Economics of discrimination

Dr. Mary Wrenn und Dr. Hans Dietrich
Summer Academy for Pluralist Economics, 2021
Level: beginner
Perspective: Other
Topic: history of economic thought, philosophy of science, Teaching
Format: Course description/syllabus

This workshop was originally taught at the Summer Academy for Pluralist Economics 2021
Instructor: Dr. Mary Wrenn und Dr. Hans Dietrich

Module description

Course form Credit Duration Language
Workshop (online) 2 ECTS 1 week block course English

Qualification goals / Outcome:

Completing the Economics of Discrimination module, the students should have acquired knowledge and understanding of the existing similarities and differences of the definition and analysis of discrimination across economic theory and cultural theory. They should be able to apply the analytical perspective of the plural Culture Based Development (CBD) paradigm, for explaining the intersections of economic theory and cultural theory on the topic of discrimination. They should be able to engage through the CBD paradigm with differentiating, comparing and contrasting the economic and cultural theory approaches and fusing them in the CBD recommended manner of synthesis.

Course content:

The basics to studying discrimination in Economics and Cultural Thoery will be presented. There will be an overview to the Neoclassical Economics approach to discrimination, the Constructionist Cultural Theory approach and examples of Ontological analysis of the topic; The spine of the module will be the introduction to the CBD paradigm, which is a pluralist (multidisciplinary) intersection of the afore mentioned theories. The content of the module are the methods: Gary Becker's taste for Discrimination, Pierre Bourdieu's Distinction as well as Tony Lawson's ontological approach. This will be applied at the example of labour market discrimination, housing market discrimination, marriage market discrimination and their implications for voting behaviour.

Teaching methods:

Workshop - Mixture of flipped classroom and new content as lecture with discussion of lecture. Interaction with invited topical for the day speakers at the end of the daily session. Students develop a final write up and presentation on a case by their own choice, applying an analytical tool learned from the whole summer academy, either from Becker's, Bourdieu's, Lawsone's or combined CBD perspective.

Kind of module:

This Module can be accomplished in an elective mode. Namely, credits will be allocated to students depending on whether the student will choose to deliver a final analytical write up of 2500 words (and deliver this successfully), followed by an oral presentation, or they will only make a presentation at the end of the course.

Requirements for participation:

The course supposes that the students have some basic economics knolwedge and beginners level of statistical skills.

Requirements for granting credit points

contact times self-study exam preparation marking
30 h 30 h no no

Assessment pattern

participation; presentation - not marked - oral formative and summative feedback

Module coordinator

The module is carried out by the Netzwerk Plurale Ökonomik e.V. Responsible staff:
Janina Urban, M.Sc. and Anita Lehner, M.A.

Reading List

Obligatory Reading:

Journal Articles:

  • Tubadji, Annie. 2020. "Value-Free Analysis of Values: A Culture-Based Development Approach" Sustainability 12, no. 22: 9492.
  • Christensen, Peter, and Christopher Timmins. The Damages and Distortions from Discrimination in the Rental Housing Market. No. w29049. National Bureau of Economic Research, 2021.
  • Trigg, Andrew B. "Veblen, Bourdieu, and conspicuous consumption." Journal of economic issues 35, no. 1 (2001): 99-115.

Recommended Reading:

Journal Articles:

  • Bertrand, Marianne, Claudia Goldin, and Lawrence F. Katz. "Dynamics of the gender gap for young professionals in the financial and corporate sectors." American Economic Journal: Applied Economics 2, no. 3 (2010): 228-55.
  • Blau, Francine D., and Lawrence M. Kahn. "Understanding international differences in the gender pay gap." Journal of Labor Economics 21, no. 1 (2003): 106-144.
  • Deere, Carmen Diana, and Cheryl R. Doss. "The gender asset gap: What do we know and why does it matter?." Feminist Economics 12, no. 1-2 (2006): 1-50.
  • Magda, Iga, and Ewa Cukrowska-Torzewska. "Do women managers lower gender pay gaps? evidence from public and private firms." Feminist Economics 25, no. 4 (2019): 185-210.
  • Power, Séamus A. "The deprivation-protest paradox: how the perception of unfair economic inequality leads to civic unrest." Current Anthropology 59, no. 6 (2018): 765-789.


  • Becker, Gary S. The economics of discrimination. University of Chicago press, 2010.
  • Bourdieu, Pierre. Distinction: A social critique of the judgement of taste. Harvard university press, 1987.
  • Bourdieu, Pierre. Masculine domination. Stanford University Press, 2001.
  • Veblen, Thorstein. The theory of the leisure class. New York: Viking Press, 1967.
  • Adorno, Theodor W., and J. M. Bernstein. The culture industry: selected essays on mass culture. London: Routledge, 2001.
  • Lawson, Tony. Economics and reality. Routledge, 1997.

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