Jamee K. Moudud

on leave spring semester

BS, MEng, Cornell University. MA, PhD (Honors), The New School for Social Research. Current interests include the study of industrial competition, the political economy of the developmental welfare state, the determinants of business taxes, and the study of Schumpeter’s analysis of the tax state. SLC, 2000–

Research and Interests

Over the past few years few years I have developed two new passions in my life, one of which is to study legal theory and legal history and their links to political economy, and the other is the electric guitar. On the law/political economy nexus, my focus is the study of the legal foundations of markets and of money and to understand how conflicts over property and contracts are at the heart of our economic system. This has led me in an intellectual direction that rejects the public/private divide, at the heart of much thinking in economics, and provides the basis for a new way of conceptualizing policy which is quite distinct from both the neoclassical and much of the alternative traditions in economics. In this endeavor I have been heavily influenced by Karl Polanyi, the Legal Realists (especially Robert Lee Hale, Wesley R. Hohfeld, and Morris N. Cohen), and the broad Critical Legal Studies tradition. I am involved with two exciting new scholarly groups, the Association for the Promotion of Political Economy and the Law (APPEAL) and ClassCrits. I am also collaborating with colleagues in these two groups to launch the Journal of Law and Political Economy. Finally, I am an Associate Editor with another journal, the Review of Keynesian Economics.

As for my electric guitar, I have found that in playing blues and classic rock the complexity of piecing together the notes to create a song oddly enough parallels the ways in which societies are constructed at a foundational level. Who would have thought that Janis Joplin, Jefferson Airplane or Deep Purple could be so profound!

Undergraduate Courses 2021-2022

Economics

Intermediate Microeconomics

Intermediate, Seminar—Fall

What assumptions, methodologies, values, vision, and theoretical foundations do microeconomists incorporate and rely upon for analyzing economic behavior at the individual level? What insights, knowledge, inferences, and/or conclusions can be gleaned through examining characteristics of individual firms, agents, households, and markets in order to understand capitalist society? How do our theories of individual and business behavior inform our interpretation of distributional outcomes? Among other topics, this semester-long seminar in intermediate microeconomics will offer an inquiry into economic decision-making vis-à-vis: theories of demand and supply; the individual (agents); households; consumption (consumer choice); theories of production and costs; theories of the firm; theories of markets, market governance, and competition; prices and pricing theory; and business legal history. As a course that is designed for students interested in pursuing the study of economics at the graduate-school level, this course will provide a rigorous analysis of theory and policy in the neoclassical and political economy traditions. A central theoretical issue will be an engagement of the “governments versus markets” dichotomy, which is at the heart of neoclassical economics. This important theme will be addressed by investigating the rival treatments of institutions in neoclassical economics (new institutionalism) and the law and political economy tradition. Among other topics, we will analyze how these different approaches to institutions and the economy study cost-benefit analysis, Pareto optimality, business competition, and the Coase Theorem. Students should be prepared to deploy their high-school level math skills in dealing with certain topics.

Faculty

Previous Courses

Economics

Economic Policy and the 2020 General Elections: Money, Trade, Industrial Policy, and Inequality

Open, Lecture—Year

We live in unprecedented, turbulent times in which a pandemic crisis has combined with a major economic crisis and plunged the world into chaos. How should we, as economists, understand the nature and roots of this crisis, and how do we think of a way forward for humanity beyond these dark times? Needless to say, the general elections of November 2020 loom large in our collective consciousness. While we can speculate or worry about the effects on political institutions as the new administration takes office in January 2021, we also need to pay crucial attention to key economic issues pertaining to jobs, inequality, health care, climate change, and industrial policy. In fact, it will be argued that the nature of political institutions, including any society’s legal foundations, cannot be divorced from economic outcomes. This course will focus on the above key themes by not only looking ahead but also by looking behind at recent history to understand the roots of our current turmoil. At every step of the way, students will be exposed to rival theoretical and methodological perspectives in economics.

