The program provides training in mainstream economic theory, applied quantitative analysis, and a required pluralist political economy course with electives in Marxist, Institutionalist, Feminist, and Post Keynesian economics.
How does the programme provide content to ensure students achieve an understanding of a reasonably diverse set of perspectives on understanding economies?
Our required political economy course introduces student to critiques of mainstream economics, Marxian economics, Original Institutional economics, Feminist economics, and Post-Keynesian economics. There are multiple electives at every level extending the above topics and applying pluralist approaches to economic issues.
How does the programme ensure students understand the interaction between economic and ecological systems?
There is a series of courses in the department on resource and environmental issues and we have a long history of collaboration with our interdisciplinary environmental studies program. There is a very active research program associated with the preservation of our local ecology.
How does the programme ensure students understand how to critically explore real-world evidence, both qualitative and quantitative?
Courses in the pluralist perspectives all emphasize application to real world problems. Additionally, faculty teach electives from a pluralist perspective using both qualitative and quantitative techniques. The program has excellent training in applied quantitative research techniques. There are course in labor economics, the political economy of race, the economics of care, environmental economics, as well as others which take a pluralist approach to the subject matter.
What pedagogical approaches does the programme use to ensure that students examine the historical context, assumptions and values in all economic thinking?
The required political economy course uses original primary texts and recent scholarship to explore pluralist perspectives with an emphasis on context, methodology, and social valuation processes. Electives in those pluralist perspectives, as well as applied electives, focus in more detail on these same concerns.
How does the department ensure that the teaching culture and capacity to deliver economic pluralism are continually improving?
We have normalized pluralism over more than four decades at Hobart and William Smith Colleges. It is our culture. Pluralist perspectives are a required portion of our program. We have permanent faculty dedicated to teaching non-mainstream economics. All of our faculty, through our historical emphasis on interdisciplinary, are open to pluralistic perspectives. We are well staffed with faculty from the best mainstream and pluralist (and heterodox) economic programs in the US. We work in a cooperative and collegial manner to provide the best environment for open exploration and inquiry for both our students and our faculty.
Our department faculty is extremely diverse. Alternative paths through our program have created welcoming ways in which diverse students find a meaningful entry way into the study of the discipline of economics, which includes courses on the environment, care, inequality and poverty, development issues, the political economy of race, the economics of gender, the economics of debt, corruption, higher education, as well as conventional topics such as trade and financial macroeconomics.
Hobart and William Smith Colleges
Dept of Economics