One of my favorite people to talk to is Dr. Carlena Ficano. Carli is a labor economist, an interest she marries with a passion for equity and inclusion, and for recognizing how corporate power twists economic theory into market imperfections. She is also one of the many people I met in undergrad at Hartwick College who didn’t understand why I was a declared anthropology major instead of an economics major. Carli was the only one who made a good case for me to add an economics major to my anthropology major, and the rest was history.

Carli and I have very different ways of looking at work, as researchers with disparate methodologies. She tends to wear her economics hat and I wear my anthropology hat. Yet we often see many of the same things from different perspectives. Anthropology usually invests its time in deep hanging out, which keeps us from making definitive statements about more than the very specific communities in which we work. Economists, on the other hand, use large data sets to run regression analyses and other types of quantitative methods. But rather than fighting about which perspective is more valid than the other, Carli and I discussed the ways in which these two perspectives could be married to offer a more robust picture of labor in the United States.

Dr. Carlena Ficano is a professor of economics at Hartwick College in Oneonta, NY. Dr. Ficano received her Ph.D. from Cornell University, and studied anthropology and sociology during her undergraduate years. Dr. Ficano is a labor economist. In addition to her work with students at Hartwick, Dr. Ficano is thoroughly involved in economic development in rural upstate New York where she lives and works.




Monopsony – in economics, a monopsony is a market structure in which a single buyer substantially controls the market as the major purchaser of goods and services offered by many would-be sellers.

Smith, C. 2021. How the Word is Passed: A Reconing with the History of Slavery in America. New York: Little, Brown & Company.

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Mergers & Acquisitions
Mergers & Acquisitions
Society for Economic Anthropology (SEA)

SEA’s podcast, Mergers and Acquisitions demonstrates how anthropological and other perspectives can enhance and complicate understandings of economic life and contemporary events. Mergers and Acquisitions hosts interviews with leading economic anthropologists, provides reflection pieces on economic transformations and problems, and serves as a vehicle for new and established scholars to connect with each other. Recognizing that the best ideas and insights are rarely generated alone, Mergers and Acquisitions offers a collective mind-hive for furthering the study of economic life.