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Economics Faculty Publication Series

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Full-Text Articles in Social and Behavioral Sciences

Description Of The Albelda Clayton-Matthews/Iwpr 2017 Paid Family And Medical Leave Simulator Model, Alan Clayton-Matthews, Randy Albelda Oct 2017

Description Of The Albelda Clayton-Matthews/Iwpr 2017 Paid Family And Medical Leave Simulator Model, Alan Clayton-Matthews, Randy Albelda

Economics Faculty Publication Series

The basic strategy behind our approach to estimating the cost of a paid leave program was to, as much as possible, base estimates of program costs on actual known leave-taking behavior, and where this was not possible, to estimate a range of program costs reflecting a range of reasonable assumptions about unknown aspects of behavior in the presence of a paid leave program. We wanted to be able to estimate the sensitivity of program costs estimates to these assumptions. We also wanted to be able to analyze the distribution of program benefits by demographic characteristics. Furthermore, we wanted to be ...


Combining Earnings With Public Supports: Cliff Effects In Massachusetts, Randy Albelda, Michael Carr Jan 2017

Combining Earnings With Public Supports: Cliff Effects In Massachusetts, Randy Albelda, Michael Carr

Economics Faculty Publication Series

Safety-net benefits decrease as recipients’ income increases, but the result can be an overall drop in resources—sometimes so sharp that it feels like falling off a cliff.


Would Women Leaders Have Prevented The Global Financial Crisis? Teaching Critical Thinking By Questioning A Question, Julie A. Nelson Jun 2013

Would Women Leaders Have Prevented The Global Financial Crisis? Teaching Critical Thinking By Questioning A Question, Julie A. Nelson

Economics Faculty Publication Series

Would having more women in leadership have prevented the financial crisis? This question, raised in the popular media, can make effective fodder for teaching critical thinking within courses such as gender and economics, money and financial institutions, pluralist economics, or behavioural economics. While the question, as posed, demands an answer of 'Yes - sex differences in traits are important' or 'No - gender is irrelevant', students can be encouraged to question the question itself. The first part of this essay briefly reviews literature on the sameness-versus-difference debate, noting that the belief in exaggerated behavioural differences between men and women is not, in ...


Ethics And The Economist: What Climate Change Demands Of Us, Julie A. Nelson Jan 2013

Ethics And The Economist: What Climate Change Demands Of Us, Julie A. Nelson

Economics Faculty Publication Series

Climate change is changing not only our physical world, but also our intellectual, social, and moral worlds. We are realizing that our situation is profoundly unsafe, interdependent, and uncertain. What, then, does climate change demand of economists, as human beings and as professionals? A discipline of economics based on Enlightenment notions of mechanism and disembodied rationality is not suited to present problems. This essay suggests three major requirements: first, that we take action; second, that we work together; and third, that we focus on avoiding the worst, rather than obtaining the optimal. The essay concludes with suggestions of specific steps ...


Double Jeopardy: Low-Wage And Low-Income Workers In Massachusetts, 1980–2009, Randy Albelda, Michael Carr Jan 2012

Double Jeopardy: Low-Wage And Low-Income Workers In Massachusetts, 1980–2009, Randy Albelda, Michael Carr

Economics Faculty Publication Series

Data reveal a growing number of Massachusetts workers who both earn low wages and live in low-income families. They face “double jeopardy”: As low-wage earners, they are least likely to receive employer-sponsored benefits, yet they are often ineligible for means-tested government anti-poverty programs.


Broader Questions And A Bigger Toolbox:A Problem-Centered And Student-Centered Approach To Teaching Pluralist Economics, Julie A. Nelson Dec 2011

Broader Questions And A Bigger Toolbox:A Problem-Centered And Student-Centered Approach To Teaching Pluralist Economics, Julie A. Nelson

Economics Faculty Publication Series

This essay discusses a "broader questions and bigger toolbox" approach to teaching pluralist economics. This approach has three central characteristics. First, economics is defined so as to encompass a broad set of (provisioning) concerns. Second, emphasis is placed on contemporary real-world issues, institutions, and current events, rather than on debates in the history of economic thought. Third, a variety of concepts and theories are introduced, all of which are treated as partial and fallible--useful in some (perhaps very limited) situations while not so useful in others. Possible reasons an instructor might want to adopt this approach, and examples of use ...


