Tulane Professor holds virtual discussion on racial inequity in Economics

Courtesy+of+Tulane+School+of+Liberal+Arts

Courtesy of Tulane School of Liberal Arts

Emily Rubino, Staff Reporter

On Thursday, Jan. 28, 2021, Professor Gary Hoover hosted a virtual discussion on anti-racism and economics. This virtual discussion was the first of a yearlong series on anti-racism and all of the disciplines in the School of Liberal Arts. Hoover, a professor in the economics department, was recently appointed the executive director of Tulane University’s Murphy Institute. Hoover previously worked at the University of Alabama and was the department chair of economics at the University of Oklahoma beginning in 2015.

Hoover began his virtual discussion with a graph that showed the statistics of minorities working in economic professions. Hoover spoke about how, while there are many issues in the economics departments and most academic professions, there are also a variety of solutions for increasing representation in these fields. Throughout the virtual discussion, Hoover discussed the many different resources that have been provided by the American Economic Association.

According to Roger Dunaway for Tulane News, “Hoover is a member, and co-chair, of the American Economics Association’s Committee on the Status of Minority Groups in the Economics Profession. This group was established in 1968 to increase the representation of minorities in the economics profession, primarily by broadening opportunities for the training of underrepresented minorities.”

The resources page on the American Economic Association’s website has a tab labeled “Best Practices for Diversifying Economic Quality.” From there is more information concerning working with students, serving as colleagues and leading departments and workplaces. The AEA also offers a summer training program for underrepresented minorities to receive training and experience in the economic profession. This year the AEA Summer Program will be held by the Department of Economics at Howard University from May 27 to July 25, 2021. In 1992, Hoover attended this summer training program at Stanford University. 

Basically, it does two important things,” Hoover said. “One, it exposes minority students to economics as a career. Some might think that economics is for them but after having gone through the program, they realize that it’s not. On the contrary, some may think that economics isn’t for them but after the program, they realize that it really is and there is so much that one can do with the degree. Two, the program sort of simulates the first year of graduate school, which is vastly different than undergraduate studies in economics (much more math). Thus, a student who wants to do this can go back to their home institution and fill in holes in their portfolio that were exposed or change directions if this doesn’t suit them.” 

The next installment in the School of Liberal Arts Dean’s Speaker Series will take place on March 2, 2021, featuring Mary Pattillo on Anti-Racism and Sociology.