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Report

Gender and racial diversity of federal government economists

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Michael Ng

Research Analyst - Hutchins Center on Fiscal and Monetary Policy, The Brookings Institution

The lack of diversity in the economics profession – and the lack of progress in this area relative to science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) fields – is drawing increasing attention. Most of the focus has been on academic institutions. This report looks at the diversity of economists employed by the federal government, including the Federal Reserve, the executive branch, and the research arms of Congress.

Our major findings:

  • 30 percent of Ph.D. economists in the federal government are women, compared to 23 percent of economics faculty in academia.
  • 24 percent of Ph.D. economists in the federal government are minorities (Black, Hispanic, Asian, and other minorities), compared to 21 percent of economics faculty in academia.
  • The share of female economists employed by the Federal Reserve System has been roughly stable at around 24 percent since 2013, the first year for which we have data, while the share of minorities has increased from 22 percent in 2013 to 25 percent in 2018.
  • The shares of female and minority economists in the federal government outside of the Federal Reserve have increased since 2010, the earliest year for which we have data. The share of women increased from 27 percent in 2010 to 33 percent in 2018 for women and from 18 percent in 2010 to 24 percent in 2018 for minorities.
  • Brookings employed 24 Ph.D. economists in 2018. Seven (29 percent) were women. The share of Brookings economists who are women has fluctuated between 29 percent and 37 percent over the previous five years.
  • In 2018, 8 (33 percent) of Brookings’ 24 economists were minorities – 2 (8 percent) Black, 2 (8 percent) Hispanic, 2 (8 percent) Asian, 1 (4 percent) Hawaiian or Pacific Islander, and 1 (4 percent) multiracial. Five years earlier, Brookings employed 18 economists. One (6 percent) was Hispanic and 17 (94 percent) were white.

Read the full report here»

Access the underlying data here»

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