Epstein Folbre

Folbre on NPR’s Marketplace: Ethics for economists

Nancy Folbre

Nancy Folbre, UMass Amherst economics professor, discusses the need for economists to maintain a high level of ethics when commenting on the current economic situation. She cites research by UMass colleague, Gerald Epstein, which found that prominent academic economists didn’t always disclose their work outside of academia, such as investing in or advising for-profit businesses, and that the lack of transparency can lead to suspicion surrounding their policy recommendations. Folbre suggests this may be preventable by adopting a code of ethics. (Marketplace [NPR], 2/22/11)  Listen to the audio


UMass Amherst grad students to attend EEA conference

The Eastern Economic Association is a not-for-profit corporation whose object is to promote educational and scholarly exchange on economic affairs.  Towards that end, the Association encourages the freedom of research and discussion.  In pursuit of these goals it publishes the Eastern Economic Journal and holds an annual conference and meeting of members.

The 37th annual conference is set for for February 25-27, 2011 in New York City.  The following UMass Amherst economics graduate students will be attending and presenting papers:

Amit Basole, “Relations of Production and Modes of Knowledge Appropriation:  A Case-Study of Weaving in India”

Thomas Bernardin, “Understanding Credit Bubbles:  The Role of Positive Feedback Processes in Driving Credit Expansion”

Gerald Epstein & Jessica Carrick-Hagenbarth, “Financial Economists, Financial Interests and Dark Corners of the Meltdown: It’s Time to Set Ethical Standards for the Economics Profession”

Nina Eichacker, “Placing Iceland’s Financial Crisis in Historical Context”

Gonzalo Hernandez Jimenez, “Terms of Trade and Output Fluctuations in Colombia”

Josh Mason, “How Much of the Fall in Investment Since 2007 Was Due to Tighter Credit Constraints?”

Hyun Woong Park, “Endogeneity of Money and the State in Marx’s Theory of Non-Commodity”

Costa Lapavitsas & Iren Levina, “Financial Profit:  Profit from Production and Profit upon Alienation”

Martin Rapetti, “Policy Coordination in a Competitive Real Exchange Rate Strategy for Development”

Tomas Nielsen Rotta, “A Marxian Theory of Financialization”

Mark Silverman, “The Ideological Effects of the Nomothetic Construction of Economics”

Mihnea Tudoreanu, “Causes of the Soviet Collapse:  The Marxist Views”

Zhun Xu & Hyun Woong Park, “Turnover and its Influence on the Rate of Profit”


Badgett co-authors study on same-sex marriage benefits for Rhode Island

M.V. Lee Badgett

A new study co-authored by M.V. Lee Badgett, UMass Amherst economics professor and directo of the Center for Public Policy and Administration, finds that recognizing same-sex marriage in Rhode Island would generate $1.2 million (in 2010 dollars) for the state over the three years following passage of the measure. The net impact would result from savings in expenditures on state means-tested public benefit programs and an increase in state marriage license fees and income and sales tax revenue. The study also finds that Rhode Island’s resident same-sex couples and their guests would spend more than $5 million in wedding expenses over three years.

Badgett is also Research Director for the Williams Institute on Sexual Orientation Law and Public Policy at the UCLA School of Law.  Read the full study…


Boyce wins Common Heritage Award

James Boyce

James K.  Boyce, UMass Amherst economics professor and director of the program in development, peacebuilding & the environment at the Political Economy Research Institute, has been awarded the Fair Sharing of Common Heritage Award.

This award is presented by Media Freedom Foundation and Project Censored and is given to someone whose written work expresses the principle espoused by the late Alfred Frederick Andersen that every sentient being has the right to a fair share of the material and economic benefits of the Common Heritage Wealth.  This wealth includes the Earth’s natural resources such as land surfaces, sub-surface minerals and fuels; water and air; and cyberspace. 

Boyce has developed the concept of Natural Assets, a new framework for thinking about importance and maintenance of the environmental commons.  This approach expands environmental commons to include not only “pristine” wilderness, but also urban land and clean air and water for populations.  The Natural Assets approach also describes how human activity can build as well as deplete the environmental commons.  Boyce’s concept encompasses four routes to Natural Asset building:  investing in natural capital, democratizing access, rewarding benefits to the community, and sharing the commons.

Boyce has advanced these ideas in numerous publications, including his 2008 article “Is Inequality Bad for the Environment?” for which he won the Award, and by sponsoring the Forum on Social Wealth, by blogging and in public service including work on the Economic and Allocation Advisory Committee of the California Air Resources Board and California Environmental Protection Agency and by serving on the Science and Technical Advisory Committee of the Division of Water Supply Protection (Mass Department of Conservation and Recreation).