International Perspectives on Gender and Public Policy


T TH 2:15-3:55

Rike 163

Spring 2008


Dr. Barbara Hopkins

Dept. of Economics

Wright State University

208-H Rike Hall



Office hours: T TH 1-2, T 4-5, or by appointment


Prerequisite:   EC 204,205 or EC200



            Articles available on electronic reserve. Password: Gender



Students are ultimately responsible for what they choose to take away from this course.  Learning is facilitated through lecture, reading assignments, writing assignments, and class discussion. Reading each assignment before the class for which it was assigned allows you, as the student, a full opportunity to understand the discussion and ask questions that will help you to understand the material and relate it to your own educational and life experience.



            This course is a broad overview of feminist analysis of economic policy in a wide range of developing and developed nations. It explains how gender affects the often unintended outcomes of economic policy in a variety of areas and how economic policy affects gender. Topics include: valuing women’s unpaid work, gender bias in public spending, tax policy, macroeconomic policy, regulation of globalization, environmental policy, property rights, population policies, and regulation of advertising and media.

            At the end of the course students should be able to should be able to explain how the institution of gender influences economic outcomes and how economic policy affects gender in a wide variety of policy arenas. Students will also be able to articulate the various feminist positions in policy debates in each of these areas.  



Midterm                        300 pts

Short Essays                300 pts

Cumulative Final           400 pts





You are expected to check your E-mail periodically.  You are responsible for any information that has been e-mailed to you using your wright state e-mail address you. Additional Policies:

Class Attendance:

If you are unable to attend class, it is your responsibility to obtain notes from another student. However, there is no substitute for participating in class. Although attendance is not taken, every two class periods you miss represents 10% of the material, equivalent to one letter grade. 

Academic Dishonesty:Academic Dishonesty:

The University policies on Academic Dishonesty including plagiarism will be strictly enforced. 






April 1-3



Meaning of Gender

International Differences in Economic Institutions


Nelson, Julie A. 1996. Feminism, Objectivity and Economics. London ; New York: Routledge. (Chapter 1)

Folbre, Nancy. 1994. Who Pays for the Kids? : Gender and the Structure of Constraint. London ; New York: Routledge. (Chapter 1)

Optional Reading:

Robeyns, Ingrid. 2003. "Sen's Capability Approach and Gender Inequality: Selecting Relevant Capabilities." Feminist Economics 9(2/3): 61-92.


April 8-10                                                                    

Valuing Women=s Unpaid Work


Unpaid work in the household

Counting women=s work

State Supported Childcare and Child payments

Wages for Housework Campaign



Duggan, Lynn. 2003. "East and West German Family Policy Compared: The Distribution of Childrearing Costs." Comparative Economic Studies 45(1): 63-86.

Ellingsæter, Anne Lise. 1999. "Dual Breadwinners between State and Market," in . Rosemary Crompton ed Restructuring Gender Relations and Employment: The Decline of the Male Breadwinner, pp. 40-59. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Graber, Lena and John Miller, 2002. “Wages for Housework: The Movement and the Numbers,” Dollars and Sense. 45-46.


April 15-17

Gender Bias in Public Spending/Gender Budgeting


How is public spending gender biased?

Problems with GDP as measurment

Gender Budgeting Methodology

Gender Budgeting as a Political Strategy


Bridge InBrief. Issue 12: Gender and Budgets

Himmelweit, Susan, 2002. “Making Visible the Hidden Economy:  The Case for Gender Impact Analysis of Economic Policy” Feminist Economics 8(1): 49-70.

Sharp, Rhonda and Ray Broomhill. 2002. ABudgeting for Equality: The Australian Experience.@ Feminist Economics 8(1): 25-47.


Optional Reading:

Budlander, Debbie, Rhonda Sharp and Kerri Allen, How to Do a Gender-Sensitive Budget Analysis: Contemporary Research and Practice. Commonwealth Secretariat. 1998.


April 22-24

Taxes and Social Security (Social Insurance)


Tax Policy and Women=s Control Over Income

Tax Policy and Family Structure

                        Pensions Rights of Women and Men     


Abramovitz, Mimi and Sandra Morgen. 2006. Taxes Are a Women's Issue: Reframing the Debate. New York: Feminist Press. (Chapter 4)

McCaffery, Edward, 1997. Taxing Women. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. (Chapter 9).

Gustafsson, Siv S and M. Bruyn-Hundt. 1991. "Incentives for Women to Work: A Comparison Between the Netherlands, Sweden and West Germany." Journal of Economic Studies 18(5-6): 30-65.



