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Diversity in the Economics Profession: A New Attack on an Old Problem

Author

Listed:
  • Amanda Bayer
  • Cecilia Elena Rouse

Abstract

The economics profession includes disproportionately few women and members of historically underrepresented racial and ethnic minority groups, relative both to the overall population and to other academic disciplines. This underrepresentation within the field of economics is present at the undergraduate level, continues into the ranks of the academy, and is barely improving over time. It likely hampers the discipline, constraining the range of issues addressed and limiting our collective ability to understand familiar issues from new and innovative perspectives. In this paper, we first present data on the numbers of women and underrepresented minority groups in the profession. We then offer an overview of current research on the reasons for the underrepresentation, highlighting evidence that may be less familiar to economists. We argue that implicit attitudes and institutional practices may be contributing to the underrepresentation of women and minorities at all stages of the pipeline, calling for new types of research and initiatives to attack the problem. We then review evidence on how diversity affects productivity and propose remedial interventions as well as findings on effectiveness. We identify several promising practices, programs, and areas for future research.

Suggested Citation

  • Amanda Bayer & Cecilia Elena Rouse, 2016. "Diversity in the Economics Profession: A New Attack on an Old Problem," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 30(4), pages 221-242, Fall.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:jecper:v:30:y:2016:i:4:p:221-42
    Note: DOI: 10.1257/jep.30.4.221
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    Blog mentions

    As found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
    1. Sexism and discrimination in economics and how you can help fix it
      by thebusinesscycleblog in The business cycle blog on 2017-08-21 19:36:24

    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Amanda S. Bayer & David W. Wilcox, 2017. "The Unequal Distribution of Economic Education : A Report on the Race, Ethnicity, and Gender of Economics Majors at US Colleges and Universities," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2017-105, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
    2. Anusha Chari & Paul Goldsmith-Pinkham, 2017. "Gender Representation in Economics Across Topics and Time: Evidence from the NBER Summer Institute," Working Papers 2017-081, Human Capital and Economic Opportunity Working Group.
    3. Karen Mumford & Cristina Sechel, 2017. "Pay, Rank and Job Satisfaction amongst Academic Economists in the UK," Discussion Papers 17/17, Department of Economics, University of York.
    4. Jakob Kapeller & Matthias Aistleitner & Stefan Steinerberger, 2017. "Citation Patterns in Economics and Beyond: Assessing the Peculiarities of Economics from Two Scientometric Perspectives," ICAE Working Papers 60, Johannes Kepler University, Institute for Comprehensive Analysis of the Economy.
    5. Richard McManus & Karen Mumford & Cristina Sechel, 2017. "The Selection of Economics Lecturers into the 2014 UK Research Excellence Framework Exercise: Outputs and Gender," Discussion Papers 17/16, Department of Economics, University of York.
    6. Chari, Anusha & Goldsmith-Pinkham, Paul, 2017. "Gender representation in economics across topics and time: evidence from the NBER," Staff Reports 825, Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
    7. Dahl, Gordon B. & Kotsadam, Andreas & Rooth, Dan-Olof, 2018. "Does Integration Change Gender Attitudes? The Effect of Randomly Assigning Women to Traditionally Male Teams," Working Paper Series 5/2018, Stockholm University, Swedish Institute for Social Research.
    8. repec:ces:ifodic:v:15:y:2017:i:2:p:19337555 is not listed on IDEAS
    9. Yellen, Janet L., 2017. "So We All Can Succeed: 125 Years of Women's Participation in the Economy : a speech at "125 Years of Women at Brown Conference," sponsored by Brown University, Providence, Rhode Island, May ," Speech 952, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
    10. repec:fip:fedfel:00166 is not listed on IDEAS
    11. repec:ces:ifodic:v:15:y:2017:i:2:p:18-21 is not listed on IDEAS
    12. Nan L. Maxwell & Nathan Wozny, "undated". "Gender Gaps in Time Use and Earnings: What's Norms Got to Do With It?," Mathematica Policy Research Reports 38f127bf7f494794807db7a3a, Mathematica Policy Research.
    13. repec:aea:aecrev:v:107:y:2017:i:5:p:644-49 is not listed on IDEAS
    14. Brainard, Lael, 2017. "Labor Market Disparities and Economic Performance : a speech at "Banking and the Economy: A Forum for Minority Bankers," a conference hosted by the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, Kansa," Speech 972, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • A10 - General Economics and Teaching - - General Economics - - - General
    • J15 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Minorities, Races, Indigenous Peoples, and Immigrants; Non-labor Discrimination
    • J16 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Gender; Non-labor Discrimination

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