From Diversifying Economic Quality: A Wiki for Instructors and Departments
[NEW] Does Simple Information Provision Lead to More Diverse Classrooms?
"While disparities in knowledge of economics and its value undoubtedly exist before students set foot on college campuses, economists could do more to directly address student misperceptions and knowledge gaps."
Bayer, Bhanot, and Lozano (2019) report the results of "a field experiment involving 2,710 students across nine U.S. colleges, in which faculty provided incoming women and URM students with information about economics. We randomly assign students to one of three conditions: a control (no email messaging), a “Welcome” treatment (two emails encouraging students to consider enrolling in economics courses), and a “Welcome+Info” treatment (which added information showcasing the diversity of research and researchers within economics). The Welcome+Info treatment increases the likelihood of completing an economics course in the first semester of college by 3.0 percentage points, nearly 20 percent of the base rate."
See "Does Simple Information Provision Lead to More Diverse Classrooms? Evidence from a Field Experiment on Undergraduate Economics," by AMANDA BAYER, SYON BHANOT, AND FERNANDO LOZANO, AEA Papers and Proceedings, 2019.
Economics departments can actively recruit underrepresented students into the field of economics.
Post the AEA video on careers in economics on your department webpage.
Students who have not traditionally identified with economics may decide not to major in economics after getting a B in an introductory economics class. (See figure 6B in this report by Claudia Goldin.) Such students may respond well to wise feedback and notes of encouragement from professors.
Remember that math ability and economic intuition are learned skills. Foster a growth mindset in your students.
A study conducted by Norma R. Cloutier and Dennis A. Kaufman, professors of economics at the University of Wisconsin-Parkside, demonstrated that by “(1) aggressively marketing the economics degree, and (2) allowing high achieving students to waive the macroeconomics principles requirements for an economics degree” a higher percentage of women decided to pursue an economics major. Their study demonstrated that the students that decided to waive the macroeconomics principles class were not disadvantaged in upper level courses, and that after its implementation and heavy marketing in 1991, the gender balance for the economics degree improved significantly. “In the period 1975-1994, 26.3% of economics graduates were female, but in the period 1995-2007 the percentage female among economics graduates increased to 40.5%.”