From Diversifying Economic Quality: A Wiki for Instructors and Departments
Introductory economic textbooks often either contain misrepresentations of underrepresented groups, or do not even bother to mention underrepresented groups at all. The textbook is an integral component to the economics classroom, and is a key resource in providing students further insight into the field. Biases that are present in economic textbooks not only create an uncomfortable classroom environment for underrepresented students, but it also may discourage underrepresented students from further studies in economics.
Common issues found in introductory economics textbooks include biases associated with the definition of economic problems, biases associated with the review of previous research, and biases that marginalize the experiences of women and minorities. These biases range from stereotypical representations of underrepresented groups to ignoring underrepresented groups completely when mentioning topics that highly effect women and minorities.
Biases associated with the review of previous research can also be observed in introductory economics textbooks. Unlike other social sciences like sociology, political science, or psychology, a comprehensive reading list and extensive documentation of sources are typically not provided in economics textbooks. Therefore often times it is ambiguous as to whether a study sample has flawed methodology which as a result has depicted underrepresented groups negatively. In addition, references may also produce bias simply because often times textbooks have very little variety in the sources used to present topics such as poverty. "Despite the commitment of teachers and textbooks to “teaching students to think like economists,” it is remarkable that our textbooks offer so little choice on these important issues. (Feiner 150)"