Author: folbre

The Childcare Conundrum

Like one of my journalist faves, Katha Pollitt, I would like to move public support for child care higher on the progressive wish list. So I was happy when Senator Elizabeth Warren stepped up with a specific proposal; I hope she has garnered enough publicity to send other potential presidential candidates to their drawing boards and spreadsheets. The Warren proposal gets good marks… Read more →

Love Among the Synths

I just started watching Humans, a British television series distributed by AMC in the U.S. and Real Humans, the Swedish series on which it is approximately based. Both start out on the same theme, the use of intelligent (and, in some cases, fully conscious and emotionally adept) androids to help provide family care. I am behind the curve for serious TV… Read more →

The Blood Business

  Because many countries don’t allow the purchase of human blood for plasma extraction, U.S. businesses find a ready market: According to The Economist,  plasma accounts for 1.6% of the value of U.S. exports. A recent New York Times article explores what life is like for the “plassers” who routinely sell their plasma on the cheap, often in order to… Read more →

How I Learned to Love Macro

I have despised macroeconomics–even relatively innovative, post-Keynesian, gender-infused versions—for many years, for two big reasons. First, macro remains largely focused on an output variable, Gross Domestic Product, that systematically mismeasures the total value of material goods and services produced, Second, it treats the quantity of one of its most important inputs, labor, as exogenously given and/or relatively unimportant. This is… Read more →

How to Make Nice

I had every reason to obey this sign, posted in the cafe where I sought refuge while my car underwent safety-recall repairs. I did not want to go away. While putting on my best smile, I started thinking about a session I attended at the Allied Social Science Meetings earlier in the month,  where Erin Giffin gave a terrific presentation on… Read more →

The Child Care Payoff

The  history of economic research demonstrating the payoff to public investments in early childhood education in the U.S.  is rich and deep, even if it hasn’t (yet) mobilized support for a federal  initiative in the U.S Timothy Bartik put it all together in his  aptly titled book, From Preschool to Prosperity, which emphasized the payoff in child outcomes. Less attention has been… Read more →

Intersecting, Overlapping Hierarchies

I have been playing around for some time with visual images to convey the concept of intersecting, overlapping hierarchies based on dimensions of group identity such as gender, race/ethnicity, class, and citizenship. For a while I liked fractal pyramids because sometimes inequalities do seem nested inside one another. But I turned against them because a) they seem too regular, too… Read more →

Professional Climate Change

Things have been heating up, gender-wise, in the economics profession. Last year, a UC Berkeley undergraduate named Alice Wu applied tools of text mining and machine learning to develop an econometric analysis of the language used on a website known as Economic Job Market Rumors. The results offered striking evidence of some very unpleasant–and highly sexualized–gender stereotyping. Explicit complaints of sexual harassment… Read more →