Amartya Sen - famines as a consequence of social structure rather than absolute underproduction of food (which is Malthus's view too - that was the origin of my last post. He considers the other checks so effective that he says that famines only emerge as a result of inequality and the lower classes living so close to the subsistence line and makes the point that famines rarely affect the upper classes when they do happen - so it's not that there is not enough food per se but the nature of the class structure. It's not exactly Sen's explanation but it's along the same lines).
Oded Galor - endogenous fertility models.
Casey Mulligan - incentive effects of welfare payments.
The idea, for those of you that haven't read what I'm trying to do with this class before, is to try to get them to understand connections between old and modern research agendas and the continuity and evolution of economic thought. We talk a lot about what's the same and what's different in these arguments and the older ones, particularly focusing on the impact of theoretical changes over time (for example, how does the introduction of marginalism make "modern Smithians" different from Smith himself).
They've never encountered most of these modern economists before (based on polling of the class I do when I bring them up), so it's also a nice way to familiarize them with the lay of the land.
So far we've talked very briefly about Stiglitz, Stigler, and Coase, and more extensively about Krugman, Romer, Arrow, and Vernon Smith. These three will get brief treatment (probably ten minutes in total) at the end of the class tomorrow.
I may drop Mulligan - I'm not sure. He's kind of a stand-in because everyone thinks welfare has behavioral responses. He's just a great example of that work. But I think it's nice to show the diversity of economists and perspectives that represent the Malthusian research agenda today.
The Lonely Unicorn
4 hours ago