Economics 217/ FGSS 235
Economics of Gender

Fall Semester 2008-2009
MW 1:10-2:30 p.m.
PAC 125

Professor Joyce Jacobsen
Office: PAC 332
Phone: 685-2357 (office), 836-6022 (mobile), 344-8514 (home)
Office hours: Tues. 1-4 pm & walk-in whenever door is open; also available by appointment
Writing tutors:  Chris Foley (ccfoley; 207-232-0165) & Adam Schlesinger (aschlesinger; 201-675-3268)

General Course Information

Purpose: This course uses economic methods to analyze gender differences, in particular differences in employment and earnings. Topics covered include allocation of time between the household and the labor market, consequences of employment changes for family structure changes and vice-versa, theories of discrimination, and occupational segregation. Historical trends and cross-cultural comparisons are discussed as well as current U.S. conditions. Policy areas studied include anti-poverty programs, comparable worth, provision of child care, parental leave, affirmative action, and anti-discrimination legislation. While this course stresses the economics perspective, it also draws upon political science, psychological, sociological, and anthropological analyses. one goal of the course is for you to understand current research and policy debates on issues where both economics and gender differences are relevant and to be able to formulate coherent positions on the topics covered. Another goal is to improve your writing and oral discussion skills. To achieve these ends, written analyses of current and proposed policies will be stressed, and both formal and informal discussions will occur during class meetings. Writing tutors will be used as an additional resource to improve writing skills; you will meet with them and with me occasionally outside of class meetings to discuss your papers.

Lectures: You are responsible for all assigned reading whether or not the material is covered explicitly in class. In the lectures I will focus on the most important topics as well as on those that are more difficult to comprehend. I will assume that you have read the relevant text before the corresponding lecture. Please ask questions as they arise. I encourage you to comment on the level, pace, and content of the course as it progresses. In particular, feel free to contact me by email.

Readings: We will be using Jacobsen, The Economics of Gender, Third Edition. Chapter and section numbers in the course schedule refer to this text. Additional short items will occasionally be handed out in class and filed or linked below in the course schedule. I will probably recommend that you read other books or articles in preparation for your final paper.

Honor Code: All work handed in must be your own and must have been done for this course only. This does not mean that you must refrain from discussing topics with other students as an aid to understanding the material, but it does preclude copying other students' work or turning in the same work for this course as for another course unless such an arrangement has been cleared with both me and the other professor in advance. You are expected to discourage such behavior on the part of others. This distinction is generally clear enough to make in practice; when in doubt, please discuss it with me.

Assignments and Grades: There will be four short writing assignments (3-5 pages), two in-class tests, and a final paper (15-20 pages). Class participation will be counted. The weights of the different course components in your class grade are:

Short Papers (10% each) 40%
Tests (10% each) 20%
Class Participation 10%
Topic and Outline of Final Paper 5%
Final Paper 25%
Total 100%

All assignments except for Paper #4 are due by 6 p.m. on the date given below.  Assignments handed in late will be penalized unless an agreement is made ahead of time with me. Assignments can be dropped off in the Econ 217 slot in the alcove next to the economics department office, in class, or at my office. Work that is not picked up in class or during writing conferences will be filed by last name in the alphabetical slots in the alcove.

Class participation includes attending class, active participation in class, participation in one peer paper reviewing exercise, and attendance at optional out-of-class events related to economics of gender issues (options to be announced as they unfold, and can also be proposed by students).

Course Schedule
Documents are saved in Portable Document Format (pdf).
Relevant Reading
Sep. 3, 8, 10
Introduction and overview Ch. 1 & Appendix; Ch. 2
women feeling pain in bad job market
gender roles with your dinner?
Sep. 10
Paper #1 assigned (due Sep. 19)
Sep. 15, 17
The family as an economic unit Ch. 3 & Appendix
NYT magazine piece on parenting
are bad times healthy?
Sep. 22, 24
Labor force participation Ch. 4 & Appendix
women on wall street
Sep. 24
Paper #2 assigned (due Oct. 3)
Sep. 29, Oct. 1
Consequences on family structure Ch. 5
recent trends in teenage childbearing
abortion rate down
Guttmacher institute news release 1/08
Guttmacher institute news release 9/08
unwed pregnancies cross troubling line
lower birth rate to save the planet
Fertility of American Women: 2006
rising infidelity
Oct. 6
Welfare reform Section II Policy Analysis
TANF caseload data
Oct. 6
optional activity: Center for the Humanities talk, 8:00-10:00 Russell House
Emily Martin, "Sleepless in America"

