The Economics Department welcomes James Heintz as the new Chair

The Economics Department is thrilled to welcome the new Chair, James Heintz, Andrew Glyn Professor of Economics and Director, Economics and Human Rights Program at PERI. The Department is fortunate to have a leader who embodies its heterodox tradition, with a deep commitment to seeing UMass Economics lead the discipline to novel ways of thinking about old economic issues and to recognition and innovative analysis of new and pressing economic problems. Thought leadership and socially engaged economics are needed now more than ever as the country and the global community confront the challenges of inequality, exclusion, racial injustice, climate change, exacerbated by the impact of the health pandemic.
 
James Heintz holds a Ph.D. from the University of Massachusetts. He is an internationally recognized leader on research on economic policy issues, including job creation, global labor standards, the distributive consequences of macroeconomic policies, and human rights. His policy work has focused on the U.S. as well as developing countries, primarily in sub-Saharan Africa, including Ghana, Kenya, Liberia, the Gambia, Madagascar, and South Africa.

Could the US and Chinese economies really 'decouple'?

Talk of a new cold war is everywhere. Yet the economic context of the confrontation between the US and China is fundamentally different from the days of the iron curtain. The US and the Soviet Union had created competing globalisations, dividing the world into separate economic blocs. The two sides of the present divide are tied together as one “Chimerica” – with China as the global “workshop” and the US as the tech “headquarters” of the world. The old hope that this economic interdependence would prevent political conflict has been shattered. Instead, deep economic integration has increased the stakes: the core of the world economy could fall apart.

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.”

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.

Continue reading the full statement

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)