April 29 - May 1

Macroeconomics and Structural Adjustment


Full Employment Policies

Gender Costs of Structural Adjustment Policies

Economic Liberalization and Gay and Lesbian Empowerment     



Rubery, Jill. 1997. "What Do Women Want From Full Employment," in John Philpott ed Working for Full Employment, pp. 63-80. London: Routledge.

Elson, Diane. 1995. “Gender Awareness in Modeling Structural Adjustment” World development 23(11): 1851-1868.

Optional Reading:

Gupta, Priyanka. 2006. "Economic Liberalization and the Empowerment of Gays and Lesbians in India." (Honors Thesis) Economics Department. Connecticut College.


May 6-8 (Midterm Due)

Gender and Policies to Regulate Globalization


                        Globalization and Women’s Work

                        How the Globalization of Finance affects Women

                        Trade Policy

                        Trafficking in Women


Van Staveren, Irene. 2002. "Global Finance and Gender," in Jan Aart Scholte and Albrecht Schnabel (eds.) Civil Society and Global Finance, pp. 228-46. New York: Routledge.

Benería, Lourdes. 2003. Gender, Development and Globalization: Economics as if All People Mattered. New York: Routledge.(Chapter 3)

Pyle, Jean L. 2001. "Sex, Maids, and Export Processing: Risks and Reasons for Gendered Global Production Networks." International Journal of Politics, Culture, and Society 15(1): 55-76.


May 13-15

Environmental Policy


            Ecological and Social Systems of production and provisioning

            Organic Farming and Gendered Agricultural Systems

            Sustainable Development

            Rethinking Economic Indicators

            Gender Bias in Resource Management Policies


Wismer, Susan. 1999. "From The Ground Up: Quality Of Life Indicators And Sustainable Community Development." Feminist Economics 5(2): 109-14.

Green, Cathy, Susan Joekes, and Melissa Leach. 1998. "Questionable Links: Approaches to Gender in Environmental Research Policy," in . Cecile Jackson and Ruth Pearson (eds.) Feminist Visions of Development, pp. 259-83. London and New York: Routledge.

McMahon, Martha. 2005. "Engendering Organic Farming." Feminist Economics 11(3): 134-50.


May 20-22

Property Rights


                        The Role of Specific Legal Protections for Property Rights in Creating and Maintaining Gender Inequality

                        Land Rights and Gender Inequality in Economies Transitioning to the Market

                        Property Rights as Gender-Biased Cultural Institutions



Braunstein, Elissa. 2001. "To Honour and Obey:  Efficiency, Inequality, and Patriarchal Property Rights." Feminist Economics 7(1): 25-44.

Agarwal, Bina. 1994. "Gender and Command Over Property: A Critical Gap in Economic Analysis and Policy in South Asia." World development 22(10): 1455-78.

Optional Reading:

Kevane, Michael and Leslie C. Gray. 1999. "A Woman's Field Is Made At Night: Gendered Land Rights And Norms In Burkina Faso." Feminist Economics 5(3): 1-26.


May 27-29

Population/Family Policy


            Family Planning and Population Control in Developing Countries

            Economic Policy and The Incentive to Have Children


Smyth, Ines. 1998. "Gender Analysis of Family Planning: Beyond the 'feminist vs. population control' debate," in Cecile Jackson and Ruth Pearson (eds.) Feminist Visions of Development, pp. 217-38. London and New York: Routledge.

Teo, Peggy and Yeoh BrendaS. A. 1999. "Interweaving the Public and the Private: Women's Responses to Population Policy Shifts in Singapore." International Journal of Population Geography 5(2): 79-96.

Optional Reading:

Folbre, Nancy. 1994. Who pays for the kids? : gender and the structure of constraint. London ; New York: Routledge. (Chapter 4)


June 3- 5

Advertising and Media Regulation:


                        Role of Advertising and Media in Creating and Maintaining Gender Norms

                        Economic Incentives and the Portrayal of Gender Stereotypes in Advertising and Media


Costa, Janeen Arnold. 2000. "Gender and Consumption in a Cultural Context," in . Miriam Catterall and Pauline Maclaran, Stevens, Lorna (eds.) Marketing and Feminism: Current issues and research, pp. 255-75. New York: Routledge.

Chaudhuri, Maitrayee. 2001. "Gender and Advertisements: The Rhetoric of Globalisation." Women's Studies International Forum 24(3-4): 373-85.

True, Jacqui. 1999. "Expanding Markets and Marketing Gender: the Integration of the Post-socialist Czech Republic." Review of International Political Economy.