiliency during the pandemic.
Green economy: the dilemma of social and private interests
Lyubov Klapkiv, Marie Curie-Skłodowska University, Lublin, Poland and Faruk Ülgen, University Grenoble Alpes, France
Abstract: This article seeks to assess the conditions for building up an institutional environment that leads to a sustainable society and a viable economy. The green economy presents a dilemma between social and private interests as it involves striking a balance between social sustainability and the needs/aspirations of individuals and businesses. While the green economy aims to address environmental challenges and promote sustainable development, it can clash with private interests in terms of profits and economic performance priorities. On the one hand, the green economy recognizes the urgent need to switch to renewable energy sources, reduce carbon emissions, preserve natural resources, and promote sustainable practices. These goals are essential for mitigating climate change, protecting ecosystems, and ensuring a vital planet for future generations. They are primarily driven by social/collective interests and aim to benefit society as a whole by tackling environmental challenges. On the other, private interests often prioritize economic growth, profit, and individual wealth accumulation. Industries and businesses may resist the transition to green technologies and sustainable practices if they
perceive them as costly or harmful to their bottom line. They may argue that stringent regulations could hamper their competitiveness or lead to unemployment. This article examines the dilemma between social and private interests in the green
economy and argues that sustainable development can offer long-term economic opportunities while preserving the environment for future generations. The main goal is to seek solutions that benefit society and the economy in a way that is consistent with environmental, economic and social constraints.
The Global Food Syndemic in Kiribati
Hannah Sheldon, Clark University and Allison Shwachman Kaminaga, Bryant University
Abstract: With a maximum elevation of just 4 meters, Kiribati is among the most vulnerable to climate change. Sea level rise
is a threat to economic livelihoods and could create a large population of climate refugees. Kiribati, which has the lowest GDP per capita of the Pacific Island Countries, did not attain any of the health Millennium Development Goals and is not on track to achieve related Sustainable Development Goals. Yet little research explores the interactions between climate change, food
insecurity, and health outcomes in Kiribati. Using data from the 2019 – 2020 Kiribati Household Income and Expenditure Survey, we examine the socio-economic determinants of food insecurity in Kiribati. Understanding the drivers of food insecurity in Kiribati is critical to improving physical and mental health, lowering the high rate of noncommunicable diseases, and adapting to climate change.
Economic Crises, Public Finances, and Social Norms in Italy
Rosa Canelli, University of Sannio, Benevento, Italy; Giuseppe Fontana, University of Leeds, UK, and University of Sannio, Benevento, Italy; Riccardo Realfonzo, University of Sannio, Benevento, Italy; and Marco Veronese Passarella Link Campus, University of Rome, Italy and University of Leeds, UK
Abstract: Italy is the third-largest economy in the European Union (EU) after Germany and France. Italy has also the second-highest government debt/GDP ratio in the EU after Greece. The 2007-2008 Global Financial Crisis (GFC) first, and the Covid-19 crisis after, have severely weaken its economy. The current and unexpected surge of inflation due to the rising energy costs is having a negative impact on the Italian economy. The focus of this paper is on the economic and social conditions and behaviour which could cause these recent economic crises to have profound, long-run effects on the Italian economy, threatening the long-run sustainability of both its government debt/GDP ratio and economic growth. This paper assesses the
impact of these recent economic crises on the Italian economy by using a medium-scale, stock-flow consistent (SFC), structural macro-econometric model. Six macroeconomics sectors are considered: households, non-financial or production firms, banks (and financial intermediaries), the government sector, the central bank (ECB), and the foreign sector. The coefficients of the
behavioural equations have been estimated using Eurostat (or ISTAT) data on an annual basis. The considered time span for both estimations and in-sample simulations is the 1995 to 2021 period, whereas (out-of-sample) predictions have been extended up to 2028.
