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Race-related research in economics and other social sciences

Race-related research in economics and other social sciences

565/2021 Arun Advani, Elliot Ash, David Cai and Imran Rasul
working papers,economic history

565/2021 Arun Advani, Elliot Ash, David Cai and Imran Rasul

How does economics compare to other social sciences in its study of issues related to race and ethnicity? We assess this using a corpus of 500,000 academic publications in economics, political science, and sociology. Using an algorithmic approach to classify race-related publications, we document that economics lags far behind the other disciplines in the volume and share of race-related research, despite having higher absolute volumes of research output. Since 1960, there have been 13,000 race-related publications in sociology, 4,000 in political science, and 3,000 in economics. Since around 1970, the share of economics publications that are race-related has hovered just below 2% (although the share is higher in top-5 journals); in political science the share has been around 4% since the mid-1990s, while in sociology it has been above 6% since the 1960s and risen to over 12% in the last decade. Finally, using survey data collected from the Social Science Prediction Platform, we find economists tend to overestimate the amount of race-related research in all disciplines, but especially so in economics.

Economic History