Faculty participation data

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The lack of women and of racial and ethnic minorities amongst faculty indicates both past and future difficulties in creating a diverse and inclusive profession.

The number of women and underrepresented racial and ethnic minorities as faculty within Economics departments at colleges and universities has improved significantly since the 1970’s, but the profession is still far from achieving parity. In 1972, women represented 8.8% of assistant professors, 3.7% of associate professors, and 2.4% of full professors across Ph.D. granting departments. In comparison, as of 2012, women represented 28.3% of assistant professors, 21.6% of tenured associate professors, and 11.6% of full professors. Across all institutions, women occupied 22% of all full-time tenured and tenure-track economics positions in 2012.

At least as striking, Blacks and Hispanics together just occupied 5.6% of all full-time tenured and tenure-track economics positions across all institutions in 2012. In Ph.D. granting economics departments, Black economists represented 1.8% of assistant professors, 2.8% of associate professors, and 1.2% of full professors; Hispanics represented 7.6% of assistant professors, 4.5% of associate professors, and 2.2% of full professors.

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Price (2009) analyzes historical data on black economist hirings in Ph.D. granting departments and presents facts underscoring "the chronic and in some cases vulgar underrepresentation of blacks on the economics faculties of Ph.D. granting departments in the United States." Furthermore, "parameter estimates from count data specifications of a demand–supply relationship reveal that increases in the supply of new black economics doctorates do not increase, but instead decrease the likelihood of a Ph.D. granting economics department hiring black economists."

Price's results suggest that instead of a pipeline problem, the economics profession has a "color line" problem: rather than attributing the underrepresentation of blacks on economics faculties to there being too few blacks earning doctorates in the field, departments should recognize and correct demand side behaviors and conditions. In a similar way, the evidence presented on Div.E.Q. suggests that instructors and departments should examine their own practices and policies at the undergraduate level. Numerous studies illustrate how habits in the classroom affect the degree of diversity in the discipline. Personal biases and even seemingly neutral practices have disparate impacts on different students.


For more information, see the following documents.


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