Why We Miss Obama

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Fri, 30/08/2019 - 4:39pm in

Trump’s loudmouth shenanigans have Democrats longing for Obama. But let’s not forget the fact that Obama’s policies and Trump’s don’t differ much.

Launching today: Economy, Society and Public Policy version 1.0

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Tue, 27/08/2019 - 8:15pm in

Today we can unveil the 1.0 version of Economy, Society and Public Policy (ESPP), designed to introduce the power and excitement of economics to a wider audience – whether they are non-specialists taking a course in economics, in the workplace, or learning for themselves.

ESPP 1.0 is online now and, as always, is free and open-access. As with our other publications, it is the joint work of The CORE Team. You can find out more about who has contributed to ESPP here.

The 1.0 launch of our second ebook is another major milestone for CORE. ESPP has been two-and-a-half years in the making: at the beginning of 2017, we were given a grant by the Nuffield Foundation to develop a course for students who were not majoring in economics. The idea was that they could learn economic methods by engaging with policy issues such as inequality, climate change and innovation.

Our idea was to produce units that were inspired by The Economy, our text for economics majors that has been used in 206 countries, by more than 87,000 learners that we know of, and more than 8,300 teachers. ESPP shares some of the discussion, figures and models, but is focused on public policy and has been designed to be accessible to students from every background and discipline.

If you have seen or taught last year’s beta version (it lives on, here), you may be wondering what’s different in version 1.0. The structure remains the same, but there are five major improvements:

1. A major rewrite in response to feedback

We pride ourselves on listening to ideas and opinions from a wide range of sources, including reviewers and academics and teachers, but also students’ experiences, so that we can crowdsource a better textbook.

We successfully pioneered this approach for The Economy, and we have applied it just as rigorously here. This spring and summer we rewrote, adapted and updated large sections of ESPP to make it easier to teach and more readable, but crucially to bring the empirical, policy-led approach out even more. Teachers and students alike told us that this was what interested them most about economics.

2. Interactive data charts at Our World in Data

For the first time, many of ESPP‘s figures now have links to the website of our partner Our World in Data (OWiD). You can now click on the button to see the latest data in an interactive format. Look for a clickable button underneath many of the data figures in ESPP:

For example here’s ESPP Figure 4.2 (Figure 3.1 in The Economy too) in OWiD’s interactive version.

Top left and right: a video timeline, and a button to download the data.  Bottom left and right: the sources in full, save the output as an image, and note the buttons for social media.

3. Combining labour market, product market, and the economy in a single model

There’s a major innovation in Unit 8.

Since day one of the project, we have argued that product and labour markets are fundamentally different in their structure (as intermediate and advanced students will learn). We do not help introductory students when we draw crossing curves of labour demand and labour supply, and then create reasons why the empirical data on wages, inequality and unemployment don’t match what this model tells us.

We believe our treatment of the labour market has always been a better introduction. But, for the first time, we have found a way to integrate it into a single model of a firm that sets a price and wage, extend it to the aggregate economy, and show the outcome for unemployment and inequality.

“One way to think about it is that it’s CORE’s alternative to consumption, production and general equilibrium,” says Wendy Carlin, who leads our steering group, You can listen to Wendy explaining how the model works in Session 9 of the 2019 CORE workshop.

4. Closer integration with Doing Economics

It has been a busy summer, as we are also improving and expanding the 12 empirical projects in Doing Economics. While you can use either text independently, we believe they complement each other even better than before – not least because many teachers have adopted ESPP for courses with a strong quantitative element. You will find a guide to the matching empirical project at the end of each unit of ESPP. (And, if you want to find out how teachers have used it in their courses, Session 6 of the 2019 CORE workshop will help.)

5. Windows, Android and Apple iBook apps

Watch this space! They will be available later this week. Apps mean you can access the material even when you don’t have a data connection. Check back on our website for the links.

