Economics of Poverty and Discrimination

(NOTE: The Exam time is different than in the original syllabus - same day, but new time - see below)

Econ 248, Fall 2007
Tues/Thurs 9:30-10:45am
Room: Physics 135

Instructor Information:

Prof. Keith Bender
Office: 836 Bolton
Phone: 229-4761
Office Hours:  Monday 4:45-5:54pm, Tuesday: 11am-noon, Wed: 9:30am-11:30am and by appointment
Objectives of the Course:
This course explores how the discipline of economics can explain and analyze the causes and effects of poverty and discrimination on various parts of the population.  Students will be introduced to economic theories of poverty and discrimination, ways to measure each (and the problems associated with these measures), and a description of the success and failures of public policies designed to curtail discrimination in the US.  Note that this course (partially) satisfies credit needed for the UWM Cultural Diversity requirement and is cross listed with the Center for Women's Studies.
Class Resources:
  • Bradley R. Schiller, The Economics of Poverty and Discrimination, 10th edition, Prentice Hall, 2007. (Denoted 'EPD' below.)
  • Randy Albelda, Robert Drago, and Steven Shulman, Unlevel Playing Fields: Understanding Inequality and Discrimination, 2nd edition, Economic Affairs Bureau, Inc., 2005. (Denoted 'UPF' below.)
  • There will also be several readings found on e-reserve.  More information will be handed out separately about how to access these readings.
  • The internet is an important resource for this class.  Since I make extensive use of email to relate information about the class, I will be collecting email addresses from everyone in the class.  Please check your email often for any updates or announcements.  Note too there is a webpage for this class (the address is above).  The webpage contains this syllabus and links to lecture outlines, handouts, and take home quizzes.
  • Evaluation of Performance: Please note:  Information on the Department of Economics policies regarding participation by students with disabilities, accomodation for religious observances, academic conduct, complaint procedures, grade appeal procedures and other standing policies (e.g., sexual harassment, incompletes)is available in the main office in Bolton 868. Any students with special needs of any sort should contact me after class, by phone or in the office during the first week of classes. For more information see:

    Course Outline and Schedule: If applicable, click on hypertext for lecture outline and handouts.  Note that you must have Adobe Reader to access these.  (Readings are in parentheses)
    Date Description
    9/4 Review syllabus and expectations for class

    9/6 Overview of Poverty and Inequality  (EPD Ch. 1)
    Overview con'd
    Inequality (EPD Ch. 2)
    9/13 Inequality con'd
    9/18 Issues in Measuring Poverty (EPD Ch. 3, UPF Ch. 2 [pp.13-22, 30-40]) (Warning - this is a large file!!)
    9/20 Issues in Measuring Poverty con'd
    Quiz #1
    (Covering 9/4-9/13) Click here for quiz. Answers are located here.
    9/25 Global Poverty and Inequality (EPD Ch. 4)
    9/27 Some Monetary Causes of Poverty (EPD Ch. 4-5, UPF Ch. 2 [pp. 22-29])  (Warning - this is a large file!)
    10/2 Causes of Poverty con'd
    A list of key terms and concepts is located here.
    10/4 Exam #1  Answers are located here.

    Basics of Discrimination (EPD Ch. 10, pp. 170-175; Reynolds Chapter 8, pp. 208-211 on e-reserve; UPF Ch. 1)
    Basic Economics Concepts (UPF Ch. 3; Parkin Chapter 4, 'Demand and Supply' on e-reserve)
    10/11 Basic Economics Concepts con'd
    10/16 Basic Labor Market Concepts (UPF Ch. 4)
    10/18 Basic concepts con'd.  A problem set on basic economic concepts will be covered today.  The answer key is here.
    10/23 Neo-classical Economic Theory of Discrimination (UPF Ch. 5, pp. 89-101, 106-118)
    10/25 Neo-classical theory con'd
    10/30 Basics of Political Economy Theory (UPF Ch. 6)
    11/1 Work and Wages in Political Economy Theory (UPF Ch. 7)
    (Note that this day was inadvertantly left off the original syllabus.)
    11/6 Work and Wages in Political Economy Theory con'd
    Quiz #2 (Covering 10/9-10/25)  The quiz is located here. Answers are located here.
    11/8 W&W in the PE model con'd
    11/13 Political Economy Model of Discrimination (UPF Ch. 8) 
    11/15 Political Economy model con'd
    Review for Exam. 
    A list of key terms and concepts will be located here.
    11/20 Exam #2 Answers are located here.
    11/22 Thanksgiving - No class

    11/27 Measuring Labor Market Discrimination (EPD Ch. 12; UPF Ch. 5, pp. 101-106)
    Video: ' True Colors' (VHS-2256), discussion


    Anti-Poverty Government Programs (EPD Ch. 13-15)
    Essays are due today.

    12/4 Anti-Discrimination Government Legislation and Policies (Reynolds, Chapter 8 'Equal Employment Opportunity: Policies and Controversies' on e-reserve, EPD Ch. 16)

    Affirmative Action Discussion
    Video: 'Affirmative Action versus Reverse Discrimination' (VHS-0157)
    Guest Speaker - Kirstin Goetz from the UWM Legal Affairs office will talk to us about recent developments in Affirmative Action policies in the US.

    Future Issues (EPD Ch. 17)
    Review for Final Exam
    A list of key terms and concepts will be located here.
    12/14 (Friday)

    Last updated 29 November, 2007