Statement of the AEA Executive Committee
October 20, 2017
To: Members of the American Economic Association
From: Peter L. Rousseau, Secretary-Treasurer
Subject: Statement of the AEA Executive Committee
Many members of the economics community have expressed concern about offensive behavior within our profession that demeans individuals or groups of individuals. The American Economic Association strongly condemns misogyny, racism, homophobia, antisemitism and other behaviors that harm our profession.
AEA President Alvin E. Roth has charged an ad hoc committee on professional conduct to formulate a set of guidelines for economists to be considered by the Executive Committee. The ad hoc committee is charged with evaluating various aspects of professional conduct, including those which stifle diversity in Economics. It will submit a report in time for discussion in January. There will be a period for comment by the AEA membership on that report following its release.
The Association is also exploring the possibility of creating a website/message board designed to provide additional information and transparency to the job market for new Ph.D.s, and will be surveying departments to assess what information about their search processes might be shared.
And coincidentally, this also arrived at the same time from Human Progress. There we find:
Zakaria eloquently summarizes some of the problems with Western development professionals and their organisations. In particular, she says, their top-down approach to development, with its narrative of heroic humanitarians bestowing charity upon the world’s poorest women, is profoundly condescending. “Non-Western women are reduced to mute, passive subjects awaiting rescue,” Zakaria writes.
Patronizing attitudes aside, development professionals are also largely ineffective at alleviating poverty. The feel-good programs that give chickens to poor women, for example, don’t lead to any long-term economic gains.
These criticisms have been made before. New York University’s William Easterly has documented in great detail how the top-down “technocratic” approach to development often serves only to enrich “expert” development professionals and dictators in poor countries.