Designed for both undergraduates and MBA students taking their first course in business economics, this text focuses on introducing students to economics as a framework for understanding business. It is structured around problems that decision-makers face, such as rejuvenating the firm in the face of declining demand.
If there’s one method economists have neglected the most, it’s qualitative research. Whereas economists favour mathematical models and statistics, qualitative research seeks to understand the world through intensive investigation of particular circumstances, which usually entails interviewing people directly about their experiences. While this may sound simple to quantitative types the style, purpose, context, and interpretation of an interview can vary widely. Because of this variety, I have written a longer post than usual on this topic rather than doing it a disservice. Having said that, examples of qualitative research in economics are sadly scant enough that it doesn’t warrant multiple posts. In this post I will introduce qualitative research in general with nods to several applications including the study of firm behaviour, race, Austrian economics, and health economics. More than usual I will utilise block quotes, which I feel is in the spirit of the topic.
One method of economic modelling that has become increasingly popular in academia, government and the private sector is Agent Based Models, or ABM. These simulate the actions and interactions of thousands or even millions of people to try to understand the economy – for this reason ABM was once described to me as being “like Sim City without the graphics”. One advantage of ABM is that it is flexible, since you can choose how many agents there are (an agent just means some kind of 'economic decision maker' like a firm, consumer, worker or government); how they behave (do they use complicated or simple rules to make decisions?); as well as the environment they act in, then just run the simulation and see what happens as they interact over time.
Health Economics traditionally involves two distinct strands. One focuses on the application of core neoclassical economic theories of the firm, the consumer and the market to health-seeking behaviour and other health issues. It suggests a role for government intervention only in the case of specific market failures (for example externalities, asymmetric information, moral hazard, and public goods) that distort market outcomes. The second strand is evaluation techniques, used to assess the cost effectiveness of competing health interventions.
In this course we will critically analyze both economic theory and economic life through the lens of gender. Topics covered include: a critical examination of gender patterns and trends in the household, labor market, and the firm; issues concerning gender inequalities in the economy.
Firms are the primary places where economic activity takes place in modern capitalist economies: they are where most stuff is produced; where many of us spend 40 hours a week; and where big decisions are made about how to allocate resources. Establishing how they work is hugely important because it helps us to understand patterns of production and consumption, including how firms will react to changes in economic conditions and policy. And a well-established literature – led by post-Keynesians and institutionalists – holds that the best way to determine how firms work is to…wait for it...ask firms how they work. This a clearly sensible proposition that is contested in economics for some reason, but we’ll ignore the controversy here and just explore the theory that springs from this approach.
Post-Keynesians focus on the analysis of capitalist economies, perceived as highly productive, but unstable and conflictive systems. Economic activity is determined by effective demand, which is typically insufficient to generate full employment and full utilisation of capacity.
Michael Kalecki famously remarked “I have found out what economics is; it is the science of confusing stocks with flows”. Stock-Flow Consistent (SFC) models were developed precisely to address this kind of confusion. The basic intuition of SFC models is that the economy is built up as a set of intersecting balance sheets, where transactions between entities are called flows and the value of the assets/liabilities they hold are called stocks. Wages are a flow; bank deposits are a stock, and confusing the two directly is a category error. In this edition of the pluralist showcase I will first describe the logic of SFC models – which is worth exploring in depth – before discussing empirical calibration and applications of the models. Warning that there is a little more maths in this post than usual (i.e. some), but you should be able to skip those parts and still easily get the picture.
Institutional economics focuses on the role of social institutions in terms of laws or contracts, but also those of social norms and patterns of human behaviour that are connected to the social organisation of production, distribution and consumption in the economy.
A review of:  Intermediate Microeconomics, H.R. Varian  Mikrooekonomie, R.S. Pindyck, D.L. Rubinfeld  Grundzuege der mikrooekonomischen Theorie, J. Schumann, U. Meyer, W. Stroebele
The Gender strategy of the IMF: The way to go towards gender equality or a mere instrumentalisation of feminism?
Due to the IMF’s focus on gender budgeting, this essay will mainly examine its gender budgeting recommendations as an example of its general inclination towards gender issues and its conception of gender equality. What does the IMF’s focus on gender equality really mean from a critical feminist perspective? What are its main objectives? What does it seek to change and to maintain? What concept or idea of women does it follow and what are the underlying theoretical foundations?
Die Darstellung von Unternehmen in Varians Lehrbuch „Grundzüge der Mikroökonomik“
How do people make decisions? There is a class of models in psychology which seek to answer this question but have received scant attention in economics despite some clear empirical successes. In a previous post I discussed one of these, Decision by Sampling, and this post will look at another: the so-called Fast and Frugal heuristics pioneered by the German psychologist Gerd Gigerenzer. Here the individual seeks out sufficient information to make a reasonable decision. They are ‘fast’ because they do not require massive computational effort to make a decision so can be done in seconds, and they are ‘frugal’ because they use as little information as possible to make the decision effectively.
Participants should be able to distinguish the strictly non-cooperative (methodological individualist) foundations of traditional neoclassical economics as being couched in self-interested individuals, as well as having basic knowledge of an alternative set of theories based on the primacy cooperation and social norms and extending the breadth of economic analysis beyond exchange.
Marx’s theory of the falling rate of profit is not only empirically borne out, but the theory he proposed seems to describe accurately how that happens. Furthermore, the whole process is useful for understanding the history of contemporary capitalism.
Economic sociology is an entire subfield and one could write an series on it, so I’m going to stick to probably the most prominent economic sociologist and the founder of ‘new economic sociology’, Mark Granovetter.
