ECO 115 CC: INCENTIVES AND SOCIETY
CC: Incentives and Society: "Shit Rolls Downhill" - The Wire, an HBO television series that ran from 2002-2008, is an ideal mechanism for studying how incentives drive individual behavior and how flawed incentive schemes infect society and cause social problems. A fictional account of urban life in Baltimore, Maryland, the show depicts the causes and consequences of crime through the perspectives of law enforcement, drug trafficking groups, politicians, educators, labor unions and members of the media. This course will use the five seasons of The Wire as a vehicle for studying how individual rationality and incentives affect the structure and fabric of society. Emphasis will be placed on how economic models of incentives can be applied across the segments of society that are featured on the show and across the hierarchical levels that shape specific organizations. Students will be introduced to economic models of incentives and will then apply these models to contemporary social issues that connect to the characters and events in the show. By combining economic analysis with the show's narrative and insight, students will explore, in an integrative and interdisciplinary way, how incentives and social structures govern life within cities and contribute to entrenched and sustained poverty.
As a ConnCourse, this class will make connections across the liberal arts.
Open to first-year students and sophomore and to others with permission of the instructor.
Enrollment limited to 28 students.
A3, MOIE, CC