The Unbearable Lightness Of The Economics-Made-Fun Genre, Peter Spiegler Jan 2011

The Unbearable Lightness Of The Economics-Made-Fun Genre, Peter Spiegler

Economics Faculty Publication Series

Several commentators have argued that the Economics-Made-Fun (“EMF”) genre contains very little actual economics. As such, it would seem that criticisms of EMF do not apply economics more broadly. In this paper I take a contrary view, arguing that, in fact, at a deep conceptual level, the engine of EMF analyses is precisely the engine of mainstream economics. Specifically, I argue that both EMF and mainstream economics rest on a conceptual foundation known as the Principal of the Substitution of Similars (“PSS”). Understanding how PSS leads EMF practitioners to make claims well beyond what is warranted by their analysis also ...


Film And Television Production In Massachusetts: The Beginning Of Hollywood East?, Pacey C. Foster, David Terkla Jan 2011

Film And Television Production In Massachusetts: The Beginning Of Hollywood East?, Pacey C. Foster, David Terkla

Economics Faculty Publication Series

After declining in the 1990s (laubacher, 2006), the Massachusetts film and television industry reached a nadir with the closing of the Massachusetts film office in 2002. To revitalize this once-thriving local creative industry, in 2005 the state legislature passed a tax incentive plan that provided a bankable tax credit for qualifying motion picture and television productions in Massachusetts. As updated in 2007, the Massachusetts film tax credit (FTC) provides a refundable/transferrable tax credit for 25% of qualifying wage and non-wage production expenses and a sales tax exemption for qualifying in-state spending. Massachusetts joined, at the maximum, 43 other states ...


Economic Writing On The Pressing Problems Of The Day: The Roles Of Moral Intuition And Methodological Confusion, Julie A. Nelson Dec 2010

Economic Writing On The Pressing Problems Of The Day: The Roles Of Moral Intuition And Methodological Confusion, Julie A. Nelson

Economics Faculty Publication Series

Economists are often called on to help address pressing problems of the day, yet many economists are uncomfortable about disclosing the values that they bring to this work. This essay explores how an inadequate understanding of the role of methodology, as related to ethics and human emotions of concern, underlies this reluctance and compromises the quality of economic advice. The tension between caring about the problems, on the one hand, and writing within the existing culture of the discipline, on the other, are illustrated with examples from U.S. policymaking, behavioral economics, and the economics of climate change and global ...


Sociology, Economics, And Gender: Can Knowledge Of The Past Contribute To A Better Future?, Julie A. Nelson Oct 2010

Sociology, Economics, And Gender: Can Knowledge Of The Past Contribute To A Better Future?, Julie A. Nelson

Economics Faculty Publication Series

This essay explores the profoundly gendered nature of the split between the disciplines of economics and sociology which took place in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, emphasizing implications for the relatively new field of economic sociology. Drawing on historical documents and feminist studies of science, it investigates the gendered processes underlying the divergence of the disciplines in definition, method, and degree of engagement with social problems. Economic sociology has the potential to heal this disciplinary split, but only if the field is broadened, deepened, and made wiser and more self-reflective through the use of feminist analysis.


The Boom Not The Slump: The Right Time For Austerity, Arjun Jayadev, Mike Konczal Aug 2010

The Boom Not The Slump: The Right Time For Austerity, Arjun Jayadev, Mike Konczal

Economics Faculty Publication Series

Should the United States cut its deficit in the short term? This has been the subject of intense debate among politicians, policy analysts and thinkers over the past year. What are the consequences of cutting the deficit with interest rates low, unemployment high and growth uncertain?