A print edition, too

On 12 September at 6:45pm, Oxford University Press will launch the print book at the ‘Developments in Economics Education’ conference at the University of Warwick. You can order copies online here.

Just as with The Economy, the printed version will have an affordable price. It will sell for £34.99 in the UK. And as always, we continue to be free and open-access online.


We hope you agree with us that the 1.0 version of ESPP is the best text available to teach these topics to non-economics students. If you are teaching it already, please tell us about your experience (we will be covering some of the feedback we have already in our next blog). If you have feedback on any element of the 1.0 version, or are planning to use ESPP in your teaching and would like to contact a teacher who has experience using the text, please let us know.

The post Launching today: Economy, Society and Public Policy version 1.0 appeared first on CORE.

Philosopher Wins €3 Million Grant for Project on Public Trust in Expert Opinion

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Fri, 02/08/2019 - 10:41pm in

Maria Baghramian, Head of the School of Philosophy at University College Dublin, has won a €3 million (approximately US$3.3 million) grant for three-year research project on “the role of science in policy decision making and the conditions under which people should trust and rely on expert opinion that shapes public policy.”

Maria Baghramian

The project, “Policy, Expertise and Trust in Action,” will, starting in 2020, “bring together 20 philosophers, social and natural scientists, policy experts, ethicists, psychologists, media specialists and civil society organisations to study trust in and the trustworthiness of policy related expert opinion,” according to a press release. It follows up on the earlier project, “When Experts Disagree,” led by Professor Baghramian and Luke Drury (Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies). Others involved include Bobby Duffy (KCL), Gloria Origgi (CNRS, Paris), José Van Dijck (Utrecht), Onora O’Neill (Cambridge), Cass Sunstein (Harvard), Susan Owens (Cambridge), and Dan Sperber (CEU).

The funding is from the European Commission’s Horizon 2020 program.

Professor Baghramian says the aim of the project is  “to better understand the nature and conditions of trust in the public domain and to discover indicators which can be used in measuring and establishing the trustworthiness of those involved in social and political decision making.”

There’s more information about the project here.

The post Philosopher Wins €3 Million Grant for Project on Public Trust in Expert Opinion appeared first on Daily Nous.

The 2019 Zelizer Award for Best Book in Economic Sociology goes to ‘Starving the Beast’ by Monica Prasad

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Tue, 23/07/2019 - 8:34am in

Northwestern University scholar Monica Prasad is the winner of the 2019 Zelizer Book Award given by the American Sociological Association’s Economic Sociology section for an outstanding book in the field. Prasad will receive the Award for her superb book Starving … Continue reading →

Philosopher Named to New State Dept. Commission on Unalienable Rights

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 11/07/2019 - 10:45pm in

U.S. Secretary of State Michael Pompeo earlier this week announced the creation of a new “Commission on Unalienable Rights,” comprised of scholars and activists interested in various dimensions of human rights, law, and religion, to provide him with “advice on human rights grounded in our nation’s founding principles and the principles of the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights.”

U.S. Secretary of State Michael Pompeo announces new Commission on Unalienable Rights

Among the dozen individuals named as members of the committee is University of South Carolina Distinguished Professor of Philosophy and Department of Philosophy Chair Christopher Tollefsen.

The commission will be led by Mary Ann Glendon (Harvard Law) and also includes Russell Berman (Stanford, Hoover Institution), Peter Berkowitz (Hoover Institution), Paolo Carozza (Notre Dame Law and Political Science), Hamza Yusuf Hanson (Zaytuna College), Jacqueline Rivers (Seymour Institute), Meir Soloveichik (Rabbi, Congregation Shearith Israel), Kiron Skinner (State Dept.), Katrina Lantos Swett (Lantos Foundation), David Tse-Chien Pan (UC Irvine), and Cartright Weiland (State Dept.).

