For our first required reading response this semester,
“Mario L. Small and Devah Pager’s article “Sociological Perspectives on Racial Discrimination”.
For our three required reading responses this semester, I’ve selected articles in the Journal of
Economic Perspectives by people who are, to some degree or another, not “economists”! The
goal is to further our learning goal to critically analyze economic models rather than just
accepting them as they are: each reading response will hopefully let us engage in some
comparative study of the “economic approach” versus the approaches taken in other disciplines
to similar questions.
In this case, Small and Pager are sociologists. A companion article in the same issue of the
journal talked about the economic approach to studying racial discrimination, but this one is
written to highlight the key ways in which the authors think that economics could benefit by
incorporating ideas from sociology.
Please write 300-500 words on your reflections on the article (for comparison, this whole prompt
is 380ish words).
Please don’t just summarize the article—we’d like to get your reaction and
what you took from it! You can write about whatever ideas or connections came to you on
reading, but here are some suggestions for things you could consider, if you need some help to
What surprised you, particularly interested you, or confused you about the reading? What do
you think it suggests about the ways that the economic approach might differ from other
disciplines? How does that relate to what we’ve been studying in the first couple of topics in our