The Department of Economics recognizes the importance of diversity, equity, and inclusion and is committed to promoting these principles in our workplace, teaching, and research activities. Consistent with this commitment, we follow a comprehensive recruitment strategy for faculty and graduate students, including outreach and mentoring efforts. We have intentionally expanded our undergraduate curriculum to included courses that provide research-based perspectives on the economic outcomes of diverse individuals and the roots of economic inequality as it pertains to systematic exclusion. We have embarked into an analysis of how we attract and help undergraduates of diverse background succeed in our program and we intend to make the necessary changes to sustain and expand this success. Finally, we count many faculty members and PhD students whose academic research has provided important insights into the determinants of race and gender based inequality.
We can broadly organize our areas of faculty research in categories of Race and Gender, from which we approach questions on education, organizational leadership, segregation, and political representation. Race and Inequality have been a major research focus at Pitt economics, and we have some of the foremost scholars on the economics of gender.
The department approaches admissions to its PhD and Master's program holistically, looking at the whole applicant and the sum of their experiences and backgrounds. It values intangible qualities that have been shown to lead to success in graduate school. And it aims to find reasons to include an applicant among those under consideration, rather than to exclude someone who comes to us from a background not traditionally represented in graduate Economics programs. We offer application fee waivers to those who qualify, and we do not require GRE scores. We do all of this in recognition of the value of diversity, and the importance of using our departmental privilege to remove barriers to graduate education and to promote the excellence of all our scholars, particularly those who have been implicitly or explicitly marginalized.
Undergraduate Student Groups
Student groups inside and outside the department promote the success of Economics students from all walks of life.
- Behavioral Economics Club - exploring how Economics works in the real world through a fusion of psychology, culture, and so much more!
- Women in Economics - The primary purpose of this organization is to raise awareness of the underrepresentation of undergraduate women in economics.
Undergraduate Course Offerings
- Econ 410: Economics of Diversity
This course aims to strengthen students' understanding of how race, class, gender, disability, ethnicity, nationality, culture, sexuality, religion, and age interact with public policies to influence various economic outcomes. We analyze the evolution of economic consequences on populations that have been historically disadvantaged. Specifically, we discuss how governments (especially the U.S. government) and societies deal with diversity and their level of discrimination vs inclusivity of different groups over time and across space.
- Econ 430: Women in the Labor Market
The empirical evidence suggests that women earn lower income than men, and that the wage rates earned by women are lower than those of men --- even when they have similar job classifications. This course examines the role of women in the labor market; the nature of their decision to invest in education, their labor force participation, and the demand for their labor services. In this way, a framework for policy analysis is developed.
- Econ 0480: Economics of Inequality
The objective of this course is to provide students with an overview of the recent economic research on inequality. The primary focus will be inequality in economic outcomes such as income and wealth. Inequality in other outcomes such as education, health, and housing may be covered. The material will seek to provide answers to questions along the following lines: Why does inequality matter? How do we measure inequality? What is the extent of inequality, including race and gender disparities, among other dimensions? What are the drivers of inequality? What are possible policy responses to inequality? How does inequality affect social mobility? Are there political causes and consequences of inequality? What are some historical origins of inequality?
- Econ 1910: Seminar in Diversity, Current Economic Research
- This course features research by Pitt faculty exploring the impact of race, gender, immigration status, etc, in many economic contexts, as well as implications for economic fundamentals such as risk, bargaining, and competition.