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  • Writer's pictureBaljit Kaur

The lack of diversity in Economics

Updated: May 27

The Royal Economic Society (RES) acknowledges the lack of diversity in economics and is committed to taking action to address it. The RES Diversity Report, authored by Stefania Paredes Fuentes and others, explores the socio-economic background, gender, and ethnicity of UK economists using data from the Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA). Key findings include:

  • Economics is considered an elitist discipline, with the lowest proportion of students from low participation neighbourhoods in higher education, particularly in Russell Group universities.

  • White male students from higher socio-economic backgrounds are significantly over-represented in economics across university types.

  • While economics attracts fewer women, those who study it perform well, with higher completion rates and greater likelihood of receiving a "good degree" (2:1 or above) compared to male students of similar socio-economic background and ethnicity.

  • Socio-economic background influences the choice to study economics and dropout rates, with Black, Bangladeshi, and Pakistani students more likely to drop out after Year 1.

  • Students from lower socio-economic backgrounds, regardless of gender or ethnicity, are less likely to receive a good degree in economics, with Black students more likely to receive lower degree qualifications.

These findings have implications for universities, economics departments, employers, and policymakers aiming to enhance diversity and inclusion in the field of economics.

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