Sorry to disappoint, that’s not supposed to be “XXX Economists”. Economics seems like it’s very much a boys club. We talk about Paul Krugman, Ben Bernanke, John Maynard Keynes, Tyler Cowen, Don Boudreaux, Austan Goolsbee, and many others when prominent or well known economists come up in conversation. But the profession has many women as well and their contributions are just as important even if they aren’t household names even in some economic circles.
A diverse profession is important in order to bring lots of ideas to the table. And while the boys of economics are as diverse in their opinions as a UN council, their backgrounds are about as similar as the students of a New England boarding school. Female economists bring in different perspective. A new study of the gender gap in economics seems to point at that not only do they have different viewpoints than male economists, there is a professional gender gap much like in many fields and industries.
USA Today highlighted the research and here are a few insights into the female economist’s views on the economy. They tend to be more in favor of government playing a larger role in the economy while males lean more towards business and markets. Likewise, less women think the US economy is too regulated today. Like most economists, they are pro-market, just perhaps less bothered by the role of government. Everyone agrees on many things though. Male and female economists say Europe has too much regulation and that Walmart is a good thing.
The big difference between the two genders though is the view on whether or not there is a gender gap in the profession. 3/4 women think academic appointments favor men. 4/5 men think it favors women.
I don’t know which is true. But I want you to know that there are female economists out there. A couple of my favorites (and Twitter buddies) are Jodi Beggs and Betsey Stevenson (who is SUPER pregnant). The woman in the picture is Elinor Ostrom who won the economics Nobel-ish prize and is the only woman to do so. Woman have served as the top economic advisors to a couple of presidents as well, so they’ve found their way into high ranking positions. Based on a random sampling of top roles it does tend to favor the men. But even today only ? of of economics PhDs go to women. And the number that focus on macroeconomics (which are the economists you usually hear about) could be smaller.
So hopefully the gender gap is just a function of there still being fewer women in the profession. But ladies, I want you to know you have fans and if there is a true professional gap let’s prove it and fix it!