CAGE releases special series on race and economicsMonday 24 May 2021
The special series demonstrates how economics can inform debate on racial inequality and shape the development of new policy. But there is still a long way to go to achieve equality and diversity of representation within the discipline.
This week, in a special web edit, CAGE has released a series of articles on race and diversity in economics. Last year, the murder of George Floyd in Minnesota sparked protests across the globe. Institutions, disciplines and individuals questioned how they could improve equality and diversity for the long-term. One year on, we’re exploring the important role economics can play in highlighting and shaping race-related debate and policy. We also take a look at diversity within our own discipline. In a subject that lags behind many others, both in the diversity of its personnel and in the amount of race-related research undertaken, the road towards equality is likely to be long.
Exposing inequality: race-related research in economics
How does economics compare to other social sciences in its study of issues related to race and ethnicity? Arun Advani, Elliott Ash, David Cai and Imran Rasul find that economics lags far behind the other disciplines in the volume and share of race-related research undertaken, yet economists tend to overestimate the amount of race-related research available, especially in economics.
Understanding discrimination: behavioural economics and race
Widespread claims that justify intolerance can give people the excuse they need to vocalise their racial prejudice: Leonardo Bursztyn, Ingar Haaland, Aakaash Rao, and Christopher Roth highlight the powerful effect of public figures and biased media in encouraging racist behaviour.
Does better understanding of the extent of racial discrimination encourage support for pro-Black policies?
How widespread do people think racial discrimination is in society? And how does that affect support for pro-Black policies? Ingar Haaland and Christopher Roth find that there is a large difference of opinion about the extent of discrimination in hiring practices. Informing individuals about the true extent of racial discrimination can change individuals' perceptions, but it does not change their broader attitudes on support for pro-Black policies.
Lessons of the past: the economic history of race
Equalising opportunity: the long-term effects of the Second World War on racial diversity in the US labour market
Andreas Ferrara shows that, between 1940 and 1960, permanent labour shortages as a result of the Second World War reduced the racial barriers that had previously made such jobs inaccessible to Black workers. His research demonstrates how important equalising opportunity can be for improving the prosperity of minority groups.
The economic history of race in the US
This event, held in June 2020, threw light on how the historical institution of American slavery has impacted on the economic and political lives of the Black population in the United States.
How the 1918 influenza pandemic exacerbated racial inequalities in South Africa
The 1918 influenza pandemic in South Africa was one of the country’s worst human tragedies. The virus killed an estimated 300,000 South Africans – 6% of the population – within three months. But there were large differences in mortality rates across subgroups, with particularly high numbers of deaths among Black South Africans. Johan Fourie and Jonathan Jayes show that poor access to healthcare could explain why.
Black-white disparities during an epidemic: life expectancy and lifespan disparity in the US, 1980–2000
COVID-19 has demonstrated again that epidemics can affect minorities more than the population in general. José Manuel, Aburto Frederikke, Frehr Kristensen and Paul Sharp analyse one of the last major epidemics in the United States: HIV/AIDS ca. 1980–2000. They find noticeable differences of life expectancy and lifespan disparity (a measure of variance in age at death) both between states and between Black and white communities.