January 6 7:45-10:00 am
ASE Presidential Breakfast
Saturday, January 6, 12:30 – 2:15 pm
Employment, Social Safety Nets, and Inequality
Association for Social Economics, the International Association for Feminist Economics, and the Association for Evolutionary Economics
Unemployment Insurance and Innovation
Alex Bell, UCLA
Abstract: How does the social safety net for workers help or hinder innovative activities? In this paper, we link two decades of wage and unemployment insurance claims data from the state of California to administrative records from the US Patent and Trademark Office. The first linkage of its kind, we document several novel descriptive facts about benefits usage among inventors and its strong cyclicality over business cycles as R&D expenditures ebb and flow. Given a sizable sample of inventors who have claimed UI, we next investigate the causal effect of benefit generosity on future innovation using a regression kink design. Preliminary results so far indicate that more generous benefits reduce the likelihood that a claimant goes on to file a patent; the mechanisms of this effect are still under investigation.
How Law Shapes Class Power Under Perfect Competition
Pascal McDougall University of Ottawa
Abstract: This Article makes a set of contributions to legal institutionalism, a progressive scholarly approach instigated by American legal realists and economic institutionalists and further developed by contemporary movements like Law and Society, Critical Legal Studies, and Law and Political Economy. Legal institutionalists have long argued that legal rules like those of property, tort, and contract are key determinants of the distribution of income and bargaining power. Yet, for all their rich output spanning a century, legal institutionalists have yet to explain exactly how law can shape bargaining power under competitive
conditions. Conservative scholars have in the meanwhile built entire literatures arguing precisely that perfect competition eliminates any role for bargaining by making everyone “price-takers.” In this influential view, legal rules can for the most part only redistribute income by cartelizing markets – as in labor laws fostering unionization – in a way that is inefficient because
it deviates from the bargaining-free, perfectly competitive allocation of resources. This Article provides a new model of the way legal rules can shape distribution even in a perfectly competitive market as commonly defined by economists, honing in
on labor markets and the labor/capital relationship. It introduces a distinction between two kinds of legal rules – compulsory terms and pressure rules – that distribute income in different ways. The key novelty in the graphical analysis developed here is that of adding a bargaining move among the warring coalitions of the canonical “limit theorem.” The Article contrasts this
model of legally-structured perfect competition with influential concepts in legal institutionalism, including Sanjukta Paul’s “coordination rights,” Katharina Pistor’s “legal coding of assets,” Duncan Kennedy’s “neo-Ricardian distributive analysis,” Barbara Fried’s “progressive rent theory,” and Robert Hale’s “coercive weapons.”
Women’s Labor Supply Adjustment to the COVID-19 Shock: An Intersectional Analysis
Ozge Ozay, Fitchburg State University and Armagan Gezici, University of the West of England
Abstract: The COVID-19 pandemic disrupted the U.S. labor market most noticeably by a remarkable increase in unemployment to 14.7 percent in April 2020. Recent studies have shown that job losses were not uniform. Several factors including the opportunity to telecommute or lack of it and increased childcare responsibilities brought on further disparities in labor supply adjustments, such as exiting the labor force altogether or working reduced hours. As women shouldered more childcare responsibility, the labor force participation rate of women dropped by 3.3 percentage points from February to April 2020 (BLS), while women with school-aged children reduced their work hours (Couch et al 2021). In this paper, we use monthly Current
Population Survey data from January 2018 through November 2022 to study the labor supply adjustment of White, Hispanic, and Black women to the COVID-19 shock in comparison to their co-ethnic men. We first explore whether there is a difference in the likelihood of being not in the labor force for White, Hispanic, and Black people and their gender breakdown compared with the
pre-Pandemic period. Second, we find out the reduction in work hours by these groups compared to the pre-Pandemic levels. We also consider whether the existence of children makes a difference in these adjustments. Preliminary results suggest that Hispanic women and Black women both experienced more than a 3 percent higher likelihood of being out of the labor force, compared to a 1.5 percent higher likelihood of White men and women. Furthermore, we find that Hispanic and Black mothers experienced a 2 percent higher likelihood of being out of the labor force compared to non-parent counterparts, whilst parents in
other groups did not suffer a similar penalty of parenthood.