This course is designed to provide students with an understanding of work-related gender issues and to enable students to analyze the issues using the tools of economics.
Feminist economics critically analyzes both economic theory and economic life through the lens of gender, and advocates various forms of feminist economic transformation. In this course, we will explore this exciting and self-consciously political and transformative field.
The goal of the class is to acquire familiarity with recently-published research in alternative macroeconomics with a focus on the distribution of income and wealth, cyclical growth models, and technical change.
Designed to give second-year undergraduates an intuitive understanding of basic mathematical techniques, and when and why they are applicable. Building on the traditional framework of calculus, the notion of a concave function is used to link the new algebraic methods with the more familiar graphical approachoand to introduce the modern use of duality in economic analysis.
Eine kritische Bestandsaufnahme des Standartlehrbuches „Grundzüge der Mikroökonomie“
An essay of the writing workshop on contemporary issues in the field of Nigerian economics: Labour and all the dynamics, such as laws, mobility, gender participation, regulation etc., that are associated with it cements the need for this paper which seeks to objectively review, analyse, and if deemed necessary, give plausible recommendations.
Whether a black swan or a scapegoat, Covid-19 is an extraordinary event. Declared by the WHO as a pandemic, Covid-19 has given birth to the concept of the economic “sudden stop.” We need extraordinary measures to contain it.
The notion that the demand and supply side are independent is a key feature of textbook undergraduate economics and of modern macroeconomic models. Economic output is thought to be constrained by the productive capabilities of the economy - the ‘supply-side' - through technology, demographics and capital investment. In the short run a boost in demand may increase GDP and employment due to frictions such as sticky wages, but over the long-term successive rises in demand without corresponding improvements on the supply side can only create inflation as the economy reaches capacity. In this post I will explore the alternative idea of demand-led growth, where an increase in demand can translate into long-run supply side gains. This theory is most commonly associated with post-Keynesian economics, though it has been increasingly recognised in the mainstream literature.
Feminist economics is a key component of the movement for pluralism in economics and one that has, to some extent, been acknowledged by the mainstream of the profession. It seeks to highlight issues which affect women because (it claims) they have not traditionally been recognised in a field dominated by men. On top of this, it seeks to carve out a space for women in the discipline, both for intrinsic reasons of fairness and diversity and because it means that women’s issues are more likely to be highlighted going forward.
As the Covid-19 fueled economic downturn begins to intensify this winter, an extended study of the Italian cooperative sector’s historical resilience in times of crisis can serve as a learning experience for other countries seeking to create policies that foster more stable economies, with job security, care for marginalized communities and adequate counter-cyclical policies. Particularly, the Italian cooperative sector’s contributions to three aspects should be noted in closing. Firstly, the innovative phenomenon of cooperative enterprises has contributed to social inclusion of immigrant communities, the activation of youth, the unemployed and people with disabilities, a true compensation for both a market and state failure. Secondly, they have contributed to a reduction in income and wealth inequalities at a time when the issue of inequality is of global significance. Thirdly, the Italian cooperative movement has helped local communities revitalize in the face of demographic shifts and rendered them more resilient to the ravages of globalization. Each of these in their own right is a remarkable achievement.
This course introduces students to the relevance of gender relations in economics as a discipline and in economic processes and outcomes. The course covers three main components of gender in economics and the economy: (1) the gendered nature of the construction and reproduction of economic theory and thought; (2) the relevance and role of gender in economic decision-making; and (3) differences in economic outcomes based on gender. We will touch on the relevance of gender and gender relations in at least each of the following topics: economic theory; the history of economic thought; human capital accumulation; labor market discrimination; macroeconomic policy, including gender budgeting; household economics; basic econometrics; economic history; and economic crises.
This course introduces students to the relevance of gender relations in economics as a discipline and in economic processes and outcomes. The course covers three main components of gender in economics and the economy: (1) the gendered nature of the construction and reproduction of economic theory and thought; (2) the relevance and role of gender in economic decision-making; and (3) differences in economic outcomes based on gender. We wil touch on the relevance of gender and gender relations in at least each of the following topics: economic theory; the history of economic thought; human capital accumulation; labor market discrimination; macroeconomic policy, including gender budgeting; household economics; basic econometrics; and economic crises.
The last 15 years have seen extensive research into ecosystem service valuation (ESV), spurred by the Millenium Ecosystem Assessment in 2005 (Baveye, Baveye & Gowdy, 2016). Ecosystem services are defined as “the benefits people obtain from ecosystems” (Millenium Ecosystem Assessment, p.V). For example, ecosystems provide the service of sequestering carbon which helps regulate the climate. Valuation means giving ecosystems or their services a monetary price, for example researchers have estimated that the carbon sequestration services of the Mediterranean Sea is between 100 and 1500 million euros per year. The idea of ESV was a response to the overuse of natural resources and degradation of ecosystems, allegedly due to their undervaluation and exclusion from the monetary economy. ESV can be used (1) for policy decision-making, for example allocating funding to a reforestation project (2) for setting payments to people who increase ecosystem services, for example a farmer increasing the organic carbon content of their soil, and (3) for determining fees for people who degrade ecosystem services, for example a company that causes deforestation.
The module is designed to first present some of the main schools of thought from a historical and methodological perspective. Each week we explore and critically assess the main tenants of each school of thought. In the second part of the module we link history of economic thought and methodology to a specific and contemporary economic question. The second part allows you to engage with current economic issues with an awareness of methodology and methodological differences and with some knowledge of the history of economics.
This course provides future change makers in public and private sectors with a comprehensive overview on the structures and actors that shape markets.