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First-Year Studies: 2016 Presidential Election in Context: Power, Inequality, and Public Authority

Open, FYS—Year

The 2016 Presidential election result has far-reaching implications for economic and social policies. Vowing to dismantle the legacy of the New Deal—or, as one prominent Administration member put it, the “administrative state”—the policy initiatives of the new administration have been cheered by some and opposed by others. While it is too early to say what the future trajectory of this administration will be, in this course we will situate current policy initiatives in a theoretical and historical context by drawing on insights from different schools of thought in economics, as well as in other disciplines such as law, politics, sociology, and history. Some of the key questions to be addressed are: Is economics a monolithic subject, or are there rival schools of thought within the discipline with different methodological, theoretical, and policy/political implications? Why is the study of history a central methodological concern for many economists, and why is it not so for others? Why do people distinguish between “regulation” and laissez faire, and is this a false dichotomy? What is the history of public policy in the United States and other countries? How do we understand the role of political power and the “rule of law” in regard to market outcomes? With inequality as one of the central themes of our current political climate, how do we understand its causes and what is the link to the history of taxation policies in the United States? These will be some of the questions that we will be tackling throughout the course of the year, thereby ensuring that students develop a solid foundation for the fundamental debates in economic theory and policy and understand the key role of methodology in the study of political economy phenomena. Finally, the goal is to ensure that students develop the ability to critically engage scholarly work in economics.

Faculty

First-Year Studies: Historical Foundations of Economics: Politics, Power, Ideology, and Change

Open, FYS—Year

The first two decades of the 21st century have witnessed two major economic crashes, the first one being the subprime mortgage crisis of 2007/2008 and the second one being the pandemic crash of 2020. The irony is that, in conventional discourse (in, say, the mass media), the prelude to each of these economic catastrophes involved a triumphalist hubris that celebrated the stock-market booms, economic growth, and falling unemployment rates that occurred in each decade before the crashes occurred. As in the run-up to the previous crash, conventional commentators were blindsided when the world fell off the proverbial cliff. How did history, in a sense, repeat itself in 2020, yet political and economic “experts” at the highest levels of government and the mass media did not see the dangers ahead while they were celebrating “free markets”? The study of economics looms large with regard to the above questions; however, economics is hardly a monolithic discipline, since rival schools of thought in the discipline conceptualize the nature of markets, “market forces,” and policy in very different ways. This course will situate the current crisis in a theoretical and historical context by drawing on insights from different schools of thought in economics, as well as from other disciplines such as law, politics, sociology, and history. At the heart of this course is a methodological one that counterposes conventional or neoclassical economics, which sees the economy in apolitical and ahistorical terms, against other perspectives that argue that it is impossible to study economics outside a political, social, and historical context. Some of the key questions that we will study in this course are: Why do people distinguish between “regulation” and “deregulation” (laissez faire), and is that a false dichotomy? What if laissez-faire capitalism is, itself, the outcome of a particular type of regulatory system? What is the history of public policy in the United States and other countries? How do we understand the role of political power and the “rule of law” with regard to market outcomes? With inequality as one of the central themes of our current political climate, how do we understand its causes? And what is the link to the history of taxation policies in the United States? Can it be argued that the subprime mortgage crash of 2007/2008 and the pandemic crash of 2020 have the same roots; and, if so, what are they? These will be some of the questions that we will be tackling throughout the course of the year, thereby ensuring that students develop a solid foundation for the fundamental debates in economic theory and policy and understand the key role of methodology in the study of political economy phenomena. Finally, the goal is to ensure that students develop the ability to critically engage scholarly work in economics.

