Career Structures in Economics (EEA)

We have identified that one of the best platforms to amplify our voices beyond LSE was the European Economic Association (EEA). Founded in 1986, this institution is an international scientific body that aims to contribute to the development and application of economics as a science in Europe. It is the largest such body in Europe, spanning more than 4,000 members across Europe.

The EEA, under the impulse of Oriana, who is the president of the association, and in direct partnership with the Hub, has set in motion several large-scale actions to understand the root cause of the lack of diversity in economics, as well as propose concrete actions to address it. The Career Structures in Economics is an initiative launched by the EEA and the Hub in the Fall of 2021. We invited proposals to understand whether and how incentives related to the attraction, promotion, and retention of talent in economics might favour one group and how they can be modified to attract, promote, and retain a more diverse set of scholars. The final aim is to inform the policies of professional associations, such as the EEA and RES: either suggesting new policies, or to provide a scientific underpinning for existing initiatives related to diversity and inclusion.

The call attracted 31 proposals in total by January 2022 (the proposal submission deadline), spanning applied theory and empirics. Most proposals were authored by economists in the UK (10) and the rest of Europe (12) but also Australia, Canada, India, and the United States. They cover two broad themes. The first focuses on documenting the roots of inequality and offering solutions to the lack of diversity at a particular step in the career pipeline; from selection into economics degrees at undergraduate level, pre-doctoral programs, and PhD admissions to the junior job market, tenure track, and journal publication. The second explores specific features of career structures in economics that can put under-represented groups at a disadvantage. In contrast to the variety of methods and topics, the focus of most projects is on the representation of women. These proposals have been reviewed by a committee of high-profile professors (Imran Rasul (Chair), Massimo Morelli, Paula Bustos, Maria Guadalupe and the Hub’s Co-Director, Camille Landais). They selected 5 out of 31 proposals based on the blind reviews by two of its members and the fit with the objectives of the initiative. Proposals that had a feasible and credible strategy with clear policy implications were given priority for funding. The research proposals funded are:

  • Fertility and Promotions: Academic Careers of Economists over 40 Years in Denmark (Lead: Anne Sophie Lassen)
  • Network Effects and Professional Trajectories: Evidence from the CeMENT program (Lead: Jennifer Doleac)
  • Socioeconomic diversity amongst Economics students (Lead: Anna Stansbury)
  • The effects of tenure-track systems on selection, productivity and fertility in Economics (Lead: Roberto Nisticò)
  • Women in Economics: How do Children Affect Productivity and Promotions? (Lead: Petra Moser)

Selected proposals were then invited to present preliminary ideas both to the EEA Executive Committee and the Hub at the EEA Congress in summer 2022. The final findings can then be prepared for the following year, with the option open of organizing a workshop around the final proposals in summer 2023. The editors at Journal of the European Economic Association will consider collating the best proposals into a refereed special issue of JEEA later in 2023/early 2024.

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