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‘Sobering’ gender and racial gaps in economics are hurting everyone

of the Federal Reserve Board in 1917

/ Federal Reserve

The world of economics is especially male and white, even for
America’s patriarchal standards, according to a new study, which
suggest this trend harms society as a whole given the
elevated role economists play in policymaking decisions.

Just wander into any economics or finance conference and the
anecdotal evidence is overwhelming — women and minorities
are few and far between. But new research offers astounding
detail as to how rampant discrimination remains among academic

“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,” according
to the new paper by

Bayer and Cecilia Elena Rouse
, professors of economics at
Swarthmore College and the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and
International Affairs at Princeton University, respectively.

The mistreatment of women in economics came to the fore recently
after another research paper looked into an economics job forum
message board and found widespread use of repulsive and
aggressive language toward women.

That work was an award-winning senior college thesis by Alice
, who is starting her doctorate at Harvard next year.

As University of Michigan economist Justin Wolfers
recounts, “

the 30 words most uniquely associated
with discussions of women make for uncomfortable reading.

“In order, that list is: hotter, lesbian, bb (internet speak for
‘baby’), sexism, tits, anal, marrying, feminazi, slut, hot,
vagina, boobs, pregnant, pregnancy, cute, marry, levy, gorgeous,
horny, crush, beautiful, secretary, dump, shopping, date,
nonprofit, intentions, sexy, dated and prostitute.


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