Faculty

Introduction to Econometrics: Structural Analysis in the Social Sciences

Open, Lecture—Year

The course is designed for all students interested in the social sciences who wish to understand the methodology and techniques involved in the estimation of structural relationships between variables. The course is intended for students who wish to be able to carry out empirical work in their particular field, both at Sarah Lawrence College and beyond, and critically engage empirical work done by academic or professional social scientists. The practical hands-on approach taken in this course will be useful to those students who wish to do future conference projects in the social (or natural) sciences with significant empirical content. It will also be invaluable for students who are seeking internships, planning to enter the job market, or desiring to pursue graduate education in the social sciences and public policy. After taking this course, students will be able to analyze questions such as the following: What is the relationship between slavery and the development of capitalist industrialization in the United States? What effects do race, gender, and educational attainment have in the determination of wages? How does the female literacy rate affect the child mortality rate? How can one model the effect of economic growth on carbon dioxide emissions? What is the relationship among sociopolitical instability, inequality, and economic growth? How do geographic location and state spending affect average public-school teacher salaries? How do socioeconomic factors determine the crime rate in the United States? During the course of the year, we will study all of these questions. In the first semester, we will cover the theoretical and applied statistical principles that underlie Ordinary Least Squares (OLS) regression techniques. We will begin with the assumptions needed to obtain the Best Linear Unbiased Estimates of a regression equation, also known as the “BLUE” conditions. Particular emphasis will be placed on the assumptions regarding the distribution of a model’s error term and other BLUE conditions. We will also cover hypothesis testing, sample selection, and the critical role of the t- and F-statistic in determining the statistical significance of a social metric model and its associated slope or “β” parameters. Further, we will address the three main problems associated with the violation of a particular BLUE assumption: multicollinearity, serial correlation, and heteroscedasticity. We will learn how to identify, address, and remedy each of these problems. In addition, we will take a similar approach to understanding and correcting model specification errors. Finally, we will focus on the analysis of historical time-series models and the study of long-run trend relationships between variables. At every step, we will discuss basic methodological questions, drawing in particular on the debates between John Maynard Keynes and Jan Tinbergen regarding the power and limitations of econometric analysis. The spring semester class will build on the fall class by introducing students to advanced topics in econometrics. We will study autoregressive dependent lag (ARDL) models, co-integration, and error correction models involving nonstationary time series. We will investigate simultaneous equations systems, vector error correction (VEC), and vector autoregressive (VAR) models. The final part of the seminar will involve the study of panel data, as well as logit/probit models. As with the fall class, the spring class will also be very “hands-on,” in that students will get ample exposure to concrete issues. Mathematical derivations will be kept to a minimum, as the goal is to train students to do practical work in econometrics. Also like the fall semester class, students will have to do joint collaborative projects in addition to conference work. Finally, methodological issues will be discussed throughout the semester. The spring semester is particularly relevant to students who wish to pursue graduate studies in a social science discipline, although it will be equally relevant for those seeking other types of graduate degrees that involve knowledge of intermediate-level quantitative analysis.

Faculty

Introduction to Economic Theory and Policy

Open, Lecture—Year

This yearlong lecture will, broadly speaking, cover introductory microeconomics and macroeconomics from a wide range of theoretical perspectives, including neoclassical, post-Keynesian, Marxian, feminist, and institutional political economy perspectives. The objective of the course is to enable students to understand the more “technical aspects” of economics (e.g., usage of supply/demand analysis within and outside neoclassical economics), as well as some economic history and the history of economic thought. The theoretical issues will be applied to contemporary policy debates, such as the Green New Deal, inequality, health care, and international trade.

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Money, Banking, Financial Crises, and Global Governance: Law, History, and Policy Struggles

Intermediate, Seminar—Year

While their politics were radically different, the British political economist Jeremy Bentham and historian E. P. Thompson both emphasized the centrality of law in society. Bentham stated, “Property and law are born together, and die together. Before laws were made, there was no property; take away laws, and property ceases” (Bentham 1840, p. 139, cited from Singer 2015, p. 15). While, on the basis of his historical work, Thompson concluded: “For I found that law did not keep politely to a ‘level,’ but was at every bloody level; it was imbricated within the mode of production and productive relations themselves (as property-rights, definitions of agrarian practice)…” (Thompson 1978, p. 96). Using the study of the subprime mortgage crisis of 2008 as its point of departure, this course will discuss the relationship between law and money (which is, after all, a form of property), along with the nature and legal underpinnings of finance and financial crises. As a course in the subdiscipline of law and economics, this class will introduce students to mainstream and critical approaches to both law and economics in regards to money, finance, and governance. It will be demonstrated throughout this course that core issues in law, such as those pertaining to property and contracts, are deeply embedded in all economic phenomena, including monetary ones. In the first semester, we will start off by discussing the subprime mortgage crisis that erupted in 2008. Students will be introduced to both the nature of the crisis and legal scholars’ analysis of it. This part of the course will show how legal/regulatory issues are profoundly influenced by political and ideological factors. In this context, we will study the money-politics-power nexus and its relationship to ongoing debates regarding economic “regulation” versus “deregulation.” The bulk of the semester will be devoted to conventional, as well as legal, analyses of money, with the key question being: Where does money come from? This issue will be discussed at length by a study of the legal history of money in the United Kingdom. In the spring, we will start the semester by exploring the origins and nature of money in the context of pre-colonial and colonial Africa. The bulk of the spring semester will then deal with international finance, foreign trade, foreign debt, and governance. In the context of governance, we will study the ways in which dollarization and contestation over taxation affect domestic monetary arrangements; i.e., the stability of the legally established unit of account. These issues will be related to the question of national sovereignty. The governance and sovereignty question will also be explored via a study of the nature and role of credit rating agencies (CRAs) in the global economy. The spring semester will end by revisiting the study of financial crises. We will study what has come to be known as the legal theory of finance (LTF) and relate it to the debates on financial regulatory policies in the wake of the crash of 2008.

