Pablo Garriga
Gabriel Ulyssea
Costas Meghir
Pinelopi Koujianou Goldberg
Rafael Dix-Carneiro
Alessandro Toppeta
Áureo de Paula
Orazio Attanasio
Seth Zimmerman
Joseph Price
Valerie Michelman
Camille Semelet
Anne Brockmeyer
Pierre Bachas
Santiago Pérez
Elisa Jácome
Leah Boustan
Ran Abramitzky
Jesse Rothstein
Jeffrey T. Denning
Sandra Black
Wei Cui
Mathieu Leduc
Philippe Jehiel
Shivam Gujral
Suraj Sridhar
Attila Lindner
Arindrajit Dube
Pascual Restrepo
Łukasz Rachel
Benjamin Moll
Kirill Borusyak
Michael McMahon
Frederic Malherbe
Gabor Pinter
Angus Foulis
Saleem Bahaj
Stone Centre
Phil Thornton
James Baggaley
Xavier Jaravel
Richard Blundell
Parama Chaudhury
Dani Rodrik
Alan Olivi
Vincent Sterk
Davide Melcangi
Enrico Miglino
Fabian Kosse
Daniel Wilhelm
Azeem M. Shaikh
Joseph Romano
Magne Mogstad
Suresh Naidu
Ilyana Kuziemko
Daniel Herbst
Henry Farber
Lisa Windsteiger
Ruben Durante
Mathias Dolls
Cevat Giray Aksoy
Angel Sánchez
Penélope Hernández
Antonio Cabrales
Wendy Carlin
Suphanit Piyapromdee
Garud Iyengar
Willemien Kets
Rajiv Sethi
Ralph Luetticke
Benjamin Born
Amy Bogaard
Mattia Fochesato
Samuel Bowles
Guanyi Wang
David Cai
Toru Kitagawa
Michela Tincani
Christian Bayer
Arun Advani
Elliott Ash
Imran Rasul

Race-related research in economics and other social sciences

What is this research about and why did you do it?

Large and persistent differences across racial and ethnic groups in wealth and economic well-being have been well documented. Issues of racial differences in economic opportunity have risen to the top of the policy agenda in recent years. If the causes of such inequality are to be understood and resolved, then economists need to be engaged in race-related research. This study examines the extent to which academic economists have been conducting such research, comparing it with the disciplines of political science and sociology.

How do you answer this question?

We build a corpus of academic journal publications for economics, political science, and sociology from 1960 to 2020. This covers half a million journal publications: 224,855 publications from 231 economics journals, 138,188 publications from 185 sociology journals, and 110,835publications from 213 political science journals. Within this body of work, we then identify race-related research using an algorithm that uses keywords related to: (i) the racial or ethnic group being studied; and (ii) the issue being studied. Examples of keywords include ‘discrimination’, ‘prejudice’, and ‘stereotype’.

What do you find?

Economics lags far behind the other disciplines in the volume and share of race-related research, despite having higher absolute volumes of research output. Since 1960, there have been 13,000 race-related publications in sociology, 4,000 in political science, and 3,000 in economics.

Over the six decades covered by the study, less than two per cent of articles in economics journals concern race with no trend since 1970. The data set includes half a million publications in the three disciplines. Race related publications were identified by key words such as “segregation” and “African-American”.

What implications does this have for the study of wealth concentration or economic inequality?

The work highlights the need for economists to pay greater attention to race. We surveyed economists on the extent to which they believe race is understudied, using the Social Science Prediction Platform. They correctly predict the disciplinary ranking but overestimate the share of race-related research in all three disciplines. 90% overestimated the share of race-related research in economics.

What are the next steps in your agenda?

We want to understand why economists have not studied race. Is it because race-related research is less likely to be published; the underrepresentation of minorities in economics; the absence of race related topics in economics education?  

Citation and related resources

This paper can be cited as follows: Advani, A., Ash, E., Cai, D., and Rasul, I. (Forthcoming). 'Race-related research in economics and other social sciences'. Econometric Society Monograph. A pre-publication version is available.

Related resources:

About the authors


Related Content

expand icon


expand icon

Education materials