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Gender imbalance in economics – RES report

Victoria Bateman, Danula Kankanam Gamage, Xianyue Liu and Erin Hengel have produced a report this month for the Royal Economic Society, highlighting the continuing issues of gender imbalance within economics as an academic discipline.

They note that:

* Amongst academic economists in the UK, women comprise 33% of lecturers, 27% of senior lecturers/readers and 15% of professors.

* Notably, according to our data, no Black female professor of economics was employed anywhere in the UK for the entire period from 2012-2018/9 (which is when our data ends).


* The proportion of economics professors who are female has increased by only two percentage points since 2012 (from 13% to 15%).

There is a pretty evident contrast between academia and the professional practice of economics outside education, suggesting that the imbalance within academic environments is “neither natural nor inevitable”:

Women are also better represented among economists outside of academia: in the Treasury, 38 percent of economic staff are female (Cabinet Office 2020); at the Bank of England, 32 percent of senior staff are female, along with 46 percent of their new graduate intake (Bank of England 2020); at the Institute for Fiscal Studies, 40 percent of all researchers listed on their website in May 2021 were female, and of those employed purely by the IFS, 52 percent are female (IFS 2021); at NIESR, 45 percent of researchers are female (NIESR 2021b, 2021a); across UK think tanks, 44 percent of researchers and 29 percent of senior researchers are female (Smart Thinking 2020). These figures are impressive compared with academic econom- ics, where only 26 percent of those working as economists are female and only 15 percent are professors. (2021:30)

Similarly, women are underrepresented as students in economics and this imbalance has actually been worsening

* Amongst students from the UK, the proportion of economics undergraduates who are women has fallen from 31% in 2002 to 27% in 2018/9, and, at the master’s level, the proportion has fallen from 37% in 2002 to 31% in 2018/9.

There’s a number of ways of accessing the report’s findings:

RES Report by The Women’s Committee; The Gender Balance in UK Economics can be read in full here along with an executive summary, a six-minute video summary and two-minute video summary

Posted in economics.

Recent resources for Ecological Economics

A bit of a grab-bag of stuff that I’ve seen over the last few weeks that has some relevance / bearing / context in relation to the final assessments for the module…

Interface is now offering ‘carbon negative’ carpet tiles. As a firm they have been pursuing sustainabilty in a significant fashion, but I think this is the first time I’ve seen a carbon negative product – ie one that actually means less carbon emitted than if the product had not been made.

The FT had interesting results from a survey of 21,000 consumers about what things individuals could do to reduce their own climate impact, illustrating a ‘perception gap’, with most people failing to identify the most impactful ways to reduce their carbon footprint.

The return of the US to the global stage in terms of environmental policy under Biden has had a fair bit of attention recently, given the virtual climate summit the administration ran:

Though not without some criticism of some concerns – eg the polar opposites of Greta Thunberg on fossil fuel subsidies and US industry groups on the absence of carbon pricing in Biden’s plans. Less recently, but still pertinent, is William Lamb’s article on How ‘discourses of delay’ are used to slow climate action.

The term NDC (Nationally Determined Contributions) is now one being used a lot: So what has the rest of the world promised to do about climate change?

Whilst the UK’s CCC’s has set revised targets under the sixth carbon budget that the UK government has just agreed to adopt, James Dyke, Robert Watson and Wolfgang Knorr have recently written about issues with ‘net zero’ – Climate scientists: concept of net zero is a dangerous trap and this FT article on carbon capture can also be seen as relevant.

In a wider sense, the extent to which economics as a discipine is adressing the scale of the climate emergency is explored by Sam Butler-Sloss and Marc Beckmann. Summary: it isn’t, and Noah Smith offers some commentary on this.


Posted in environment.

Hope in the midst of chaos?

In our current, bizarre circumstances, most mornings my brain seems to rebel against trying to think about almost anything and it’s taking a lot of coffee to get the neurons firing. This morning, this article by Rebecca Solnit helped a bit:

Hope offers us clarity that, amid the uncertainty ahead, there will be conflicts worth joining and the possibility of winning some of them. And one of the things most dangerous to this hope is the lapse into believing that everything was fine before disaster struck, and that all we need to do is return to things as they were. Ordinary life before the pandemic was already a catastrophe of desperation and exclusion for too many human beings, an environmental and climate catastrophe, an obscenity of inequality. It is too soon to know what will emerge from this emergency, but not too soon to start looking for chances to help decide it.

Posted in economics, environment, Uncategorized.