Gender Relations and Economics

Alyssa Schneebaum
Vienna University of Economics and Business, 2019
Level: beginner
Perspectives: Feminist Economics, Other
Topic: Feminism, gender, history of economic thought, labour, labour & care, macroeconomics, Teaching
Format: Course description/syllabus

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Gender Relations and Economics

This syllabus was originally taught at University of Vienna of University of Economics and Business Summer Semester 2019.
Instructor: Alyssa Schneebaum 


Course Summary

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; and economic crises. Along with mastering the content of the class, students will be encouraged to develop their general academic skills. On the first day of class, the instructor will review the most important aspects of academic writing. A central goal of the course is for students to develop their critical thinking and writing skills, and their ability to present their (written and verbal) academic work in a clear, convincing, and appropriate fashion. These goals will be highlighted throughout the course, and students will be graded in part on their improvement in this regard. The response papers are the best means for students to practice honing their academic thinking and writing skills. The class will meet once per week. Students are required to attend class. Class meetings will consist of lectures by the instructor, short readings, videos, class discussion, and group work. This course provides a thorough overview of the state of research and central issues in economic analyses of gender. The students will develop an understanding of the basic relationships between economics and gender relations, and the (re)production of these relationships. Students are encouraged to think independently about how gender works and matters in economic processes and outcomes.

Assignments and Assessment

Attendance

Attendance and participation are an important part of the course. Participation points will be distributed immediately following class. Students are responsible for all course material, even if they have missed a class. Twice in the semester, students should briefly and informally share with the class something that they have come across that is relevant for the class. This can be a song, a newspaper article, a viral tweet, a political campaign, a video... honestly, whatever. The main idea is that you explain how this thing is connected to concepts and ideas we are discussing in the course and how you understand this thing differently now that you are taking the course.

Response Papers

 Students can write three response papers to weekly readings throughout the semester. The reading for each class should be completed before the class meets. A response paper on a particular reading is due on the day that we discuss the reading in class (the day it is listed below). Response papers must be submitted in class. No late assignments will be accepted for any reason. If your essays run longer than one piece of paper (which they should not), please make the world a better place by stapling your pages together.Here is the grading system for response papers. They should:

  •  correctly and clearly describe what the text is about. This is a 3-4 sentence summary of the main questions, goals, methods, and conclusions of the text.
  •  succinctly and clearly discuss the single most interesting idea or concept introduced in the text, and explains why exactly it is so compelling.
  •  thoroughly discuss what is missing from the text, or how it could be improved. In the first case, the student explains exactly why this missing piece is important and how it would change the analysis; in the second case, the student provides his/her own suggestions for improvement. Keep in mind that the critique should be based on the context of the goals of the paper!
  •  include concepts and ideas discussed in the course and/or from previous readings.
  •  correctly cite the text under discussion.
  •  meet the formal requirements for correct spelling, punctuation, and length.

Final Essay

Students will write individual essays in which they reflect on their own education in economics. The essay should explain a concept or model that the student has learned in another economics class, and then extend, edit, and/or respecify the concept or model to more adequately account for gender relations. There are no formal requirements regarding the length of this essay. Papers of differing lengths can be equally good! Remember to make each paragraph, each sentence, and each word contribute to your argument. The essay should include reference to academic literature.

Course Overview

Schedule of topics covered and mandatory readings

Session 1 Introduction and overview of the course

  • Course structure; expectations and requirements; goals
  • Foundations of academic work

Session 2 Gender in Economics (the discipline)

  • Lundberg, Shelly and Jenna Stearns (2019). “Women in Economics: Stalled Progress.” Journal of Economic Perspectives 33(1): 3-22.

Session 3 Classical Feminist Economics

  • Nelson, Julie A. (1995). “Feminism and Economics.” Journal of Economic Perspectives 9(2): 131-148.

Session 4 Identity and economics

  • Akerlof, George A. and Rachel E. Kranton (2000). “Economics and Identity.” Quarterly Journal of Economics 115(3): 715-753.

Session 5 Why is gender an economic issue? Why is economics a gender issue?

  • Podcast: Hidden Brain. “Nature, Nurture, And Our Evolving Debates About Gender.” https://www.npr.org/2018/11/19/669192536/naturenurture- and-our-evolving-debates-about-gender

Session 6 Gender in the Labor Market I

  • Fortin, Nicole M. (2005). “Gender Role Attitudes and the Labour-Market Outcomes of Women Across OECD Countries.” Oxford Review of Economic Policy 21(3): 416-438.

Session 7 Gender in the Labor Market II

  • Polachek, Solomon W. (1995). “Human Capital and the Gender Earnings Gap: A Response to Feminist Critiques.” In Edith Kuiper and Jolande Sap (Eds.), Out of the Margin: Feminist Perspectives on Economics (pp. 61-79). London and New York: Routledge.

Session 8 Gender in the Household: Housework, care work, and decision making

  • Ironmonger, Duncan (1996). “Counting Outputs, Capital Inputs, and Caring Labor: Estimating Gross Household Product.” Feminist Economics 2(3): 37-64.
  • Kleven, Henrik et al. (2019). “Child Penalties Across Countries: Evidence and Explanations.” Paper Prepared for American Economic Association Papers and Proceedings, available at https://www.henrikkleven.com/uploads/3/7/3/1/37310663/klevenetal_aea-pp_2019.pdf

Session 9 Gender and Macroeconomics I: Gender and Development; Gender Budgeting

  • Mammen, Kristin and Christina Paxson (2000). “Women’s Work and Economic Development.” Journal of Economic Perspectives 14(4): 141-164.

Session 10 Gender and Macroeconomics II: Gender and Globalization

  • Lennon, Carolina and Alyssa Schneebaum (2019). “Globalization and Gender Equality: An International Firm-Level Analysis.” Working Paper 

Session 11 Flexible date 

  • Reading: van der Velde, Lucas, Joanna Tyrowicz, and Joanna Siwinska (2015). “Language and (the estimates of) the gender wage gap.” Economics Letters 136: 165-170.
  • Davis, Lewis and Megan Reynolds (2018). “Gendered language and the educational gender gap.” Economics Letters 168: 46-48.

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