How Racial Disparities Affect Economic Policy : The Indicator from Planet Money The economics profession has a serious inclusion problem, and that matters for how all of us understand the economy.

A Race Reckoning In Economics

A Race Reckoning In Economics

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William Thomas Cain/Getty Images
PRINCETON, NJ - OCTOBER 10: Princeton University professor Christopher Sims speaks to the media on the campus of Princeton University October 10, 2011 in Princeton, New Jersey.  (Photo by William Thomas Cain/Getty Images)
William Thomas Cain/Getty Images

The American Economic Association, or the AEA, is the biggest and most important professional organization of economists in the US. And it recently made a statement saying that it had "only begun to understand racism and its impact on our profession and our discipline".

Black economists are severely underrepresented in the field. According to a survey from the AEA, only about 3% of economists are Black. Nearly half of Black economists say they have experienced discrimination in the profession. And only 17% of black economists agree with the statement that "people of my race are respected within the field."

And this matters not just for the economics profession. It matters for how all of us understand the whole economy, and it matters for how economic policy gets made.

So how can the economics profession successfully grapple with its longstanding issues of racism and racial inequality? And how would such a reckoning lead to a better understanding of racial dynamics in the economy?

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