The Economics Department has a long history of concern with questions of equity and justice as reflected in its curriculum; invited speakers and occasional discussions; and in student research, for example, at the Local Economy Center, which documented rising poverty in Lancaster in substantial annual reports. This initiative provides one cohesive framework that promotes independent, open-minded, cross- and/or multi-disciplinary research, dialogue, and action on the causes and consequences of diverse forms of inequality, poverty, and injustice that affect individual and social well-being. The initiative especially aims to explore how dynamics of power generate and reinforce economic and social exclusion and injustice.

  1. Student Research and General Training – through independent studies and summer projects that see Lancaster within a global framework to understand and appreciate how different communities work to gain and promote equity and justice.
  2. Public Forum – extra-curricular activities, such as invited speakers, symposia, student-led panel discussions, creative exhibits, or brown bag lunches, that provide a sustained intellectual space for thought and discourse about problems of inequality and injustice. We are eager to support and collaborate with other academic departments and programs on such activities that contribute to this space.
  3. Curriculum – since 2012, our department has offered more than ten different courses on themes of inequality, poverty, discrimination, and justice. We are happy to cooperate with colleagues in other departments and programs on cross-listing courses that shed light on these issues from other disciplinary perspectives, for example, cultural, historical, environmental, and political.

Students can get involved by doing research about Lancaster, other US cities, or other countries and world regions; taking a course; organizing a student-led panel discussion; inviting a speaker; or participating in a conference.

Current Projects:

How Power Works – Summer 2019 (Hackman), Margot Rathke ’20. This project examines the linkages between institutional and economic patterns in Lancaster City and County. It investigates the major institutions with powers to develop, influence, and or enforce policies pertaining to poverty and economic development, whether these institutions are public, private, or public-private-partnerships working in policy making and implementation.

A Lancaster Social Justice Index – Summer 2019 (funded by the Center for Sustained Engagement with Lancaster), Gabriel Anthony-Kemp ’22, Gabriel Berdett Laila Carneiro ’20. This project blends research and community engagement to develop a Lancaster-specific social justice index (SOJI) based on indicators for multi-dimensional poverty, urban planning and development, refugee resettlement and integration, gender equity, environmental equity, and criminal justice. The project aims to offer a potentially useful tool for public policy that is grounded in an understanding of how structures and relations of power between communities and policy makers generate and reinforce economic and social exclusion.

The Team:

Linda Aleci, Professor Art and Art History
Antonio Callari, Professor Economics
Tony Maynard, Visiting Assistant Professor Economics
Eiman Zein-Elabdin, Professor Economics


Current Summer Scholars:

Gabriel Anthony-Kemp '22 Undeclared
Gabriel Berdett Laila Carneiro '20 BOS and Economics
Margot Rathke '20 Economics

  Student Affiliates:

John Bogert '20 Economics and History
Davis Cook '21 Undeclared
Ziqi Dong '21 Economics
Vanessa Gonzalez '21 Economics and International Studies
Jovani Hernandez '20 Sociology
ZongPu (Birkin) Li '22 Undeclared
Anna Schutt '20 Economics and Environmental Studies
LingFeng Shan '21 Economics and Mathematics
Theresa Lemke '21 Africana Studies and Public Policy
Nataliia Nevinchana '21 BOS and Mathematics