Good discussion all,


This is an issue we’ve also been struggling with in my department and is an area where we need to improve. Despite having a roughly 50/50 Female/Male mix of faculty we’ve had a hard time attracting women and other diverse groups to the major.


Some of us here are also of the opinion that the neoclassical framework is a real sticking point but at this point it’s just an opinion.  Thanks to Tara, Rob, and Bob for the articles – I’ll be looking into them.


Despite these it seems that this is an area that could use some more research. I’m thinking some kind of survey across students at several campuses – maybe of students who have taken First year micro or macro? At any rate I’d like to know the results of such a thing.


If anybody would be interested in participating in a project like this please do let me know.






Dr. Thomas Kemp

Professor and Chair

Department of Economics

University of Wisconsin – Eau Claire

715 836 2150

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From: AFEEMAIL Discussion List <[log in to unmask]> on behalf of "Natarajan, Tara" <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To: AFEEMAIL Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
Date: Friday, August 31, 2018 at 12:38 PM
To: "[log in to unmask]" <[log in to unmask]>
Subject: Re: Why don't women major in econ?


Julie Nelson's extensive work and prolific publications on methodology speaks volumes about the issues you raise John. 

Irene Van Staveren work esp her book on The values of economics is yet another source. 


Historians of thought who work on Methodological questions and research, especially feminist methodologists have done some of the best work in my view -- because it examines the issues you raise from a foundational/ theoretical perspective -- getting to the core of RCT and its relationship to various facets of orthodox theory in general.



Tara Natarajan




From: AFEEMAIL Discussion List <[log in to unmask]> on behalf of Bob Lucore <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Friday, August 31, 2018 1:18 PM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: [AFEEMAIL] Why don't women major in econ?



That would seem closely related to the research done by Ann Mari May and others. If I am remembering the findings correctly, women economists are much more likely to recommend solutions to economic problems that don't rely on the obsolete market mentality.



Bob Lucore

Technology Support Consultant


On Fri, Aug 31, 2018 at 1:09 PM John Harvey <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

Dear AFEE Friends, 


I have been working on an initiative to increase the representation of women and minorities in our program (we run at or near the bottom on campus). As we all know, this is a pervasive problem not limited to TCU by any means.


As I dig into this, I find literature that refers to the greater sensitivity of women to intro econ grades, the desire for clearer career options by women, the lack of role models in our discipline, etc. What I haven't seen is anyone saying that our core problem is Neoclassical theory. Surely someone has done so?  It seems to me that if I’m a member of a minority or a woman (or both) and I hear from my mainstream intro econ instructor that the market objectively determines what I deserve to earn, I’m done with econ. Sure, they’ll tack on a dummy variable or mention “frictions” or “imperfections,” but that’s clearly not the core theory and the latter will not strike me as a relevant to my experiences. On the other hand, if I’m a white male–particularly one with a bit of a chip on my shoulder–then this is what I’ve been looking for. Sorry I get paid more, but I deserve it!


My own informal survey work has looked at women who decided to pick econ anyway (our alumni), so this was clearly not a problem for them. But it is my sense that this is the real reason women stay away from us is Neoclassicism.


What say you all? Does that ring true or am I missing something?