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Title: Economics and Diversity
Tutor: Corsi, Marcella
Schefold, Bertram
Keywords: heterogeneity
Issue Date: 26-Oct-2009
Abstract: By large, contemporary economic literature assumes that economic behaviour can be explained by means of a same process applying to all individuals, at most exhibiting quantitative differences in the extent of certain individual properties (the approach of heterogeneity). Some heterodox approaches, as well as other social sciences, assume instead that individuals can conveniently be grouped into aggregates, each subject to its own laws of behaviour, fundamentally influenced by the socioeconomic environment (the approach of diversity). This works uses methods of analysis proper of the history of economic thought as well as of applied economics, to propose that both the approaches may be considered relevant for economic analysis. It investigates works by Schmoller and Mill, discussing their methodological positions (especially concerning the use of aggregative analysis) and their theories of behaviour. Gender diversity is taken as a crucial example of the relevance of considering the socioeconomic determination of behaviour, i.e. diversity, besides heterogeneity. Mill and Schmoller’s economic analyses do not ignore parametric differences between men and women, but they fundamentally relate gender inequality and the observed differences of behaviour to power relations and the division of labour. The work applies this approach to the gender analysis of the determinants of employment status.

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