Getting Past 'Rational Man/Emotional Woman': Comments On Research Programs In Happiness Economics And Interpersonal Relations, Julie A. Nelson Jun 2010

Getting Past 'Rational Man/Emotional Woman': Comments On Research Programs In Happiness Economics And Interpersonal Relations, Julie A. Nelson

Economics Faculty Publication Series

Orthodox neoclassical economics portrays reason as far more important than emotion, autonomy as more characteristic of economic life than social connection, and, more generally, things culturally and cognitively associated with masculinity as more central than things associated with femininity. Research from contemporary neuroscience suggests that such biases are related to certain automatic processes in the brain, and feminist scholarship suggests ways of getting beyond them. The “happiness” and “interpersonal relations” economics research programs have made substantial progress in overcoming a number of these biases, bringing into consideration by economists a wide range of phenomena which were previously neglected. Analysis from ...


Between A Rock And A Soft Place: Ecological And Feminist Economics In Policy Debates, Julie A. Nelson Nov 2009

Between A Rock And A Soft Place: Ecological And Feminist Economics In Policy Debates, Julie A. Nelson

Economics Faculty Publication Series

The field of ecological economics includes both economic analysis on the one hand, and discussions of normative values and visions for society, on the other. Using feminist insights into cultural beliefs about the relative “hardness” and “softness” of these two sides, this essay discusses how ecological economists can use this unique “between” space in order to better inform policy. The current crisis of global climate change, it is argued, requires that economists move beyond modeling and measurement, while ecological thinkers need to re-examine beliefs about markets and profit.


Rationality And Humanity: A View From Feminist Economics, Julie A. Nelson Oct 2009

Rationality And Humanity: A View From Feminist Economics, Julie A. Nelson

Economics Faculty Publication Series

DOES RATIONAL CHOICE THEORY (RCT) HAVE SOMETHING IMPORTANT to contribute to the humanities? Usually the arguments for answering “yes” to this question go something like the following: The application of RCT has proved to be a powerful tool in economics and the social sciences, leading to clear and rigorous insights unattainable from less precise methods. Therefore, by also harnessing this power, the disciplines in the humanities could advance toward becoming more elegant, rational, and forceful in their explorations of human behavior. As an economist, I’d like to address this argument on its home ground. Has the use of RCT ...


Teaching Ecological And Feminist Economics In The Principles Course, Julie A. Nelson, Neva Goodwin Jul 2009

Teaching Ecological And Feminist Economics In The Principles Course, Julie A. Nelson, Neva Goodwin

Economics Faculty Publication Series

It can be difficult to incorporate ecological and feminist concerns into introductory courses, when one is also obliged to teach neoclassical analysis. In this essay we briefly describe how one might extend existing “multi-paradigmatic” approaches to feminist and ecological concerns, and then present an new alternative approach that may be more suitable for some students. This “broader questions and bigger toolbox” approach can be applied in both microeconomics and macroeconomics introductory classrooms.


Ethics, Evidence And International Debt, Julie A. Nelson Jun 2009

Ethics, Evidence And International Debt, Julie A. Nelson

Economics Faculty Publication Series

The assumption that contracts are largely impersonal, rational, voluntary agreements drawn up between self-interested individual agents is a convenient fiction, necessary for analysis using conventional economic methods. Papers prepared for a recent conference on ethics and international debt were shaped by just such an assumption. The adequacy of this approach is, however, challenged by evidence about who is affected by international debt, how contracts are actually made and followed, the behavior of actors in financial markets, and the motivations of scholars themselves. This essay uses insights from feminist and relational scholarship from several disciplines to analyze the reasons for this ...


My Tenure War, Julie A. Nelson Apr 2009

My Tenure War, Julie A. Nelson

Economics Faculty Publication Series

No abstract provided.