Pompeo said:

I hope that the commission will revisit the most basic of questions: What does it mean to say or claim that something is, in fact, a human right? How do we know or how do we determine whether that claim that this or that is a human right, is it true, and therefore, ought it to be honored? How can there be human rights, rights we possess not as privileges we are granted or even earn, but simply by virtue of our humanity belong to us? Is it, in fact, true, as our Declaration of Independence asserts, that as human beings, we—all of us, every member of our human family—are endowed by our creator with certain unalienable rights? Each of these is an important question, and the mission of the commission is to provide advice on them and others not as purely abstract academic matters, but in a manner deeply informed by the timeless truths embedded in the American founding with a view to guiding our nation’s foreign policy.

The full announcement is here.

The post Philosopher Named to New State Dept. Commission on Unalienable Rights appeared first on Daily Nous.

HECS and the Rise of the Investment State

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 23/05/2019 - 6:00am in

Australia’s student loan scheme, originally called the Higher Education Contribution Scheme (HECS), was introduced in 1989. This innovation, now known as the Higher Education Loan Programme (HELP) has since been exported around the world. It reflects a new way of thinking of education: as an investment in human capital. In doing so, it imports a key concept from the private sector into the public sector – the idea that some spending is really investment (in capital), which, rather than a cost, delivers a stream of future income.

The introduction of HECS in Australia accompanied the reintroduction of fees for university education, which was one of the more controversial decisions of the Hawke Labor Government and continues to be a source of intergenerational discontent.

Charging fees is clearly part of a broader policy shift towards markets. Yet a closer look at the policy mechanics of HECS reveal a contradictory picture with potentially far-reaching implications for how we understanding taxation, fiscal policy and even democracy.

Accounting shifts: education as an investment in human capital

Treating some spending as an investment rather than a cost is central to private sector accounting, but until recently was rare in the public sector, which used cash accounting concepts. The shift is important because investments create assets, which effectively cancel out spending in yearly budget balances. Accounting for spending on train lines and motorways as ‘investment’ is how the NSW Government can run one of the most expansionary fiscal policies in history and yet consistently deliver surpluses.

The politics of incorporating private sector accounting practices into government initially reflected the rise of free market thinking. These concepts helped reorganise public sector agencies along corporate lines (corporatisation) and enabled better cost comparisons between public and private providers (a key component of competition policy and outsourcing). The practices themselves appear largely technical, but over time they have produced contradictory results.

For example, the InternationaI Monetary Fund (IMF) now measures a government’s ‘net public worth’. The measure previously made no sense, because public assets were not considered tradable. Measuring net worth is a logical companion to treating the government as if it were a corporation, but once measured, it highlights how mass privatisation can undermine public wealth, as is now evident in post-Thatcher Britain.

Our research on HECS offers a lens to understand these changes and the policy and democratic dilemmas they potentially pose. It illustrates how the rise of the investment state can create new fiscal choices by making the future financial benefits of policies register in current budgeting processes. However, it also shows how this can create new fiscal constraints to deliver those benefits as future financial returns. We argue that these tensions come from the blurring of boundaries between taxation and debt in the HECS system and the way this hybridity is ‘seen’ by accounting systems.

HECS as a tax-loan hybrid

About 40 per cent of the cost of university education in Australia is currently covered by HECS. Unlike government grants, the cost of funding universities by issuing student loans is not recorded as spending in yearly government budgets. Private sector accounting practices instead treat HECS as a government asset that will deliver future repayments by students. The HECS debt ‘portfolio’ is now one of the major assets on the Federal government’s balance sheet, with a fair value of $37.1 billion in 2016.

Accounting reforms that treat HECS as an investment in an asset, rather than a cost, made student loans very attractive for governments aiming to expand Australia’s university sector without increasing budget deficits. Over time, the Australian government has used HECS to redefine ongoing public financing of universities as ‘private’ by issuing more and bigger student loans.

While HECS is accounted for as a loan, its design is better understood as a ‘policy hybrid’ that combines elements of a market debt and a tax.

HECS is like a debt in the sense that only those who have attended university are liable, debt levels are determined by university fees, and repayments cease once the outstanding sum is repaid. This contrasts with conventional taxation, which is not connected to the use or cost of specific government services.

