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Sex-Segregated Labor Markets

Julie Nelson
University of Massachusetts, 2014
Level: beginner
Perspectives: Neoclassical Economics, Other
Topic: Labour & Care, Race & Gender
Format: Syllabus

Course Description

To what extent does gender affect people's patterns of labor force participation, educational preparation for work, occupations, hours of work (paid and unpaid) and earnings? When there are differences, what explains them? This class examines how conventional neoclassical economic theory addresses these questions, but also goes beyond the conventional approach to see how feminist economics, institutional theories, and inter-disciplinary research contributes to the analysis. The rationales for, and merits of, current and proposed governmental and business policies will be discussed.

Course Objectives

Students will be able to describe major historical developments and current empirical patterns of gender and work, and explain and evaluate a variety of theoretical explanations for these phenomena. Students will develop their skills in critical reading and analytical writing as well as their ability to obtain, manipulate, and interpret quantitative information and apply economic models.


1. Introduction to the course, and a brief history of gender and economics in the United States

2. Skills practice, with Introductory Readings on Gender, Economics, Finance, and Management

3. Neoclassical Economic Theory: "The Supply Side"

4. Neoclassical Analysis of the "Wage Gap"

5. Neoclassical Economic Theory: The "Demand Side"

6. Beyond Neoclassical Theory: Stereotyping, Power, and Policy

7. Work and Family


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Comment from our editors:

This syllabus is part of the Syllabi collection on International Association for Feminist Economics. This course is suitable for undergraduate students.


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