Women in economics: The unknown cost of gender imbalance

This event will focus on some of the issues emerging from the gender biases evident in the field of economics.

Keynote Speaker

Emmanuelle Auriol, Professor at Toulouse School of Economics and Chair of Women in Economics of the European Economic Association


Martine Durand, Director, OECD Statistics Directorate 


Mathilde Mesnard, Deputy Director, OECD Directorate for Financial and Enterprise Affairs

Luiz de Mello, Director, Policy Studies Branch, OECD Economics Department


Academic economists are overwhelmingly male. In Europe, only 20% of senior economists are women while, in the United States, only 15% of full professors are women. And only one woman has ever been awarded the Nobel Prize in Economics (Elinor Ostrom in 2009). Putting aside issues of misogyny, sexism and the glass ceiling – issues that are prevalent in other fields whether academic or not – the gender imbalance in economics does have systemic repercussions on the quality of data produced and the sub-fields of economics emphasized by researchers, and used by governments, to develop policies that have day to day impacts on the life of citizens. Reaching as far back as the 1950s, Dr. Gary Becker hypothesized that the lack of women economists, and their promotion to senior positions, suggested an inefficiency, discouraging the most productive and most talented economists from advancing and thus ultimately undermining quality. Further research states that women and men may approach economics differently, with the latter emphasizing formalism rather than human dynamics. A 2013 survey of American economists, for example, found that men in the field were more sceptical of regulation and high minimum wages and less likely to favour redistribution than women. Women economists tend to be found in more humanistic sub-topics such as health, education, development and labour. If systemic gender bias skews the way economics examines issues, there are serious implications for the governments and public policy. 


OECD flags at conference centre entrance 350 pixels wide


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