Yet, HECS aligns with taxation in other important ways. Repayments are contingent on income levels – exempting lower income earners and making higher income earners pay a higher proportion of their income – and are collected by the Taxation Office (ATO). Loan conditions are determined and changed as policy decisions that affect everyone with a liability, without reference to the risk of the borrower. This means loan conditions are not ‘locked in’ via a loan contract, but subject to ongoing political contestation, like taxation. This might be considered a reduction in market certainty, or an extension of state control.

The ‘investment’ delivered by HECS in the form of a loan therefore depends on the structures and institutions of taxation. However, this hybridity is not accounted for in budgeting processes, which ‘see’ HECS through the category of a loan. Consequently, the performance of HECS as an asset on the government’s balance sheet has come under scrutiny.

Financial market accounting practices reduce the contribution of HECS assets to the net worth of the Australian government because a proportion of loans – estimated at around 19 per cent – will not be repaid. This so-called ‘doubtful debt’ is built into the tax-like properties of HECS, where income-contingency operates like a tax-free threshold. Nonetheless, the federal government has passed legislation to reduce the HECS threshold to about $45,000 in order to lift repayment rates and with it the ‘value’ of the asset.

Our subsequent research has highlighted considerable variation in the relative ‘tax-like’ and ‘loan-like’ properties of different student loan schemes around the world, including the UK and the USA. And just like Australia, the terms of student loans are often changed by new policy decisions. Because these loans confuse traditional accounting categories, we have few tools to effectively compare different loan systems.

For example, the English student loan system creates bigger loans and imposes higher interest rates than the Australian system. Yet, this market orientation means fewer students are likely to ever repay their debts, effectively creating a larger public subsidy than first appears.

Budgeting systems have been critical in shaping these differences. Accounting rules in the UK encouraged the government to sell its outstanding student debt in order to reduce measures of net public debt, whereas slightly different rules in Australia led the Commission of Audit to the opposite conclusion.

Implications for broader policy

Beyond HECS, policy makers and advocates are experimenting with approaches that reimagine social spending as investment across a range of policy domains. In NSW, Just Reinvest is trialling programs that (re)invest money in community services, funded by savings to prison costs avoided by the services. Nationally, the federal government has recently established The National Housing Finance and Investment Corporation (NHFIC) to pool and guarantee low-cost and long-term loans for social housing providers. These examples indicate new financial policy models and accounting systems that could make it easier to fund programs that provide long-term fiscal benefits and, like HECS, do so through the public budget rather than private financial products.

As business and investment categories become more common in public budgeting, it is likely we will need new fiscal and policy concepts to help us analyse the risks and opportunities of innovative ‘hybrid’ policies. ‘Capital’ accounting systems bring advantages to governments looking to create policies with long-term benefits beyond the current electoral cycle. But rather than simply transplanting private sector categories and techniques, accounting in the public sector needs to be sensitive to the unique roles and responsibilities of government.

First published on Austaxpolicy, co-authored with Ben Spies-Butcher.

The post HECS and the Rise of the Investment State appeared first on Progress in Political Economy (PPE).

Tackling Urban Homelessness the Green Way

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Mon, 06/05/2019 - 12:46am in

By Athullya Gopi | The US housing affordability crisis is driving more and more of the working poor to live out of cars and squatter homes- the solution seems to be creating more affordable homes in both urban and suburban areas where there is a high level of homelessness amongst the working poor but this means more carbon emissions and pollution in urban areas the long run. A green alternative needs to be found if both homelessness and pollution are to be solved simultaneously. 

