ECON230: The Economics of Poverty in the U.S.
Nicole Simpson, associate professor of economics
TTh 9:55–11:10 a.m., 311 McGregory
Course description: This course discusses issues surrounding poverty with a particular emphasis on the central New York region. Students first analyze how poverty is measured, which includes studying unemployment, the minimum wage, income inequality, and economic immobility using economic theory and data analysis. Students next study various anti-poverty programs in the United States such as traditional welfare, the Earned Income Credit, food stamps, and Medicaid.
On the reading list:
The Economics of Poverty and Discrimination, Bradley Schiller
Nickel and Dimed, the 10th Anniversary Edition, Barbara Ehrenreich
Various policy reports and news articles
Unique assignments and activities: At least 10 hours of field work at a local nonprofit organization — the opportunities include the Hamilton Food Cupboard and the Madison County Department of Social Services, among others. Various site visits are also an integral part of the course.
The professor says: “Students will learn about poverty in the United States through the traditional way in the classroom; however, through the service-learning component, they get to see how local nonprofit organizations alleviate poverty in central New York. By working with local practitioners, students gain a real sense of the issues and the people and programs that exist to combat poverty. Given that many of the students are economics majors and have good quantitative skills, our community partners often put those skills to good use during the semester by having my students work on projects for their organizations.”