See our Requirements page for background on how and when to approach this material.
Week 1 (February 14) – Economics for a changing world
[For Thursday’s class]
- Nicole Poindexter on “Black Star Energy: Solar Electricity for Africa.”
- “Power Player in West Africa: An Interview with Nicole Poindexter.” Beyond Silicon Valley. July 26, 2019. Parts 1 and 2.
- “A New Way to Learn Economics.” John Cassidy. The New Yorker. September 11, 2017.
- “An econ textbook for the real world.” David Brancaccio, Candace Manriquez Wrenn, and Daniel Shin. Marketplace. Jan 28, 2020
- “Economics used to be all about what we can’t do. That’s finally changing.” (Also available via ProQuest.) Jared Bernstein. The Washington Post. December 2, 2019.
Problem Set 1 due on Sunday (2/20) by 6:00 PM.
Week 2 (February 21)
- Unit 1: The Capitalist Revolution.
- TED talk by Richard Wilkinson: “How economic inequality harms societies.”
- “We’re No. 28! And dropping!” Nicholas Kristof. The New York Times. September 9. 2020.
Problem Set 2 due on Sunday (2/27) by 6:00 PM.
Week 3 (February 28)
- Unit 2: Technology, Population, and Growth
- “Lisa Cook: What promotes or kills innovation?” The CORE Project. August 24, 2020.
Week 4 (March 7)
- “Review: ‘The Half Has Never Been Told’ looks at the economics of slavery.” Hector Tobar. The Los Angeles Times. September 4, 2014.
- The 1619 Project podcast: “Episode 2: The Economy that Slavery Built.” Nikole Hannah-Jones.
- “Economics after Slavery and George Floyd” Peter Doyle. National Institute of Economic and Social Research. 10 Jun 2020 (based on–not required–”On Economic Agency The Implications of Slavery for Economics and of Economics for Reparations in the age of COVID-19 and George ‘Perry’ Floyd.”)
- “Living in a poor neighborhood changes everything about your life.” Alvin Chang. Vox.com. Updated Apr 4, 2018, 12:00pm EDT.
- Professor Darrick Hamilton’s Ted Talk: “How Baby Bonds Could Close the Wealth Gap.”
- “Society Flourishes When We Invest in Our Most Vulnerable.” Aisha Nyandoro. TEDxJackson. July 6, 2019.
Problem Set 3 due on Sunday (3/13) by 6:00 PM.
Week 5 (March 14)
- Unit 3: Scarcity, Work and Choice. Sections 3.1 – 3.6.
- “What Would Keynes Do? What the 20th century’s most influential economist can teach us about rebuilding the US economy.” Ezra Klein. Vox. August 13, 2020. (Listen to the full podcast.)
- “Cousins Like Us: Black Lives and John Maynard Keynes.” Taylor Beck. The Los Angeles Review of Books. September 4, 2020.
Spring Break (March 21)
Week 6 (March 28)
- Unit 3: Scarcity, Work and Choice. Sections 3.7 – 3.11
- “Why do we work so hard?” Juliet Schor. February 13, 2015.
- Tim Harford. 2015. ‘The rewards for working hard are too big for Keynes’s vision’. The Undercover Economist. First published by The Financial Times. Updated 3 August 2015.
- “Enjoy The Extra Day Off! More Bosses Give 4-Day Workweek A Try.” Yuki Noguchi. NPR’s Morning Edition. February 21, 2020.
- “The case for a 4-day workweek.” Alexia Fernández Campbell. Vox. Sep 13, 2019.
Problem Set 4, including Sections 1 and 2 (your title page and introduction) of your research project, due on Sunday (4/3) by 6:00 PM.
Week 7 (April 4)
- Preparation for mid-term on Thursday, April 7
Week 8 (April 11)
- Unit 4: Social Interactions
- An epic episode of “Golden Balls.”
- Dr. Elinor Ostrom on managing common pool resources. June 28, 2011
Week 9 (April 18)
- Meeting with Ryan Clement (Tuesday) and time to work on your research
Problem Set 5, including Section 3 (your data section) of your research project, due on Sunday (4/24) by 6:00 PM.
Week 10 (April 25)
- Unit 7: The Firm and Its Customers
- “What is Farmerline?” July 10, 2017.
- Required talk: Thursday, April 28th.Animal Rights: The Environmental and Ethical Impacts of the Animal Industrial Complex. This free virtual event will be held on Thursday, April 28th at 7pm via Zoom. Renowned Australian philanthropist , environmental, and animal rights activist Philip Wollen will discuss the environmental and ethical impacts of the animal industrial complex on the atmosphere, water, forests, the oceans, and the existential threat to the survival of humans and up to a million other species. The 90 minute event will include a presentation by Philip Wollen, a Q & A Session and some time for action planning.
Week 11 (May 2)
- Unit 8: Supply and Demand: Price-Taking and Competitive Markets
- “Milton Friedman: I, Pencil.” Free to Choose Network. July 31, 2012.
- “Mold, Possums and Pools of Sewage: No One Should Have to Live Like This.” Catherine Coleman Flowers. The New York Times. November 19, 2020.
Problem Set 6: a draft of your paper, including revisions (as needed) of Sections 1 – 3 as well as Section 4 (your analysis) and an outline (at least) of Section 5 (your recommendations), due on Tuesday (5/10) by 6:00 PM.
Week 12 (May 9)
- Paper work-shopping on Tuesday, May 10.
- “Open-Source Learning for 2020 and Beyond.” Jonathan Isham. Stanford Social Innovation Review. July 20, 2020.
- “Racism Impoverishes the Whole Economy.” Dr. Lisa Cook. The New York Times. November 18, 2020.
- “To solve everything, solve climate: A conversation with Varshini Prakash, leader of the Sunrise Movement.” The.ink. Anand Giridharadas. Sep 1, 2020.
Problem Set 7: a peer review of a fellow student’s research project, due on Sunday, May 15 at 6:00PM.
Final draft due on Tuesday, May 24th at 6:00PM, the last day of exams, with a no-penalty extension until Wednesday, May 25th at 6:00PM.