Homelessness is a growing global phenomenon. In the United States (US), its rampant increase is most evident in urbanized areas along the East and West coasts.  Homelessness in the US does not only occur as a result of an individual’s perceived social and economic problems such as mental health and substance abuse issues or the stagnation of incomes, it is also the result of long-standing imperfections in the private US housing market that prevent everyone in the economy who demands housing as a dependable and primary source of shelter from accessing it. Such market imperfections limit the number of affordable housing units supplied by the private sector to urban low or very low income households – often making such individuals or households highly susceptible to homelessness as both incomes stagnate and rents or home values spike. An ideal long-run solution to reducing this type of homelessness is to employ federally mandated policies designed to increase the supply of available affordable housing units to those needing dependable shelter. The idea of increasing the number of physical dwelling spaces in already congested and polluted urban areas, however, implies an added burden to carbon emissions and energy utilization in cities at a time when careful consideration needs to be given to the latter. Is there a green solution to solving homelessness caused by the housing affordability crisis in the US?

The rapid growth of urbanization is most evident in the rising number of people living in cities – by 2030 it is estimated that at least 27% of the world population will be concentrated in cities with a population of more than 1,000,000. It is also clear that the rapid growth of urbanization is increasingly becoming a contributor to global climate change – although cities only account for less than 2% of the earth’s surface 71 to 76% of the world’s carbon emissions originate from urban areas. The impact of climate change is being increasingly felt in urban areas including its homeless. Since 2016 the number of homeless individuals in urban areas perishing from being unsheltered in extreme climate conditions has been increasing.

However, it is not just in urban areas that homelessness is growing. Poverty and homelessness have been increasing in suburban areas in the US over the last 15 years. With homelessness on the increase as a social ill not necessarily constrained by population density or geography more and more households/individuals who find themselves chronically unsheltered as a result will also be directly exposed to the increasingly devastating effects of climate change. A sustainable and joint solution needs to be found to address both problems, one that envisions more eco-friendly homes for those who need them as a source of shelter when they have no recourse to one.

To start formulating such a joint solution we must begin with understanding the source of growth in homelessness over the last few decades. While foreclosures in the post-recession era have largely been responsible for people losing their owner-occupied homes, the source of homelessness relating to economic conditions extends beyond mere market forces that are freely operating.  In the United States, the private housing market is an imperfect one, meaning that there are constraints imposed upon it that prevent demand and supply of housing from fully clearing. The imperfect housing market leads to renters being priced out of housing that is affordable when they are faced with either income shocks (like being made redundant when the economy goes down) or rental price shocks (when an upturn in the economy leads to a surge in property prices and therefore rents). This leads to a growing number of individuals/households that are at risk of becoming temporarily homeless. The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) refers to such individuals as “transients”. Modern-day representations of homelessness are no longer restricted to the visibly homeless woman forced to live in her car while working as an adjunct professor and the army veteran who can only afford housing through a gofundme crowdfunding campaign. The housing crisis is one that is increasingly an affordability crisis.

The imperfect market leads to demand for housing persistently remaining relatively higher than the supply of available housing at any point in time. Often this mismatch between housing demand and supply is the result of the relative inelasticity  (low sensitivity to price changes) of housing supply. Generally speaking when the price of a good or service increases, the supply of housing should respond over time by increasing too and vice versa. Housing supply, however, is relatively quite slow to respond to price signals due to a number of factors that do not directly impact the housing market.  For example state regulations regarding land use vary across the United States and often favor the use of land in urban areas for commercial purposes rather than for housing, making it difficult to quickly increase housing supply in such areas in response to a sudden surge in housing real estate prices.

Additionally, the increasing use of housing real-estate as sources of investment leaves more and more units either vacant or used in a way that allows investors to gain higher than market returns – such as converting them to “AirBnB” units. This indicates that the market is biased towards those in the economy who demand housing real-estate as an investment good rather than as a basic form of shelter. This bias towards housing investors is clearly seen in urban areas by the rising levels of gentrification in cities – a way of making housing investments more attractive and therefore valuable to investors. Ultimately the existence of this bias means that richer entities/households that can afford to purchase or rent more than the one unit of housing they need for shelter gain access to the additional units they demand more readily than the relatively poorer households that need at least one unit for basic shelter. With a ‘sticky’ housing supply and a bias in how demand for housing is met, poorer households are ever more at risk of transient homelessness and not receiving at least the single unit of housing they require to meet their need for basic shelter.