Public and Private Provision of Transportation Services and its Implications for Women Employment in Lahore, Pakistan
Hina Amber, Center for Development Research (ZEF), University of Bonn and Bezawit Beyene Chichaibelu, Center for Development Research (ZEF), University of Bonn
Abstract: Infrastructure development in cities is the bedrock for achieving inclusive growth as it provides direct access to
education, work, and other services. However, inadequate mobility infrastructure is often considered a serious problem that exacerbates inequalities by reducing the opportunities for women to realize their full potential. Pakistan ranks among the worst performers globally regarding gender equality. The country slipped from 112th (2006) to 145th (2022) rank in economic participation and opportunities in the Global Gender Gap Report (2022). A crucial factor that can ensure equal participation in the labor force is access to opportunities that come with ease in mobility. Public transport provides an affordable option for women to commute. However, research shows that in Pakistan, women deal with various challenges concerning safety, harassment, and worries about their social reputation while traveling by public transport. On the contrary, private transportation services provide accessibility and safety but are not affordable. Using a synthetic control method, the study provides a quantitative assessment of the provision of public and private transportation services on female labor force participation in Lahore, Pakistan. To assess the impact of public transport services, the study uses a large public infrastructure project, i.e., the ‘Lahore metro’, which started its operation in 2013. The digital platform-based transportation service ‘Uber and Careem’ (started in 2016) are chosen as the private service providers. Furthermore, using thematic analysis, the study identifies the challenges faced by women in accessing and using public and private transportation services that directly affect their participation in the labor force and how the provision of metro and ride-hailing has helped to overcome those challenges.
in Economics and What We Should Do About This
Marlene Kim, University of
Abstract: Inequality in economics is pervasive, with little representation of women and racial and ethnic minorities. Other disciplines in the US, including those in STEM, and other countries, have made greater progress than in economics. There is a reason: other countries mandate gender equality in their calls for funding, and other disciplines in STEM have undertaken gender evaluations and programmatic changes to increase representation of women and racial minorities. Economics can, too. This paper summarizes the research on this topic regarding gender and racial disparities in economics and the reasons for these disparities. It then surveys what other STEM disciplines and other countries have undertaken regarding gender, racial and ethnic disparities. Finally, it provides a roadmap for countries and disciplines that lack diversity to increase theirs, using proven practices from these other successful endeavors.
Jan. 6, 2024 2:30 pm – 4:30 pm
Interventions in Economic Theory
Association for Social Economics and the Association for Evolutionary Economics
Rojhat Avsar, Columbia College
What Do Markets Do?
James Rosenberg, University of Wisconsin,
Abstract: In this paper, I argue that economic sociology has been converging on an understanding of markets that dovetails with new ideas about markets from heterodox economics. The paper unfolds in three sections. First, I discuss prior approaches to markets and their limits. Second, I show that economic sociology has been converging on view of markets that shares broad similarities with a current in heterodox economics associated with the work of Philip Mirowski, wherein markets are treated as formal automata. In this view, markets are understood as pieces of software comprised of an integrated set of algorithms which perform various functions. I draw on four sets of approaches to demonstrate that sociology, too, has been converging on such an understanding. I suggest that synthesizing and developing these approaches could lead to a productive interdisciplinary
research program. Finally, I offer some reasons why pursuing this program would be worthwhile. I discuss factors of interest both to sociologists and to scholars of markets and institutions more generally. I suggest that such an approach could ultimately aid in developing a systematic and formalizable theory of markets that would be not reducible to mainstream neoclassical
Rojhat Avsar, Columbia College
Abstract: The confusion about the status of utilitarianism as a stand-alone ethical teaching can be traced back to the
dominance of what Haidt (2001) calls “rationalist models” in moral philosophy, which have been emboldened, as I see it, by the recent neuroscientific literature on the dual-processing models. Although economics is not single-handedly responsible for the dissemination of consequentialist thinking, it is one of its largest champions. In this paper, I suggest that utilitarianism, as it has been practiced, is “anti-value” and should be rejected a stand-alone ethical theory, not in the sense that it is neutral, as economists think, but in the sense that its primary function is ideological. It disguises and justifies existing power asymmetries prevalent in society. Utilitarian arguments are basically semantic and circular, and they are put forward under the pretense of inclusivity (being equal distance to all conceptions of good life). Lastly, I will argue that utilitarianism may only apply as an add-on to the original moral choice (e.g., care), at which point it becomes “practical wisdom” in Aristotle’s terminology.
