Masato Aoki

Associate Professor of Economics
  • Economics
Masato Aoki photo

L314

(617) 521-2580

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Education

  • B.A. in Economics and Japanese Studies, Bucknell University, Lewisburg, Pennsylvania
  • Ph.D. in Economics, U. of Massachusetts, Amherst

About Me

I started my own college education as a pre-med major. (Guess what my parents did.) In my second semester, I discovered economics, and I’ve been a student of economic systems ever since. I continue to be fascinated by the dynamics that subject the economy to instability and even crisis; competing economic theories, from those that celebrate market outcomes to those that problematize class; economics as a window into social justice issues; and education reform movements as reflections of economic priorities. While I did not become a physician, I have devoted my life to studying the physiology and metabolic system of an important patient: the economy.

I love teaching as a craft, as a way to inspire students, and as a way to be inspired by students and colleagues. The classroom is a sanctuary, and time preparing for class and helping students pursue their own research is precious. Teaching extends to working one-on-one with students during office hours and engaging in intellectual play with the Economics Student Liaison (similar to economics “clubs” at other institutions). I also take great pleasure in advising students, which for me means helping them (1) discover their passions, (2) figure out what difference they want to make in the world and how to prepare to make that difference, and (3) navigate Simmons and Boston to get to most out of their college experience.

What I Teach

  • Principles of Macroeconomics
  • Intermediate Macroeconomics
  • Money & Banking
  • Political Economy of U.S. Capitalism
  • Honors Learning Community—Democracy or Apartheid: Race, Class, and Meritocracy in America

Research/Creative Activities

Long-time education historian Diane Ravitch chronicles her intellectual and policy-advisor’s journey in The Death and Life of the Great American School System: How Testing and Choice Are Undermining Education (2010). Ravitch helps us understand that the economic pressures motivating education reform movements—including choice, testing, and accountability—go back to the 1983 report, A Nation at Risk. My current work focuses on understanding these economic pressures and why we should heed Ravitch’s advice to put curriculum and instruction back in the center of our attention. We should follow John Dewey’s lead in understanding what is at stake: the realization of education’s central role in global citizenship, democracy, and our growth as individuals and societies.

A second research interest is in understanding contemporary economic policies in the context of lessons we have learned or failed to learn, lessons from the master economists Smith, Marx, and Keynes.