Ep. 10: What helps and hurts minorities’ progress in an economics career?


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Black, Latinx, and Native American people are badly underrepresented in economics. In 2017, they were 30 percent of the US population, but earned fewer than 10 percent of economics PhDs.

The question now facing economists is why minorities are opting for other careers.

To find out, Gary Hoover of the University of Oklahoma reached out to minorities still in the profession, as well those who ultimately decided to leave it.

He and his co-authors Amanda Bayer and Ebonya Washington published their in-depth survey results in the Summer issue of the Journal of Economic Perspectives.

While some respondents faced openly hostile environments, many graduate students and faculty said that more subtle forms of biases made them feel like outsiders.

Hoover says that all economists can do more to inform, mentor, and welcome underrepresented groups. But it starts with listening.

He recently spoke with the AEA’s Tyler Smith about minority experiences in economics, including his own, and some concrete steps for making the profession more inclusive.

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