Social Stratification and Nash Equilibrium
Roger McCain, Drexel University
Abstract: John Nash offered his noncooperative equilibrium concept in game theory as a model of interactive decisions that
would be stable as customs are stable. Indeed, some consistent patterns of decisions, such as driving on the left or right side of the road, combine a seemingly arbitrary status with remarkable stability, and comprise equilibria of appropriately configured games. Caste systems and similar systems of social stratification similarly combine arbitrary and at best unproductive status with great persistence. Perhaps the roots of this persistence may be found in some structure such as Nash equilibrium. However, noncooperative game theory makes a number of simplifying assumptions about such things as the agents’ common knowledge of the structure of the “game” and the payoffs or preferences of other agents. However, there is now a well-established body of theory that relaxes those simplifying assumptions, Bayesian Nash equilibrium theory, in which some agents may be unaware ex ante of some of the payoffs and strategies of other agents, and form opinions on those matters only on the basis of experience on the “play of the game.” In such a case, beliefs that are objectively false may be consistent with experience and thus very persistent. This paper will explore some examples to explore the implications of this point for social stratification.
Amartya Sen as a neoclassical economist
Antonis Ragkousis, King’s College London and Centre for Business Research – University of Cambridge
Abstract: Amartya Sen is often described as an insightful critic of mainstream economics, and in particular, his work in development economics, alongside the construction of the capabilities approach, has been associated with endeavors to revisit both the theory and practice of the discipline. Despite his in-depth criticisms of certain aspects of mainstream economics, Sen’s extensive use of formal methods is suggestive of an ontological tension, one identified by Thorstein Veblen when commenting on some of his contemporaries and originally introducing the term “neoclassical”. Veblen coined the term to highlight the ontological inconsistencies in the work of a particular group of economists, including Alfred Marshall and John Neville Keynes. Veblen argued that their work involved both an implicit recognition of a causal processual social ontology he associated with modern, thoroughly evolutionary, approaches and a commitment to a taxonomic conception of science
– the latter relying on a set of methods that presupposed an associationist ontology of event regularities. For Veblen, the adherence to taxonomic methods was the classical feature of the work of the relevant group, and the commitment to an evolutionary viewpoint was the neo aspect. This paper argues that the same tension runs through Sen’s contributions and that he is neoclassical in this specifically Veblenian sense. The assessment of the ontological inconsistencies in Sen’s work is shown to shed light on its reception within the economics academy.
Sunday, Jan. 7, 8:00 am – 10:00 am
Policy and Inequality
Association for Social Economics and the Association for Evolutionary Economics
Chair: Amanda Lenhardt, King’s College London
Redirecting Economic Policy after the Pandemic
John Davis, Marquette University and University of Amsterdam
Abstract: Disadvantaged social groups suffered disproportionately in the Pandemic (Budner and Jennings, 2023) and the Great
Recession (Arestis et al., 2014). Longer term, since the 1980s inequality has worsened and intragenerational within family economic mobility for the lowest income groups has declined (Bradbury, 2023). This shows policies aimed at ameliorating disadvantaged social groups’ existing economic positions have been and will likely continue to be unsuccessful. The lesson is policies need to be directed toward structural changes in social group relationships to improve disadvantaged social groups’ relative economic positions. Stratification economics does this on the macro level through reparations policies aimed at
eliminating social group hierarchies combined with micro level non-discrimination policies aimed at eliminating stigmatization according to social group identity. This paper explains both and identifies how they are interconnected in terms of their
social requirements and current barriers to addressing those requirements, framing this in terms of the Reconstruction legacy of the 13th, 14th, and 15th U.S. Constitutional amendments (Foner, 2019).
Revealing the ‘Harms’ of Energy Injustices
Lynne Chester, Discipline of Political Economy, The University of Sydney, Australia and Robert McMaster, Adam Smith Business School, University of Glasgow, Scotland
Abstract: Energy provisioning regimes—through the policies and actions of contemporary neoliberal states informed by the
practices of conventional economists—are subject to continuous restructuring. This situation generates and exacerbates widespread inequities across the energy continuum from production to distribution to consumption. We conceive of these inequities as energy injustices exhibited as a form of social stratification that occurs beyond the economic realm at different spatial scales, and differentially impacting individuals, households, and communities whilst reflective of wider social injustices (Chester & McMaster 2023). Thus, the eradication of energy injustices is required across, what Nancy Fraser (2008) deems, the three interrelated domains of the economic (material), the cultural (social), and the political. We suggest this eradication will require mechanisms and processes—like economic democracy more broadly conceived than traditionally—that embed social justice principles (equity, fairness, equality) enabling rights, opportunities, and abilities for the participation of individuals, households, and communities in decision-making processes about energy production, distribution, consumption, and regulation. However, to progress to this potentiality we consider a necessary intermediate step is the identification of the complexities of harm to people manifested through energy injustices. To this end we draw inspiration from George DeMartino’s (2022) “harm taxonomy” to expound the forms of harm created by policies and actions of the state, and the policy prescriptions of economists, impacting energy provisioning regimes. This exposition lays the foundation to enable the development of more deliberative processes of economic democracy to address the myriad of energy injustice forms including, inter alia, lack of access, impoverishment, and diminished or absent participatory opportunity in energy provisioning actions and institutions.
