Work (PEC4106.01)

Lopamudra Banerjee

Why do people work? And what is the connection between ‘work’ and ‘employment’? This seminar is motivated by these two basic questions. We explore familiar theories of macroeconomics to answer the questions, and we will draw upon other areas of political economy and social theory to enrich the discussions. We will examine how work shapes people’s material conditions of living and contribute to the national income of a country. We will ask: why and how can (un)employment rate act as an indicator of an economy’s health and describe social cohesion? We will study how the issues of work and employment in advanced industrial market economies may not be similar to those in the rest of the world. And we will inquire how the notion of ‘work’ and nature of ’employment relationship’ is undergoing transformation in Global North and Global South in contemporary world.

This is an advanced-level research seminar designed for students in their third and fourth years of college. 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.

The course has two aims: [1] It is designed to help students gain a critical understanding of foundational economic theories of work and (un)employment, and master the applied tools necessary to create their own research. [2] 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.

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:
Depending on COVID-19 situation and student presence on-campus, the structure and mode of delivery of the course may differ. The two possibilities are: a partially asynchronous delivery with remote mode and occasional in-person meetings, or [2] fully synchronous delivery with in-person meetings.


Delivery Method: Awaiting Confirmation
Prerequisites: At least two prior courses in economics in addition to at least one prior 2000-level course in SCT. 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. 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 November 12.
Course Level: 4000-level
Credits: 4
W 8:30AM - 12:10PM (Full-term)
Maximum Enrollment: 10
Course Frequency: Every 2-3 years

Categories: All courses , Political Economy
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