Economics, Dominated by White Men, Is Roiled by Black Lives MatterBreaking News
tags: racism, economics, academia
Economics has a history of discrimination and, in some cases, outright racism. George Stigler, a Nobel laureate and an early leader of the American Economic Association, criticized the civil rights movement in 1962 and wrote that African-Americans’ disadvantages in the labor market stemmed in part from their “inferiority as a worker.”
“Lacking education, lacking a tenacity of purpose, lacking a willingness to work hard, he will not be an object of employers’ competition,” he wrote.
Few scholars today would use such language. But the ideas persist: Economics journals are still filled with papers that emphasize differences in education, upbringing or even IQ rather than discrimination or structural barriers.
Damon Jones, an economist at the University of Chicago’s Harris School of Public Policy, says the lack of diversity in economics affects what is studied and how. “We study things that are related to race and racism all the time, but we are inclined to figure out what other explanations may be at play,” he said.