Being Able: Capabilities and Basic Income
Edward Teather-Posadas, California State University, San Bernardino,
Abstract: Capabilities have been presented as representing that which is necessary for a flourishing human life, or a life of human dignity. This suggests that any loss of capability, beyond some minimal threshold, would represent a ‘lessened’ human life, an intolerable breach of the dignity of the human person. Here is presented an argument that if capabilities are to act as some minimal safeguard against such deprivation, they must be supported. A universal basic income is therefore suggested as the means by which a minimal threshold of capability may be set and the dignity of the human person upheld.
Structural racism and poverty: comparing evidence across 55 countries
Amanda Lenhardt, King’s College London
Abstract: There is scant evidence available on the relationship between race, ethnicity, and wealth beyond the U.S., and
structural racism does not feature prominently in policy discussions around wealth distribution in most countries, if at all. Is this because structural racism is less of a driving force behind wealth inequalities outside the U.S.? To answer this question, this paper summarizes findings from the largest multi-country study of the relationship between structural racism and wealth
inequality. The study draws on nationally representative data for 55 countries and applies a General Entropy approach, the Theil Index, to determine the share of inequality accounted for by between-group differences. Our initial findings show that people from the most disadvantaged ethnic, racial or linguistic groups are nearly three times more likely to be among the poorest households relative to their population size across all countries observed. The highest concentrations of poverty among disadvantaged ethnic groups were found in Serbia, Pakistan, Zambia, and Peru. Nearly two thirds of the countries studied
had a higher concentration of poverty among disadvantaged ethnic groups than the U.S. The proposed presentation will involve a summary of the key research findings followed by an overview of how these findings can be used to further research
and policy discourses around structural racism and wealth inequality in countries beyond the U.S. Session participants will be invited to reflect on how research on the historical structures of inequality in the U.S. can be used to push this agenda forward in other contexts.
Mind the Gap: Analysing Inequality in Access to Higher Education in India between the Poor and the Rich
Pradeep Kumar Choudhury, Research Fellow, South Asia Institute, Harvard University
Abstract: Rising inequalities in society are indeed becoming an important concern for all. Among inequalities in different
spheres, inequalities in education, and inequalities in higher education, in particular, are seen as too serious to ignore
any more. The available studies on inequality to access higher education in India have largely examined the issue from the gender and social category of the students; too little is done by examining income as a determining factor. Using NSSO surveys conducted in 2007-08 and 2017-18, an attempt is made here to examine income inequality and access to higher education in India. The analysis shows that the inequality in access to higher education has increased substantially by the household‘s economic status in the last seven years. Though the overall gender inequality has come down significantly, this is very high between the rich and the poor. The inequality in access to HE also varies considerably between rural and urban regions. The logit results lead us to conclude that rich income groups are more likely to attend higher education
institutions than others. The difference in the probability of participation between men and women narrows down as one moves from the poorest to the richest quintiles. Recent debates on higher education in India have raised a variety of
interesting policy-related issues, and through this empirical study, the author has highlighted a few of them, particularly the interaction between income inequality and access to higher education, with the aim to facilitate a more informed policy discourse on this.