Furthermore federal government safety nets for low income and very-low income households have been declining over the years instead of increasing: there have been no significant increases in federal housing voucher funding to make housing more affordable and more public housing units have been retired or demolished than built between 2000 and 2016 leading to an overall drop of around 200,000 units during this time. All of this implies a greater need for more physical housing units to be supplied outside of the imperfect private sector – to be made available ideally through federal government-led policy intervention that creates housing for the growing population of working poor that are most likely to be made transiently and then chronically homeless.

Increasing the supply of affordable housing to meet the real demand for housing as a source of shelter is only one half of a joint solution – the second half must resolve how to achieve this in a sustainable manner without adding to pollution levels. In this regard, special emphasis needs to be made on urban as opposed to rural areas mainly because the former are focal points of energy and durable goods consumption, both of which contribute significantly to the overall carbon footprint. For example, concentrated energy consumption in urban areas tends to create enough heat to change their surrounding microclimates, even causing them to differ in temperature on average by more than 1 degree Celsius than neighboring rural areas. Urban areas also generate undesirable runoff patterns in water – the way urban landscapes are constructed means that less water gets filtered back to replenish the local water table. At the same time urban areas, because of their warmer microclimates, generate more rainfall, meaning that run-off containing pollutants from industrial sites occurs more quickly and intensely than rural industrialized areas and significantly reducing water quality.

Innovative sustainable construction methods are becoming more popular. One example of a green construction standard is the Living Building Challenge, a green building certification program that outlines how sustainable built-up structures that are net water and energy positive (i.e. water is re-treated onsite and that more energy is generated onsite than consumed). This building standard was successfully used in a sustainable affordable housing project is present in Minneapolis. In 2015 two local nonprofit organizations, Aeon and Hope Community launched “the Rose”, a 90 unit mixed-income apartment complex with half the units assigned as affordable housing at a monthly rent of around $636 for a single bedroom apartment. What is remarkable is that the per square foot cost of constructing the Rose was less than a half that of a similar conventional high-end sustainable building. While it was 20% more expensive and more complicated to build than a comparable code-compliant building the Rose was intended to offer long-term cost-effectiveness by being up to 75% more energy efficient.

Affordable housing is largely not a favorable investment option for real-estate developers and so its sustainable development must be incentivized through policy change – one option would be through tax credits. However future policymakers must remain cautious about private investors using green building techniques in the name of climate change to deliberately ramp up property values.

Such an example appears in a case study of a multifamily residential property development supported by the City of Portland Oregon Department of Environmental Services. The latter is responsible for managing the city of Portland’s wastewater and stormwater infrastructure. In the Barrington Square Apartments project, the property owner retrofitted stormwater controls with greener technology that enabled the removal of more than 350,000 gallons of runoff with pollutants. While at first glance it appears that the Environmental Services Department that supported the project successfully promoted the implementation of green technology in the private sector to clean up of the environment, the project report indicates that the property owner was motivated to make these changes to increase the value of the property itself – an idea that is counter-intuitive to the expansion of sustainable affordable housing.

About the Author
Athullya is originally Indian, born and brought up in the United Arab Emirates. She joined the Levy Masters Program in 2016 after leading a successful career in credit insurance. The choice to swap her role as the head of commercial underwriting with that of a full-time student came after being inspired to see how Economics works in the real world. She now works at the Institute for New Economic Thinking in New York.

The post Tackling Urban Homelessness the Green Way appeared first on Economic Questions .

