Economics and Diversity
Routledge – 2011 – 250 pages
The bulk of contemporary economics assumes rather than explains differences between people or groups of people. Yet, many of these differences are produced by society or they imply differing opportunities and outcomes. This book argues that economists should concern themselves with the explanation of the social causes and effects of such differences.
D’Ippoliti introduces the concept of diversity to summarise all differences that are of social origin and that a theory or model seeks to explain. This contrasts with the traditional concept of heterogeneity that instead refers to differences that are deemed to be exogenous of economic theory. In approaching this, the book ranges from the fields of methodology and history of economics to applied empirical work, as well as gender diversity which is considered in depth. The analysis of the thinking of two major economists of the past, John Stuart Mill and Gustav Schmoller, demonstrates how gender diversity exemplifies some of the fundamental issues in economics, such as the division of labour, society’s capacity to reproduce itself, and the role of social institutions and their impact on individual and collective behaviour.
The book maintains that growth of GDP and of the services sector cannot be trusted to automatically bring about greater inclusion of women in the labour market. Active policy interventions are needed, spanning from the removal of discrimination to the provision of public services and the establishment of fair competition in the market, along with an improved division of social and political power between the sexes. This work will be of interest to researchers and students focusing on the history of economic thought, labour economics, social policy and gender studies.
Preface Marcella Corsi and Bertram Schefold. Introduction Part 1: There is Difference in Difference: Diversity and Heterogeneity 1. The Night in Which All Cows are Black 2. Lessons from the Past Part 2: Difference, Behavior and Aggregative Analysis 3. Social Sciences and the Act of Classification 4. Individual and Aggregate Behavior 5. Consequences for Economic Theory and Method Part 3: On Gender Diversity 6. Gender Diversity as Inequality 7. Schmoller on the Origin of Gender Inequality 8. Mill and the Liberal Stance 9. The State, the Market, and Gender Part 4: An Application: Gender Diversity in the Labor Market 10. Gender, Diversity and Heterogeneity in the Labor Market 11. How Gender may Help in Understanding the Labor Market 12. How Economcis May Help in Understanding Gender 13. Analysis of Men’s and Women’s Employment. Appendix. Conclusions
Carlo D’Ippoliti is a research fellow of economics at Sapienza University of Rome, Italy.