Sunday, Jan. 7, 10:15-12:15 pm
Unpaid Work in the Care Economy
Association for Social Economics and the International Association for Feminist Economics
Chair: Mieke Meurs, Program for Gender Analysis in Economics, Department of Economics, American University
Social Provisioning, Care, and Precarious Lives: Lessons from the Pandemic
Janice Peterson, California State University, Fresno
Abstract: The ASE@ASSA 2024 Call for Papers calls for “retaining the lessons of the pandemic” and “reclaiming the social in
economic policies to address the challenges of the future.” This paper examines lessons from the pandemic in the U.S. context, which laid bare the significance of multifaceted inequality and the devaluation of unpaid work and care in the U.S. economy. From the perspective of the economy as a system of social provisioning, responses to the pandemic in the U.S. reveal lessons on the importance of considerations of care as infrastructure in the context of addressing inequality. These lessons are particularly salient at this moment, as calls for increasing “work requirements” in public assistance programs have returned as part of the “debt ceiling debate” – something that would increase the precariousness of life for those who are already very vulnerable. This paper will highlight key lessons from the pandemic in the U.S. and policy agendas for addressing the needs of adequate social provisioning.
Time allocation dynamics in Thai households during the
pandemic: Policy implications for unpaid care work redistribution and ICT
MinhTam T. Bui, Srinakharinwirot University, Bangkok, Thailand and Chompoonuh Kosalakorn Permpoonwiwat, Srinakharinwirot University, Bangkok, Thailand
Abstract: The Covid-19 pandemic has reinforced the need for care provided by informal caregivers to their vulnerable family members. Lockdown measures and school closing in Thailand through several waves of high infections have changed the way people organize their daily lives including unpaid child care and elder care. We investigate the time spent by Thai men and women in the formal sector with social security on unpaid family work besides the employment turbulence in their paid work. An online survey was conducted in two rounds during the second waves and the fourth waves of the pandemic in different regions of Thailand in 2021. By comparing existing data from a nationally representative time use survey in 2014/2015 to the survey
results from over 600 respondents, we found an exacerbating burden of unpaid work on Thai women across the age groups, education, and employment status during the 2nd wave. Some small improvements have been made in redistributing
those unpaid work to their spouses and other family members in the later wave. One unique feature of our study is to include the ICT skill levels of Thai women and men in the analysis of paid/unpaid work distribution. To build upon the momentum gained through those hard times, we draw some policy approaches toward a more equal distribution of unpaid care work from a gender perspective and the ICT development and training at the outset of the post-covid 19 recovery.
Care economy in Kazakhstan: putting gender equality on the national agenda
Mieke Meurs, Program for Gender Analysis in Economics, Department of Economics, American University; Maigul Nugmanova, Gender Economics Research Center, Narxoz University, Kazakhstan; and Anastassiya Lipovka, Almaty Management University, Kazakhstan
Abstract: In the past decade, and particularly since the onset of the global COVID pandemic, care has emerged as an important
economic and policy issue. In Kazakhstan and Central Asia, this problem is an urgent yet often overlooked, despite its potential to empower women economically, improve the overall quality of life, and drive economic growth. In Kazakhstan, during post-Soviet era, although certain elements of socialist provisioning remain, like extended paid maternity leave and limited institutional care for children under 3, new gaps have arisen due to the market economy and decreased government support. The gaps are gaining attention as the government seeks to increase both fertility and women’s labor force participation. This paper focuses on the least-developed and least-studied aspect of the national care system: childcare for children under 3 years old. A pragmatic research paradigm was utilized surveying approximately 600 respondents rendering unpaid childcare services in urban and rural areas; analyzing the existing legislative norms and public childcare support. The study examines how care is provided, how it is influenced by evolving state policies, household preferences, and implications for care givers. The study identifies care for children ages 18 months to 3 years as a key gap, which may leave mothers without access to decent work. A
regression model examines factors associated with the probability that a woman caring for a child will go to work. The paper concludes with recommendations based on the examined preferences and needs, proposing actions for the government and developing indicators/programs for preschool enrollment and further care development.