Moving Beyond the Status Quo: The Case for Ecofeminism

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Tue, 30/04/2019 - 1:34am in

Back in 2002, economists Shane Frederick, George Lowenstein, and Ted O’Donoghue found that people generally value the present over the future—something they called a time preference. While this seemed intuitive for most people, economists Marcus Dittrich and Kristina Leipold later showed that this time preference is not necessarily uniform across gender lines. Following an online experiment with 1019 subjects, they found that men were more impatient than women, choosing to receive rewards immediately, while “women are better able than men to delay gratification and tend to be more self-disciplined.” In a county like the United States—which is mostly controlled by men—it is not surprising that policymakers have continually privileged the present over the future.

Despite the fact that 97 percent of all climate scientists believe that climate change is real, many Republican leaders (Donald Trump, for instance) still argue it is some fictional conspiracy, while many others who do recognize the reality of climate change, still privilege economic growth over environmental protection. There is a deeply embedded culture of masculinity in the United States that is problematic for those who want to create constructive solutions for mitigating climate change. Researchers Aaron R. Brough, James E.B. Wilkie, and their colleagues conducted a series of experiments with over 2,000 participants and found a “psychological link between eco-friendliness and perceptions of femininity” and that “men may shun eco-friendly behavior because of what it conveys about their masculinity.”

Perhaps what is needed is a more feminist approach to climate change. As journalist Maria Laurino writes, “Contemporary American feminism has primarily come to mean championing women’s autonomy and challenging the privileging of male over female.” In other words, it means that feminists do not privilege men over women—who are equal in every capacity and therefore should have equal opportunity. If you are a man, being a feminist does not mean you are somehow feminine or unmanly, it simply means that you don’t believe that men are somehow exceptional and that women are equally competent to take leadership positions.

Do more women in leadership roles translate into more environmental protection? Sociologists Kari Norgaard and Richard York surveyed women policymakers in 19 countries that hold 92 percent of the world’s population and found that “nations with higher proportions of women in Parliament are more prone to ratify environmental treaties than are other nations.” If women are more likely than men to delay gratification, pursue environmental protection, and cooperate internationally, doesn’t it make sense that they should have greater authority over environmental research and policy?

What about those who guide policymakers, such as economists? Researchers Ann Mari May, Mary McGarvey, and David Kucera surveyed economists in universities across 18 nations in the European Union and found that male economists not only prefer market solutions over government intervention, they are more skeptical of environmental protection than women economists. Isn’t economics supposed to be an objective science? As economist Duncan Foley wrote in 2016, economics is not an objective science because it is guided by values — which determines which research questions to pursue and which kinds of economic policies economist will support and legitimize.

In addition, May, McGarvey, and Kucera also found that male economists were two times more likely to become full professors. “Despite an increase in the number of women entering economics from the 1970s to the 1990s,” the researchers wrote, “the profession remains predominantly male.” Even the former chairman of the Federal Reserve, Ben Bernanke, acknowledged that the field of economics favors men over women. Despite the evidence that suggest the economics profession discriminates against women, Ben Casselman and Jim Tankersley of the New York Times, report that some male economists dismiss the notion of a gender bias, “arguing [instead] that gender disparities must reflect differences in preference or ability.” As this article has shown, this is clearly not the case.

Given the data that suggests that female economists and policymakers are more open to responding to environmental issues (see also here, here, and here), it seems pretty clear that we need a more feminist approach to alleviating climate change. A greater representation of women in senior economics positions, as researchers May, McGarvey, and Kucera show, would lead to a more diverse set research questions — widening the range of discussion about climate change and creating a more diverse set of conclusions and policy outcomes.


About the AuthorJohnny Fulfer received a B.S. in Economics and a B.S. in History from Eastern Oregon University. He is currently pursuing an M.A. in History at the University of South Florida and has an interest in political economy, the history of economic thought, intellectual and cultural history, and the history of the human sciences and their relation to the power in society. 

The post Moving Beyond the Status Quo: The Case for Ecofeminism appeared first on Economic Questions .

Keeping the Charities Commission Opens Door to Real Reform

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Tue, 24/02/2015 - 9:55am in

Australia Failing to Close the Gap

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 12/02/2015 - 10:14am in