Oct. 8
Occupational segregation
Ch. 6
Affirmative Action
Oct. 8
Paper #3 assigned (due Oct. 17)
Oct. 10
optional activity: FGSS Annual Symposium, 2:00-5:00 CAAS lounge
"Islam and Gender: Social Changes and Diversity in Muslim Communities"

Oct. 13
Causes of wage differences: human capital
Ch. 7
math skills suffer in U.S. and AMS statistics
SAT scores and math percentiles by gender
Oct. 15
Empirical measurement of causes of wage differences
Appendix to Ch. 7
Obama & McCain senate staffers pay gap
and additional commentary on this topic
the faculty time divide
Oct. 20
Test #1 (can start at 12:30)
Chs. 1-7
essay questions for test
Oct. 22
Causes of wage differences: compensating differentials
Ch. 8
women don't like techy jobs?: Boston Globe piece,
NY Times piece, and original article
do babies matter in science?
Lochren v. Suffolk County case
Oct. 29, Nov. 3
Causes of wage differences: discrimination
Ch. 9
male feminists earn less?: newspaper piece
and original article
Wal-Mart case
Costco case
EEOC data on total charges, disposition of sex discrimination charges, and litigation
ugly is here
Oct. 29
Paper #4 assigned (due Nov. 5 in class)
Oct. 30
optional activity: Psych Dept. Colloquium, 4:15-5:30 Judd 116
Nora Newcombe: "Women Hate Maps, Men Won't Ask for Directions:
Fact or Myth?"

Nov. 5
Comparable worth
Section III Policy Analysis
Nov. 10
International comparisons: developed countries
Ch. 10
the UK gender pay gap: newspaper piece,
blog piece, and original study
Yale labor workshop papers
policing prostitution
Nov. 12
International comparisons: socialist systems
Ch. 11
Nov. 12
peer review of paper #4 due

Nov. 14
Final Paper topic and outline due
Nov. 17
International comparisons: developing countries
Ch. 12
Closing the Gender Gulf
gender-based political quotas
Nov. 19
Implications of the development process Ch. 13
men's issues in development
Nov. 24
Historical comparisons: overview
Ch. 14
supervising women workers
Dec. 1
Historical comparisons: race and class considerations
Ch. 15
Dec. 3
Policy proposals for the future Ch. 16
women in computer science
Dec. 5
Paper Rewrites Due

Dec. 8
Test #2 (can start at 12:30)
Chs. 8-16
essay questions for test
Dec. 16
Final Paper Due

Course Related Links
Below I provide links to various websites referred to in the textbook, along with some others of potential interest:

Economics Sites:

RFE: Resources for Economists on the Internet
The most comprehensive guide to economics related information on the web
Economics is not a complete backwater when it comes to gender issues; there are some relevant groups:
CSWEP: the American Economic Association's
Committee on the Status of Women in the Economics Profession,
is the group that monitors the progress of women in the profession and tries to increase their representation
IAFFE: The International Association for Feminist Economics,
is the group that is interested in how feminist theory is incorporated into and potentially transforms
the economics discipline

U.S. Government Sites:

Fedstats: The front page for the U.S. government's various statistics sites
BLS: Bureau of Labor Statistics; includes Employment and Earnings online
Census: Bureau of the Census; includes a useful international database;
the Statistical Abstract of the United States is available online
NCES: National Center for Education Statistics;
the Digest of Education Statistics is available online
NCHS: National Center for Health Statistics
EEOC:  The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has useful data on employment patterns by gender and race/ethnicity

International Sites:

ILO: International Labour Office; publication list
OECD: Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development; publication list
UN: a full list of UN websites is available; some of particular interest are UNDP and UNESCO
World Bank: publication list and some data

Thinktank Sites:

Guttmacher Institute: research on family planning issues
BNA: Bureau of National Affairs; focuses on employment interests from a business and legal point of view
The Future of Children: research on childrens' issues presented in a policy-relevant journal
IWPR: Institute for Women's Policy Research; leading thinktank on economic policy issues of gender relevance
other thinktanks:  Brookings, Economic Policy Institute, Russell Sage, and Urban Institute: all have numerous papers on economics of gender-related issues

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