Gender Gaps and Regional Intergenerational Mobility in a Developing Country
Javier Cortes-Orihuela, Vancouver School of Economics, University of British Columbia; Juan Díaz, University of Chile; Pablo Gutiérrez-Cubillos, University of Chile; Pablo Troncoso, University of Georgia; and Josefina Rodriguez, Ministry of Finance, Chile
Abstract: We estimate spatially disaggregated measures of intergenerational mobility differentiating parents’ and children’s
gender by using a unique Chilean administrative dataset linking children’s and their parent’s earnings from the formal private labor sector. Since most papers calculate intergenerational mobility using an average earning between parents due to a lack of data and low labor participation among women, we use the individual earnings of fathers and mothers instead to estimate the leading mobility indicators separately for father-son, father-daughter, mother-son, and mother-daughter pairs. We find that mother-daughter pairs show more significant degrees of persistence than other pairs when using rankings as an earnings indicator. We also find that female children experience lower levels of upward mobility than their male counterparts in almost all Chilean regions. In contrast, female children are more likely to be in the bottom quintile of the earnings distribution than males, given that their mothers belong to the bottom quintile. We correlate the intergenerational mobility gender gap with variables
to know if this result is driven by the lack of resources that poor women receive, such as inadequate healthcare, education, and access to the labor market.
Determinants of Gender Wealth Gap
Suchika Chopra, University of Georgia
Abstract: This paper explores the determinants of the gender wealth gap among married and cohabiting individuals in Germany aged between 40 and 60. It is well documented that women, on average, earn less and spend less time working in the market than men during their working life. Much less is known, however, about the gender differences in wealth. Given the gender income gap, it is natural that the gender wealth gap exists. The key question is whether the wealth gap is simply a reflection of the income gap or does it go above and beyond. The studies on the gender wealth gap have been relatively limited. Household surveys in most countries, while reporting individual income, often report wealth on the household level. This limits the study of the gender wealth gap to single individuals — never married, widowed, and divorced. Arguably this sample cannot be considered representative of the entire population. Thus the conclusions of such studies can be extrapolated with caution. To overcome this limitation, individual-level wealth data provided by the German SOEP is utilized. The study finds that gender differences in income cannot fully account for the gender wealth gap, even after controlling for demographics, education, income, and work histories. Based on this finding, the study explores three possible mechanisms through which savings can differ by gender: differences in risk-taking behavior, personality traits, and time spent in home production. The latter two
mechanisms have not been previously explored in this context. The study finds that accounting for each of these separately decreases the wealth gap by 4000 Euros. Furthermore, the study finds that labor market variables fully explain the gender wealth gap in housing wealth. However, a significant wealth gap persists in business wealth, pension wealth, and consumer credit.
Jan. 7, 1:00-3:00 pm
Inequality, Aging, and Welfare State Policies
Association for Social Economics and the International Association for Feminist Economics
Chair: Gabriel Mathy, American University
Universal Long-Term Care Reform: Evidence from South Korea
Secil Akin, American University, Sung Ah Bahk, American University; Lídia Brun, American University; Ignacio González, American University; and Aina Puig, American University
Abstract: Using the Korean Labor and Income Panel Study (KLIPS), we show the impact of providing unpaid eldercare on
adult-child caregivers’ labor market participation. Our findings suggest a significant inverse relationship between the adverse health status of parents and their children’s work decisions, both in terms of working status and work hours. This negative effect is more pronounced among female workers. Based on this empirical finding, we evaluate the introduction of the Korean Long-term Care Insurance System (LTCI) in 2008. This policy is one of the very few universal long-term care policies around the world and was specifically designed to ameliorate the burden that care work imposes on families. To analyze the causal effects of the LTCI reform, we use a regression kink design (RKD) model as in Card et al. (2015). We exploit various “kinks” introduced by the policy: five in-kind benefit levels for health status, as well as three levels of copayment that depend on household income and wealth levels. We find evidence that female caregivers primarily respond to LTCI benefits by adjusting their labor supply decisions on the extensive margin while males respond on the intensive margin. We estimate that the introduction of LTCI led to a 5% increase in female labor market participation and a 3% decrease in the number of females primarily engaged in caregiving (excluding childcare). Also, we estimate the elasticity of hours worked with respect to the LTCI reform is 0.6% for male caregivers. Our results indicate that that the LCTI reform has been pivotal in driving labor market outcomes of women after 2008.
