Inequality (syllabus) - UG

Inequality is a fundamental issue with which every human society, past and present, has had to deal. This core course explores why inequality occurs and why it matters, questions which have taken on critical importance in this time of deepening global inequalities. The course will approach these questions by considering inequality in comparative and historical perspective – with a specific angle devoted to the experience of countries in the Global South – so that students could gain a deeper perspective on today’s debates. To answer these questions, the course will draw on sources from a range of academic disciplines including sociology, political science, history, economics, international development, literature, and fiction. However, no prior expertise in any of these areas will be required.

Global Family Policies and Laws (syllabus) - UG

This course introduces students to the role of public policies in different domains of family life adopting a cross-national comparative perspective. It will consider family domains such as fertility, marriage, housework, childrearing, migration, elderly care, etc., and discuss recent scholarship and policy reports (from OECD, UNICEF, World Bank, etc.) problematizing: i) how/why families are changing around the world, and ii) how different policies sustain or hinder some of these changes. The nature of the course is dynamic, interactive, and applied to concrete case studies of policies that have been designed and implemented in different parts of the world, including childcare subsidies, family planning programs, child labor provisions, income assistance for single parents, changes in age at marriage laws, LGBTQ+ rights, parental leave provisions, housing assistance, etc. In doing so, the course emphasizes change, culture, the polity, and the economy as key contextual variables in shaping the relationship between families and family policies throughout the world. Lectures will strike a 50-50 balance between policies implemented in high-income and low- and middle-income societies.

Statistics in Social Research (syllabus) - UG

The course introduces students to the basics of statistics, data visualization, and data-driven analysis, with a focus on how they are used in social science research. At the end of this course, students should be able to use various numerical and graphical tools to describe a single variable and to summarize the distribution of a variable using measures of central tendency and spread. In addition, they should be able to use correlation and basic regression-analysis techniques to describe relationships between pairs of variables. Lots of focus (particularly towards the end of the course) will be placed on coding in R — and the many issues that may arise while coding and cleaning data. Instead of going through a final exam, students will reach the end of the course by drafting and submitting a short research paper answering a social-science question of their interest with real data. Throughout the course, students will be exposed to many empirical examples, drawing primarily from the social, health, and biomedical sciences.

Education and Inequality (syllabus) - UG

The course focuses on the mechanisms by which educational institutions foster and maintain equalities and inequalities around the world. We first consider the kinds of inequalities that exist in our society, their bases, and their sources. We then turn the attention to the analysis of educational practices and structures related to the production and maintenance of equalities and inequalities. The consequences of educational opportunity of recent reform proposals will be discussed, as will the relation of education to occupational opportunities. The scope of this course is international and comparative. In so doing, we will engage with multidisciplinary theories of social stratification and social mobility, and examine theoretical and empirical studies from both high-income and low-income societies. The majority of studies will include analyses focused on early childhood education through college. We will explore theories and empirical studies, as well as challenges in link- ing research to policy issues and real-world educational problems.

J-Term NYU-Florence syllabus of Global Education Challenges and Policies available here

Methods of Public Policy Analysis (syllabus) - UG

This is an intermediary course in public policy focused on the methodological tools required to analyze public policies and their effectiveness, or lack thereof, at the global level. Thinking about the policy cycle, the main focus is placed on the implementation and evaluation of public policies – rather than their design – and the research skills that are required by scholars, analysts, and practitioners to assess and quantify the effectiveness of specific policies, as well as compare how policies have been implemented in the past vis-à-vis the present. The first part of the course (covering 2/3 of the class) will be quantitative, leveraging statistical methods and softwares to explore methods such as experimental (e.g., Randomized Controlled Trials) and quasi-experimental designs (e.g., natural experiments, instrumental variables, regression discontinuity designs, difference in differences, matching techniques, etc.). Conversely, the second part of the course (covering 1/3 of the class) will introduce students to the evaluation of public policies by means of qualitative methods such as ethnography, grounded theory, critical discourse analysis, and historical case studies.

Demography and Inequality (syllabus) - G

This course introduces graduate students in the social sciences to demographic frameworks/approaches designed for studying basic components of population change (fertility and family dynamics, migration and mobility, mortality and morbidity, etc.), drawing on a wide body of literatures across a number of disciplines. Students will engage with current scientific debates concerning population change and will be exposed to technical skills used in sociodemographic research by (i) learning “core” demographic methods and (ii) discussing/problematizing research articles employing such methods. The course will consider the determinants of demographic patterns and their consequences for inequality dynamics across societies over the world. It will also explore how demographic statistics are used by researchers and policy makers as launching points for social and political arguments, as well as for designing population policies. Lastly, the course will provide examples of applications to real-world data in different areas of study such as education (e.g., school transitions, social mobility, etc.), family formation (e.g., marriage/cohabitation), and aging (e.g., intergenerational transfers).  

Demographic Methods (syllabus) - G

The course is designed to introduce graduate students in the social sciences to basic concepts of demographic measurement and modeling used to study changes in population size and composition. The course covers basic measures of mortality, fertility, and migration; life-table construction; multiple-decrement life tables; population projections; and related topics including digital demography. Students from other disciplines (e.g., public health, epidemiology, anthropology, economics, etc.) interested in demographic methods and their applications are welcome. To use modeling techniques, you need to know two things: the big-picture motivation and strategy for each method (What questions can it answer? What kind of answer does it give?) and the mechanics of how to use it with real data. I will try my best to provide examples/applications from different disciplines to stress the flexibility of (some of) these methods.

Advanced Demographic Methods (syllabus) - G

This course is a second semester in demographic methods. It covers topics in advanced demographic methods and formal demography, yet with a very applied lens that aims to make the various methods appealing to broad audiences and applicable to various fields of study in the social/biomedical sciences ranging from demography and sociology, public/global health, economics, education, anthropology, etc. The course covers topics such as Leslie matrices, multi-state demography, variable-r, indirect estimation methods, and the potential of big data and computational social sciences (CSS) for demographic analyses. Also, the course revisits some more basic concepts such as standardization by age and by education, or the Sullivan method, yet providing examples of applications to real-world data in international comparative perspective. It also covers more recent developments in the field, including innovations in mortality modeling and Bayesian demography. Measures and models are presented with an emphasis on their methodological foundations, as well as potential applications through the use of statistical softwares.