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February 24, 2021 BLACK HISTORY MONTH

#BlackEconomistsMatter: Economic Justice Recommendations for the Biden Administration

Occupational segregation in economics not only results in loss of opportunities and wage gaps for qualifying women, candidates of color, and others who are discriminated against, but undermines and narrows access to innovative solutions, diverse strategies, broad-based data collection, targeted recommendations, and practical remedies for societal inequities. Incoming Secretary of the Treasury and former Chair of the Federal Reserve Chair and 2020 American Economic Association (AEA) president Dr. Janet Yellen has acknowledged that ineffectual economic responses to the Great Recession due to biased data collection likely exacerbated the crisis especially for communities of color who suffered and continue to suffer devastating financial losses. Although Congress charged the Federal Reserve Board with combating racial discrimination in the economy, the Board has only one Black woman among its 406 economists. 

Occupational segregation in economics is broader than lack of diversity on the Board. In 2017, only seven Black women received a Ph.D. in economics in the United States. In 2018, the number dropped down to four out of the more than 1,000 economic doctoral degree graduates. A 2018 AEA report found that Black, Latinx, and Native American students were less likely to complete degrees in economics compared to any other subject. In 2017, only 16% of all economics degrees were awarded to these students of color; a modest increase from only 12% over more than 20 years. At the intersection of race and gender, only 2% of undergraduate economics degrees go to Black women. The AEA found that women of color who do pursue a career in economics face significant challenges with bias in the profession.

Given the lack of diversity among economists, most economic research and scholarship notably exclude race, racism, and racial inequality, issues that the Biden Administration must address to improve America’s health, welfare, and financial well-being in the aftermath of the COVID-19 crisis. Three nationally recognized economists provide a deep dive into institutional and systemic discrimination in economics discussing why lack of diversity significantly undermines a functioning society. The focus then turns to specific recommendations for the Biden Administration to address debilitating inequality as it relates to the catastrophe of COVID-19 and beyond.


  • Dr. Belinda Archibong, Assistant Professor of Economics, Barnard College, Columbia University
  • Dr. Dania V. Francis, Assistant Professor of Economics, University of Massachusetts Boston
  • Dr. Darrick Hamilton, Henry Cohen Professor of Economics and Urban Policy, The New School; Founding Director, Institute for the Study of Race, Stratification and Political Economy, The New School


  • Goldburn P. Maynard, Jr., Assistant Professor of Business Law and Ethics, Indiana University Kelley School of Business

Co-Sponsors: ABA Center for Human Rights, ABA Center for Public Interest Law, ABA Commission on Hispanic Legal Rights & Responsibilities, ABA Commission on Homelessness & Poverty, ABA Commission on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity, ABA Death Penalty Representation Project, ABA Diversity and Inclusion Center, ABA Law Student Division, ABA Section of State and Local Government LawABA Section of TaxationABA Tort Trial & Insurance Practice Section, ABA Young Lawyers Division, American Bar FoundationAmerican Tax Policy Institute, National Tax Association


Transcript: #BlackEconomistsMatter: Economic Justice Recommendations for the Biden Administration

Prison Labor: The Price of Prisons and the Lasting Effects of Incarceration

Break This Down: Prison Labor

Prison labour: The price of prisons and the lasting effects of incarceration

Prison Labor Can Create Perverse Incentives for Incarceration and Reduce Trust in Legal Institutions

The Epidemic Effect: Global Governance Institutions Can Mitigate the Effects of Epidemics

'We Are Not Guinea Pigs': The Effects of Negative News on Vaccine Compliance

Communication During a Pandemic

The differential employment risks of a pandemic: Why are more AfricanAmericans dying from COVID-19?

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