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Race, Immigration, Gender: Advances in Heterodox Methodology

Paper Session

Friday, Jan. 4, 2019 2:30 PM - 4:30 PM

Hyatt Regency Atlanta, Hanover G
  • Chair: Sirisha Naidu, Wright State University

Stratification Economics and the Neoclassical “Economics of Race” as Evolutionary Research Communities: Can the Stratification Approach Succeed?

Kyle Moore
New School for Social Research


The methodology of scientific research programs is only weakly applicable to understanding theoretical progress within economics. A pragmatist/institutionalist understanding of the history of science privileges the role of communities of researchers, rather than programs bound to a theoretical hard core. The influence of Darwin on the pragmatists and institutional economists suggests an emphasis on the evolutionary traits which help research communities reproduce themselves. The methodology of evolutionary research communities augments Lakatos’s methodology of scientific research programs to address critiques it receives from Kuhnian and pragmatist/institutionalist perspectives. I highlight the concept’s utility through application to two existing communities within economics: those surrounding the neoclassical “economics of race”, and stratification economics.

The Fading Mark of Migration: Assimilation as Information Loss among United States Immigrants

Noe Wiener
University of Massachusetts-Amherst


The labor market integration of immigrants raises thorny issues regarding both the behavior and composition of the immigrant groups as well as the structure of opportunities at the destination. Standard economics accounts of income "assimilation" are based on 1.) the marginal productivity theory of income distribution and 2.) the modeling of conditional expectations of wages. I argue that 1.) misconstrues the process of value creation and 2.) neglects information contained in the wage distributions themselves. Instead, I start from the fundamentally incomplete nature of socioeconomic data and propose a meso-level measure of income assimilation that is founded in information theory. For immigrants to become assimilated in this sense turns on the extent to which the various social processes involved in income allocation "forget" about the immigrant status of a cohort. I present results for different cohorts and regions of origin between 1970 and 2010 using Census data for the United States.

Relations of Production and Relations of Sex/Gender/Age

Paddy Quick
St. Francis College


A theoretical understanding of the oppression of women cannot be derived solely from an analysis of relations of production but must incorporate an understanding of relations of sex/gender/age. It must therefore build on an analysis of kinship relations that has traditionally been outside of the sphere of inquiry by “economists” but was the focus of the 1975 article, “The Traffic in Women: Notes on the ‘Political Economy’ of Sex” by Gayle Rubin, in Rayna Reiter (ed.) Towards an Anthropology of Women. Such a theoretical approach avoids the fruitless argument as to which is more important, class or gender, and can thus contribute to political practice that addresses both (class-based) exploitation and (gender-based) oppression, including the issue of the gendered oppression within capitalist workplaces that is the focus of the #MeToo movement.
Darrick Hamilton
New School for Social Research
John B. Davis
Marquette University
JEL Classifications
  • B5 - Current Heterodox Approaches