Social Inequalities and Low-Wage Work


About the Course:

Students in this course will participate in community economic development in Durham. First, students will learn to evaluate competing theories regarding the reasons for recent increases in social inequalities and low-wage work. Students will also gain new insights into local conditions of social inequalities and low-wage work through a service-learning component of the course, in which they will be partnered with a community group. Service-learning projects will vary from semester to semester, but will focus on collaborating with community partners to determine and apply programs for improving the conditions of low-wage workers in Durham. The course will culminate in a poster session during which students will showcase the work they have done with their community partners.


VIDEO:  In the Fall 2018 semester, students gained new insights into local conditions of social inequalities and low-wage work through working with and evaluating the effectiveness of Mobile Citizen's after school program; a program that teaches middle schoolers in Title 1 schools computer science skills. The hope is that the program will foster enthusiasm for computer science, while developing the technical skills needed for higher paying jobs in the future.

ECON 337 student with sign
Students from ECON 337 share what they've learned about social inequalities and low wage work with the Duke & Durham community.

Student project from Spring 2019: The Humans of Durham Facebook page tells the stories of low-income, first generation Duke students and members of the Duke and Durham community.

This course introduces students to several, different economic theories and viewpoints regarding social inequality, class, and socio-economic status in the United States. Current debates are discussed, such as the possible raising of the minimum wage. Students also gain first-hand knowledge concerning the livelihood strategies of low-wage workers in Durham, through students' participation in a service-learning project in the community.



Curriculum Codes
  • EI
  • SS
Typically Offered
Fall and/or Spring