Work (PEC4106.01) (cancelled 6/13/2023)

Lopamudra Banerjee

Why do people work? What is the connection between ‘work’ and ‘employment’? And, how are the concerns of ‘nonwage work’ (especially care work carried in the realm of household) related to that of ‘wage’ work (carried in the realm of labor market)? This seminar is motivated by these questions. We explore the familiar theories of macroeconomics to answer these questions, and we will draw upon other areas of political economy and social reproduction theory to enrich the discussions. In the process, we will examine how work shapes people’s material conditions of wellbeing and standard of living, and contribute to the national income of a country. We will also inquire how the notion of ‘work’ and nature of ’employment relationship’ has been undergoing changes over the last several decades in the Global North and the Global South and what transformations have become more prominent in this post-Covid moment.

The course has two requirements: [a] Class participation based on deep reading of assigned materials, and [b] a research project and related homework assignments. [You should not miss a class. Before coming to class, you must engage carefully with the assigned materials, and you must participate seriously in class discussions. Also, as a research project for the class, you will carry out an empirically-grounded research on some specific issue of work, employment and wage income.]

This is an advanced-level research seminar designed for students in their third and fourth years of college. Students in their second year may also join in with the prior approval of the instructor. We will explore the key concepts in the course verbally and through written expositions, and use mathematical formulations to express the ideas in formal terms. The course will involve a close analysis of macroeconomic datasets. We will make use of the empirical findings to provide evidential support to our arguments. For this, prior knowledge of data analyses is desired and some familiarity with spreadsheet analyses of data is expected. Some prior knowledge of statistical theory/applications will be advantageous. Additionally, prior knowledge of economics is necessary to take this course.

Learning Outcomes:
The course has three aims: [1] It is designed to help students gain a critical understanding of foundational economic theories of employment and unemployment, and master the applied tools necessary to create their own research. [2] It introduces students to a critical analysis of wage and nonwage work from the perspective of social reproduction theory. [3] It is devised for guiding them in formulating their own thesis questions and provide empirical supports to their arguments. Students will be invited to expand their knowledge through active, self-determined investigation. They are invited to bring a transdisciplinary approach to learning in this class. Throughout this course, students will expand their capabilities of critical analytical thinking and progress in their capacities to research, to create and to communicate.

Delivery Method: Hybrid
Prerequisites: At least one 2000-level course in economics. Prior knowledge of data analyses is desirable and some familiarity with spreadsheet analyses of data is expected. Some prior knowledge of statistical theory/applications will be advantageous. Also, approval of course instructor is required (contact: Prioritization of registration | Students should email the course instructor with an expression of interest, and explain [in few sentences] [a] why they are interested in this course, [b] if the course fit with their academic plan, and, if yes, then how, [c] if they fulfill the prerequisites for the course and what courses [that would satisfy the prerequisite criterion] have they taken before [stating the course name and level of prior courses in economics/political economy, SCT, mathematics etc.]. The emails should be received by May 25, 2023.
Course Level: 4000-level
Credits: 4
M/Th 1:40PM - 3:30PM (Full-term)
Maximum Enrollment: 12
Course Frequency: Every 2-3 years

Categories: 4000 , All courses , Four Credit , Hybrid , Political Economy , Updates
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