As if to mark my first day at Evidence for Policy Design, a Lafayette College colleague, Susan Averett, tweeted an op-ed by Claudia Goldin on how to get more girls to grow up to be economists. It’s a few months old, but it does a good job of highlighting many of the obstacles to women studying economics, both structural and psychological.
In particular, the following resonated with me: “Many young women don’t seem to understand that economics is also for those who have broad intellectual interests and for those with research and policy interests in health, education, poverty, inequality, crime, obesity, the environment, terrorism or infectious disease.”
I’m not sure who told me that I didn’t have to study financial markets or GDP and I could still be an economist, but I’m really grateful to that person, or persons. I know that I do a lot of blowing of people’s minds when I tell them I’m an economist and I work on issues of violence against children in Zimbabwe, or that I’m researching school desegregation in the American South, or that my economics degree prepared me for a job in journalism. I spend a lot of time telling students that economics is flexible and really, you can do whatever you want with it.
I am so excited to start at EPoD this week, to work on issues of public policy, of women’s labor force participation, of banking, of development, of agriculture, of climate change, of any number of things we probably haven’t even thought of yet. I can already tell it’s a great place for flexible thinking and creative use of economics.
Here’s my EPoD site, complete with a picture you’ve probably already seen if you’ve been reading this blog awhile. Perhaps it’s time for new headshots? Do economists do that?
Sure! We can do whatever we want, right?