Two New Business Economics Electives Added for Spring 2022

This spring quarter, there are two new classes for the economics major’s business economics specialization: Gender and Policy (ECON 14530, PBPL 24520, GNSE 20109), taught by Yana Gallen, and Business Ethics (BUSN 20940), taught by Brian Barry.

The Gender and Policy course, which is cross-listed with the public policy and gender and sexuality studies departments, will examine gender differences in career outcomes and family life as well as the effectiveness of policy interventions targeting gender inequality. It will fulfill the economics elective requirement of the business economics specialization.

“There are a bunch of issues we’re going to talk about related to that—what is the role of norms, what is the role of policy, what is the role of potential preferences, and how you separate societal norms versus individual differences in what you want to do,” Gallen said. “There have been some good studies based on what we talk about in the course, but all of those programs also have a lot of unintended consequences, and we’ll talk about those. Policy around the gender pay gap is not straightforward.”

Gallen, who is an assistant professor at the Harris School of Public Policy, said this will be her first time teaching an undergraduate class. She said she encouraged students who are interested in policy making or “the economic forces at play” to take it.

“I have been teaching a course that was tangentially related to my research interest for M.P.P.s [Masters in Public Policy students], and I thought that the parts that were good were when I talked about gender-related topics,” Gallen said. “It was kind of clear that it would be nice for me and students to have a course on that topic, so I created the course.”

The Business Ethics course will be taught at the Booth School of Business by Barry. It will be offered to undergraduate students for the first time under the “Strategy and the Business Environment” bundle of the business economics specialization. Students will discuss the ethics and role of business as well as the various difficult choices the business environment creates. 

The course will focus on “Chicago’s spirit of inquiry and curiosity into messy problems in the business world,” Barry said. “It turns out that there are always differences in the room that we can think critically about.”

Barry, Clinical Professor of Economics and executive director of Chicago Booth’s Initiative on Global Markets, said he is looking forward to teaching a course aimed at UChicago undergraduates for the first time.