A Response To Bruni And Sugden, Julie A. Nelson Jan 2009

A Response To Bruni And Sugden, Julie A. Nelson

Economics Faculty Publication Series

An article by Luigino Bruni and Robert Sugden published in this journal argues that market relations contain elements of what they call ‘fraternity’. This Response demonstrates that my own views on interpersonal relations and markets – which originated in the feminist analysis of caring labour – are far closer to Bruni and Sugden's than they acknowledge in their article, and goes on to discuss additional important dimensions of sociality that they neglect.


Podcast: Economic Expressions: A Conversation With The Economist Julie Nelson, Julie A. Nelson Jan 2009

Podcast: Economic Expressions: A Conversation With The Economist Julie Nelson, Julie A. Nelson

Economics Faculty Publication Series

No abstract provided.


Economists, Value Judgments, And Climate Change: A View From Feminist Economics, Julie A. Nelson Apr 2008

Economists, Value Judgments, And Climate Change: A View From Feminist Economics, Julie A. Nelson

Economics Faculty Publication Series

A number of recent discussions about ethical issues in climate change, as engaged in by economists, have focused on the value of the parameter representing the rate of time preference within models of optimal growth. This essay examines many economists' antipathy to serious discussion of ethical matters, and suggests that the avoidance of questions of intergenerational equity is related to another set of value judgments concerning the quality and objectivity of economic practice. Using insights from feminist philosophy of science and research on high reliability organizations, this essay argues that a more ethically transparent, real-world-oriented, and flexible economic practice would ...


Bridging The Gaps Between Earnings And Basic Needs In Massachusetts, Randy Albelda, Jennifer Shea Jan 2008

Bridging The Gaps Between Earnings And Basic Needs In Massachusetts, Randy Albelda, Jennifer Shea

Economics Faculty Publication Series

In the United States, it is generally assumed that people who hold a steady job are able to make ends meet. But, in today’s labor market, where nearly a quarter of jobs pay low wages and do not offer benefi ts such as health insurance and retirement plans, this could not be further from the truth for millions of workers and their families. In fact, most workers do not make ends meet on their wages alone. Even upper- and moderate-wage workers are not “self-suffi cient” in a literal sense, as most receive onthe-job benefi ts, such as employer-provided health ...


Low-Wage Workers Really Feel The Squeeze, Randy Albelda Jan 2008

Low-Wage Workers Really Feel The Squeeze, Randy Albelda

Economics Faculty Publication Series

In the United States, it has been generally assumed that those who held a steady job could make ends meet but in today’s labor market nothing could be further from the truth. Workers in low-wage jobs can face double jeopardy: insufficient income to cover their basic needs and lack of access to job-related benefits to supplement their earnings. Public work supports — programs to help families fill basic needs such as health care, child care, food, and housing — can fill the gaps, and for many, they do. Still, in Massachusetts close to one out of every four individuals in a ...


Antidotes To High School Economics (Mis-)Education On World Hunger, Julie A. Nelson Jan 2008

Antidotes To High School Economics (Mis-)Education On World Hunger, Julie A. Nelson

Economics Faculty Publication Series

No abstract provided.


Anatomy Of Foreign Aid To Ethiopia: 1960-2003, Adugna Lemi Jan 2008

Anatomy Of Foreign Aid To Ethiopia: 1960-2003, Adugna Lemi

Economics Faculty Publication Series

The purpose of this study is to present a portrait of the foreign aid flow to Ethiopia during the 1960 to 2003 period. Since the launch of Marshal Plan after World War II, the flow of foreign aid has been seen as the panacea to overcome underdevelopment. Ethiopia is not an exception to this view, and Ethiopia is one of the recipients of foreign aid not only to provide emergency relief but also to support longterm economic development. This study shows the flow of aid to Ethiopia in terms of major donors (bilateral and multilateral), method of delivery, and major ...


