Statement on Racist Violence and Social Exclusion

Black Lives Matter. We declare and affirm this truth in the face of any verbal or material attempt to deny it. The current tragedies and structures of violence, exclusion and exploitation of Black people were made by human actors.  They date back to colonial times and slavery but persist to today. Teaching and research in the economics profession have often served to legitimize such structures portraying them as the outcome of the free and fair play of the market. The UMass Economics Department has a long tradition of research dedicated to uncovering structures of oppression, exploitation, exclusion and violence. This tradition must be rethought and adapted to place racial injustice at the center, as a dimension that should not be overlooked.

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Study shows investment in public higher ed will boost economy

A recently completed study urges state leaders to increase spending on public higher education to address the immediate financial crisis accompanying the COVID-19 pandemic and to build a more just and equitable economy in the Commonwealth.
“It would be difficult to identify investment, public or private, that offers greater short-run and long-run benefits,” writes University of Massachusetts Amherst professor Michael Ash in “An Economic Analysis of Investment in Public Higher Education in Massachusetts: Recovering from the COVID-19 Crisis and Laying Foundations for the Future.”

Cheap, consistent, clean? Changing the models for sustainable electricity access

Sustainable Electricity Access for Africa Network – SEN-Africa, a multidisciplinary network of scholars from UMass Amherst (Economics, Mechanical and Industrial Engineering), Carnegie Mellon, University of Ghana, University of Cape Town, University of Nairobi and Argonne National Laboratory, is leading the debate on modeling approaches for achieving affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy (SDG Goal 7) in Africa, using innovative stakeholder consultation-based approaches.


M.V. Lee Badgett Makes “The Economic Case for LGBT Equality” in New Book

Book cover economic case for LGBT equalityFinding that homophobia and transphobia cost 1% or more of a country’s GDP, University of Massachusetts Amherst economist M.V. Lee Badgett argues in a new book that in addition to moral and human rights reasons, we can now also make a financial argument for LGBT equality.

“The economic case works,” Badgett says. “In the U.S. we’ve seen it help us move toward marriage equality. The ability to marry was good for the economic well-being of LGBT families, and also brought new opportunities to local businesses. That example can be applied in many other parts of the world.

UMass Economics in the News

Robert Pollin, Distinguished Professor of economics and co-director of the Political Economy Research Institute (PERI), comments on a $1 trillion infrastructure plan with a focus on sustainability proposed by presidential candidate and South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg. Pollin says Buttigieg’s plan is “going in the right direction,” but “a lot hinges on where you come up with the money.” He says Sen. Elizabeth Warren “does a much more serious job of going underneath the surface than he does.” (South Bend Tribune, 1/14/20)

A news story about calls by the mayors of London and New York for cities to divest their pension funds from fossil fuel producers notes that a 2018 report co-authored by Robert Pollin, Distinguished Professor in economics and co-director of the Political Economy Research Institute, says the divestment movement has not substantially impacted fossil fuel share prices or reduced carbon emissions. (Reuters, 1/8/20)