Economy and Work (PEC2269.01) (cancelled 8/9/2023)

Lopamudra Banerjee

Why do people work? How can we make sense of the relationship that workers have with their workplace? What determines the income they earn from work? And, how are the concerns of ‘nonremunerative work’ (especially care work carried in the realm of household) related to that of ‘remunerative work’ (carried in the realm of labor market)? This seminar is motivated by these questions. We will explore the foundational approaches in labor economics, macroeconomics, microeconomics and social reproduction theory to answer these questions, and we will draw upon other areas of political economy and sociology of work to enrich the discussions. In the process, we will examine how work shapes the wellbeing of a community, determine people’s living standards and their life chances, and contribute to the national economy 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 research seminar is designed for students in their first and second years of college. It has no prerequisites. All students interested in questions of economic life (and on Economics as a discipline) are welcome to this seminar. 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. Students are encouraged in this course to expand their knowledge through active, self-determined investigation. They are invited to bring a transdisciplinary approach to learning in this class.

The course has two aims: [1] It is designed to help students gain a critical understanding of foundational theories of labor studies and labor economics, and learn some of the basic statistical tools necessary to create their own research. [2] It is devised to guide them in formulating their own research questions and provide empirical supports to their arguments. Throughout this course, students will expand their capabilities of critical analytical thinking and progress in their capacities to research, to create and to communicate.

Learning Outcomes:

Delivery Method: Fully in-person
Course Level: 2000-level
Credits: 4
M/Th 1:40PM - 3:30PM (Full-term)
Maximum Enrollment: 18
Course Frequency: One time only

Categories: 2000 , All courses , Four Credit , Fully In-Person , Political Economy , Updates
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