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Title: Diversity in the Economics Profession: A New Attack on an Old Problem
Authors: Bayer, Amanda
Rouse, Cecilia Elena
Issue Date: Jul-2016
Series/Report no.: 597
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. The relative lack of women, African Americans, Hispanics, and Native Americans within economics is present at the undergraduate level, continues throughout the academy, and is barely improving over time. In this paper, we present data on the presence of women and minority groups in the profession and offer an overview of current research on the reasons for the imbalance, highlighting that implicit attitudes and institutional practices may be contributing at all stages of the pipeline. We review evidence on how diversity affects productivity and conclude that the underrepresentation likely hampers the discipline, constraining the range of issues addressed and limiting our collective ability to understand familiar issues from new and innovative perspectives. Broadening the pool from which professional economists are drawn is not just about fairness; it is necessary to ensure the profession produces robust and relevant knowledge. We propose remedial interventions along with evidence on effectiveness, identifying several promising practices, programs, and areas for future research.
Appears in Collections:IRS Working Papers

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