Other Heterodox Economic Groups

Other Heterodox Economic Groups

Our discussion of heterodox economists would not be complete without some mention of the many other groups that exist, such as the feminist economists, black economists, and libertarian economists. We do not list these as separate schools because they generally fall somewhere within the other schools and share many of the same concerns. Moreover, their interests are less general and more directed toward specific issues. Libertarian economists focus on the moral principles of freedom and the market, black economists on distribution and equity issues as they affect blacks, and feminist economists on distribution and equity issues as they affect women.

Both black and feminist economists point out that economics tends to be a white, male profession and that its makeup has influenced its research agenda. Let's look at feminist economics as an example of the issues raised by these groups. Feminists argue that women and men may approach problems differ­ently, and that, therefore, one's analysis should allow for that possibility. They ask: Why have women been cast in the role of homemaker rather than that of breadwinner? The orthodox answer is comparative advantage, but feminists argue that institutional discrimination may be involved. Class analysis can also be used to develop discrimination models. Some leading feminist economists addressing such issues include Julie Nelson, Barbara Bergman, and Marianne Ferber. A publication presenting research in this field is the Journal of Feminist Economics.

Not all women economists, of course, are feminist economists. The majority are simply women economists who approach problems in much the same way as male economists. Graduate schools operate as a selection mechanism to see that that is the case. Many women, as well as men, argue that the differences between women and men are not great enough to warrant a separate approach.