The Class Content Of Preferences Towards Anti-Inflation And Anti Unemployment Policies, Arjun Jayadev Jan 2007

The Class Content Of Preferences Towards Anti-Inflation And Anti Unemployment Policies, Arjun Jayadev

Economics Faculty Publication Series

This paper assesses class based preferences towards anti-inflationary and anti-unemployment policy. Using a consistent cross-country social survey, I find that the working class broadly defined, and those with lower occupational skill and status are more likely to prioritize combating unemployment rather than inflation. The result is robust to the inclusion of several plausible controls. The idea that the working class is less ‘relatively inflation averse’ is consistent with earlier predictions coming from large body of political economy research in the 1970s. The finding that inflation and unemployment aversion have a distinct class character has implications for current debates on the ...


The Meaning Of Poverty: Questions Of Distribution And Power, Arthur Macewan Jan 2007

The Meaning Of Poverty: Questions Of Distribution And Power, Arthur Macewan

Economics Faculty Publication Series

Focusing on the low-income parts of the world and reviewing the different ways we can define poverty, I first argue that what people generally mean by poverty – or, more broadly, by economic well-being – cannot be adequately captured by a single, absolute measure such as income level or a more complex aggregate such as the Human Development Index. Not only do these measures fail to account for the complexity of human material needs, but they also fail to recognize the importance of distributional issues. The failure to incorporate a consideration of distribution in defining poverty (or, more generally, economic well-being) is ...


Washington Dollars And The Puerto Rican Economy: Amounts, Impacts, Alternatives, Arthur Macewan, Angel Ruiz Jan 2007

Washington Dollars And The Puerto Rican Economy: Amounts, Impacts, Alternatives, Arthur Macewan, Angel Ruiz

Economics Faculty Publication Series

By examining the Washington to Puerto Rico flow of funds in some detail and comparing it with the flow of federal funds to the states, this paper demonstrates that the island’s receipt of funds is not uniquely large and cannot be viewed as representing the “largess” of U.S. taxpayers. The funds coming from Washington to Puerto Rico cannot bear the weight of responsibility for the island’s economic problems that various sources have placed upon them. Puerto Rico’s economic ills have to be explained by a larger set of factors. Nonetheless, some of the Washington to Puerto ...


Estimating Guard Labor, Arjun Jayadev Jan 2007

Estimating Guard Labor, Arjun Jayadev

Economics Faculty Publication Series

As a background paper to Jayadev and Bowles (2006), this paper provides details on our measure of guard labor as we measure these in labor units. Data from the United States indicate a significant increase in its extent in the U.S. over the period 1890 to the present. Cross-national comparisons show a significant statistical association between income inequality and the fraction of the labor force that is constituted by guard labor, as well as with measures of political legitimacy (inversely) and political conflict.


Can We Talk? Feminist Economists In Dialogue With Social Theorists, Julie A. Nelson Jul 2006

Can We Talk? Feminist Economists In Dialogue With Social Theorists, Julie A. Nelson

Economics Faculty Publication Series

The article focuses on the issues regarding the social and political theory of feminism. It has been mentioned that political action will be dynamized rather than compromised by a more alive observation of economic organizations and activities. The author has suggested that feminist social theorists across the disciplines must join the several feminist economists who are dropping the negative one-size-fits-all prescription of protection from markets. It is essential to have more positive results in the complex contemporary economies.


The Dynamics Of Income Diversification In Ethiopia: Evidence From Panel Data, Adugna Lemi Jan 2006

The Dynamics Of Income Diversification In Ethiopia: Evidence From Panel Data, Adugna Lemi

Economics Faculty Publication Series

Block and Webb (2001) in Food Policy address the issue of the dynamics of livelihood diversification in Ethiopia. Their study uses the ratio of per capita income derived from crops to the sum of all other incomes as an indicator of livelihood diversification for the years 1989 and 1994. Their study focuses only on drought-prone areas during the survey years. The aim of the present study is to explore further the demographic and economic determinants of the dynamics of income diversification using survey data. The data used in this study cover larger and more representative sample and was colleted from ...