Spring 2021

The Economics of Inequality in the United States

Listed in: Economics, as ECON-218


Joshua M. Hyman (Sections 01 and 02)


The United States is in an unprecedented period of rising inequality. This course begins by examining the history of inequality in the U.S. since the start of the twentieth century. It then uses cutting-edge and detailed national data to document and explore the current state of inequality and intergenerational mobility in the U.S. We consider inequality by various metrics, such as race, gender, and geography, and in various outcomes, such as income, wealth, health, educational attainment, and incarceration. The course then examines determinants of inequality, and finally, investigates policy solutions to inequality. Throughout the course, economic models related to inequality are both presented and critiqued. Finally, special attention is paid throughout the course to causal inference, and to students honing their skills at understanding the intuition behind commonly used research methods to estimate causal effects.

Requisites: ECON 111/ECON 111E. 01 Limited to 24 students in person. 02 Limited to 30 students online. Spring semester. Professor Hyman.

If Overenrolled: Some preference will be given to a) students who have taken fewer 200 level economics classes and b) economics majors.  The class will be selected to achieve a group with diverse academic backgrounds and interests.


2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2019, Spring 2021