Assorted links


#1: if extremely widespread gender discrimination can persist for so long, what does that tell us about the efficiency of the labor market?

Efficiency in the labor market... an interesting concept but I think most of us know first hand it is nowhere near a reality. If an employer says "we're not hiring" they are directly reducing labor market efficiency and from what I have seen most employers are in this mode regularly even in good times. Not hiring? That idea would never be considered on a professional sports team. If better talent is available for less cost a sports team will make changes to acquire that talent. Clearly it is tougher to judge talent outside of sports but you'd think companies would at least make attempts to upgrade talent. Is it regulation that has destroyed the labor market? Another phrase that we should never hear is "we can't fire people" but again I feel we hear this all the time.

#5. Your title, and the article itself, are inconsistent with the remarkable story of stable LFPR among the key 25-54 demographic. It's weird- the story is right there in the charts, but goes unremarked upon.

WTF? The world is changing around us as Snowden's leaks reveal more and more. Why MR so quiet?

You mad bro?

On #5, I have disaggregated the LFP by age group for you, Tyler, so you can see that there is nothing to see:

I am (mostly) not blaming cycle, rather seeing the trend, most of your points do not overturn my view.

Maybe there's nothing to see cyclically, but the secular decline in labor force participation strikes me as a much bigger deal.

There definitely is an issue, going forward, of a shrinking labor force, that will have an effect on GDP growth, etc. And, the article in the link gets a lot right, but it would be nice, at this point in the cycle, to lose this idea that the decreasing LFP is a product of a desperate labor force. At the margin, it's just not the issue now. If we're going to look at the shrinking labor force as a problem, it's the result of people leaving the labor force generally as a lifestyle choice. This is an important distinction with policy implications.

It's a desperate labor force *and* cautious employers. The feedback loop is important, and so are the age partitions.
More here:

"So how do we translate economics into ‘girlish’?... More research is needed to answer that question, but some have suggested using discussion groups in class or making textbooks less abstract.”

These statements only further the existing patriarchal stereotypes regarding both men and women.

1) The economics is not girlish argument is similar to arts is very girlish hence men should stay away from it. We have repeatedly seen people break these stereotypes in both fields. And by pursuing one's interest, a person does not become less/more masculine.

2) The suggestion that women can't handle abstract matter is akin to the centuries old belief that women have smaller brains hence they should not be educated because they can't handle it.

Maybe what we need is economics which is more up-to-date and real. That would encourage not just encourage women, but also men to pursue it with more passion.

While I think your criticisms of #1 are fundamentally correct, they don't imply your claim that economics should be "more up-to-date and real" (what does this even mean, besides just appealing to positive-sounding ideas?). Do you have a better idea about how to decrease the gender gap in economics?

#2 is great.

#4 is funny.

#4. What an awesome waste of time...

Discrimination against women in Economics? Try self selection.

I mostly agree it's selection (or choices by women, certainly corresponds to my addition to the leaky academic pipeline) ... but that's not the point of the article. As Athey is quoted: "You just don’t get the best allocation of human capital" ..." Losing out on a chunk of the population is wasteful.” Women (or other groups) may find economics less appealing relative to other disciplines or career options, but the discipline (and those affected by its 'wisdom') may be hampered by insufficient diversity of thought. Rigid systems of promotion and thinking don't serve outsiders well.

Dearest Claudia: The "best allocation of human capital" only has meaning if it's best for us, in at least some sense. Am suspicious of ideas that call on any one of us to sacrifice for, or profit from, the economy, or other abstract entities.

Bon rest-of-weekend,


If that's the case, then perhaps psychology is suffering even more, as women earned 72% of all psychology PhDs (last sentence of the first paragraph, there is no date given - I'm assuming the statistic is for the year 2011 as well). So men earned at most 28% of all PhDs in psychology, depending upon how one counts individuals who do not identify as male or female. Where is the outcry about the gender gap in that field? Perhaps psychology should be taught more "boyish" (whatever that means) to appeal to young men?

