Adam Looney: Inequality and Social Policy

ECON 2350
Fall 2017

This is a survey course about economic and social inequality with a focus on the applied methods used to examine inequality. The course will provide a broad perspective on the causes and consequences of inequality, develop an understanding of the data and methods used to measure and analyze changes in income and wellbeing, and review selected topics relating to anti-poverty and social policy programs.

What dimensions of inequality matter and why?

How does inequality in the U.S. compare to other wealthy nations? Should we be concerned about rising inequality? We will consider the role of schools in reducing or reproducing inequalities. We will consider how race, class, and gender shape schooling trajectories and how educational policy may be targeted to mitigate key disparities. What is the role of labor market institutions like firms, unions, and the minimum wage? How should we think about taxation and social insurance in the context of rising inequality? What is the role of regulatory policy and governance in inequality, including the role of worker classification and anti-discrimination? How should we structure tax and social policy in light of high and rising inequality?

Syllabus

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