From Diversifying Economic Quality: A Wiki for Instructors and Departments
The lack of women and of members of underrepresented racial/ethnic minority faculty indicates both past and future difficulties in creating a diverse and inclusive economics profession.
The number of women and underrepresented racial and ethnic minority faculty within Economics departments at colleges and universities improved during the 1970s and 1980s but has stalled since, and the profession is still far from achieving parity. In 1972, women represented 8.8% of assistant professors, 3.7% of associate professors, and 2.4% of full professors across Ph.D. granting departments. In comparison, in 2015 women represented 27.9% of assistant professors, 24.3% of tenured associate professors, and 12.9% of full professors. Across all institutions, women occupied 23% of all full-time tenured and tenure-track economics positions in 2015.
At least as striking, Blacks and Hispanics together just occupied 6.3% of all full-time tenured and tenure-track economics positions across all institutions in 2015. In Ph.D. granting economics departments, Black economists represented 1.6% of assistant professors, 1.5% of associate professors, and 1.3% of full professors; Hispanics represented 6.8% of assistant professors, 7.8% of associate professors, and 2.5% of full professors.
(The figure note says "2012-2013" but, unfortunately, there's been no need to update the graphics.)
Price (2009) analyzes historical data on black economist hirings in Ph.D. granting departments and presents facts underscoring "the chronic and in some cases vulgar underrepresentation of blacks on the economics faculties of Ph.D. granting departments in the United States." Furthermore, "parameter estimates from count data specifications of a demand–supply relationship reveal that increases in the supply of new black economics doctorates do not increase, but instead decrease the likelihood of a Ph.D. granting economics department hiring black economists."
Price's results suggest that instead of a pipeline problem, the economics profession has a "color line" problem: rather than attributing the underrepresentation of blacks on economics faculties to there being too few blacks earning doctorates in the field, departments should recognize and correct demand side behaviors and conditions. In a similar way, the evidence presented on Div.E.Q. suggests that instructors and departments should examine their own practices and policies at the undergraduate level. Numerous studies illustrate how habits in the classroom affect the degree of diversity in the discipline. Personal biases and even seemingly neutral practices have disparate impacts on different students.
For more information, see the following documents.
See more Participation data.