Strengthening heterodox economics by engaging with different perspectives
from Irene Staveren
In the next issue of the Cambridge Journal of Economics (last issue of 2010, available online now), there will be a mini-symposium on the relationships between post-Keynesian economics and feminist economics (edited by Colin Danby and myself). It argues that there is a win-win situation from such an engagement and that such cross-fertilizations are under-explored. In my own contribution, I have identified the concepts of gender, the household, and unpaid work/caring as three key feminist economic concepts that would help post-Keynesian economics to deepen its analysis. At the micro level this would, for example, help to improve the understanding of how households deal with uncertainty, for example by adapting their mixes of paid and unpaid work. At the macro level, it may broaden the analysis of how inequalities (like class) interact with changes in aggregate demand, for example through a disaggregation of savings rates and propensities to consume by males and females. Furthermore, I have suggested that three key concepts of post-Keynesian economics may enrich feminist economic analysis: uncertainty, market power and endogenous dynamics. For example, the post-Keynesian distinction between risk and uncertainty seems crucial for explanations of caring, unpaid work, and a broader understanding of gendered rationality beyond the stereotypes of rational economic man versus caring noneconomic woman.
I don’t believe in a unified heterodox economic theory. But I do think that much more can be learned from intra-heterodox discussions at the level of methodology, theory, empirical method, research themes, and policy advise. I would therefore welcome other symposia developing such engagements, accross journals and conferences.