Also, the article focuses only on the economics PhDs relative to other social science PhDs. Finance is a fairly closely related discipline to economics, uses many similar techniques and oftentimes uses some PhD economics courses as first year courses, but is not in the social sciences. Finance PhDs generally receive a higher starting salary than economics PhDs, so perhaps women just decide that if they are going to go through similar training they may as well start off with the higher salary. I have no idea what the data say about that (and I can't seem to find it easily), but I do find the comparison of the number of economics PhDs to only social science degrees lacking because economics programs can be found in business schools as well, and there is no comparison to those types of programs (particularly finance - and I may be completely off base with that comment as the data may show an 82%/18% male/female split ... or I may not as the data could show a 54%/46% split - I just can't find the data).

Sooo close. What if there were cultural institutions that could account for BOTH? Like say a male dominated patriarchy that had figured out ways to subvert the market and create jobs that were more acceptable for males and females? Perhaps teaching women that it wasn't ok to be good at math, and teaching boys to hide their feelings?

The only crazy thing is that the examples chosen so directly map onto the biases.

Chalk this one up in the economics sociology phrase book.

Kermit Daniel was my intro and intermediate public policy prof at Penn. he was a Gary Becker protege I think. He was an excellent teacher and inculcated a love of economics in me that survives 20 years on.

Re: #4

Hahahahahah, I get it. All sociologist are leftist idiots we shouldn't bother to read lest we must translate their work into the almighty glory of rational choice theories because clearly nothing interesting ever happens elsewhere in the social sciences. Hahahahahahahahah ahahahahaha

You economists surely have the monopoly on all things funny. Oh wait, I meant class ownership of the means of funny production.

It was very obviously poking fun at both sides. The lady doth protest too much, methinks

You seem to be proving the point you're ridiculing...

#1 is amusing throughout.

"More research is needed to answer that question, but some have suggested using discussion groups in class or making textbooks less abstract. For example, Susan Feigenbaum, Sharon Levin, and Anne Winkler of the University of Missouri at St. Louis developed an introductory microeconomics class that used stories about real-world decisions, such as having a child or going to college, to illustrate economic concepts like opportunity cost and human capital investment. They found that women and minorities were less likely to drop the class and more likely to major in economics than students in a more traditional course. "

So to get more women in economics let's make economics more about personal drama than stuff girls will find boring and icky like principles and math.

Maybe boys and girls, and men and women just have different interests.

Maybe there is a greater supply of males on the far right-tail for cognitive abilities, especially on the quantitative side.

But we can't consider that, now can we.

Ever heard of a pin factory?

You too committed a reading comprehension fail ... did you even read the article?

To recycle your sexism ... maybe there's an under supply of men who care about problems with the status quo and accept that they don't know everything?

I'm surprised that you don't believe personal economic decisions, like having a child or going to college, rely on economic principles and math. Especially given how often these topics are discussed on this blog.

With apologies to our hosts, academic economics is mostly rent seeking so why shouldn't women agitate to get a share? I would guess 99% of economic papers disappear without trace, better than other social sciences, and philosophy for sure, but its hardly likely that any potential degradation in quality will be measurable, and have an impact on the real economy.

#3: I think it is counterproductive to eliminate luck as a factor in sporting contests. Most competitions already involve far more luck than chess does, I can't see how it would increase spectator interest to even further reduce its role.

One of the reasons I am overjoyed to have no need to try to job-hunt now, is that every bit of career advice in the media of any kind today makes it quite clear: you have to be Superman or Wonder Woman to even have a chance at a job. You have to sell yourself as unique! Exceptional! Outstanding! But no threat to the boss' job.

They make it sound as if it were on a par with becoming a star professional athlete or how business, or with winning the lottery.

And (off topic) way, way back when employers started whining about work ethic and team playing and needing workers who would show up on time, do as they were told, play nice, etc, they were flat-out rejecting an entire generation thoroughly trained to precisely that - my generation. Because we were too old. But when they fired those who had the institutional knowledge, they hired the youngest, cheapest help they could get. So you tell ME what they want and what it would really take to get a job today, and we'll both know. I surely don't.

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