“I don’t think it’s because we don’t know what is implicit bias. We know,” said Rhonda Sharpe, the president of the National Economics Association, which was founded to promote the professional development of minorities in the field. “It’s whether we stand up and call it out, and usually we don’t.”
The annual conference brings together several economics groups, the largest among them the American Economics Association. Before this year’s conference, two economists — Heidi Hartmann, the president of the Institute for Women’s Policy Research, and Michael Reich, a labor economist at Berkeley — circulated a petition calling on the association’s leaders to establish their own job market website where comments would be moderated and sexist postings blocked. The petition was eventually signed by more than 1,000 economists, and, on Friday, the association agreed to start its own job site.
“I see this as a big deal,” Abigail Wozniak, an economist at Notre Dame who was active in advocating a new job market site, said by email. “I think the reaction of the A.E.A. was driven in part by a recognition that economics can become more inclusive on a number of dimensions.”