I am proud to be a member of some remarkable communities: that of economists, who have presented me with the tools to study problems I've longed to solve; Cal, which lives and breathes a rich tradition of going against the grain; and BEE -Berkeley Economists for Equity-, a group of driven individuals who embrace the urgent task of reforming the demographic makeup of our field. As members of the rising generation of economists, it is in our hands.
There is a lack of diveristy in economics that persists. So let's get to work, and change it.
In some ways, our field has succumbed to its all-too-common moniker: a dismal science. Within each race, each ethnicity, only 1 in 3 people feel satisfied with the overall climate; and only 1 in 5 women [AEA Climate Survey Report]. A chauvinistic culture has lead to both overt and unwitting mistreatment of our colleagues. A former UC Berkeley undergraduate, Alice H. Wu, evidenced linguistic harrassment against women in academia. The dearth of female colleagues, then, should be no surprise. Esther Duflo, only the second woman to win a Nobel Prize in Economics (the first being Elinor Ostrom), pointed to a second culprit: "[People] have a misconception that economics only deals with interest rates and growth rates and finance and stuff like that." Such pervasive inaccuracies deter minorities from joining our field. It is in our own best interest to change. As Ben Bernanke, former Chair of the Federal Reserve, said: "Having a broader, more diverse profession gives a better profession in terms of what we study, how we study, and how smart we are."
Addressing problems of this scale is unequestionably a team effort. Are you pushing the needle too?
Doodled by Noor, for Leïla, who has lovingly let it clutter her desk in Giannini Hall, where it remains.
THERE IS A LACK OF DIVERSITY IN ECONOMICS
we have a race problem.
We are underrepresenting Blacks and Hispanics/Latinx.
we have a gender problem.
We are underrepresenting women, even relative to other STEM fields.
we have other problems.
But we don't (yet) have the data to study, let alone identify, them.