Faculty

Health Advocacy

Economics of Health

Online—None

This course will examine many of the major issues facing the American health care system from a variety of economic perspectives. A wide range of topics will be covered, from the racial and economic disparities in health outcomes to the Patient Protection Act and alternative modes of financing of the medical care delivery system. Students will learn how the tools and analytic approaches used by economists can enhance the understanding of major public-health issues such as AIDS, reproductive care, and mental health, as well as key health care financing issues such as the rising cost of health care and our fragmented insurance system.

Faculty

Additional Information

Professional affiliations

Selected Publications

“Industrial Organization, Labor Relations, and Labor Market Outcomes”

Guest Editor for a special issue of Review of Keynesian Economics

(April 2014)

“State-Business Relations and the Financing of the Welfare State in Latin America: Challenges and Prospects (with Enrique Delamonica and Esteban Perez) (2014)”

Paper for UNRISD (United Nations Research Institute for Social Development) project on The Politics of Domestic Resource Mobilization for Social Development

Featured in The Road to Addis and Beyond: Financing for Social Development, a conference in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, July 2015

Policy as a Contested Process: Notes for Heterodox Economists

Handbook of Research Methods and Applications in Heterodox Economics

Lee, F. S. and Cronin, B (eds.). Cheltenham: Edward Elgar (2014)

International Economics: An Encyclopedia of Global Trade, Capital, Labor, Technology, and Innovation

International Economics: An Encyclopedia of Global Trade, Capital, Labor, Technology, and Innovation

Co-edited with Cyrus Bina. Greenwood Press (2014)

Alternative Theories of Competition: Challenges to the Orthodoxy

Alternative Theories of Competition: Challenges to the Orthodoxy

Co-editors: Bina, Cyrus and Mason, Patrick. Routledge Press (2012)

Strategic Competition, Dynamics, and the Role of the State: A New Perspective

Strategic Competition, Dynamics, and the Role of the State: A New Perspective

New Directions in Modern Economics Series, Edward Elgar Press (2010)

“Neoliberalism and the Developmental State: Considerations for the New Partnership for African Development (with Karl Botchway)”

In Benjamin Bobo and Herman Sentim-Aboagye (eds) Building Africa: the Core Truth

Africa World Press (2012)

“The Role of the State and Harrod’s Economic Dynamics. Toward a New Policy Agenda?”

International Journal of Political Economy

vol. 38, no. 1. (2009)

“The Search for a New Developmental State (with Karl Botchway)”

International Journal of Political Economy

Fall (Special issue on the developmental state)

“Surplus”

In William Darity, Jr., (ed.), International Encyclopedia of the Social Sciences

2nd edition, 8 volumes, MacMillan Reference, Detroit, MI. (2007)

“Competition”

In William Darity, Jr., (ed.), International Encyclopedia of the Social Sciences

2nd edition, 8 volumes, MacMillan Reference, Detroit, MI. (2007)

“Economic Growth”

In R. J. Barry Jones, (ed.) Encyclopedia of International Political Economy

Routledge Press, U.K. (2001)