The Economics Department has a long history of concern with questions of equity and justice reflected in its curriculum, invited speakers, and faculty and student research. This initiative provides one cohesive intellectual and communal framework to promote independent, open-minded, transdisciplinary study, dialogue, and action on the causes and consequences of diverse forms of inequality, poverty, and injustice as they manifest themselves in Lancaster and other cities and regions worldwide. 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 – independent studies and summer projects based on empirical and or theoretical investigation of one or more of the four Initiative themes to understand and appreciate how different communities work to gain and promote equity and justice.
  2. Public Forum – campus-wide activities such as invited speakers, student-led panel discussions, symposia, creative exhibits, or roundtables that cultivate a sustained intellectual space for thought and dialogue about problems of inequality and injustice. We are eager to support and collaborate with other academic departments and programs and Lancaster community members and organizations on different activities that contribute to this space. 
  3. Curriculum – course offerings on the themes of inequality and justice by gender, class, race, culture, or any other dimension. 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

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.

Faculty-Student Research Projects:

How Power Works –2019. This project examined linkages between institutional and economic patterns in Lancaster City and County. It investigated 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. Summer Scholar Margot Rathke presented her work at the Autumn Research Fair in October. She is now writing up her findings. (Advisors: Callari, Zein-Elabdin)

A Lancaster Social Justice Index – This ongoing project blends research and community engagement to develop a Lancaster-specific social justice index based on indicators of multi-dimensional economic well-being; urban planning and development; refugee resettlement and integration; gender, racial, and environmental equity. Funded by the Center for Sustained Engagement with Lancaster, Summer Scholars: Gabriel Anthony-Kemp, Gabriel Berdett Laila Carneiro, Jillian Ireland, Nithya Ramaswamy, Lingfeng Shan. (Advisors: Aleci, Callari, Zein-Elabdin)

A Lancaster Audit: Toward a Lancaster Moral Budget – 2019 --- This project, carried out in collaboration with Lancaster’s Put People First, PA, aims to produce Lancaster County and City budgets modeled on and adapted from the 2019 Poor People’s Moral Budget issued by the National Poor People’s Campaign. It is funded by the Center for Sustained Engaged with Lancaster and the Economics Department. Student Researchers: Jadaic Admir, Margot Rathke, Lingfeng Shan, Isaac Yu, Sarah Yu. (Advisor: Callari)

Independent Studies

The Effect of Decision Timing to Avoid the Environmental Risk in Threshold Public Goods Games with Inequality: An Experimental Study, F2019-S2020, Isaac Yu (Advisor: Roomets)

Race and Gender of Adoption in Capitalist America, S2020, Anna Schutt (Advisor: Roncolato)

Social Justice Index: Healthcare in Lancaster, S2020, Lingfeng Shan (Advisors: Callari, Zein-Elabdin)

The Team:
2020 Summer Scholars

Davis Cook '21 Joint Economics
Jillian Ireland '21 Economics and Mathematics
Nithya Ramaswamy '22 Economics

2019 Summer Scholars

Gabriel Anthony-Kemp '22 American Studies
Gabriel Berdett Laila Carneiro '20 BOS, Economics
Margot Rathke '20


Moral Budget Research Team

Jadaic Admir '21 BOS
Haley Barge '22 Public Health (Biology)
Makaila Ranges '22 Undeclared
Margo Rathke '20 Economics
Emily Ritchey '20 American Studies
Lingfeng Shan '20 Economics
Dante Wilson '23 Undeclared

Student Affiliates

Vanessa Gonzalez '21 Economics
ZongPu (Birkin) Li '22 Economics
Anna Schutt '20 Joint Economics-Environmental Studies

To get in touch:

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