Incomplete Take-Up rate of Social Benefits: The Role of
Clement Joubert, World Bank and Pablo A. Troncoso, University of Houston
Abstract: We study the take-up rate of pension transfers in the Chilean pension system. Pension transfers have non-contributory and contributory components. We use a pension reform in 2008 that increased the value of the benefits and eligibility criteria as a shock to measure the take-up rate. We use a unique database that combines monthly administrative records with a representative panel survey. We can observe actual and self-reported information that determines eligibility to the pension
benefits and claiming outcomes. We document an incomplete take-up rate of pension benefits. Since the non-contributory take-up rate is around 55%, the contributory component reaches 90% between 2008 and 2017. Later we find that pension knowledge is a crucial variable to explain the low take-up rate among people with no contributions to the pension system. The magnitude of pension knowledge’s parameter is significant even after controlling for financial inclusion, financial literacy, how big the benefit relative to total income is and if a family member receives another benefit from the government. Finally, we estimate the reduction in inequality and poverty among retirees if everyone applied for the benefits.
Gender Roles and Division of Housework: Do We Model Our Parents?
Binderiya Byambasuren, American University and Jessie Wang, RAND
Abstract: Home production disproportionately falls on women and shapes women’s labor market decisions. At the same time,
social psychologists suggest that gender role perceptions formed during childhood shape the gendered division of labor in home production. This paper examines this link by focusing on the ‘modeling effect’ by parents on the development of gender role perceptions during childhood. It then investigates whether children model their parents’ behavior in their marriage in adulthood. We first provide a theoretical framework with two household members whose division of household labor is endogenous to their parents’ division of household labor, which in turn shapes their labor market decisions. Then, we test the model predictions using housework hours of married couples spanning two generations of families in the Panel Study of Income Dynamics. Preliminary results suggest evidence that the gendered division of housework persists intergenerationally. Growing up observing a more egalitarian division of household labor between parents increases the likelihood that adult children
also demonstrate a more egalitarian division of household labor. We also disaggregate the findings by the gender of the parent and the adult child to examine whether fathers doing more household labor show differential outcomes for sons and daughters and vice versa for the mothers. Understanding how the gendered division of household labor persists intergenerationally sheds light on policies such as paid family leave and workplace flexibility. Policies encouraging fathers to be equally involved in childcare and household labor may have long-lasting implications regarding gender role perceptions for the younger generations.
Pension Reform with Income Inequality
Lidia Brun, American University; Ignacio
Gonzalez, American University; and Pedro Trivin, University of Milan
Abstract: As populations in many countries continue to age, there is a growing concern about the sustainability of Social Security systems, which provide financial support to elderly and disabled individuals. In response to this demographic challenge,
many economists and policymakers have argued that Social Security systems must be reformed to ensure their long-term viability. These reform proposals usually involve measures like increasing the retirement age, increasing the contribution rate (e.g., payroll tax), reducing the pension replacement rate, or some combination between the three. Although ageing poses a challenge for Social Security budgets, it is not the only one. Increasing inequality, either in terms of labor share decline or increase in wage inequality –phenomena that have occurred in several developed economies—, also poses a serious challenge
for Social Security sustainability. This is because of two reasons: Social Security systems are usually pay-as-you-go systems, so they are sensitive to he evolution of aggregate labor income, and payroll taxes are not progressive or not progressive enough to compensate for the increasing wage inequality observed in developed economies. Using an OLG model with heterogeneous agents, we show that when this distributional dimension is considered, the aforementioned proposals to secure Social Security sustainability can be counterproductive. We use the model to characterize optimal Social Security financing, and we find that the optimal policy includes financing through capital income taxes and a substantial level of progressivity in the design on
payroll taxes. We investigate how optimal policy depends on different demographics and inequality scenarios and shed light on the distributional role played by Social Security.
Divorce, Pension Wealth and Private Wealth
Eva Sierminska, Luxembourg Institute of Socio-Economic Research; Karla Cordova, Pomona College; and Markus Grabka, DIW Berlin
Abstract: In this paper, we focus on the impact divorce can have on private wealth outcomes and the role of pension wealth in
this regard. Germany has a three-pillar pension system that includes a compensation scheme for statutory and company pensions in case of divorce. We investigate whether the compensation scheme is sufficient to reduce/eliminate the wealth gap after divorce. Previous work explored wealth at older ages due to employment trajectories (Nutz & Lersch, 2021) and marital histories (Bonnet et al. 2022). We incorporate both in the analysis and find the impact of pension wealth on the gender wealth gap. Preliminary results show a positive effect of divorced compared to married and never married and a negative effect
in relation to cohabitors. The effect varies across age cohorts.