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The Progressive Economics Forum

2014 PEF Summer School in Heterodox Economics

The Progressive Economics Forum (PEF) will host a Summer School in Heterodox Economics in Vancouver on May 29, 2014, prior to Canadian Economics Association annual conference in Vancouver from May 30 to June 1, 2014. The Summer School is aimed at undergraduate and graduate students of economics or related fields, and working economists in academia, the labour movement and NGOs.

The theme for the summer school is Economics that Works for People and the Planet.

In six hour-long lectures, participants will be introduced to some of the diversity of heterodox approaches to economics, covering perspectives and methods that are overlooked in conventional (neoclassical) economics curricula. 


Essentials of Heterodox and Post-Keynesian Economics
Marc Lavoie, University of Ottawa
The global financial crisis has clearly demonstrated, if such a demonstration was ever required, that economics is in need of change. One cannot just reform economics by making small adjustments to neoclassical economics (orthodox economics). Reform must be more ambitious and incorporate a pluralistic approach where heterodox views are given more space. The essentials (the ‘presuppositions’) that distinguish orthodox and heterodox economics will first be presented. The main elements of one branch of heterodox economics – post-Keynesian economics and its various strands – will then be introduced. This will be followed by a short discussion of why students need not fear the large amount of empirical evidence that seems to provide support to orthodox concepts, such as the neoclassical production function.

Modern Capitalism as an Economic System
Geoff Mann, Simon Fraser University
An overview of how economic principles and ideology are expressed in contemporary economies and states, and their socio-economic and ecological consequences for people. This lecture will use real-world examples to illustrate some of the theoretical points emerging out of the first lecture and offer clear, accessible alternatives for Canada. This session will provide an interdisciplinary perspective often missing in economics departments. Based on Geoff Mann’s recent book Disassembly Required: A Field Guide to Actually Existing Capitalism.

Financial Crises: Socio-economic Causes and Institutional Context
Brenda Spotton Visano, York University
An analysis of the boom-and-bust cycles from a heterodox perspective. This lecture will combine elements of economic history (of debt and financial crises) with contemporary macro finance. It will have an institutional focus, introducing students to Veblen and economic sociology.

Gender and Generational Equity in Economics
Armine Yalnizyan, Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives
This lecture will examine economic inequality from a gender and generational lens, focusing on changes in Canadian youth unemployment over the last three decades, and implications for future trends in income distribution and Canada’s macro-economy. The lecture will demonstrate how markets have been influenced by, and influence, educational attainment, labour force rates, and household incomes, and the non-neutral effects of monetary and fiscal policies on the distribution of outcomes by gender and age.

Ecological Economics
Marc Lee, Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives
Key concepts of ecological economics will be introduced, including energy and materials in production, externalities, and environmental challenges to cost-benefit analysis and GDP accounting. Applications to climate change will be made based on work of the CCPA’s Climate Justice Project.

The Role of Money in the Economy: a Heterodox Perspective
Marc-André Pigeon, Credit Union Central of Canada
This lecture will present heterodox theories of money, contrasting conventional visions of how the system works  with more radical approaches like modern monetary theory to conceptualize an alternative view of monetary policy. It will also provide examples of how the heterodox theoretical framework can be applied to policy development in Canada.

Costs and Scholarships

Summer school participation is free for those accepted. Lunch and dinner will be provided on the day of the Summer School. Out-of-town participants are responsible for their own travel costs. Limited travel scholarships for one night accommodation will be available for select participants.


Applicants should be undergraduate and graduates students of economics or related fields, and working economists in academia, the labour movement and NGOs. Note that this is not Econ 101 but assumes a basic knowledge of economics concepts. Introductory macro and micro economics are the minimum prerequisites. Space is limited, so don’t delay.

Apply now.

The Summer School will be held at the SFU Harbour Centre.

Questions? Email

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Comment from Lisa Mills
Time: April 4, 2014, 8:19 pm

Is there any chance of this being webcast? I’d love to attend but given my other commitments this summer, flying to Vancouver will be a bit of a financial strain!

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