Foundations in Socioeconomics

Prof. Dr. Sigrid Stagl
University of Vienna, 2020
Level: advanced
Perspectives: Institutionalist Economics, Ecological Economics, Other
Topic: degrowth, inequality, Innovation, institutions, macroeconomics, markets, methodology, social ecological transformation, Socio-economics, Teaching
Format: Course description/syllabus

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Foundations in Socioeconomics

This syllabus was originally taught at Vienna University Summer Semester 2020
Instructor: Prof. Dr. Sigrid StaglTutor: Nadine Mair


Course Summary

This course will introduce key concepts, theories and methods from socioeconomics.

In the first part of the course, we will deal with the main economic actors and how their interactions are governed. Markets are seen as sets of social institutions. Institutions shape how consumers, firms and other economic actors behave. While it is difficult to understand how novelty emerges, we can study the conditions that are conducive to innovation. We will review how economic performance, social progress and human wellbeing are measured and what progress has been made. In the second part of the course, we will study a specific macroeconomic model that accounts for biophysical boundaries and inequality.

Assignments and Assessment

Students are expected to

  • actively read the assigned readings and watch the video lectures before class
  • prepare and revise for exams
  • develop own ideas for your group project
  • actively participate in discussions and group work in class
  • respect the university’s honour code, most notably the sections on plagiarism.

Quizzes 

  • at the beginning of the first four classes there will be a short (20 min) quiz with two questions based on last week's readings. Please arrive on time for the quiz. For each quiz you can earn max. 10 points; all in all there will be four quizzes on the first 4 Sessions of content

Group work

  • using dynamic systems modelling (STELLA) you will develop an own model and read about the Victor / Jackson macroeconomic model that uses the same technique. Upload a 5 minute film of a presentation of your model and the code. 35 points
  • Exam on the content of the book "Managing without Growth - Slower by Design not Desaster" by Victor (2019). 20 points

Journal

  • read the course materials actively; record your thoughts while reading the materials; make links to your existing knowledge, pose questions, and formulate criticism. Upload the file with your journal. 5 points

Course Overview

Schedule of topics covered and mandatory readings

Session 1 Markets and Institutions
  • Hodgson, G.M., 2006. What Are Institutions? Journal of Economic Issues 40, 1-25.

Session 2 Innovations and Markets

  • Mazzucato, M., 2016. From market-fixing to market-creating: a new framework for innovation policy. Industry and Innovation, 23:2, 140-156

Session 3 Economic Development and Wellbeing

  • Richardson, H., Schokkaert, E., Bartolini, S., Brennan, G., Casal, P., Clayton, M., . . . Roemer, J. (2018). Social Progress: A Compass. In IPSP (Ed.), Rethinking Society for the 21st Century: Report of the International Panel on Social Progress (pp. 41-80). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Session 4 The Idea of Economic Growth

  • Victor, P.A., 2019. Managing Without Growth: Slower by Design, Not Disaster. 2nd edition. Edward Elgar, Cheltenham. Ch 1-3.

Session 5 System Thinking and System Dynamics Analysis

  • Victor, P.A., 2019. Managing Without Growth: Slower by Design, Not Disaster. 2nd edition. Edward Elgar, Cheltenham. Ch 4-7.

Session 6 Ecological Macroeconomic Model

  • Jackson, T., Victor, P.A., 2019. LowGrow SFC - a stock-flow consistent ecological macroeconomic model for Canada https://www.cusp.ac.uk/themes/aetw/wp16/

Session 7 Scale, Composition and Technology

  • Victor, P.A., 2019. Managing Without Growth: Slower by Design, Not Disaster. 2nd edition. Edward Elgar, Cheltenham. Ch 8.

Session 8 Economic Growth and Happiness

  • Victor, P.A., 2019. Managing Without Growth: Slower by Design, Not Disaster. 2nd edition. Edward Elgar, Cheltenham. Ch 9 & 10.

Session 9 Managing Without Growth

  • Victor, P.A., 2019. Managing Without Growth: Slower by Design, Not Disaster. 2nd edition. Edward Elgar, Cheltenham. Ch 11 & 12.

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